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Posts tagged ‘Prayer’

Exceedingly, Abundantly, Above by Joan Deneve

PrayerI’m still surprised when God answers prayer. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a believer and practicing woman of faith for over forty years. I’ve seen God do some amazing things, and yes, even miracles, in answer to prayer. On the other hand, I’ve experienced times when God remained silent to my anguished cries.

My mouth will tell you that I believe God can do anything. But sometimes my heart counters, “But will He?”

At such times, I try to fall back on what I know to be true. That God is a good God who is also wise and all-knowing. Our God is sovereign, which is a fancy way of saying that He is God and I am not. He gets to call the shots.

It was out of these thoughts, feelings, and questions that Saving Eric was born. I wanted to illustrate that God’s plan is sometimes much bigger than what we presently see, and that we can trust God to always do what is needed and what is right.

Through this character-driven novel, three basic truths about God come to light.

  1. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think. These words, taken from Ephesians 3:20, are the foundational truth behind Brock Whitfield’s faith. Brock’s faith is strong and seemingly unshakable because it was forged in the crucible of deep failure, disappointment, and loss. Brock passes on what he has learned about trusting God to all the staff at the mission compound.
  2. God sometimes lets us be the answer to our own prayers. This is probably my favorite truth. Brock had prayed for a certain individual for many years, but he never dreamed God would allow him to be part of the answer. What an exciting thought! God not only gives us the desires of our hearts, but He also lets us be part of the answer.
  3. God uses broken people to help other broken people. We’re all broken. That’s why we need a savior. God is in the business of changing lives. Brock, Ellie, Eric, and Bob Templeton—all broken and in need of God’s truth and God’s grace to turn their lives around.

These fictional characters struggle with things we all struggle with. Using Brock as spiritual mentor, I take the reader down the path of some of my own spiritual battles and questions. My goal was to portray God realistically and faithfully. He is a God who does not always answer the way we think He will or should, but His answer is always the best one. It’s a hard lesson to learn and one that must be relearned many times in one’s life.

Last year, I did the unthinkable. I gave God a deadline. Granted, I gave Him a year, but it was still a deadline. I asked for two specific requests. Big requests. Not the generic, “God bless my children and keep them safe.” (Although there’s nothing wrong with that either)

I prayed on New Year’s Day for God to come through and answer the two requests I had been praying about for three years. I committed to prayer that 2014 be the year that both requests be answered. And by answered, I mean really answered.

At every prayer meeting, everybody knew my hand would go up and I would ask for two unspoken requests.

Did I ask in faith? You bet. Did I really believe they would get answered? Sort of.  The first one was answered in September, fully nine months after asking that original prayer. The second one was more of a challenge. I still had hope, but I had already decided to let God off the hook in case it wasn’t His timing or His will. (Like He needed for me to let Him off the hook)

The answer came on Christmas Eve. When I found out, I didn’t believe it. In fact, I said to the person, “You’re kidding.” See what I mean? I’m still surprised when God answers prayer.

Let me sum it all up. God is real. God is good. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think. Our God loves us. He delights to show Himself strong on our behalf.

But His ways are not our ways. Sometimes He says “No.” Sometimes He says “Wait.” And sometimes He is silent. And at such times we must do as the song says, “When we can’t trace His hand, we trust His heart.”

Contest Photo 1About the Author:

 Joan Deneve teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and equip them to become all God wants them to be. Joan began her walk as a Christian when she accepted Christ as her savior two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. She graduated from Tennessee Temple Bible College in 1975.

Joan and Rene’, her husband of forty-plus years, reside in Prattville, Alabama, a charming city with Southern hospitality. They count their son, daughter, son-in-law, and seven phenomenal grandchildren to be their greatest blessings on earth.

Joan enjoys time well-spent with family and friends, but finds equal joy in quiet moments of solitude on her back porch. There, surrounded by bluebirds and yellow butterflies, she began writing her debut novel, Saving Eric.

An active member of her church, Joan enjoys singing in the choir. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is currently working on the second book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series. She enjoys chatting with fellow writers and readers. Check out her web page: http://cjdeneve.wix.com/joandeneve.

Saving Eric front coverMore About Saving Eric:

Templetons don’t break down. Even when their world is falling apart. Eric Templeton’s well-ordered life as a top CIA agent is shattered when a traitor within the agency plots to have him eliminated. Sent on a bogus mission to Africa, Eric is ambushed and critically wounded. A helicopter pilot flies him to a remote mission hospital where Dr. Brock Whitfield and his daughter, Ellie, work to save his life. If Eric survives, his life may never be the same, and he still has to deal with the traitor who wants him dead. Eric wants justice, but Brock and Ellie know that Eric’s survival is the least of his worries. What he needs most is mercy and truth.

Author Interview: Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350Today, our guest is Janet Sketchley, the author of Secrets and Lies. Janet is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

Janet, welcome to Inner Source. I enjoyed your story of Carol Daniels. It has plenty of suspense, along with some pretty important issues that Christians often have to wade through. Would you mind telling me where the idea from the story originated with you?

Thanks for inviting me to visit, Fay, and I’m glad you enjoyed Carol’s story. I “met” Carol through writing her brother Harry’s story in Heaven’s Prey, and I knew her life had not been easy. I also knew she needed the Lord. Secrets and Lies gives her the chance to find Him—unless her enemies find her first. I think themes like trust grew out of who she is and the choices she’s made.

Carol is a woman who has suffered a lot of loss, and she endures different types of grief. I’d even go so far as to say that relief was a part of her grief when it came to certain people. Did you write this character from experience?

She’d tell you that losing her husband was a relief! I didn’t write Carol’s grief from experience, although the grief of friends and fictional characters over the years helped me imagine what it must have been like for her. The parts of Carol that come from my experience are more linked to her—ahem—controlling tendencies and her fear. Not that I have tangible enemies, like she has.

Your heroine is a tough one. She seems to handle things that are thrown at her with more strength than I think she even realizes. Have you had an example of someone in your life who has exhibited this type of strength?

Carol doesn’t realize it, no. All she can see is the ongoing battle. It’s funny you’d ask about a real-life example. I could list Christians I know who rely on God’s strength and survive multiple storms, but Carol is someone who survives on her own. (At least she thinks she does—who knows how much strength the Lord subtly lends to those who are still on their way to finding Him?) You’ve reminded me of a friend who was like Carol in the sense that she’d ask us to pray for her while refusing to pray for herself. K was strong, sweet-tempered but very persistent. She, too, had a difficult marriage and her husband died suddenly. Her life wasn’t easy even then. I longed to see the Lord draw her to Himself, and my prayer and hope is that He ultimately did so before she died.

What would you, the author, say to someone who approached you and talked to you about grief, fear, and the regrets that Carol seems to have? Would you have a Biblical response for him or her?

There’s no easy answer for a person with deep hurts, and I’d be praying for wisdom of what and when to speak—and when to be silent. I think key, Biblical aspects of a response would include a reassurance that it’s okay to bring God our questions and our pain (think of David in the Psalms) but that we need to keep looking at God to see what He might say or do. Also that we can trust the heart of God—not to do what we want, but to love us and to work even in the worst times. So I’d encourage the person to discover God’s character through His Word. Ultimately, it would be God Himself who opened the person to believe and receive His love.

In the novel, the character of Joey says a few of the things I’d say: trusting the heart of God, prayer is important, and that we can work with God to re-shape our fears and reactions. As Joey does with Carol, this sort of conversation is long and slow, with lots of pauses. The best thing I could give someone in this situation would be my care and attention, and a willingness to walk with them no matter how far the journey appears to be.

Please tell us a little about your upcoming release No Safe Place and about any other future releases.

The Redemption’s Edge series introduces three members of the Silver family: villain Harry, his sister Carol, and their cousin Amy.

In No Safe Place, Amy Silver is injured in the plane crash that kills her fiancé. His best friend’s offer of shelter sounds ideal, even if the faith he lives by seems too good to be true. But has she found sanctuary…  or something more sinister?

I hope and trust there will be more stories after these, but they’re just thoughts and vague ideas right now. Thanks so much for hosting me, Fay. You ask thought-provoking questions! It was fun answering as Carol in her interview, too.

Janet, it was a pleasure having you with us, and I can’t wait to share your post on Friday.

Secrets and Lies webMore about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

This Too Shall Pass by Anne Baxter Campbell

Anne Baxter Campbell 2For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Until recently, I thought the title of this blog (This Too Shall Pass) was a quote from the Bible. I searched by way of a couple of programs I have through multiple translations and versions of the Bible. Giving up, I googled it. Turns out it’s not from the scriptures, it’s probably from some other ancient philosopher. However, quote from the Bible or not, it’s still a deep truth. Pain that has a grip on you will eventually pass, whether it is physical or mental or both.

The first deep mental pain I experienced happened when I was twenty-four. My grandmother died. I couldn’t stop crying, and it made no sense that the people we passed between the church and the graveyard weren’t affected. People still mowed their lawns, pulled weeds, and hammered nails into boards. Children played tag, rode bikes, or stared at the funeral procession. Inside the limousine, my family and I traveled in somber silence. How could the world go on as normal when my world had fallen to pieces?

Later at the gathering in my parents’ home, a few smiles crept out between the tears. Within a few days we all went back to our jobs and normal lives. The pain subsided, and now I remember Grandma with occasion sadness; but mostly I remember the warm and wonderful times we spent together. I think about the summers as a youngster when I stayed for a month or two on Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Smiles wrap around the memories of when she took care of my little girl while I worked. Laughter bubbles up at some remembered funny stories.

During and after my third full-term pregnancy, I went through a time of dejection. I hid it from my family, I think, until the symptoms became more physical than mental. I gained a deep sympathy with those suffering from post-partum depression. Reluctantly, I took antidepressants—hated them—but eventually, the depression passed and the joy returned.

A few years ago I had a knee replaced. Wow, the pain was unbelievable. On a scale of one to ten, definitely a ten plus. Not even birthing a baby or a toothache had hurt that bad. Despite the doctor saying I would walk that evening after the operation could make that simple-sounding event come to pass. I was not the best patient, and recovery was slow and HURT. But after a few weeks, I could walk with ease again. Now there’s no pain at all. Amazing.

Some physical pain will not end until we go on to join the Lord—and I understand that is a different situation—but it will pass too, and what a glorious passing that will be!

Long story shortened considerably—don’t give up hope. Hang in there. When you reach the end of your rope, grab God’s hand. In fact, grab it way before then. When you get through this painful time, when this too passes, you will emerge stronger than you were before. That’s the way the Man designed us.

About the Author:

Anne Baxter Campbell is an author with a yearning to walk people one step closer to God. She says she remembers reading books or watching movies like The Silver Challis, Beloved Physician, The Robe, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and The Ten Commandments, even before becoming a Christian. Something about the books and movies drew her to God. If it hadn’t been for those books, she might never have said “Yes” when offered that eternal grace, and she wouldn’t have written The Truth Trilogy, a series she hopes will draw you a little closer to the Lord who so overwhelmingly loves you. You can catch up with Anne at her website and her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

CampbellTruth-6x9FlatCoverVer03About The Truth Doesn’t Die

Joanna is the widow of Loukas, her beloved who died fighting pirates on the Great Sea. Decimus is the Roman senator who rescued her and her adopted daughter from slave runners, and he’s also the man who has fallen in love with the graceful and resilient woman.

Joanne craves solitude in which to mourn. Senator Decimus Varitor returns to Rome with reluctance, bound to the senate for too many more years. However, he can only tolerate being away from her for a time. Decimus returns and searches for her in the wilds of Israel where she hides from the world.

She leaves the camp, not knowing she and her friend Rebecca will never live there again. A search for ten-year-old twins in a driving rainstorm through the wilderness, Rebecca’s illness, and then her adopted daughter’s injury at the paws of a bear force them to Jerusalem.

When Decimus finds her, she is following another man, Jesus. His heart broken, Decimus must return to Rome alone.

About The Roman’s Quest (Book One in The Truth Trilogy)

Centurion Julius has eyes for a young Jewish woman, but a Roman is not what her father intends for her. Miriam is a pious Jewish girl, determined to TrilogyFrontCover_do the right thing by her God and her parents, and she bows to her father’s wishes to betroth her to a Jewish fisherman, James ben Zebedee. Her heart yearns for the Roman, but their love is impossible. Miriam’s mother lies close to death, and her last wish is to see her daughter wed. The marriage has to take place before it’s too late.

About Marcus Varitor, Centurion (Book Two in The Truth Trilogy)

Marcus, son of a Roman senator, is a decanus in the Roman cohort in Jerusalem. The tribune hints at a promotion to centurion if Marcus can bring in a troublesome brigand. He discovers there are really only two things he wants—to be a centurion and to win the love of an Egyptian girl. But when Meskhanet is sent to Rome on a slave ship and Marcus is captured by the very criminal he’s supposed to apprehend, those hopes may both evaporate faster than a small puddle under the hot desert sun.