August 3, 2011
I wrote a column in the Christian Online Fiction
magazine dealing with self-publishing for about two years. Last month I decided
to hang it up to pursue more pressing matters (hopefully movies/television) and
gave notice when I turned in my last editorial. I just found out my final
article will not be published. Since I spent several hours framing it, I
decided I’d post it myself to various outlets. Buckle your seatbelt and read
If you are not aware of the
tremendous warfare going on between the forces of good and evil for the minds
of the people of planet Earth, especially the young people, pardon me for
suggesting that you are living in a bubble. God might want you to pop that effervescent
armor and realize that your efforts are needed as a soldier of the Lord who
wields a pen as your weapon of choice. I might be out to brunch here, but it
seems to me that the mainstream publishers have avoided rocking the boat by
publishing materials that might be too radical or too edgy or too hardcore
Christian. As a result, the mainstream
leaders often abandon the battlefield so they can generate lucrative profit producing Amish assemble-by-number novels,
detective stories without any cussing where the name of God maybe mentioned and
one of the characters may utter a prayer, but not in the name of Jesus, and
sentimental romances where courting is adorned in Christian apparel and language but below the surface still reeks
of worldly focus on external glamour, materialism, and shallow sentimentality
that masquerades as love. So exactly what do these observations mean to a
self-published author? It means that there is a niche to fill. Since you don’t
have publishers to please and agents to feed, you can do God’s work unimpeded
by the external forces that put people and their work into boxes of diminutive
size. You have the luxury of being free to go where God wants you to go–if you
have the courage to enter the lion’s den and the strength to swim upstream
against white water.
I have tried to champion the cause
of self-published writers in this column. My goal has been to encourage,
enlighten, and empower those who God has placed a seed within, so that the seed
may germinate and mature into something lovely and inspirational.
Unfortunately, I’ve been operating in a void here and have no clue if I’ve made
any impact. Perhaps I won’t know until Heaven. What I do know is that my season
of writing for Christian Fiction Online Magazine is drawing to a close. The arrival of bills to be paid
and writing deadlines to be met causes the calendar pages to fly off. There is
nothing I can do about the bills, but one less deadline will give me more time
to focus on projects that I feel are critical. It’s been wonderful to be a part
of CFOM, but the curtain must close. Perhaps sometime I’ll resurrect my crusade
to aid self-pubbed authors in their quest to fulfill God’s call in their lives.
Statistics indicate that few people
are actively engaged in the art of reading. And even a smaller percentage of
those are seeking Christian fiction. In the final analysis of the matter, if I
really want to impact the culture, I must spend my time on things that will
grab the attention of the masses. And I believe the audio-visual media is the
ticket to have the ability to grab someone by the scruff of their soul and unleash
unknown desires and misunderstood emotions that lead people to question their
superficial human existence. And thus my new focus in life will be to write and
produce movies that will combat evolution, the occult, the sexual revolution,
injustice and any other crusade that God might add to my target list as my
So I take my puny weapons which
hopefully God will endue with His power and move on to a new battlefield. I
want to leave you with a plea to join God’s army. Use any talents He has given
you to enhance His kingdom and not your own. Almost an entire generation of
young people are lining up to enter the gates of Hell. What will you do to help
God rescue some of them?
April 2, 2010
Want to read a scary book? I’m not talking about a spine-tingler which reduces you to a quivering glob of protoplasmic Jello under your covers as visions of horrific scenes haunt your attempts at sleep. No, sirree, Bub. If you’re a lover of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Father of Jesus Christ, this book is guaranteed to frighten you twenty-four by seven for the rest of your life. Actually, we as Christians are not supposed to fearful, but this book will perhaps knock you to your knees where you will cry out to the Lord for His divine intervention on behalf of others and our society in general.
Linda Harvey is a literary surgeon in addition to being a fastidious researcher. She is an escapee from the secular worldview who now spends her time trying to blow the whistle on an increasingly menacing violator. Her targets might be many in the flesh, but in actuality all those elements are fronts for the enemy of our souls. In this little masterpiece, the military blueprint for one of Satan’s frontal assaults on mankind is exposed. In actuality, this battle plan may be the undergirding for all of Satan’s many avenues of attack. If you have a problem with the mention of the name Satan and consider him to be a myth, go back and see how many times Jesus referred to the serpentine deceiver. That little side trip should leave you in no doubt that a force exists that is trying to keep mankind from embracing and loving the Creator and trying to keep you from being as effective a Christian as you might be.
I recently read a book about the nation of Judah. The overwhelming vision I got from digesting the stories of the ups and downs of that group of people was that each generation had to choose whom they would serve – Jehovah or pagan gods. Depending much upon the king at the time, the civilization teetered and tottered back and forth between the two. It is inconceivable to me, at least it was until very recently, that the United States of America could ever abandon the Judeo Christian tradition and build alters of idolatry to gods of the primitive past. After you read Linda’s laser like dissection of this frog which really is a prince – the prince of darkness – you will not be able to plead ignorance. Your tolerance or perhaps even embracing of occult practices could reduce you to tears or perhaps cause your neck to stiffen and your defense mechanisms to go into overdrive to rationalize your behavior and belittle the danger brought out in this exposé. You can’t control the world, but you do have a great deal of control over your own life, and believe me, your life will have a ripple effect upon other lives. Your choice upon how to react to this knowledge is critical. The Bible says that men perish for lack of knowledge. They also perish for lack of application of that knowledge they do gain.
Is this a book that your children should read? I doubt it, unless they are very mature and savvy. Linda is an excellent writer who does not mince words, but I don’t consider this entertaining material which will grab a young person’s attention in this culture which demands instant stimulation and gratification. This is a parental guidebook written to help you steer your children clear of the occultic influences that are becoming more and more mainstream, aided by a government which is curtailing the rights of Christian believers and an educational system which has lost all touch with truth. Your children need spiritual nourishment just like their bodies need sustenance from some food source. In this age where junk food is the sustenance of choice, counterfeit spirituality is the rage. You have the responsibility to help provide nourishing spiritual material for your family, which will counter the influence of J.K Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Chris Crutcher, Stephanie Meyers, and countless others. It is time that men and women of God rise up and provide the type of literature and movies which will compete with the lure of the pagan offerings. I tried to do that in my book Reforming the Potter’s Clay. I truly believe that the supernatural aspect of God must be demonstrated in order to overcome the magnetic power of the dark forces. God is in the business of healing people, delivering them from demons, and renewing people’s minds. Let’s not be afraid to share that fact with the world. And don’t be hesitant to share this book with others. This can be in an invaluable resource, one which you’ll want to read with a highlighter so you can go back to find the pithy phrases.
Here’s one of the quote worthy passages from Not My Child. “The young life that casts aside the Savior and takes up sorcery has traded a pearl of great price for a worthless amulet.” Are you going to stand by and do nothing and watch countless young people choose death over life? If you choose not to read this book, it appears you’ve already made your choice.
January 2, 2010
I read a though provoking article this morning at http://www.americanvision.org/article/the-demographics-of-irrelevance/ that seems to argue that young men leave the church because of the retreat and defeatism mentality of people who believe in the rapture.
I thought I was very knowledgeable about the different doctrines within Christianity. I have recently become aware of some unfamiliar takes on the gospel message and the Bible. Post Millennialism and dominion theology are two new terms to me – along with preterism. In order to acquaint yourself with these schools of thought check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_theology
I was operating under the assumption that these people were simply believers in post-tribulation doctrine. Now I understand that their theology goes way beyond that. This whole concept renders my originally editorial woefully inadequate. In fact it would require a book (or perhaps several) to attempt to refute it. Ironically I just received ten very scholarly books from the organization from which this post originated which support their theology. Their take seems to coincide with the thoughts of those who rejected Christ as the messiah because he didn’t free the Jews from Roman rule. I have to wonder if Jesus was not concerned about overthrowing Caesar in His day, why should we accept the argument that Christians have dominion over all the peoples of the Earth?
The whole fascination with the rapture and the subsequent rejection or embracing of it is a real distraction from critical matters. The gospel message is not about victory or defeat of mankind or the church as a whole. The message was about surrendering of the soul man and the flesh to the spirit man so that God might hold sway in a person’s life. The victory or defeat of each man is the vital element.
The church has become irrelevant because of the preaching of cheap grace coupled with the notion of eternal security. Another notion that leads to inactivity is that studying the Bible is as good as living it. Bible studies are dead works if the word is not being applied. They are as analogous to the idea of EMT’s sitting in their ambulance discussing how best to deal with medical conditions, but refusing to go out on an emergency call. If a person believes that once saved always saved, where is the motivation to continue listening to the droning of a pastor’s voice, perhaps at the same time an NFL football game is on the telly? Or at the hour a man would love to continue sawing z’s on his day off? Why should a man give up his creature comforts if he has already bagged the prize?
I don’t think that God give’s a rat’s derriere about man’s fulfillment using his “gifts” to succeed in banking, truck driving, or whatever profession – unless the fulfillment comes from being a witness, silent or vocal, for the Master of the universe. He does, however, desire that whatever we do is done in His name. The idea that pastors should preach about such things seems to be New Age thinking to me. Make men feel good about themselves and their lives. Bring them to church so their egos can be stroked and they’ll keep coming back. What we really need is iron sharpening iron. We need pastors that are not afraid to talk about sin and dereliction of duty. And we need men who are not too proud to take such messages to heart and to let God work even deeper in their lives.
There is a war going on for the eternal lives of men and women on this planet. Men need to fight against or for something to find fulfillment. That is how they are wired. I don’t know exactly how or when God will bring this war to an end. Even Jesus did not know when. But I do know that without a vision of that war, men will perish without even partaking of the battle. But don’t lay the blame on the theory that God will whisk us all away and leave all the heathens in the mess that man has allowed the world to sink to. Even if rapture theology should prove to be true, we are called to fight the good fight and run the good race in this era just like Christians in every era had to do. A seasoned runner knows that when the finish line approaches, the time has come to summon up his final burst of effort, known as the kick. Arguing against the rapture does not constitute the good fight. And now I’ve wasted some fighting time to argue against refutation of the rapture. I must get back to the real war.
September 28, 2009
One of the first things a neophyte writer learns after celebrating the publication of his or her first book is that the bulk of the marketing responsibility falls on the author. The second object lesson absorbed is that marketing is much harder than writing the book. Advertising in productive venues is not cheap. Travel to bookstores across the country for book signing fests not only gulps the dollars but drains the time of the author, who is probably attempting an encore performance. The competition for the consumer’s attention and dollars is fierce. I’ve seen quotes of 400,000 to a million books published in the last year. How is an author who is not a household name supposed to alert potential readers to the existence of a new book and convince them they need to invest their time and money in this particular work instead of the plethora of alternatives?
One recent innovation which gives authors some hope is the proliferation of the social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Shoutlife, Plaxo, and YouTube. Some book specific sites available include Shelfari, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and JacketFlap. Another notable name is Ning, a unique application which allows users to create their own social network for a specific cause or purpose using the toolset that Ning provides free of charge. Authors suddenly have access to millions of readers and vice-versa. Announcements of new books can be tweeted or blogged or bulletined to thousands or posted on the walls of individual users. So am I saying the problems are thus solved? Just join a gaggle of social networks, mingle with the masses, and fall asleep at night counting your sales. I’m afraid it’s not that easy.
Now that you’ve discovered the social networks, you will soon realize that you’re not sure how to employ the tools to their optimum productivity. There may be a steep learning curve in harnessing the power of the whistles and bells available to your orchestra of one. You might end up frustrated because you set a minimum goal of 4000 words for today but you feel short because you consumed four hours of your writing time figuring out how Facebook works. I can safely say from experience that the Internet is a beauteous invention, but it is also a Black Hole when it comes to time management. It will swallow you up if you don’t apply some discipline. I belong to over 100 networks and have friends from just about every nation on earth. I could easily spend all day communicating with these interesting people. Does that help my bottom line marketing? Questionably. Does that help my next writing project? Indubitably no, unless I am able to research my next novel via such communication.
If you’re aspiring to write a best seller book, you might take a stab at one which edifies the rest of us in maximizing the potential of the Internet for marketing purposes. The phenomenon is so new that any books on the subject are probably obsolete before the ink is dry. At some point the fog should clear as this virtual world stabilizes and matures so that more definitive and accurate assessment can be broadcast. If you read this blog post hoping to find all of the answers, I apologize for disappointing you. I simply am groping in the obscurity as are most. My goal was to present the questions, however I have two answers that will not change with the technology.
You must be disciplined. Set a limit on time spent on the Internet. One good rule might be that you are not allowed to logon to a social network until you meet your daily quota of words for the day. If you don’t reach your goal, don’t visit. You might try the same thing with email, unless there is the potential for vital, time-sensitive emails arriving in your inbox. You must be the master, or you will become a slave.
One of the features of Social Networks is the ability to make friends (or followers in the Twitter paradigm). I now have 5000 friends on Facebook, 2000 at Shoutlife, 2000 at Goodreads and so on down the line. The term friend takes on new meaning here. I can safely assert that no one can balance 10,000 friendships. Luckily I don’t have the problem of being a celebrity author, and so I am not besieged by people asking me questions and writing notes that I feel I have to answer. I do try to answer anyone who writes to me at this point, but I can see how impossible that task would be in the case where that load increases exponentially. Just like in real life, when you make a cyber friend, you can do it because that person has something to benefit you. In other words that friendship is driven by selfish ambition and self-promotion. Those are ugly words to me. I found myself seeking out other authors, publishers,readers, people in the movie industry, and affluent business people because they can help me get what I want. I tried to distance myself from those third world country missionaries and pastors who always seemed to hit me up for donations. I found myself becoming almost coldly calculating and Machiavellian, qualities that I have always detested. In the struggle to get my books marketed, I was losing who I was and what drove me in writing. The phrase “gaining the world and losing my soul” took on new meaning. Some of this revelation is hitting me as I type. I’d would rather die as a totally undistinguished wannabe than flourish in a world void of the common aspects of decency and honest transparency.
From a Christian perspective, I’m convinced that blockbuster work explaining how to tap into the power of social networking must not preclude the vital chapter explaining how to obtain success without becoming a social monster and an egomaniac parasite. I’ve averted the proverbial bullet. I’m withdrawing my marketing ploys and will be trusting in the Lord to open doors. If the work I’m doing was commissioned by Him, he will bring it to the surface when the timing is right.
July 26, 2009
A couple of years ago I made a new friend on the internet. My new acquaintance was a woman pastor from the United Kingdom. I perused her page and found a story about a friend of hers. The tale was absolutely fascinating. Her friend, Teresa Griffith Hurlbert, had left an abusive marriage and started a ministry of music. On the way she overcame some serious health issues and emerged as a healthy servant of the Lord. I followed a link to the Sid Roth show where I watched Theresa perform on her flute and sing. She has an anointing of prophecy and healing. I was hooked. I visited their website and downloaded two of their albums. I spent the next several weeks listening to those CD’s over and over. It was great music to work to since I do mental work and having words sometimes interferes with my thought processes (especially since I like to sing along). To put it succinctly, I really like this music. In fact, I was so impressed that I included references to Theresa’s work in two of my novels. I’m about to make that three with my newest book.
I suggest that you visit their website at http://www.somebodycaresministries.org and sample the wares. And if you like it, tell all of your friends about this. You can find much more information about their ministry at their beautiful website.
The other day I saw a story on the internet that a 13-year-old boy with cancer was going to be forced to take chemotherapy despite his desire to seek alternative treatment. I was appalled. I realize our freedoms are slipping away from us one by one in this country, but this was really scary. Since when does a doctor have authority over a person’s freedom? If I have a severe pain and a doctor wants me to take morphine, despite my refusal to take habit forming drugs, will Joe Judge overrule my personal choices? How about anti-depressant drugs? Need I go down the line? It seems that big business spearheaded by the drug companies and medical doctors have done a very good job of shutting up the small voices in the wilderness crying out that there is a better way, Believing in natural cures instead of synthesized drugs is analogous to believing in creation instead of evolution in the current scene. When will the government take away children if they teach them that God created them? It might not be far off. See my next article on atheism for more on this topic.
Here is a link to a story along with a commentary video about the young lad whose family pleaded religious grounds for abstaining from chemo. www.naturalnews.com/026283.html You can get all the details yourself.
Here’s another: jonathanturley.org/2009/05/16/court-overrules-parents-in-religious-refusal-of-chemotherapy-for-13-year-old-boy/
I had this discussion with a woman who has worked in hospitals. She has done quite a bit of research. She knew of a doctor who came up with a treatment for cancer that came from bicarbonate of soda and cost fifteen cents a dose. You can guess how well that cure would sit with people whose mansions and yachts are purchased by sick people in need of medical treatment. That would be like the oilmen hearing of a guy making fuel out of water. There is a rumor that someone did come up with such a process, and they promptly disappeared. I’ll always wonder if that story is true. I will be researching the bicarbonate of soda story.
I have decided that I would not undergo chemotherapy if I were ever told I had cancer. I truly believe that God has supplied all the things on earth that will counteract all of the bad things on earth. If the scientists spent time searching for ways that natural occurring substances can halt the spread of or cure a disease, I think we’d have better results. For example: Just the other day scientists discovered that a liquid emitted by a special coral in the red sea can cure skin cancer.
Chemo and radiation kill healthy cells. The best way to fight illness is with our natural immune systems that God provided. We need to be at optimum health to fight off an invader. Researchers need to find a way to target the trouble cells only. Think of an under the skin special forces unit. Perhaps there is some element in nature that will do that trick without man altering cells through bio technology.
If this report is accurate, it says much more than I could ever say. This document explains how 75% of doctors would not use chemotherapy on their own bodies. www.scribd.com/doc/14150181/Why-Doctors-Do-Not-Take-Chemo
There are a lot of people today touting the power of natural cures. Of course, not all of them will be reliable. Joan and Lydia Wilen have a popular book filled with natural remedies. Kevin Trudeau is a bright guy who’s fought a crusade against the federal drug bureaucracy and the big drug companies. He has a couple of books dealing with natural cures and the efforts of some parties to suppress them. Here is a link where you can read part of one of them. books.google.com/books
May 17, 2009
A couple of weeks ago a beautiful and gracious young lady, poised on the edge of being named Miss USA was asked what her belief was concerning the legalization of same sex marriages in America. She actually deflected the question with some evasive apologetic statements before indicating she believed that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The judge who asked the question said if this young lady had won, he would have run up on the stage and ripped the tiara from her head. And he cursed and called her names on his internet blog. This scene should have caused an outrage, right? Well it did but not the way it would have gone down in the era when we were leaving it to Beaver. The young lady’s character has been questioned now, not only by this judge, but by members of the media and members of the Miss California association. All this brouhaha has erupted because her opinion is not politically correct. I have to question whether having a judge ask such a question should be considered politically correct. Is it OK for a judge to grind an axe and push an agenda when performing the duties of a panelist to determine the Miss USA representative? Obviously it’s not ethically correct for him to attack her after the fact. He was supposed to be an impartial judge. Obviously that was not the case. He asked his loaded question, trapped her into revealing her character flaw of being a Bible believing Christian, and prevented her from winning the crown. Yet that wasn’t enough. He had to make a personal attack on her. His statement on an interview was that he gave her room to wiggle out but she chose to bring her politics and her religion into it. Hello, how can you avoid doing that when you asked a political oriented question with religious overtones and ask for the person’s opinion? And now people are questioning her character and not his? Has all sense of common decency been lost on the American populace? What comes next in this saga of American life? Will heterosexual women be barred from winning the crown in the near future. Will the Heisman trophy voters ask Florida quarterback Tim Tebow if he supports same sex marriages next year so they can preclude him from picking up a second Heisman trophy? Perhaps employers can add a question to job applications to filter out all the undesirables who believe that God made Adam and Eve with special hormones, body fluids, and complimentary parts that enhance pleasure in order to procreate. In the book What Darwin Didn’t Know, author Geoffrey Smith takes the reader through the whole complicated reproduction system. Fascinating reading. There is no logical way that process could evolve. God created us for procreation to multiply and populate the earth in addition to learning what it is like to have children so we can relate to a Heavenly Father.. Internet headlines mention the scandal at the Miss USA pageant and wonder if Miss California made a mistake. Ironically, ask someone the name of the winner of the pageant, and they probably won’t be able to provide the answer. Ask the name of Miss California, the beautiful girl with intestinal fortitude to match, and many will be able to identify Carrie Prejean. If you GOogle her name, you’ll find two million hits! I have to wonder how can it be considered scandalous to believe that a marriage should be between two people who are capable of producing offspring? I’ll delve into this topic again in more depth later, but this article was a tribute to Miss Prejean and her grace and poise in standing her ground and holding firm to her beliefs. How I long for the day when PC referred to my computer. For more on this topic including the original film clip, here’s a link to a video with Bill O’Reilly on the topic: Carrie Prejean Video
May 17, 2009
I watched a video the other day featuring a debate between Christopher Hitchens, the notorious atheist, and four Christian apologists concerning the question of whether the God of Christianity exists or not. The believers on the panel included perhaps the most brilliant Christian scholar, William Lane Craig, and Lee Strobel. I’ve been a fan of both of their writing. The other two men held up very well in their contributions to the debate as well. I found it ironic however that none of these brilliant men failed to offer the most compelling evidence against the skepticism of Hitchens which seemed to be based on the unrelieved suffering in the world. The final answer seems so obvious to me.
The lone atheist on the panel stated the case of a woman who was imprisoned in the basement or perhaps dungeon for over twenty years by her husband. The man would visit just to rape her. Hitchens offered that if there were a god, for him to stand by and do nothing for this woman was amoral and possibly evidence that the deity enjoys watching people suffer (if he does exist). This one case study was supposed to be sufficient evidence that either God is a myth or he is not good. In either case, the Christian god was proven to be a fantasy if this small piece of evidence should prove to be acceptable.
It was mentioned, but not one of the four adequately hammered home the point that God’s promises are not for this world. People who have a concept that God is like Santa Claus and hands out special gifts to everyone who ask for them are very naïve and ignorant. No one pointed out that all of the apostles except John were martyred. Here is the kicker: the ultimate example is the suffering of Jesus Christ himself. If God could let His own beloved son go through the physical and mental torture of the crucifixion, how can we complain about a little discomfort and imperfection here on Earth? Ironically, it is through suffering that we learn compassion and humility. Could it be that the Father let Jesus suffer so cruelly so we humans would see that our burdens are indeed light. The cruel fate Jesus suffered also teaches us how much He loves us?
I will be devoting an entire column to discussion on prayer and healing and why not everyone is healed. Also we’ll delve into why “stuff happens” to devout believers where nonbelievers seem to prosper. Many people have walked away from God because they didn’t receive what they asked for. They come to the conclusion that He doesn’t exist. I have to point people to the prayer that Jesus told us to use when we speak to His father. “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” There’s no mention of praying for a new house or new wheels. Many people want to pray “my will be done.” And then they’re disappointed and disillusioned when their prayers go unanswered.
I came to the conclusion after listening to this that no amount of evidence for God will convince someone who doesn’t want to believe. Finding God involves a surrender of the free will that He gave us. Without embracing the concept that the universe does not revolve around us, man can never discover God. Ironically the atheists preach that mankind is not the center of the universe but they as individuals think their intellect is. Go figure.
You can watch that debate at this address: Debate Video
May 13, 2009
If you listen to some of the leading atheists such as Richard Dawson, you’ll hear them employ an argument against the existence of a deity in which they claim He hides himself too well. In other words, if there was a god, he’d be a bit more visible. Other people lose their faith because God doesn’t perform upon demand when they beg him to heal their family members or provide a job. People cling to a mistaken notion that prayer consists of asking for presents from the Almighty as if he were Santa Claus. Unfortunately, when they don’t receive what they ask for, they assume that God must not exist or doesn’t love them. Doesn’t that seem a bit overbearing and egotistic, as if God created us so He could be our servant? It is true that Jesus did come to serve when he was on the Earth, but that servanthood role was only a cameo appearance.
Only the people who figure out that the correct scenario is exactly the reverse will ever truly understand God. There are groups of Christians who believe in the prosperity gospel. Sow into the kingdom and you shall reap a harvest, monetarily. The principle of sowing and reaping is indeed valid, but Jesus said we should be storing up treasure in Heaven. He wasn’t talking about monetary health and wealth. Our financial sowing on Earth does not generate immediate returns on investment. The people who really thrive under the teaching of the prosperity gospel are those receiving the “seed” gifts that people send in to stimulate their own financial windfall. We’ll mention this topic more in depth in a future post.
It’s taken me almost sixty years to figure out that what God really wants is for us to allow Him into our presence. That might sound funny. We have the power to keep the Almighty out of our lives? Crazy thought when we can’t control our lives in most other areas, but yet we can wall ourselves off from our creator. Unfortunately not many people spend quality time with their Heavenly Father, including me. I’m trying though. One stumbling block to our intimacy with God is how we view Him. Is he the demanding father who walks softly and carries a big stick? Or is he a loving father who wants us to sit in his lap and tell Him about our owies and our feelings? Or is he in between those two extremes? There are a multitude of songs that extol the virtues and benefits of drawing near to God, meeting Him in a secret place, entering the Holy of Holies, and dwelling in His presence.
I might be wrong, but I think perhaps those who spend time in His presence will be the ones who get lots of presents. Even if that is not the case, the peace of mind and overflowing love are fringe benefits to die for. I have a couple of friends who teach on the subject of having intimacy with God. You can listen to a radio broadcast dealing with that topic at http://www.exceedingjoy.com/ExceedingJoy/audio/FaithFM/ExceedingJoy/SusanWaters.FaithFM.ExceedingJoy.2009.03.05.mp3
Susan Waters also wrote a book called God the Ogre Syndrome in which she relates how she once viewed God as an ogre. She broke through that impediment and now helps others to seek closeness to their Heavenly Father. Jeff Reuter has a similar story. After a powerful encounter with the Father, he now travels the world delivering seminars on the Father heart of God. You can check out his Father’s Love series at http://www.prayerlifeministries.com/TapesAndCDs.asp
Regardless of what means you use to draw near to God not just with your lips but with your heart, I can’t recommend it strong enough. I do believe we are entering into the times that try men’s souls. Without a heavy dose of the Father’s love, our chances of survival will not be good.
May 2, 2009
Julie Lessman is a master (or should I use the term mistress) of taking her readers on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Her characters, despite the fact she has so many of them involved in the story, come alive as real people and not caricatures gilded with religious veneer. The extended Connor family members are normally admirable but not flawless people. They try to cling to God, but the common struggles all humans must deal with in the areas of pride and passion never stray far from their door. The exposé of pride and its damaging effects is one of the highlights of this book. I would hazard a guess that pride has killed more marriages than lust. Julie does a great job of convincing her readers that if they want precious love to last, pride must be laid aside so the spouse can come astride and peace can abide. (Sorry, I just had a poetic moment). At times I was provoked enough to want to slap one of the characters on the side of the head and tell them to wake up and smell the Irish coffee. I had to keep telling myself, this is just a book.
This is not a lightweight work in more than one regard (it contains nearly 500 pages). Most of the action involves some aspect of romance, even among the married couples. This is not erotica, but the mention of sexual arousal and foreplay is not an infrequent visitor to the plotline. This book will not be confused with a Janette Oke story. I think it is healthy for Christians to acknowledge that they are human and have sexual appetites. This book might contain an excess of the sexual passion aspect, but the lesson is well delivered – sexual passion without God’s love is a recipe for disaster. Decisions based on the heat of moment may freeze the blood in the future. So despite being prominent throughout the story, passion is not enthroned here. A wealth of scriptural references provide a counterbalance to the passion pitting desire to please oneself against desire to please God. Much of the conflict in the story arises within the characters dealing with this internal tug of war. Another cute element of conflict was the relationship between almost eleven-year-old Katie and a street Urchin named Cluny, a young teenager befriended by Brady. Katie’s precocious comments massaged my funny bone.
The author seemed to take pains to spice up the story by introducing elements of the society in this timeframe. Thoroughly Modern Millie came to my mind as Lizzie’s haircut was described in the beginning of the story. Ironically, the character pushing Beth to embrace modernism with her stylish new name of Lizzie and hairdo was named Millie. Things like Keds, toasters, Saltines, and basketball hoops made cameo appearances. I actually did some research to make sure the copy editor didn’t mess up here and checked on a few dates to make sure they were around in 1922.
Julie even managed to smuggle in the dreaded submission clause from Ephesians. Her take on it was interesting: submission = respect. Men want to be respected above all else, and if they receive that precious commodity, they are able to cherish their wives, which is what women desire above all else. I’ll buy that into philosophy though that is on the simplistic side of things. I had the audacity to include my interpretation of that passage in one of my books. One aspect of the spiritual tangent that I found perhaps out of tune with reality was the combination of Evangelical Christian jargon with Catholicism. I was raised as a Catholic in the 1950’s and 60’s. Perhaps we were behind the times in South Dakota, but Bible reading seemed to be something that was still the realm of the clergy at that time. I am aware the church has changed a lot since then.
There was a little mystique included which allows the romantic sleuths to engage their deductive reasoning. We’re allowed to know that John Brady has a problem in his past and are given snitches of information to let us guess at what it is. That secret really drives the story since it seems to prevent John from letting himself accept Lizzie as a woman instead of just as a sister. Julie uses just enough hinting to give us insight, but not enough to totally solve the mystery. I had most of it figured out, but there were some surprising twists in the end that left me applauding the author. I suggest you get a copy and find out for yourself, unless you’re afraid of emotional roller coasters.Book review of A Passion Denied