Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Verse of the Day

If you follow Christ, can others see the difference? The Message paraphrases the apostle Paul's plea to his readers:
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 12:2 MSG)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Verse of the Day

But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24 NIV)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Verse of the Day

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. . . . And my God will liberally supply ( fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:13, 19 AMP)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Verse of the Day

God is Near – Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

God is Unfathomable – Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21) 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach

This week, the

is introducing

Abingdon Press (April 1, 2013)



Angela Breidenbach is a speaker/coach in mental and physical health, author of A Healing Heart April 2013 from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life, Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance, and Creative Cooking for Colitis. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach. Angela serves as an assisting minister (worship/prayer leader) for her congregation in Missoula, MT. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom’s brain for the study of schizophrenia, but she’s also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital.


Mara Keegan is an uber-successful mother and a widow of three years. She's been chasing success and all the "good things in life" for her family to make up for the cruel whim God played on them by taking her husband. In an effort to be the perfect mom, she decides to make a photo memory quilt, a graduation present for her daughter, Cadence.

She’s not yet finished when she experiences a heart attack. While Mara recuperates, she revisits the choices she's made that led to this physically and spiritually broken heart. The memory quilt must be finished in time for Cadence's big day, but Mara struggles with her burgeoning feelings for the man who must keep Mara's business going during her recovery, Joel Ryan. Can Joel find his way into Mara's heart and onto Cadence's quilt?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Healing Heart, go HERE

Margie's Comments: I ran out of time today, so I'm not able to complete a review right now. It is coming soon.

Stress Test by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

About Stress Test: They may not have enough evidence to convict him, but they have enough to ruin his life.

Dr. Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life in private practice for a better one in academic medicine. But the kidnappers who attacked him as he left his last shift in the ER have no such plans-they just want him dead. Bound and in the trunk of his car, Matt's only thought is escape. He does so, but at a price: a head injury that lands him in the ICU . . . where he awakens to discover he's being charged with murder.

Sandra Murray is a fiery, redheaded lawyer who swore she was done with doctors. But when Matt calls, she knows she can't walk away from defending someone who is truly innocent.

Matt's career is going down the drain. His freedom and perhaps his life may be next. But with the police convinced he's a murderer and the kidnappers still trying to finish what they started, finding the truth-and the faith to keep going-will be the toughest stress test Matt has ever endured.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jJaEd 

Meet Richard: A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of four critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Learn more about Richard at: http://www.rmabry.com

Margie's Comments: Stress Test is the latest in Doc Mabry's medical thrillers. And I believe this is the strongest one to date! Wow! What a fast-paced read. I'm breathless! The characters and the plot kept my attention throughout. I love stories where the main characters' faith is strengthened, not weakened, by the events of the book. And this book is no exception. God has a way in real life of stripping us down to the bare essentials in order to direct us into the best pathway for our lives. And Doc Mabry has ably depicted this in Stress Test. An excellent, fast-paced read, combining the best of medical and legal thrillers. 

Verse of the Day

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalm 62:8)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Verse of the Day

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. (Romans 8:26 MSG)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end." (Isaiah 43:1–2 MSG)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Verse of the Day

When we're drowning in our circumstances and hurting in any way, it's difficult to remember to thank and praise the Lord in spite of them. In the face of the mighty army coming against them, Jehoshaphat and the leader of Judah received God's promise I posted yesterday and went out to take their positions for the battle they didn't have to fight, and they did one more thing:

After consulting the leaders of the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: "Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever!" (2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Transformed by Tough Times by Steve Reed

I was scheduled to post this a week ago, but illness and other personal issues prevented me from doing so. Transformed by Tough Times was a great read for this rough month. First, here is an interview with the author Steve Reed. I will post my review at the end.

A book about tough times usually implies that the author has had some personal experiences that connect to that topic. Where did the book start for you? 

In college, I was a kicker and punter at Oklahoma State University under a demanding head coach, Jimmy Johnson. (Football fans might recognize him as the coach for two college national championships in the 80’s and a couple of Super Bowls in the 90’s for the Dallas Cowboys). Just playing for Coach Johnson was tough enough, but my sophomore year, I got my knee bent backwards in a Junior Varsity game in Lincoln, Nebraska. When surgery and rehab efforts didn’t get me back to playing football, I eventually had to hang up the cleats. Looking back now, that experience made me more aware of how other people dealt with adversity and caused me to pay more attention to how I could respond when faced with tough times.

Your book transitions pretty quickly from your football days to life as a church planter and how that actually prompted you to write this book. How did that all happen? 

When football didn’t work out, I found myself drawn to ministry in a great church near the OSU campus. Charlie Baker, the pastor of that church, invited me and other college students to partner with him in creating a weekly worship service for students. In doing that ministry I fell in love with the church and decided to go to seminary and be a pastor myself. After getting married and going through seminary training, we eventually moved to Kansas City to start churches. For nearly 20 years we were involved in the roller coaster rides of starting five different churches in our region. Most days, I absolutely loved it. But in one of those church starts we had a train wreck that knocked me for a loop and out of a church that I loved perhaps more than I loved my wife and family.

So after that you went on an even deeper quest for figuring out what was happening to you?  

Right. With a new intensity I began to systematically search the scriptures to find some help for my pain. And I collected information and stories from others wiser than me and from many who had suffered greatly and come through with amazing faith and character.

You write about a day in Costa Rica that changed your life. What happened?  

After the break up from the church, I wound up going to Costa Rica on a mission trip with my parents. My parents, by the way, were missionaries when I was a kid and 30 years prior we had actually lived in Costa Rica. For me, going back was a fun, blast to the past. But more than that, the people there were cathartic for me. I was an emotional mess much of the time. And one day I must have cried with three or four people who needed to know Christ, but who were in pain. God used my pain and my weeping with others to both minister to them and to me. That day I discovered something about God’s ministry of tears and how sometimes He does more through our weaknesses and frailties than He does with our strengths.

So this is where your international ministry began? 

Yes. While in Costa Rica, a Guatemalan man by the name of Cesar Gonzalez invited me to come to his country and dream about ministries and churches for people in Guatemala who don’t like church. To hear the whole story you’d have to pack a lunch! But let me briefly say that Cesar would have been a mafia hit man if God hadn’t gotten a hold of him! With a little encouragement from some pastor friends in Kansas City, I took him up on his invitation, and for two weeks Cesar and I drove around the country looking at dozens of different situations and groups of people. Little did I know then, that 13 years later we would be working in over 55 locations covering Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. I mention this because I have learned a lot from believers from other cultures and have put much of that into the book. Many of us in North America aren’t aware that both Guatemala and El Salvador have been through recent civil wars. Many people there have shared first hand stories of unimaginable grief and heartache. As I have walked alongside them, my faith has been challenged and I have an increasing desire to not just mindlessly go through my tough times, but to actually think deeply and grow through my tough circumstances. As I’ve done a little bit of that, I think it’s time that I pass some of this on to others who can benefit like I have.

Where can people find your book?

For now it’s only available from the trunk of my car! Or, more conveniently, it can be ordered from the website www.TransformedbyToughTimes.com. Soon it should become available on Amazon and we hope to have a Kindle version available in the near future as well. By the way, before Christmas we finished taping the audio book and I can’t wait to unveil that in the next couple of months too.

You also have a companion Bible study available as well right? 

Yes! Thank you for mentioning that. I think I am about as excited about the study guide as I am the book. On the website, www.TransformedbyToughTimes.com is a 24-session small groups Bible study guide that can be downloaded for free. It matches up to chapters in the book and then goes deeper with pertinent Bible stories and information related to the topic. Incidentally, when someone wants me to coach them through their own tough times, this is essentially the material I use. In early tests, we are getting positive feedback from groups going through the book and the Bible study together. Do check it out!

Find out about more opportunities for a free copy of TRANSFORMED BY TOUGH TIMES, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/338690666247617.

This blog host was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview and/or book review on this blog. CSS Virtual Book Tours are managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).


Steve Reed is the Chief Encouragement Officer and Cross Cultural Catalyst for Daybreak International, a missions organization he founded that is dedicated to planting churches for the marginalized and forgotten peoples of the world. Currently, his two major projects focus on cowboys in Central America, and Kekchi Indians in the jungles of Guatemala. Those who know Steve best speak of his relentless encouragement and undying loyalty to people who face tough times. When not traveling in Central America, Steve comes home to Kansas City. He is married to Nola, and they have three young adult sons, a beloved daughter-in-law, and a grand baby on the way!

Margie's Comments: As many of my blog readers know, I have recently turned in my manuscript of Calming the Storm Within: God's Peace for Depression and Anxiety to my editor at OakTara Publishers. Because of the topic of my book and having lived through many tough times in my life, I was drawn to Transformed by Tough Times when I was offered a chance to review it. As I read, I was struck by how the author used Scripture extensively to back up his points. Huge points from my point of view. The Word of God is God's final answer to every circumstance/happening in our lives. I've had editors/publishers reject my books, both fiction and nonfiction, for too much emphasis on Scripture. Huh? I loved reading the examples from the author's life, too, as I also grew up on the mission field, including Costa Rica and Peru—only several years previous to Steve Reed's experiences. :) (My family's time in those countries was 1957–1961.)

Tough times visit us all. And they have a huge impact on who we become as a result of them. We can choose to allow them to make us bitter or better. Steve Reed shows us how to choose the latter route, though it isn't the easier route. But the constant in every trial—and the reason we can rejoice in our suffering—is Jesus' constant presence. Steve speaks of the suffering clause that is part of every believer's life. Jesus never promised we would have easy lives because we trust Him for salvation. No, in fact He promised that all who would follow Him would suffer. But to experience joy in the suffering is entirely our choice. Even when Christ was faced with death on the cross, He asked God to release Him from what was to come. But knowing it was the only way He could bring salvation to all mankind, He bowed to the Father's will, saying, "Not My will, but Thine be done." And we are all faced with the same decision to fight the tough times or to embrace them and allow God to work through the circumstances to transform us into the image of His Son.

One passage from near the middle of the book really hit home with me: "I believe we suffer because we don't know how to suffer. I believe that we suffer most in our country because of our unwillingness to embrace suffering. Many spend their lives in suffering avoidance. Some hope to wish away their troubles. Other harbor anger at God for dealing them such a wretched hand in life. Whether our suffering is considered big or small, the net result is the same. We can live life in a miserable, joyless state, and miss the best God has for us, or we can live in the no-lose state where we can enjoy good times and bad.

"If most of us don't know how to suffer well, then a perceptive question is, 'How do we "learn" to suffer?' I think that answer comes by looking at Paul's options. When Paul didn't get what he wanted, he really only had a couple of basic options. One, he could bemoan the fact that God let him down and get bitter. Or, he could trust God to sort it all out in the end. Obviously, he chose the latter."

I highly recommend Transformed by Tough Times by Steve Reed. It is going on my recommended reading list on my website.

Verse of the Day

"This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's. . . . You will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD's victory. He is with you. . . . Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there, . . . for the LORD is with you!" (2 Chronicles 20:15–17 NLT)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Josiah's Treasure by Nancy Herriman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Josiah's Treasure

Worthy Publishing (April 16, 2013)


Nancy Herriman


Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She has been writing for longer than she would like to admit. Her work has been a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests and she won the 2006 RWA Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense. In 2009, she was an ACFW Genesis finalist. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When she is not writing, or gabbing over lattes about writing, she is either watching history shows on cable TV or singing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and sons, and wishes there were more hours in the day.


In 1882, Sarah Whittier dreams of opening an art studio run by immigrant women. She plans to use the house left to her by family friend Josiah Cady as collateral for her studio. But will all be lost when the inheritance is challenged by an angry man claiming to be Josiah's son and legal heir? Rumor of gold nuggets hidden in the house, place Sarah's life in danger. Her future uncertain and her safety threatened, Sarah has nowhere to turn. That is, unless she can soften a vengeful man's heart-and they both learn that love is finer than any gold.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Josiah's Treasure, go HERE.

Review will come later. 

Verse of the Day

"O our God . . . we are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help." (2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Verse of the Day

The water rose over my head, and I cried out, "This is the end!" But I called on your name, LORD, from deep within the pit, and you heard me! You heard me when I cried, "Listen to my pleading; hear my cry for help!" Yes, you came when I called; you told me, "Do not fear." (Lamentations 3:54–57 NLT)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28–30 MSG)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Verse of the Day

The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." (Psalm 32:8 NLT)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Gospel-Centered Woman by Wendy Alsup

About The Gospel-Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel

Many Christian books written to women claim to present God's good instructions for their lives. Some expound on the value of marriage and children. Many extol the virtues of the Proverbs 31 wife. A good number teach the value of love, submission, and respect in Christian marriages. Though this book deals with these topics, The Gospel-Centered Woman addresses women from an entirely different perspective. The most important part of the Bible's instructions to women center around the gospel. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection brought about a seismic shift in our understanding of Scripture. After His resurrection, His disciples understood words written thousands of years before with a clarity they never had previously. The good news of Christ illuminates all other Scripture, including instructions to women.

Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/jgKJd          

Meet Wendy: 
Wendy Alsup is a wife, mom, and math teacher. She is the author of "Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives" and "By His Wounds You are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman's Identity."

Find out more about Wendy at

Margie's Comments: The Gospel-Centered Woman by Wendy Alsup is an insightful look into true scriptural womanhood, not just the ideal so many want to hold up before us, but God's picture of what He created woman to be. I appreciate the author's dealing of this potentially touchy subject in today's world. She takes us to the very beginning and reminds us that we have been created in God's image for a specific purpose: Just as God is our helper in time of need, so are we to be to those He places in our lives, particularly to our husbands. Once we have learned that our identity comes from Jesus alone, we can move forward into learning from the examples the Lord gives us through Scripture. I appreciate the strong emphasis on Scripture, the logical manner in which the author presents her "arguments," and the room for reflection at the end of each chapter where the reader can journal her thoughts and/or prayers. At the end of the book are discussion questions to use in a small group setting or for the reader's personal meditation on the content of each chapter. I highly recommend this easy-to-read and comprehend study for women of any age and status. It will clear up many misconceptions our "post-modern" world has about the "proper" Christian woman, starting with the heart and moving to the externals.

[This book was provided to me free of charge through Litfuse Publicity for purposes of review.]

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. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:1–3 NLT)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Verse of the Day

"Learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with a whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Scorned Justice by Margaret Daley

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Scorned Justice

Abingdon Press (April 1, 2013)


Margaret Daley


Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines, romantic suspense for Abingdon Press and historical romance for Summerside Press. She has sold eighty-three books to date.

Margaret was the president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization of Christia writers with over 2300 members. She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and RWA chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired a few years ago, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community as well as serving on her church’s vestry.

On a more personal note, she has been married for over forty years to Mike and has one son and four granddaughters. She treasures her time with her family and friends.


Texas Ranger Brody Calhoun is with his parents in west Texas when an unexpected attack injures the brother of Rebecca Morgan, Brody's high school sweetheart. The local sheriff, a good friend, asks for Brody's help. At first, it seems like an open-and-shut case. However, as Brody digs deeper, he realizes the attack may be related to an organized crime trial Rebecca will be overseeing. With Rebecca's help, he compiles evidence which involves cattle rustlers, bribery, and dirty payoffs that shatter the entire community and put Rebecca directly in the line of fire.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Scorned Justice, go HERE.

Margie's comments: Review to come later. 

Verse of the Day

The Lord is a sun and shield;
    God is favor and glory.
The Lord gives—doesn’t withhold!—good things
    to those who walk with integrity.
Lord of heavenly forces,
    those who trust in you are truly happy! (Psalm 84:11–12 CEB)