RSS

Monthly Archives: June 2016

Love in the Face of Hostility

Two weeks ago I blogged about how Christians are meant to respond to all the craziness in our culture. Today, I thought I’d explore the question of what it looks like to love a world that’s increasingly hostile to believers.

Many of us have spent decades fighting—rather loudly, in some cases—the people we disagree with. Some of us get on our bully pulpits and preach the truth—that sin is sin and those who don’t repent will be sorry. It’s true, but is that approach effective? Are we who condemn the lost changing the culture? Are we saving sinners?

The snowballing descent into depravity we’ve seen in this country in the last 40 years testifies to the fact that all our yelling and condemnation aren’t doing much good. In fact, that behavior is making us less respected and more abhorred every day.

So what are we to do? How do we love a hostile world?

I think the first step lies with an oft quoted scripture, 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

God is America’s only hope, and we Christians are the only ones standing between America and judgment. Those who hate us don’t believe that—they think we’re the problem. We know the truth, though, that only God can put us back on the right track.

Tweet this: God is America’s only hope, and we Christians are the only ones standing between America and judgment.

Unfortunately, so many Christians have forgotten that—myself included, until recently. We work hard and make money and send our kids to school and volunteer at the church and vote when we’re supposed to. But we dabble in the culture, or steep ourselves in it until we’re so stained by it, we’re hardly different from our non-Christian neighbors.

But we are America’s only hope.

You, dear Christian, might be the only person on your block who has God’s ear. What are you doing with that access?

What am I doing with it?

The first way to love the lost is to obey the scripture above. We must humble ourselves, admit that we have been part of the problem. We must ask God to reveal our sins to us, then repent, because Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our sins separate us from God and hinder our prayers.

We must admit that we Christians have fallen asleep at the wheel, and because of that, the nation has run off the road and is about to plummet over a cliff. We must beg God’s forgiveness for our complacency. We must seek his face, search for him in every situation, and desire his presence above all.

We must seek to fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives rather than running after the false gods the world has to offer. We must, by the grace of God, stop doing the stuff we’re not supposed to do and start doing the stuff we are.

And we must pray for America. Pray for our politicians and bureaucrats, for our schools and institutions and teachers and pastors and business leaders.

We must pray for our community, pray for our coworkers, pray for that gay couple who lives next door. Pray for the teenagers with the too-loud music and the too-short shorts. Pray for the man down the street who lets his grass grow too long. Pray for the addicts. Pray for the elderly. Pray for the middle-aged. Pray for the mothers and fathers and children.

If you do nothing else, the first and best way you can love the lost of this world is to be the man or woman God called you to be, and then to pray for the lost. And pray that the rest of the church follows suit.

 

Do you find it difficult to pray for strangers or people you know dislike you? How do you overcome that those difficulties?

What tips do you use to remind you to pray for America and/or your local community?

DSC_8915-25ed

 

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, has just been named a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards. Check out its free prequel, Chasing Amanda. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Peeling Back the Layers

deer - look closely

I took this photo while camping earlier this month. It’s a picture of a deer. No, really! Look closely. She’s in there. The problem is – of course – that there’s too much other stuff getting in the way. As a result, this photo will never win a wildlife photography contest.

A new story is a lot like this photo. The starting idea doesn’t have much shape or form. The edges are all blurry and things are haphazardly placed. The only way to find the focal point is to peel back the layers of clutter.

While the fallen tree in the foreground of this photo is very interesting, it’s completely overshadowing the deer. The same with the screen of green pine needles. They have almost buried the poor deer.

The writer’s job is to clear away anything that interferes with the heart of the story while putting the supporting elements in all the right places. Backstory, subplots, and intrigue all have their place. But it’s not to overshadow the main story.

Deer by the apple trees 5-25-16

The deer here are the focal point while using all the other elements to add interest and support the subject. This is what you want your story to look like!

~ Pegg Thomas

Trooper and Pegg cropped

 

 

 

 

 

PeggThomas.com

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 27, 2016 in Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

Tags: , , , ,

A Silver Medallion – Behind The Story

June 10th’s suspense post showcased the Christian mystery novel, A Silver Medallion, by author James R. Callan.

And now, here’s the story behind the story.

Where did A Silver Medallion come from?

It came from the same place that many of my books originate: a news story.  Several years ago, I read a short piece about a woman held a virtual slave in Los Angeles.  She was not held by chains, but by threats to her family that remained in a foreign country.  She could not quit, escape, or for that matter, even tell authorities about her predicament.  If she did, her family would be harmed.

It seemed impossible that this could happen in the United States.  And I dismissed it. But the story hung around in the back of my mind and eventually I did some research.  I was horrified to find it was widespread. One government report claimed more slaves existed in the U.S. now than in 1860. No chains, but slaves nonetheless.

Again, I put that out of my mind. But it continued to resurface and eventually I knew I had to write about it. But the actual facts were too horrific for me to consider a non-fiction account. So, I decided to write a suspense novel where the protagonist from my first Crystal Moore suspense book discovers a virtual slave.

Crystal learns of a young, single mother, Lucita, who has left two young girls in Mexico with the man who arranged transportation and a job in Dallas for her. She would make “big Yankee dollars” and soon could send for the children. But once she got to the job in Dallas, the real facts were explained to her. She could not leave her position, could not tell anyone about it, could not displease her “owner” or her girls would be killed or sold to drug lords.

Crystal tries to forget she ever heard about Lucita. But her conscience will not let her. She had lost her parents when she was seven. They were dead; nothing could be done. But Lucita is not dead. Something could be done. After sleepless nights and numerous nightmares,  Crystal knows she must try to help Lucita and her girls.

Crystal considers many paths and finally realizes that the mother will never escape, complain, or go to authorities until she knows her two girls are free and safe. To accomplish that, Crystal decides she must go to Mexico and rescue the children.

At this point, I must answer the question, why would unadventurous Crystal go into the jungles of Mexico and challenge a ruthless drug lord.  For me, the answer was simple. It is not about logic, intelligence, or bravery.  It is about emotions, feelings, basic tenets a person holds. For Crystal, it is about helping someone who cannot help herself.

The decision is made easier because Crystal is naive and does not really understand just how dangerous it will be. She thinks that the police will help her. Or the Federales. And if all else fails, at least Crystal will be protected by the U.S. Consulate. All those safety nets evaporate once she is in Mexico.

It is a dangerous, yet interesting adventure,  aided by a mysterious Juan Grande.  If they succeed, mother and children will be free, but Crystal will have two powerful and ruthless men — one in Mexico and one in Texas — who want her dead.

Read A Silver Medallion to follow Crystal’s trek through the jungles of Mexico and see what she is made of and what she is capable of doing.

A Silver Medallion

James R. CallanAfter a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense.  His eleventh book is scheduled to release in June, 2016.

Website:   www.jamesrcallan.com

Blog:          www.jamesrcallan.com/blog

Author’s page on Amazon:   http://amzn.to/1eeykvG

Buy link for A Silver Medallion      http://amzn.to/1WxoEaF

You may also find out more about James R. Callan via:

 

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

Amazon books

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Kara writes layered suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. BlogPhoto Resized

She’ll also continue to keep you updated on some of the best reads in Christian fiction suspense.

To contact Kara, email her at fictionwithfaith@gmail.com or by clicking the below link:

@KaraHunt2016 on Twitter

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Book Showcase, Kara Hunt, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Take a Stand

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” Ephesians 6:13-14 (NIV)

This past Sunday, our youth pastor spoke on taking a stand. Actually that topic has been on my mind for a couple months.

It seems lately that we are inundated by the views of Hollywood and the slant of secular newscasts. It’s becoming more and more evident that we live in an era of an immoral society. I keep asking myself as a Christian, “At what point do we make a stand for our beliefs?” Do we continue to stick our heads in the sand like an ostrich, or do we speak up and say, “This is wrong.”warrior-942933_640

I feel we are getting closer and closer to the day where we need to make a stand about right vs.wrong. While many may contradict or scorn us, as Christians, we have God’s Word. We need to make sure that when we do speak out, it’s in line with God and His truths.

How is God asking you to make a stand? What will it take for you to step out in faith and follow His promptings?

 

Jodie Wolfe loves to stroll through history with the characters she creates. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, reading and walking.Social Media 2015

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 22, 2016 in Writing

 

Mumtaz Mahal

Does that title mean anything to you? What about the name Arjumand Banu Begum? Probably not. But if I said Taj Mahal, you’d immediately know to what I was referring.

Mumtaz_MahalMumtaz Mahal – born Arjumand Banu Begum – died on this date in 1631 in Agra, India. A daughter of Persian nobility, she was married at age 19 to Prince Khurram – Shah Jahan – the emperor.

Arjumand was Shah Jahan’s third wife, but became his favorite, as denoted by the title he gave her: Mumtaz Mahal. It means the chosen one of the palace.

Arjumand traveled with Shah Jahan exclusively. She was a positive influence on her husband, and she often intervened on behalf of the poor. An official court reporter wrote that the couple was so in love, Shah Jahan had no interest in his other two wives except to fulfil his requirement to father a child with them.

51uAwuyJb7L._SX400_BO1,204,203,200_Arjumand died during the birth of the couple’s fourteenth child. Heartbroken, Shah Jahan mourned in seclusion for a year. In Arjumand’s honor, he built the Taj Mahal as her mausoleum, a task that took 22 years to complete. For more about Arjumand and Shah Jahan, check out The Complete Taj Mahal by Ebba Koch.

While the romantic in me can appreciate an epic love story, I can’t help but wonder about Shah Jahan’s other wives. How did they endure the lack of their husband’s love?

We have a record in Genesis of Jacob’s first wife, Leah, who felt unloved by her husband. She longed to have first place in Jacob’s heart. But Jacob loved his second wife, Rachel – Leah’s own sister – more than he loved Leah. Though Leah was Jacob’s first wife, the knowledge of her second place standing became evident in her words and actions (Genesis 29:16-30). She bore 7 children to Jacob. By the time she had her fourth son, she praised God. Leah recognized the kindness and mercy of God and found Him to be the true Lover of her soul.

Have you found God to be the Lover of your soul? Has He chosen you and crowned you with compassion? What are some ways He has lavished His surpassing love on you?

~ Jericha Kingston

 

Tags: , , ,

Love in the Age of Insanity

%22By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.%22John 13_35We live in a crazy world.

We live in a world where a madman who aligns himself with Islamist terrorists guns down a nightclub full of people, and immediately, Christians are lectured and, in some cases, blamed for the attack. (One example from the Washington Post.)

Wait, what?

Because of course that lone gunman didn’t reflect the attitudes and beliefs of every single Muslim. So obviously that act of terrorism had nothing to do with Islam.

But if some loudmouth on Twitter spouts off evil speech about the sexual orientation of the victims and attempts to add validity to his hate by bringing the word “God” into the mix, obviously he speaks for all Christians.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting annoyed.

The question is, what are we to do about it? I know what I want to do. I want to defend myself and my fellow Christians. I want to explain that most of us believers couldn’t care less the sexual orientation of the victims. All human beings are valuable and precious. My Jesus died for every single one of the victims, and if they are precious to Him, then they are precious to me. I reacted like the rest of the country–I was horrified. Unlike much of the country, I immediately began praying for the victims and their families, and like many Christians, I continue to pray.

More than just defending Christians, I want to illuminate the ways Christians serve our society. In my community, I could point to multiple charities started and run by Christians—food banks, homeless shelters, outreaches to the poor, free ESL classes for immigrants—legal and illegal. Last week, my church sent hundreds of students to paint homes for free, just to show the love of Christ and give low-income homeowners a gift. My kids came home splattered with paint and joy because of the experience.

I want to remind the world that obviously there will be some rude Christians, just like there are rude people in every group. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make a person perfect, just forgiven. Most (but not all, unfortunately) of those people will mature. Should I judge every Democrat by the worst of that lot? Every Republican? Every banker? Every store clerk?

Tweet this: Christians are called to love in this age of insanity. 

Oh, there are so many things I want to say when I hear the foolishness of the world. But then I remember my God, who tells me that it’s not my place to defend myself. In fact, He has a lot to say on the matter in Romans 12*:

Verse 14: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Verse 17: Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Verse 19: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Verse 21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So it’s not up to me to defend myself or my fellow Christians. And when I remember that my battle is not against people but against the forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12), it’s easier to forgive the world’s foolishness.

So what are we to do as we live in this age of insanity? We are to love. Jesus said it best: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

We are called to love in the age of insanity.

(*All Bible quotes are from the English Standard Version and copied from Bible Gateway.)

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its FREE prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Animals & Authors with Karin Beery

Karin and CooperWriting – they say – is a solitary occupation. But is it? Really? Let’s visit with Karin Beery and ask her about her constant companions.

QPQ: Introduce us to the pets you’re sharing with us today.

KB: I have three fur babies: Bucket and Midgie are my rescue cats, and they’ve been with us for about eight years. Our newest addition is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Cooper.

QPQ: Since you’re an author and you come up with names all the time, how did you come up with these names?

CooperKB: Cooper came with his name, so we kept it (though I’ve been calling him Chuck). Midgie was named after a Tootsie Roll. Bucket…well, I let my husband name him. After offering me several inappropriate names, Bucket was the first normal word out of my husband’s mouth and it stuck.

QPQ: How do they help you in your writing?

KB: Mostly Bucket just likes to sit on my lap and get in the way. I wouldn’t exactly call him helpful. Midgie is a wonderful paperweight who keeps my documents from running away from me. Cooper gets me out of my chair. Sitting too long isn’t good for anyone, and I’ve found that getting up and moving for a bit helps me refocus.

Bucket(black) and Midgie (white)QPQ: I so agree about getting up and moving. They say sitting is the new smoking. Cooper could be adding years to your life!

Have you ever written one of your pets into a story?

KB: I can’t believe it, but I haven’t yet. I think I need to add some more animals to my novels.

QPQ: Tell us three things you and your pets have in common.

KB: Midgie and I both love to bask in the sun. Bucket and I both talk a lot. Cooper and I are both crazy about my husband.

All good things to have in common.  🙂  Thank you for visiting here at the Quid Pro Quills. Where on the web can readers connect with you and your books?

KB: You can find most of my links on my websites, but here you go:
Karin Beery – Contemporary and Speculative Fiction with a Healthy Dose of Romance
Write Now Editing & Writing Services – Helping You Say What You Want to Say in the Way You Want to Say It
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Animals & Authors

 

Tags: , , , , , ,