Thursday, January 31, 2013

Verse of the Day

The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (2 Corinthians 10:4–6 MSG)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ashton Park by Murray Pura

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Ashton Park

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)


Murray Pura


Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park.
Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park.
The year is 1916.  The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ashton Park, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: I think I'm one of the very few who hasn't yet seen an episode of Downton Abbey. (Yes, I know! Late to the party, but I'm working on catching up soon.) However, Murray Pura's Ashton Park did appeal to me because of the marketing comparing it to the popular BBC series. And the story hasn't disappointed. The book is rich with well-drawn characters surrounding the Danforth family and their estate. Beginning in 1916 in the heart of WW1, the family deals with weddings, three sons in the British military, Sir William's political outspoken political views contrary to the prime minister's, the rebellion in Ireland, and three daughters each dealing with the issues of their day—not always amicable. The story covers seven years and is full of the many twists and turns of life. An excellent read, Ashton Park will leave you wanting more of the Danforths. 

Verse of the Day

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up. (Hebrews 12:1–3 NLT)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Verse of the Day

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1–2 MSG)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Verse of the Day

Then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10 MSG)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Verse of the Day

"My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9 NLT)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Verse of the Day

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? (Psalm 56:3–4)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mystery of the Heart by Jilian Kent

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Mystery of the Heart

Realms (January 8, 2013)


Jillian Kent


Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of  Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.

Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels.  Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.   


Lord Eden is intrigued when he discovers Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart when he is forced to betray her?

Lady Mercy Grayson longs be a physician like her big brother, Devlin, Lord Ravensmoore. However, society would never tolerate a female physician, let alone one who is a noblewoman. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. But then a male colleague discovers her secret, which is only the beginning of Mercy’s problems that could destroy her dreams forever.

The Prince Regent is awaiting the return of Vincent St. Lyons, Lord Eden, whom he sent on a secret voyage to locate and bring back a relic that some believe possesses the power to heal. St. Lyons discovers Mercy washed up on England’s shore upon his return and agrees to give her safe passage to London aboard a ship of men practicing African Vodun. Both must face treacherous circumstances, difficult decisions, and a growing attraction to one another that could forever change the course of their lives.

As the final installment in the series, the theme of this book is God’s plans for our lives. “Whatever the hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might” (Eccles. 9:10).

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mystery of the Heart, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: Mystery of the Heart arrived too late for me to read and review. So . . . will post as soon as I have read it.

Verse of the Day

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]. (Isaiah 26:3–4 AMP)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Verse of the Day

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! (Proverbs 3:5–7 MSG)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Verse of the Day

Be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ( relax My hold on you)! [ Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Path of Freedom by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Path of Freedom

Abingdon Press (January 2013)


Jennifer Hudson Taylor


Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing, and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the 2011 Holt Medallion award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency and co-owns Upon the Rock Publicist. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.


2nd in the Quilts of Love series

When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple. With only her mother’s quilt as a secret guide, the foursome follows the stitches through unknown treachery.

As they embark on their perilous journey, they hope and pray that their path is one of promise where love sustains them, courage builds faith, and forgiveness leads to freedom.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Path of Freedom, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Margie's Comments: I have enjoyed reading the Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press. Each story is unique as it centers around a quilt and tells a love story. In Path of Freedom, Bruce and Flora set aside long-held grievances against each other in order to help a young slave couple. Flora is chosen because she is a midwife, and the news along the Underground Railroad is that the young wife is pregnant and will be in need of assistance before the journey is over. Bruce already has plenty of experience as a conductor, but this journey presents unusual challenges, and he's trying to make amends for teasing Flora in school and at Meeting, to the point of being cruel with words. I love the characters, the conflict they have already created before the story begins. As Bruce and Flora journey to take the couple to safety, they are challenged and surprised by what they learn of each other. This is one aspect of the years before the Civil War that has long fascinated me, and Jennifer Hudson Taylor has written a superb, believable story.  

Verse of the Day

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 50:10)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Verse of the Day

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. (Psalm 40:1–2 NLT)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Verse of the Day

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:28–30 NLT)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Verse of the Day

 The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. (Lamentations 3:22–23 NLT)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Verse of the Day

In light of the devotional book deadline tomorrow, I needed this reminder this morning: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Verse of the Day

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. . . . "Cease striving and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:1–2, 10)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Verse of the Day

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son. (Romans 8:28–29 NLT)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Verse of the Day

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do. . . . Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say, "It's hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child." Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up. He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. (Romans 4:18–21 MSG)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Verse of the Day

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:1–2 NLT)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Verse of the Day

And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You [on the authority of God's Word and the right of their necessity]. (Psalm 9:10 AMP)

Be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ( relax My hold on you)! [ Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:5–6 AMP)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Radical Well-Being by Rita Hancock, MD

Radical Well-Being
By Rita Hancock, MD
Published by Siloam,
Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group

About the author: 

Dr. Rita Hancock is a board-certified Physical Medicine specialist with subspecialty board certification in Pain Management, and she has been in full-time practice in Norman, Oklahoma for fourteen years. Currently, she serves as the Oklahoma delegate for the Christian Medical And Dental Association, as well as their official spokesperson on matters of diet and nutrition. Dr. Hancock is married to Ed and they have two children.

About the book:  

What’s blocking you from experiencing total wellness?

Research increasingly shows a strong connection between our spiritual life, our emotions, and our physical well-being. Yet too often our physical conditions are treated without taking our whole lives into account.  In Radical Well-being, Dr. Rita Hancock shows you how your mind, body, and spirit are connected and addresses the factors that can contribute, and even cause, illness, addictions, and chronic pain.

If you suffer from medical conditions like fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, neck or back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, jaw pain, food and drug allergies, depression, anxiety, or unwanted behaviors such as overeating, an eating disorder, overspending, drug abuse or alcoholism, Radical Well-being will show you a biblical, whole-body approach to overcoming your condition. With nearly twenty years of experience counseling patients from a balanced, mind/body/Holy Spirit perspective, Dr. Rita gives you practical nuts-and-bolts advice, including how to:

·Identify the lies that are manipulating you from a subconscious level
·Deal with emotional factors that can make your pain seem worse
·Address addictive behaviors that you want to get rid of
·Fully accept God's love and forgiveness on a deep, healing level

True freedom and improved health come when deeply rooted lies are illuminated and replaced with knowledge from the merciful heart of God. Radical Well-being will help you feel better in all three domains—in your mind, body, and in your spirit. You will end up feeling the way one of Dr. Rita's patients put it: "Like the weight of a skyscraper has been lifted off my shoulders."

Margie’s Comments: When I was first contacted about doing a review for Radical Well-being, I was in the middle of completing my book for publication on a biblical approach to dealing with depression. The similarities of the biblical application intrigued me, and I agreed to post a review close to Radical Well-being’s release—January 8. Another reason the book appealed to me was my chronic pain. Curious to know what a biblical, holistic approach to the pain issue would look like, I started reading. A little skeptical at first, I soon shed the skepticism when Dr. Hancock discussed the lies Satan doesn’t want revealed, the part emotions and misconceptions play in our physical health, and the scriptural behaviors and truths we need to embrace in order to see healing in every area of our lives and bodies. 

Only God could coordinate my reading Dr. Hancock’s book with my completing a similar book dealing with depression and anxiety. It was interesting to read about the same principles being applied to the root causes of many physical illnesses as well. The case studies and Dr. Hancock’s approach in dealing with her patients confirms the effectiveness of applying scriptural principles of taking our thoughts captive, revealing the lies we tend to cling to, and learning the truths of freedom in forgiveness and love. As the author states several times throughout the book (confirmed by the very practical help found in the Appendices), she practically spoon-feeds the reader so that by the end of the book most would be able to find their own emotional, physical, and spiritual freedom. 

I highly recommend this book, and I will be adding it to my list of resources for my own readers.

Verse of the Day

I love Jeremiah 29:11 better when read in context:
"The truth is that you will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen." (Jeremiah 29:10–12 NLT)

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year Thoughts

Where did 2012 go? I have often wondered at how fast the years fly by as I get older. But this past year has seriously gone by in warp speed, leaving me struggling for breath and energy as the new year begins. I heard someone say that they were having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit because it seemed like we had just celebrated Christmas a couple of months ago.
I can relate.
The past year was jammed crammed full of new things: new state; new house; new community; new jobs; new church; new friends at work, church, and writing group; new clients for editing; new contracts for books. Exciting and scary at the same time. And some of the things I’d done for several years were more difficult to keep up with.
Like blogging. J
Early in September I had an offer to do a work-for-hire devotional project for Barbour Publishing, and I accepted, thinking I had plenty of time to work on it and on Calming the Storm Within. Especially as I didn’t have a specific deadline for the latter. Well, I didn’t think I did. But when the contract came for Calming a month later, my agent and I had misunderstood the editor in a conversation that took place in August. She was hoping the manuscript was ready to turn in, so it could be released as soon as possible.
Of course my people-pleasing gene stepped to the forefront and I promised a print-ready manuscript in a week. Then that pesky perfectionism raised its ugly head and proclaimed the manuscript totally unusable in its present form. My agent and the editor, among others, said to ignore those and take what time I needed to complete the manuscript well. But I still raced to finish the book—before Thanksgiving, then before the middle of December, then before Christmas, and . . . well you get the picture.
Because of the content—the subtitle is tentatively God’s Peace in Depression and Anxiety—I expected spiritual warfare. And got it. I asked for prayer on Facebook and at church. And got it. The ones who are reading it for content and grammar, punctuation, etc., have given me great feedback including how powerful it is. Which  ramped up the people-pleasing/perfectionism to new levels. Sigh.
The week before Christmas I started to fall apart—emotionally and physically. Through the weeks of writing, I prayed daily for the Lord’s direction and strength. And He gave it. But not as fast as I expected/wanted. Each day was a struggle between me, my flesh, the enemy . . . and the Lord.
Finally, the Lord got my attention during one of my morning quiet times. He reminded me once gain that His thoughts are not my thoughts; His ways don’t follow my expectations; and His timing is perfect. Nothing I was doing could change those facts. Once again I realized that many of my struggles weren’t because of the enemy—they resulted from my own attempts to speed up His timing. And that had me fearing failure to please my editor and to produce a publishable book.
But the truth is I wasn’t ready to write the last two chapters in the book. Nor was I ready to relax and enjoy the reason for Christmas as I was seeing it as more a bump in the road, a distraction.
Don’t get me wrong. I desperately wanted to see my kids again, as I hadn’t seen them in person since May. And I desperately wanted it all to be perfect, without having to rush back for Roger to be at work (no vacation days) or having the book still to complete. The warring desires left me frustrated and confused.
However, the Lord had a different lesson for me to learn. He reminded me that He was still in control; He was still working all things together for my good and His glory; and He didn’t see the task of finishing two books in the next three weeks as impossible. My part was to relax, to still my spirit, and allow Him to be God.
He kept bringing to mind Mary, the mother of Jesus. When the angel told her she’d been chosen to give birth to the Son of God, the promised Messiah, she didn’t hesitate before saying, “May it be to me as you have said.” In spite of the obvious struggles she would have, she chose to submit herself to God’s control, and she trusted Him to go before her to smooth her way. Was it easy for her? No. But she remained submissive to His will and to His timing.
God reminded me that my only responsibility was to trust Him. No matter what obstacles appeared in my path; no matter what opposition I faced; no matter what. Period. Trust and obey.  And for Christmas week, I was supposed to put the book aside and concentrate on worshiping Him and having a great time with my family.
One more lesson in learning to be content with what He has given me. Especially when it wasn’t what I expected or thought I desired.
We had a wonderful Christmas, celebrating with my sister’s family in Nebraska. Kathy flew in from London, Randy and Nikki drove over from Colorado, and we drove up from Missouri. This year my brother and sister-in-law were unable to make it as they are full-time caregivers for her parents. But we were able to Skype with them—so thankful for the technology that allows for us to share moments like this.
When we returned to Missouri, I expected the Lord to tell me it was time to get back to work on Calming. (I really need to get those “expectations” under control!) But He didn’t. Instead He had me work on the book-for-hire project and bringing my prayer journals up-to-date on my electronic copies.
My birthday is New Year’s Eve, and I like to take that day or several days to reflect on the past year’s events and my personal spiritual progress. That leads into the upcoming year and what goals I believe the Lord would have me pursue. I don’t really make resolutions, but a brand-new year presents a blank slate that is waiting to be filled. Some of the events are already in place—like the releases of my first nonfiction book, Calming the Storm Within; my first fiction in April, A Shelter from the Storm in Sundays in Fredericksburg (TX); and the book-for-hire project, Encouraging Words for Women: Hope. Along with that comes a lot of marketing and promotion in various venues. Some is already in place.
At the end of November, my new author website went live. It combines my writing and editing services, and it will soon include a new blog and resource page for Calming the Storm Within. You can see it at Many, many thanks to my friends Bonnie Calhoun, and Jon and Bruce at SKWD Ministries who made it happen!
I will soon have an author page on Facebook to go along with my personal page. And I hope to learn how to use Twitter more effectively in the next few months. So I have plenty to keep me busy in the months ahead. So many new things, new experiences. More opportunities to trust the Lord to provide and work in His timing and in His way.
The old year is past . . . the new is before me.   
And God is still the God of the impossible. Working His will and His plans and purposes for me, in me, and through me.
“Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.” (Philippians 3:13–14 msg)

Verse of the Day

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. (Psalm 63:1–2 NLT)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Verse of the Day

Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You have done so much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues. (Psalm 31:19–20 NLT)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Verse of the Day

Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. (Philippians 3:13–14 MSG)