Monday, January 31, 2011

Psalm 31

In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed; In Your righteousness deliver me. (Psalm 31:1)

Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; Be to me a rock of strength, A stronghold to save me. (Psalm 31:2)
For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)

You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. (Psalm 31:4)

Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth. (Psalm 31:5)

I hate those who regard vain idols, But I trust in the LORD. (Psalm 31:6)

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, Because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul, (Psalm 31:7)

And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place. (Psalm 31:8)

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also. (Psalm 31:9)

For my life is spent with sorrow And my years with sighing; My strength has failed because of my iniquity, And my body has wasted away. (Psalm 31:10)

Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach, Especially to my neighbors, And an object of dread to my acquaintances; Those who see me in the street flee from me. (Psalm 31:11)

I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. (Psalm 31:12)

For I have heard the slander of many, Terror is on every side; While they took counsel together against me, They schemed to take away my life. (Psalm 31:13)

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, "You are my God." (Psalm 31:14)

My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me. (Psalm 31:15)

Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; Save me in Your lovingkindness. (Psalm 31:16)

Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon You; Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol. (Psalm 31:17)

Let the lying lips be mute, Which speak arrogantly against the righteous With pride and contempt. (Psalm 31:18)

How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men! (Psalm 31:19)

You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:20)

Blessed be the LORD, For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city. (Psalm 31:21)

As for me, I said in my alarm, "I am cut off from before Your eyes"; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried to You. (Psalm 31:22)

O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful And fully recompenses the proud doer. (Psalm 31:23)

Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:24)


Meditation Monday

From Andrew Murray's The Two Covenants:

I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:33

Do not pass over these words lightly. They express the very highest experience of the covenant relationship. It is only when God’s people learn to love and obey His law, when their hearts and lives are together wholly devoted to Him and His will, that He can be to them the altogether inconceivable blessing that these words express: “I will be your God.”
            He is saying, “All I am and have as God shall be yours. All you can need or wish for in a God, I will be to you. In the fullest meaning of the word, I, the Omnipresent, will be ever present with you, in all My grace and love. I, the Almighty One, will each moment work all in you by My mighty power. I, the Thrice-Holy One, will reveal My sanctifying life within you. I will be your God, And you shall be My people, saved and blessed, ruled and guided and provided for by Me, known and seen to be indeed the people of the Holy One, the God of glory.”
            We need to give our hearts time to meditate and wait for the Holy Spirit to work in us all that these words mean.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Verse of the Day

Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a level path. . . . I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:11, 13–14)

Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rhythm of Secrets
Kregel Publications (December 22, 2010)
Patti Lacy


Patti Lacy, Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at, her blog at, and her Facebook daily Artbites.  


Sheila Franklin has masqueraded as the precocious daughter of avant-garde parents in colorful 1940s New Orleans, a teen desperate for love and acceptance, and an unwed mother sent North with her shame.

After marrying Edward, Sheila artfully masks her secrets, allowing Edward to gain prominence as a conservative pastor. When one phone call from a disillusioned Vietnam veteran destroys her cover, Sheila faces an impossible choice: save her son and his beloved…or imperil Edward’s ambitions.

Inspired by a true story, The Rhythm of Secrets intermingles jazz, classical, and sacred music in a symphony trumpeting God’s grace.


“A vibrant journey across time in search of the greatest truth of all: grace.”—Tosca Lee, author of Havah: The Story of Eve and Demon: A Memoir
“No longer a ‘well-kept secret,’ Patti Lacy is a master storyteller who speaks to the soul with a powerful and unique rhythm, weaving a tale so emotionally rich that story and reader become one.”—Julie Lessman, author of The Daughters of Boston series and A Hope Undaunted
“Patti Lacy pens another beautifully written story in The Rhythm of Secrets. I couldn’t put it down!”—Melanie Dobson, award-winning author of The Black Cloister
“The Rhythm of Secrets is a stirring story of faith and endurance that will keep readers turning the page until every last secret is revealed.”—Tina Ann Forkner, author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House

If you would like to read an excerpt of Rhythm of Secrets, go HERE.

Review to come later.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Verse of the Day

You light my lamp; the Lord God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God, I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; the Word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God; the God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless? (Psalm 18:28–32)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Verse of the Day

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1–3)

Digitalis by Ronie Kendig

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Barbour Publishing, Inc.(January 1, 2011)
Ronie Kendig


Ronie has been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. She has four beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is 16 this year, her second daughter will be 13, and her twin boys are 10. After having four children, she finally finished her degree in December 2006. She now has a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting her degree is a huge triumph for both her and her family—they survived!!

This degree has also given her a fabulous perspective on her characters and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation. Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning, released March 2010 from Abingdon Press. And her Discarded Heroes series began in July 2010 from Barbour with the first book entitled Nightshade.

This is the second book in the series.


Step into the boots of a former Marine in this heart-pounding adventure in life and love. Colton “Cowboy” Neeley is a Marine trying to find his footing as he battles flashbacks now that he’s back home. Piper Blum is a woman in hiding—from life and the assassins bent on destroying her family. When their hearts collide, more than their lives are at stake. Will Colton find a way to forgive Piper’s lies? Can Piper find a way to rescue her father, trapped in Israel? Is there any way their love, founded on her lies, can survive?

If you would like to read an excerpt of Digitalis, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: Once again, Ronie Kendig has come through with another military thriller that keeps the attention of even the most reluctant of readers. When I married my husband nearly 33 years ago, I knew he wasn't a reader. He's more the get-me-involved-in-the-action kind of guy, much more comfortable with a construction tool in his hand than a book. His mind still boggles at the number of books I read each year, either for work, judging, reviewing, or even just for pleasure! But . . . he has also become more comfortable reading in the last few years—mostly books I pick out for him that are in my many TBR (to-be-read) piles. Many he reads before I do. This is true with Digitalis. I received my review copy just before Christmas last month, and he took it with him to my siblings bi-annual Christmas get-together in Southern California. I have never seen him read a book as fast as he read Digitalis. And he had something good to say every time he came away from a reading session. The most memorable was, "This author sure knows how to start with action and to keep it ramped up." It was hard for him to find a place where he could put it down. That is the definition of a successful book—one that keeps even reluctant readers on the edge of their seats, reluctant to put it down, afraid they'll miss something if they do. Excellent job, Ronie! You have a fan in my husband. . .and he looks forward to reading many more of your books in the future.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Verse of the Day

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust, do not let me be ashamed. . . . Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed. . . . Make me know Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:1–5)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Verse of the Day

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. (Isaiah 26:3–4 NLT)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Angel Harp by Michael Phillips

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Angel Harp
FaithWords (January 26, 2011)
Michael Phillips


Michael Phillips has been writing in the Christian marketplace for 30 years. All told, he has written, co-written, and edited some 110 books. Phillips and his wife live in the U.S., and make their second home in Scotland.   


Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40 that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Angel Harp, go HERE

Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3–5)

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Verse of the Day

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of . . . God . . . set you securely on high! . . . May He send you help. . . . May He remember all your [worship]. May He grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your [purpose in life]! . . . May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. . . . Save, O LORD; May the King answer us in the day we call. (Psalm 20:1–5, 9)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Verse of the Day

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Verse of the Day

"Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:7–9)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Verse of the Day

Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me. (Psalm 119:49–50)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Still Trusting God—One Step at a Time

Three more days leading up to Roger's job termination notice. When I look back, I'm in awe of His goodness and faithfulness.

January 1, 2011

Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:26

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight in is the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and is whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1–3

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind . . . I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13–14

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus. Hebrews 12:1–2

“It is the Lord that goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Psalm 73:23–24

And lo, I am with you always. Matthew 28:20

“It is true that Jesus is with you. Only you do not know it, and you do not enjoy it, because you do not believe it. But as soon as you learn to rely not upon your own feelings or on your own experience but on what He has promised, and to direct your expectation according to faith in what He has said . . . it will become your blessedness. . . . Whether I think of it or not, there he is the whole day—near me, with me. Not on my own faithfulness, but in that faithfulness of Yours which awakens my confidence and bestows on me Your own nearness.” (Andrew Murray, The Lord’s Supper)

“Seek Me early; seek Me late; seek Me in the midst of the day. You need Me in the early hours for direction and guidance and for My blessing upon your heart. You need Me at the end of the day to commit into My hands the day’s happenings. And you need Me more than ever in the busy hours, so that I may give you My grace and My tranquility and My wisdom. I desire to take the tensions of life from you.” (Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved)

“Give Me every care. Give Me every burden. Give Me every fear. I stand ready to help you. You have only begun to taste of My goodness. I am loving you all the time, but you come to Me mostly in periods of stress. I want to teach you to live continually in My presence. I can give you more constructive help when you are sick, but when you are well, you are too busy to give Me the opportunity to minister.
“So I help you now in the hour of discouragement, and I ask you to seek Me when the sun is shining and all is well again. Now I can comfort; then I can teach. Now I can bless you, but then I can help you even more.
“Be obedient. I have a beautiful work for you to do for Me.”
Psalm 55:22 (Frances J. Roberts, Progress of Another Pilgrim)

Father, this is the first day of a new year, not only in age but also in eternity. I so long to be faithful in all You have called me to do. And the readings today from Your Word and the devotionals have reinforced that longing. Help me to break out of the deadly habit of procrastination, to know when it is time to take a break, but also to know now to keep working instead of taking yet another “break.” Lord, give me the guidance I so desperately need. I am determined to obey You.

Thank You for the blessing of family and friends and the words of encouragement and affirmation You send my way. I praise You. I love You.

January 2, 2011

Sing to the Lord a new song. Isaiah 42:10

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” 1 Chronicles 28:20

We should serve in newness of spirit. Romans 7:6

“The year begins; and all its pages are as blank as the silent years of the life of Jesus Christ. Let us begin it with high resolution; then let us take all its limitations, all its hindrances, its disappointments, its narrow and commonplace conditions, and meet them . . . with patience, with obedience, putting ourselves in cheerful subjection, serving our apprenticeship. Who knows what opportunity may come to us this year? Let us live in a great spirit, then we shall be ready for a great occasion.” (George Hodges)

“More than all the comforts of the world, I want you to know the comforts of My presence.
            “Many dangers beset your path, but I shall keep you if you trust in Me. Darkness presses you, and doubts arise, but the light of my Holy Spirit ever burns in your heart to cheer you and encourage you to go on, yes, to go on knowing I will surely bring you out.” (Frances J. Roberts, On the Highroad of Surrender)

January 3, 2011

You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:3–5

He led them in a straight way. Psalm 107:7

“Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will same.” Isaiah 46:4

He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, you rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:3–4

“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your boes strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

Father, You are worthy of praise. After hitting a deep place last night—dark, very dark—You heard me. And You gave me blessed peace. . . . And You gave me these verses reminding me that You are in control. Help me keep my eyes on You so I can run the race with patience. . . . Give me a quick mind as I work today. I love You.

Verse of the Day

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

"In quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 30:15)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Courting Miss Amsel
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.


Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a strong believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel.

Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty with her rosy lips, fashionable clothes, and fancy way of speaking.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can't trust her to know how to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Courting Miss Amsel, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: Courting Miss Amsel is a delightful book with a good look into a nineteenth-century schoolroom. As a former schoolteacher, I loved reading about Edythe's innovative teaching. She always managed to involve the entire school in the projects she proposed and carried out, and everyone learned. Even with the town in an uproar over her newfangled ways, she showed the outraged parents how much she loved each of her students. But between the prayers of her landlady and Joel's seeming rejection when she wasn't even looking for love, Edythe comes to the end of herself and finally allows God to take control of her life. A heartwarming story, an excellent winter's evening read! I highly recommend Courting Miss Amsel

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

God's Promises

When I posted on New Year's Day about "Trusting God—One Step at a Time," I had no clue of the big "change" the Lord would allow just four days later. In a financial move, the company my husband has worked for the last eleven years let him go. He works through this week, bringing another construction manager up to speed on the church construction project in Charlotte, NC. Then he'll come home.

After that? We don't know.

But God does.

Late last week, after several days of getting used to the reality of this decision, the Lord nudged me to go back into my devotional/prayer journal for the previous ten days. What I found showed me that this was no surprise to Him. In fact, He's been preparing us for this for quite a while. And because we both have chosen to trust God in this, we have been surrounded by His peace which surpasses all understanding.

For the next few days, I'm going to open my journal to you, leaving some of the specifics of certain prayers out of it to protect those who are dear to us. I hope the verses and devotional readings will be a blessing to you, as they have been to me.

December 29, 2010

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones.” 1 Samuel 2:9

I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. . . . Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. Proverbs 4:11–12, 25–27

Do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31

“There is a way you must go because of faithfulness to Me. All you do, let it be because of Me and for My glory.” (Frances J. Roberts, Progress of Another Pilgrim)

Father, You are good. Your Word is Truth and never fails. You are leading me in the best path for my life. You Word guides me continually. I praise You. I love You. May all I do and say bring glory to You.

December 30, 2010

Understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9

“The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you.” 2 Chronicles 15:2

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me . . . when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11–13

Therefore . . . since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Hebrews 10:19–22

Father, thank You for Your presence that never leaves me. I may walk away, but You remain constant. Lord, You have plans for each of us. May I daily walk in the plan You have for me. May I keep my eyes and ears open to hear Your voice and to see Your way in Your Word. I love You. I praise You.

December 31, 2010

“Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” Isaiah 46:4

“This God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” Psalm 48:14

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12

“Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.” Malachi 3:10

“I have truly great things in store for you. I will send a mighty downpour.” (Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved)

“The Lord is my Provider, I have no need. He lets me rest in pleasant places. He guides me in a life of contemplation. He refreshes my soul. He teaches me the way of holiness for His glory. Yes, and when sorrow and trouble overtake me, and my life is endangered, He is my comfort and my strength. He disciplines and instructs me in wisdom and patience. When surrounded by those who misunderstand and malign, He nourishes me with His love and kindness. . . . He pours out His Spirit upon me: My joy abounds. Surely His mercy shall be my companion until I reach the end of my journey and enter the Father’s house forever to abide in His presence.” (Frances J. Roberts, paraphrase of Psalm 23 in Make Haste My Beloved)

Father, as I reflect today (my birthday) over the past year and contemplate the upcoming year, I can see how You have guided me, patiently disciplined and instructed me, and showed me Your goodness, faithfulness, and love. I praise You. This past year has been difficult in many ways as You have taught me more of what it means to trust You fully. I still have a long way to go, and I am thankful You never give up on me. Continue to guide me, to cause me to grow ever closer to You, as in this next year I learn more what it means to walk in confidence and courage. May I rest in Your love and shelter. , , , I love You.

Verse of the Day

"Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Verse of the Day

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:3–5 NASB)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Verse of the Day

"The Lord, your Redeemer . . . says: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow.” Isaiah 48:17 nlt

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Girl in the Gatehouse
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
Julie Klassen


Julie says: My background is in advertising and marketing, but I am blessed with a dream job—working as an editor of Christian fiction. I have been writing since childhood, but Lady of Milkweed Manor was my first novel. It was a finalist for a Christy Award and won second place in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. My second novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, was a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year awards. I am currently writing one novel a year.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends.

My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how—by writing novels in secret.

Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made.

When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans. The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Girl in the Gatehouse, go HERE

Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

"I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised. . . . 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. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Verse of the Day

How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you. (Psalm 128:1–2)

Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Verse of the Day

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. . . . But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, at Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; make Your way straight before me. (Psalm 5:1–3, 7–8)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

12 Pearls of Christmas—Winner and Imua

Nearly 2900 people signed up to win the PEARL SET - wow. If you would take just a moment sometime in the next few days to let your readers know that the winner has been announced - I would greatly appreciate it.

The winner (and instructions) can be found at the Pearl Girls blog:


A great Hawaiian saying is "Imua!" which means to move forward with confidence and courage.  It's a great word for the upcoming new year as we explore new opportunities and perhaps face fears.

This week, I put into practice "imua" by facing my fear of ziplining.  Yes, I stepped off a wooden platform to soar across 1800 feet of the world's fifth largest caldera located in Kauai.  Encouraged by my teenage daughters, I faced my fear of not being in control of my destiny and took a leap of faith. (Youtube link:

The excellent guides, Mitch and Chris of Outfitters Kauai prepared us well for our ultimate "black diamond" zipline adventure.  We did several practice runs on what I thought were "big ziplines" but little did I know what was really awaiting.  The guides constantly reminded us that the most important lesson we all needed to learn to be safe was to "trust our gear."

True wisdom that I needed to hear.  For too long in life, I have "held on tightly" when what I should have done was to "let go and let God."  He provides "the gear" that we need to sustain us through the difficult moments of life as we soar across jungles.

So I guess my advice would be this:  "Face your fear and trust God's gear."  IMUA!!

What fear do you need to face this year?  What have you been holding on too tightly?  What does "imua" mean to you?

Margaret McSweeney is the founder of Pearl Girls (, the host of Kitchen Chat (, and an author. Her book, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, was published in 2009. Margaret is fast at work on a fiction manuscript (or three) and can be found blogging at From Finance to Fiction (

Verse of the Day

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; be gracious to me and hear my prayer. . . . But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself; the LORD hears when I call to Him. Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the LORD. . . . You have put gladness in my heart. . . . In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. (Psalm 4)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Verse of the Day

"And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:11)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

ACFW January 2011 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW website.

1.  Alaska Weddings by Susan Page Davis — A Romance from Barbour. In this three-novel collection, love has come looking for the Holland family of Alaska. But new challenges to their faith lie around every bend.

2.  Banda Mission: Kidnapped in Ghana by Ruben Schwieger — A Thriller from Warner Press. Coup leaders unexpectedly kidnap a missionary who, like the Apostle Paul, is able to share his faith with his jailors and others in unusual and dangerous situations.

3. Caroline’s Choice; Haynes Family Series, Book 3 by Martha Rogers — A Historical from Realms (Strang Book Group). When God sends forgiveness to the hearts of His children, they learn the true meaning of love.

4. Courting Miss Amsel  by Kim Vogel Sawyer — A Historical from Bethany House. Edythe Amsel is ready for her first teaching assignment, but is Walnut Hill ready for her?

5. Digitalis; Discarded Heroes, Book 2  by Ronie Kendig — A Thriller/Suspense from Barbour. Deep in heart of the Holy Land for a snatch-n-grab to save her father, Colton Neeley and Piper Blum must make the treacherous trek out of hostile territory before they’re caught.

6. Found in Translation by Roger Bruner & Kristi Rae Bruner — A Young Adult from Barbour. God can do the humanly impossible through a thoughtless teen once she learns to be faithful, obedient, and forgiving.

7. Jewel of Persia by Roseanna White — A Historical from White Fire Publishing. How can she love the king of kings without forsaking her Lord of lords?

8. Lily of the Field by Rose Zediker — A Romance from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Marriage isn’t on Caroline’s or Rodney’s minds . . . but their minds are not God’s and He is busy taking care of the lilies of the field—and His children.

9. Missing by Lynette Eason — A Suspense from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Her daughter is the most important person in Lacey Gibson’s world. So when the girl disappears, Lacey will do anything to find her. Even track down a man she hasn’t seen in sixteen years.

10. Night Prey by Sharon Dunn — A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Romantic Suspense. Injured birds of prey, late night trespassers, and threatening note lead Jenna and her childhood friend Keith into more danger than could have imagined in the ranch country of Montana.

11. Rocky Mountain Hero by Audra Harders — A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Can a single mother desperate to make ends meet find love with a rancher too busy to fall in love?

12. Sharp Shooters in Petticoats by Mary Connealy — A Romance from Barbour. You didn’t think Sophie McClellen’s daughter would grow up to be a quiet little thing, did you?

13. Shipshewana Amish Mystery, Book 1 by Vannetta Chapman — A Mystery from Zondervan. Callie and Deborah find that life sometimes sends you down unimaginable paths. The two women form an alliance which strengthens when the first dead body turns up and blossoms into friendship when Callie becomes the primary murder suspect.

14. Softly and Tenderly; Songbird Series by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck — A Romance from Thomas Nelson. Emily and David each come to terms with a past that follows them, testing their faith and resolve.

15. Tennessee Brides by Diane Ashley & Aaron McCarver — A Romance from Barbour. Romance, adventures, and dangers—including the war with Britain, discrimination against the Cherokee, and organization of the Underground Railroad—lurk at the fringes of three Tennessee women’s lives.

16. The Baby Promise by Carolyn Aarsen — A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.  A soldier determined to fulfill a promise and a woman determined to forget.

17. The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy — General Fiction from Kregel. Inspired by a true story, The Rhythm of Secrets intermingles jazz, classical, and sacred music in a symphony trumpeting God’s grace.

18. Touched by Mercy by Tina Pinson — A Historical from Desert Breeze. The west seems to hold all the answers to Samantha Northam’s dreams, but is it far enough away to protect her from her nightmares?

19. Unexpected Love; Seasons of Redemption, Book 3 by Andrea Boeshaar — A Historical from Realms (Strang Book Group). Nurse Lorenna Fields is drawn to a blind patient searching for his past. But as his memories return, will there be a place for her in his future?

Trusting God—One Step at a Time

Be strong and of good courage . . . fear not, nor be dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
1 Chronicles 28:20

This and several other verses in my quiet time this morning, dealt with courageously moving forward into the New Year. And my birthday yesterday (December 31) always lends itself to reflection on the past year.

My word from the Lord for 2010 was trust. Learning about trust more has shown me how closely related trust is to surrender, the word for 2009.

True surrender involves casting all my care on the Lord and leaving it there. Hannah Whitall Smith describes absolute surrender like this: “You must not think of it or brood over it, but must dismiss it from your mind altogether, except whatever degree is necessary for proper self-care.”

When I came across that statement when doing research for a devotional project for Barbour Books (Shared Hope: Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul, releasing February 1, 2011), I was facing the biggest struggle of my life requiring me to surrender someone very dear to me completely to the Lord. I was brooding over the situation, and the loved one. I had shed tears of grief and even guilt, feeling like I had failed. I thought I’d surrendered it before, but when I read this sentence, I realized how much I was still clinging to my desires, trying to maintain control of people and situations.

What peace came over me when I confessed my control issue and totally surrendered the situation and the person to Him.

Then the Lord revealed trust as His word for me this year. He’s taken me on a somewhat different journey this year. Another situation out of my control. And instead of getting better, as of course I wanted, it continues to worsen. Every time I think I’m learning what it means to trust, the Lord takes me deeper. And this is good.

We all know the Lord has a sense of humor in the midst of conforming His children into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Believe me, I’ve caught both the humor and the irony in His leading me to choose an elective class on Wednesday nights at my church. In this class we’re studied a book entitled Running Scared by Edward T. Welch. My pastor led the discussion as we worked through the book. While we finished the class before Christmas, it isn’t the end of my needing to reread the book and continue to grasp the biblical principles the author teaches.

In learning to identify and deal with my fears, which are many, I’ve learned better to analyze myself—my motives and my desires—in light of who God is and what He desires for me. And it has challenged me to examine whom I believe—me influenced by the flesh, the world, and Satan, or God, the sovereign ruler over all creation.

But what truly got my attention was my study in the last two weeks of the class. One chapter took us to an examination of Romans 6, a passage I memorized nearly twenty years ago when the Lord used Romans 6 through 8 in bringing me out of a severe clinical depression.

The passage declares that when Christ died, I died. When Christ rose from the dead, I, too, was raised. Not to walk in my own way, but to walk in God’s way. If I died with Christ, then I am dead to sin. It no longer has power over me. It’s still there, but it only has power when I give it permission. Paul exhorts believers in this chapter to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. It’s the only way we can live surrendered to and trusting completely in Him.

The reminder that I’m dead to the desires of the flesh helped me realize that many times I’m trusting in a dead person—one who can do nothing! I am dead. What can I expect from myself that will help deliver me in any situation? I’m only alive spiritually because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and my belief and trust in Him alone for eternal salvation. So it only makes sense for me to put my trust in the One who paid such a price for me. He has never failed, nor will He.

As I was going over my notes from the final chapters, the Lord reminded me of ways He had taken my fears from me in the past. The biggie: my fear of speaking in front of people, either strangers or those I knew well.

Did you know that public speaking is very high on the list of fears people have?

I was so shy I barely passed the required two semesters of freshman speech classes in college. I knew the Lord had called me to teach, and I was obedient to that call in pursuing training in that field.

But I chose elementary education rather than my first love of English and literature. The Lord still used it for good and slowly started teaching me to trust Him to open the doors where He would have me teach. Today, I’ve taught children and young people from first grade up through seniors in high school (Spanish, English, and literature) to teaching a ladies Sunday school class, leading Bible studies, and even speaking to women’s groups. That isn’t me. I’m still that shy person inside. That was the Lord. And I love it.

After reminding me of this, He asked me, “So why can’t you trust Me with your lesser fears?” Um, good question. Why can’t I?

Because I want to control my life, my way. Even though I stink at it. My control in certain areas has led to near disaster. To what now looks like an impossible situation.

Yet God says, “I am the God of the impossible.”

I’ve also learned that I tend to live in the future. And I worry and fear about what might happen. No one but God knows the future. So why do I fret and fear? God is in control. My calling right now is to live one step at a time, trusting my present and my future to the God who is sovereign, the God who is enough, the God who has already made me a conqueror because of His amazing love that caused Him to send His Son to die so that I could have fellowship with Him.

So I’m committing myself to “Trust God and do the next thing” (Elizabeth Elliot). It’s still in the early days of this, but instead of looking at the big picture of what the future holds, I’m asking the Lord to show me what I am to do today, this hour, this moment. And when I complete that task, I ask Him for the next task, trusting that His plan is being worked out in me, one step at a time.

And you know what? It’s okay that I can’t see what’s ahead. The more I grasp the concept of trusting God one step at a time, the more I realize how freeing that is. It breaks the chains of fear and anxiety, and I can know the peace of God that passes all understanding.

And my word for 2011? Confidence. Which is just another step in surrender and trust. God is good . . . all the time!

Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specializes in things though impossible.
He does the things others cannot do.
(Oscar C. Eliason)