Friday, April 22, 2011

YOU CAN'T OUT-GIVE GOD

Something the Lord Jesus said sticks in my mind like a burr.

“You, give them something to eat.”

He said this to His disciples when a multitude sat in the wilderness for 2 days in order to listen to Him. The disciples knew they had nothing, but when they asked Him to send the people away, Jesus gave them that cryptic command.

He knew very well the disciples had little food, and possibly none. Yet He still told them to feed that huge group.

Those words ricochet in my mind because He’s trying to tell me the same thing today.

You're probably the same as me—you have a mortgage, a couple of kids in school, or you need a functioning car to drive to work. Most of us feel there is nothing left over from the pay check to sacrificially give. But He tells us to do it anyway.

Why am I afraid to sacrifice out of my pay when I know that I can’t possibly out-give God? He’s proven it to me in the past, with far greater sacrifices that money.

About 32 years ago I was pregnant and unmarried. I wanted to do the best I could for my baby, so hard as it was, I relinquished my child to a Christian adoption agency. They assured me she had the best of parents. That was all I expected from God. But that was the first time in my life that I learned—I cannot out-give God.

A year later a wonderful man loved me enough to marry me. As time went by God filled my arms 3 times over with children. My 3 kids were never a replacement for my daughter, but God returned to me 3-fold what I had entrusted to Him.

Years later, I was sure my dream of a fictional writing career was dead and buried. The Lord had lead me to pursue writing, but after 12 years, my manuscripts were continually passed over. An opportunity came up to do some non-fiction writing (free of charge) for a Christian ministry.

The Lord nudged me. “Are you willing to give up your dream to do this for Me?” It was the first time He’d ever asked me to give up my fictional writing.

It wasn’t easy, but I knew that somehow the Lord would provide for our needs while I completed this task.

Six months later, WhiteFire Publishing called. They wanted to publish one of my fictional novels.

Is this a gimmick I’m trying to sell you? Give your money to God and He’ll make you a millionare? No. I do not believe in a prosperity gospel.

But there’s something about God. When He knows you really have given up something for His sake, He rewards in ways that take your breath away. But don’t think for a moment you can fool Him. He knows our hearts even better than we do.

All I’m saying is—don’t be afraid to trust God with a sacrifice from your pay check.
I've seen it in my own life--He never misses my daily dose of manna. One of the nice things about manna is it’s never too much, nor too little.

You can’t out-give God.

Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it oversflows."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WAKE-UP CALL--By Elaine Stock

Today my guest blogger is Elaine Stock, whose Brooklyn accent is a delight to my ear. Elaine and I first met at the 2008 ACFW conference in Minneapolis. Thanks Elaine for being my guest today.

WAKE-UP CALL--By Elaine Stock

I write fiction. More specifically, I write fiction woven tightly with God’s love for all of us. Presently, though my newly acquired agents are about to market what I hope will be my debut novel. I’m also hoping my stories will reach the mainstream reader because I like to think of my stories as showing God’s love in the darkest of worlds, one that, sadly, everyone to some degree, can relate to.

And baby, is it ever getting darker and darker out there!

Presently, without the benefit of becoming an overnight literary sensation that brings in more cash than Nora Roberts and John Grisham combined (a girl can still dream, can’t she?), I work five days, and often forty plus hours per week as a customer rep in the food industry.

To say that 1) I meet all types of folks from saints to ├╝ber . . . uh, let’s say, interesting, to 2) and am constantly learning and re-learning things about life, and myself, is an understatement.

Then, there was the woman in the grocery store the other day that practically yelled at me because I apologized for mistakenly turning into an aisle that I didn’t mean to. I uttered a little prayer for her as I drove home later. We all need God’s mercy, grace, and love.

What is really troubling me about this troubling world is our ignorance of a wake-up call. Who truly knows when the Second Coming will happen; it is not for us to know. We must live each day to the fullest, trying at the very least (because we are all humans and all constantly fail, myself included) to love one another as God loves us.

I’m watching the media’s telling of the horrific earthquake/tsunami that turned the world upside down for Japan; a year ago it was Haiti. What those poor people have had to go through is heart wrenching.

Now with Japan’s pending nuclear disaster (or, has it already occurred and the government is failing to tell all?), other countries are beginning to take stock of what disaster-filled potential sits in their own backyard, ready to destroy.

And what was this little news release the other day about the two Koreas thinking about putting aside their venom for each other and to unite to protect their people against the probability of volcano eruptions? And on an everyday-more common level, the number of shouting matches taking place under the family-roof over the truly trivial?

I’m a human being. I fall way short of perfection. Daily I make mistakes; snap into thoughts and decisions I later regret. Maybe that’s why I believe in God. Maybe that’s why I’m trying to heed His commandment of DO NOT BE AFRAID because not only does He know of the wonderful joys ahead for His daughters and sons, but He gives us daily wake-up calls to keep on trying to turn on His light in the darkness.

Guest Author Bio:
Born and raised in Brooklyn, and then enjoying the more rural areas of upstate New York, Elaine Stock never expected that a college major in psychology and sociology would walk her through the see-saw industries of food service and the weight-loss business; co-ownership with her husband in piano restoration; and ten years in community leadership. All great fodder for creating fiction. With her first short story published on Christian Fiction Online Magazine, she is represented by Reclaim Management.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ENDORSEMENTS FOR SHADOWED IN SILK

"Any reader who loved M.M. Kaye's blockbuster bestsellers, Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon, set in British-ruled India during the first and second Afghan wars, will enjoy this debut novel by a talented new author. Its backdrop the final days of the British Raj during the third Afghan war, Shadowed in Silk brings vividly to life the sights, sounds and smells of early 20th century India while at the same time telling a beautiful story of a heavenly Father's redemptive love and forgiveness."
--Jeanette Windle, author of Veiled Freedom, Freedom's Stand, Tyndale House Publishers.

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Shadowed in Silk took me away to a time and place I'd never been and immersed me in an intriguing story. Political unrest, suspense, romance, well-developed characters, and a strong spiritual thread. What more could a reader ask for? I highly recommend this book.
--Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning author of Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico and Maggie's Journey, book one of the McKenna's Daughters series.

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In her remarkable debut novel, Shadowed in Silk, Christine Lindsay immerses readers in the sights, smells, and sounds of 1918 India. Most of all, Lindsay brilliantly captures the strict social structures that ruled every life, rich or poor, under the British Raj. What a wonderful way to learn about this tragic time in history we hear so little about.
Louise M. Gouge, award-winning author of At the Captain’s Command and others

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Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay is undoubtedly one of the better debut novels I’ve ever had the privilege to read. To be asked to endorse it only doubles the honor. Lindsay has not only done her homework to bring this charming story to life, but she skillfully transports her readers to another place and another time as naturally as if she’d been doing so all her life. Though this may be Lindsay’s first novel, I trust it won’t be her last. A new voice worth reading—and watching!
***Kathi Macias www.kathimacias.com is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the popular Extreme Devotion (international fiction) series from New Hope Publishers

Shadowed in Silk is one of those rare sweeping novels that takes hold from the start and doesn't let go, even long after you've reached the final page. A beautiful and poignant story of life in India under British rule in the early 19th Century. Realistic characters who aren't afraid to face life's challenges and deal with the sins they struggle with create a strong spiritual takeaway. Beautiful descriptions, heart-stopping suspense at times, lovely dialogue and a wonderful love story all blend together to make Shadowed in Silk a book you won't soon forget. A brilliant debut novel from a very talented author! ---- Catherine West - Author of Yesterday's Tomorrow

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Shadowed in Silk will keep you up long past your bedtime—each time you want to put it down, you tell yourself, just one more page, just one more page…
Ruth Axtell Morren author of Love Inspired Historicals like A Gentleman's Homecoming.

Lindsay has written of two characters, Major Geoff Richards and Abby Fraser who grab you from the beginning and don’t let go until the last page. They are in an impossible situation which only gets more difficult, but the reader roots for them from the moment they meet on board a ship bound for India, he to take up his old post after surviving the horrors of World War I and she to return to her childhood home.

You’ll fall in love with Geoff—the strong, silent hero with a tragic past, who proves to be a wonderful surrogate father to Abby’s young son, and a quiet protector to Abby when she is faced by more danger than she knows.
And you’ll feel for Abby, trying to do what’s right when her life seems to have ended before it has a chance to begin and coming finally to that place of acknowledging that she can’t do it on her own.

There’s a wonderful set of secondary characters, especially those Indian Christians who endure the loss of everything for their newfound faith.

The Indian backdrop with its sights, smells and sounds and the increasing turmoil under the British raj only add to the allure of this story. For those who love The Far Pavilions and The Jewel in the Crown, with the addition of a strong Christian theme and a wonderful romance, this book is for you!~

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

AT THE CAPTAINS COMMAND--A Book Review

I've come to recognize that different people like different kinds of stories. I see this in our church library---there are some who love the gentle romances with a gripping story, and those who love stories that are more graphic and have more violence. The book I am recommending today is one for the first group---those ladies who like a more gentle story, but just as gripping with adventure and romance.

At the Captain’s Command by Louise M. Gouge is a delightful historical set during the Revolutionary War. Dinah Templeton, living in an East Florida colony, feels outcaste from her family. Her family is loyal to England, but Dinah has the feeling there is something certain members of her family are not telling her. There is also a great deal of talk about the infamous pirate Nighthawk who plagues the coastline. To protect those loyal to the crown against this growing list of revolutionaries is his Majesty’s Royal Navy and the Dauntless commanded by Captain Thomas Moberly.

Attraction grows between Dinah and Thomas quickly. Some in their circle say they are perfectly suited to one another. But Dinah has promised herself she will never marry a navy-man. Besides, it appears that Thomas is not interested in any romantic attachment to her anyway. How could he when he is of noble blood and she is not.

Dinah and Thomas’s dilemma is set at a time when many in the American Colonies are throwing in their lot with the revolutionaries to win their independence. It’s a time when brothers could secretly be on opposite sides. Dinah and Thomas must decide if their love for one another can bear the tug of loyalties from different directions. And Thomas must sort out in his heart if God hears the prayers on 2 sides of an issue—whose voices are heard in Heaven, those who wish to remain loyal to England or those who desire a free land of their own?

Author Louise M. Gouge seamlessly weaves historical detail into her narrative, so that you feel as though you are there. You can smell the sea air, the rich humid Florida coastline, and feel the snap of canvas as the Dauntless sails the seas. The author writes brilliant dialogue that sounds as if someone from that era is speaking, and yet it is easy on the ear. She drew me in instantly and kept me turning the pages, so that I came to care very much about her characters. I found this time and setting to be a fresh new take of the War of Independence, and a novel I heartily endorse.

No wonder Louise M. Gouge is an award-winning author several times over.