EaglesNest – Kingdom People Learn the Thrill of the Ride

God’s Timing

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 22, 2014

As I drive through the Missouri countryside, I catch a glimpse here and there of fall color. There are some reds and yellows but they, at this time of year, are scattered amongst the greens of summer. I know in the next couple of weeks, the color will increase and that’s a wonderful thing, but I also know that this will herald in the cold winter months. Yuck.

 winter in a graveyardMy head spins with deadlines ahead, articles to write, workshops to attend, and commitments to family. We’ve just completed 3 months on the road, a month at home, and now another 3 weeks of traveling, and while I love the activity, there are times when sitting at the feet of my Savior is much preferred. Today is one of those days.

 God brought a reality to mind this morning during my study and devotional time. Everything is in His time, not mine. His timing is perfect because He can see the big picture. I can’t. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 tells us that there is a time for this or that but then in verse 11, it says, “God has made everything beautiful in its time. He also set eternity in the hearts of men… It’s all about God, what He does, and when He does it. I can agonize over deadlines but, as always happens, the work will get done as long as I spend time with Him first, keep Him in the picture, and stop trying to do it all by myself.

A lot of writers feel that their life of writing is a solitary profession, and in some ways it is. But if they’d remember that God is part of it, they’d know that He sits in the next chair collaborating, sifting, and planting ideas. Each book contains just the insights He wants to implant in each of my reader’s minds, just at the time when they need to hear them. Isn’t that astonishing?

He’s enthroned above the heavens and yet, He knows when it’s the right time to teach us this or that, to bring this person to our door or to the other end of a cell phone. He allows events to happen at the very moment when they will either teach us to look to Him alone or turn us away from Him (our choice) and He knows which avenue we’ll take. 

Am I rambling? God’s timing is both encouraging and confusing at the same time. I feel encouraged that God knows me so well and yet, I wonder, “Why now?” Those are the times when I need to search His word, seek His face, and spend a lot of time with Him. “Oh…I guess that’s why.” Amazing.

For further study: Ex.2:23-25; Ps.74:10-18; Ps.75:2; John 11:5-7; 2 Pet. 3:8-9

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Interview With a Character

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 21, 2014

For most fiction writers, the characters become real to us, especially if we are working on a series. They have to if we are going to bring them to reality for you, our readers. The following is an interview with Christine Smith, the main protagonist of my recent series. See if you can identify with her and then send me any questions you would have for her. I will pass them on to her.

Let’s begin. I’d like you to meet Christine Smith, a twenty-four year old investigator who has found herself faced with the world of human trafficking, an issue that is in the news here in Canada as the government attempts to take the profession of prostitution from victim-less to criminal for the users of paid sex, the pimps and the johns.

Barbara: Christine, Welcome to Adventures in Writing. Tell me a little about yourself.

Christine: My name is Christine Smith, or at least, that’s the alias I’m using. My parents were murdered in front of me when I was five years old. My father, when he saw who was standing outside our front door, hid me in a small closet under the staircase. I watched what that man did from my hiding spot but then ran. He heard me and chased after me. I wet my pants. Wow, I still shiver when I recall this.

Barbara:So, your father must have known who this man was. 

ChristineI guess so. But, in light of the argument that occurred before he actually pulled the trigger, I think he was working for someone else. I’ve never seen my father so angry or my mother so scared. I was awful.

Barbara: Did the police ever find him? I assume you escaped since you’re here. Were you able to identify him to the authorities?

ChristineI did escape but no one asked me any questions. I guess they thought I was traumatized enough. In fact, the first words I spoke after that were to my guardians, my Father’s cousin. He and his wife raised me. When I returned to Canada as an adult, I found out that the police were no closer to solving the mystery of my parents’ death than they were when it happened.

Barbara: Why do you use an alias?

ChristineThe killer was looking for me. I know that because my ‘Uncle’s’ home in Texas was terrorized by a man who left a photo of me for them to find. I call my Guardian, my Uncle. Anyway, my lawyer thought it best if I use another name other than the one I was born with or the one I used when I lived in Texas. 

Barbara: Were your parents wealthy?

ChristineYes, they were. My lawyer has been handling their estate over the years, looking out for my interests until I reached the age when I could take over. 

Barbara: So, you have no need to work. What keeps you busy?

ChristineI was looking for my parents’ killer since the police don’t have any leads. I am also a trained tracker, training I received from one of my Uncle’s ranch hands. I use my skills to track missing children with my search and rescue dog, Chief.

Barbara: Wow. The police let you get involved with theses cases?

ChristineKids go missing all the time. some are reported, some aren’t. They have only so many assigned to the task to find them so I work closely with the authorities and usually with their blessing. Sometimes that takes time to establish but when they see my track record, they are usually happy to have me involved.

Barbara: Are these kids just runaways?

ChristineI’m sure there are some but the ones I work to find are too young to run on their own. Human trafficking …

Barbara: You mean, there are humans being trafficked in our city?

ChristineDoes that surprise you? Human trafficking is everywhere I’ve discovered. These kids are devastated by what pedophiles and pimps do to them. Their lives are changed forever. Chief and I do what we can to find the few who survive but these kids end up in counseling for years. 

Barbara: You sound like a compassionate person. How do these stories affect you?

ChristineWhen I decided to look for missing children, I had no idea what I was getting into. People are cruel and, although I don’t believe in good and evil, there is a definite depravity prevalent in our society. My heart aches every time I find a child so damaged that trust is broken for all humankind, including the parents who I return them to. It’s hard to fathom how one person can do those things to another human.

Barbara: Yet, you still look. Have you thought about changing professions?

ChristineEvery time I am faced with the heartache a parent undergoes over a missing child, I give the search my best, hoping to, at least, bring closure for them. But when I look into the eyes of a child who’s been so abused, I say never again. Then the phone rings.

Barbara: Have you gotten any closer to finding your parents’ killer? 

ChristineThat’s another story and an on-going investigation. All I can say is that my eyes and ears are open. I need to find my own closure. What did my parents do that warranted an attack on them? I need to know.

Barbara:  Well, Christine, thank you for your time. I hope you are successful in whatever you do. Maybe we’ll see your name in the newspaper one of these days. 

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Read Christine’s story in Shadow Stalker and Essence of Evil with a third book set to be released in the Spring 2015.

An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder,  alias Melissa Rompart, visits the brutal

slaying of her parents most nights in a dream.  The threat of discovery propels her to search for the whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find. Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?

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Evil pursues Christine, in this the second book of the Finders Keepers Mystery Series. Retreat is not an option but her move forward makes her vulnerable to the very evil that took her parents’ lives. Faced with yet another missing child, she embarks on a search that takes her out of her comfort zone to question her chosen career, her abilities, and her belief system as she helps stricken parents find

closure.  Christine finds herself confused about her growing interest in Jeremy but she is distracted by the essence of evil that surrounds her.

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Christmas Gifts with a Purpose

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 20, 2014

Below is a wide selection of John 3:16 books to help you with your Christmas shopping.BEll.jpg
 
We have compared books that you may not have discovered
with more well-known books that have a similar style or flavor.
 
Enjoy perusing these 40 plus books which are linked to Amazon for easy purchase.

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And don’t forget,
Jesus is the reason for the season.
 
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Be sociable – please share.

Nonfiction

If you were helped by “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D….

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You will be helped even more by “The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity” by Carol A. Brown because of its Christian Perspective.

To learn more or to purchase, click here.

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Fiction

If you liked “The Lake of Dreams” by Kim Edwards…

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You will love “Crooked Lines” by Holly Michael.

To learn more or to purchase, click here.

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Memoir
If you liked “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom…
 

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You will love “Children of Dreams” by Lorilyn Roberts.
 
 

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Fiction

If you liked “Finding Rebecca” by Eoin Dempsey…


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You will love award-winning “The King, A Young Adult Fantasy” by Lorilyn Roberts, with its faith-based overtones.

Click here to learn more or to purchase. 

 

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Creative Nonfiction
If you liked “Two From Galilee: The Story of Mary and Joseph” by  Marjorie Holmes…

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You will love “Come to Me” by Laura J. Davis.

Click here to learn more or to purchase

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Fiction

If you liked “The Choice” by Nicholas Sparks…

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You will love “Meander Scar” by Lisa Lickel.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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Fiction

If you liked “True Believer” by Nicholas Sparks…

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You will love “Healing Grace” by Lisa Lickel.

Click here to learn more or to purchase. 

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Fiction
If you liked “The Hobbit” by JRR Tolkien…The_Hobbitt.jpeg

You will love “Prisoner of Reign” by Emma Right.

To learn more or to purchase, click here.

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Children – Fiction

If you liked “Frozen” by Random House Disney…

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You will love the “Princess Castle Adventure Mystery Series” by Emma Right.

To learn more or to purchase, click here.

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Fiction

If you liked “Redeeming Love” by Francene Rivers…

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You will love “The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman” by Carole Brown.

To learn more or to purchase, click here 

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Fiction

If you liked “Beguiled” by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand…

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You will love “With Music in Their Hearts” by Carole Brown.

To learn more or to purchase, click here. 

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Nonfiction

If you liked “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman…

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Then you will love “How to Restore Your Marriage and Fall in Love Again” by Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC.

To learn more or to purchase, click here. 

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Nonfiction

If you liked “The Prayer That Changes Everything” by Stormie O. Martin…

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Then you will love “God Restores” by Violet James, MSN.

To learn more or to purchase, click here. 

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Nonfiction

If you liked “Prayer” by Charles F. Stanley…

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You will love  “Feed Your Spirit – A Collection of Devotionals on Prayer” by Kimberley Payne.

To learn more or to purchase, click here.

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Nonfiction

If you liked “Reshaping It All” by Candace Cameron Bure…

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You will love “Women of Strength” by Kimberley Payne.

To learn more or to purchase, click here.

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Nonfiction

If you liked “Healing Path” by Dan Allender…

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You will love “From the Other Side of the Couch” by Judy Lair, LPCC.

To learn more or to purchase, click here. 

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Nonfiction

If you liked “Rees Howells Intercessor” by Norman Grubb…

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You will love “One Lamb Redeemed” by Shoshana Goldberg.

To learn more or to purchase, click here

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Fiction

If you liked “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell…

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Check out a great Christian equivalent that’s receiving rave reviews, “Summer’s Winter,” by Robin Johns Grant.

To learn more or to purchase, click here.

 

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Fiction

If you liked “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte…

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You will enjoy “Gatehaven” by Molly Bull with its Christian influence.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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Fiction

If you liked “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman…

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You will love “Spiralling Out of Control” by Michelle Dennis Evans.

Click here to purchase or learn more. 

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Fiction

If you liked “Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins…

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Don’t miss “Spiralling Out of the Shadow” by Michelle Dennis Evans.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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Fiction

If you liked “Mind’s Eye” by Douglas E. Richards…


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Then you will love “Wake the Dead” by Victoria Buck.

Click here to purchase or learn more. 

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Nonfiction

If you liked “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke” by Suze Orman…

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Check out this Christian alternative, “Financial Empowerment, Realign Your Finances to God’s Will” by Pamela Carmichael.

Click here to order or learn more.

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Fiction – Children

If you like “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis…

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You will love the award-winning book, “The King of the Trees,” by William D. Burt.

To order or to learn more, click here 

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Fiction – Children

If you liked “The Berenstain Bears’ God Made You Special” by Jan and Stan Berenstain…

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You will love “Tadeo Turtle” by Janis Cox.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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Fiction

If you liked “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford…

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You will love “Under the Silk Hibiscus” by Alice Wisler.Click here to order or learn more.

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FictionIf you liked “Truth Stained Lies” by Terri Blackstock…

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You should check out “Shadow Stalker” by Barbara Ann Derksen.Click here to learn more or purchase.

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NonfictionIf you liked “Experiencing God” by Richard and Henry Blackaby…

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You will love “Do You Know the Names of God?” by Paul Muinde.

Click here to learn more or to purchase. 

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FictionIf you liked “She’s in a Better Place” by Angela Hunt…

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You will love  “Lake Surrender” by Carol Grace Stratton.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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FictionIf you liked “Unlucky 13″ by James Patterson…

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You will love “Essence of Evil” by Barbara Ann Derksen.Click here to learn more or to purchase. 

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NonfictionIf you liked “Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen…

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You will love “When Will My Life Not Suck” by Ramon Presson.Click here to learn more or to purchase. 

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Fiction

If you liked “The Shack” by William P. Young…

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You will love “The Invitation” by Jim Edwards.Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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FictionIf you liked “Like Dandelion Dust” by Karen Kingsbury…

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You will love “The Grace Assignment” by Terri Nighswonger.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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Fiction

If you liked “Bourne Identity” by Robert Ludlum…

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You will love “Brother Half Angel” by Martin RothClick here to learn more or purchase. 

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FictionIf you liked “Batman” by Frank Miller…

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You will love “The Good Fight” by Matthew R. Horn.

Click here to learn more or to purchase. 

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FictionIf you liked “Watchmen” by Alan Moore…

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You will love “Nothing Good is Free” by Matthew R. Horn.Click here to learn more or to purchase.

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Fiction – ChildrenIf you liked “God Gave us Christmas” by Lisa Tawn Bergren…

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You will love “Santa’s Birthday Gift” by Sherrill S. CannonClick here to purchase or learn more.

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Fiction If you liked “Split Infinity” by Piers Anthony…

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You will love “Seventh Dimension – The Door” by Lorilyn RobertsClick here to purchase or learn more 

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NonfictionIf you liked “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young…

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You will love “Journaling with Jesus” by Carol Round.Click here to learn more or to purchase. 

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Nonfictionif you liked “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle…

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You will love “Prayer Never Fails” by Berney K. Dorton.

Click here to purchase or learn more. 


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FictionIf you liked “Indelible” by Karin Slaughter…

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You will love “One Smoothe Stone” by Marcia Laycock.Click here to purchase or learn more. 

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Read more at http://lorilynroberts.com/christmas.html#zg0d6I23mclXhQR0.99

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Electronic Friendships – Are They Enough?

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 19, 2014

It’s better for us to eat a Twinkie with a friend than to eat broccoli alone.” This is a quote I heard recently when studying the idea that God has created us with a connection requirement. Yet our world teaches us superficial love. We’ve become increasingly more self-reliant, depending on no one for anything as the electronic age puts distance between relationships.

IMG_2990Dr. Carolyn Anderson, an ophthalmic surgeon, entrepreneur, and speaker as well as a columnist, recorded some findings about friendship, the real face to face kind. I quote this from a recent blog. “One study found that people with the most friendships decreased their risk of early death by 60% over a nine year period; that people with a number of close friends live on average 7-8 years longer than those who don’t maintain strong social connections. Harvard Medical School found that the more friends a woman had, the less likely she was to develop physical impairments as she aged, and the more likely she was to lead a joyful life. The loss of a close friend is equivalent to the risk factor of smoking.”

 According to the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, a sense of being loved, cared for, and listened to fosters a sense of meaning and purpose, reduces stress-induced wear and tear on the body, and lowers heart rates, blood pressures, and stress hormones. Researchers estimate that, within a given time period, individuals who lack social networks are two to three times more likely to die from any cause than people who have lots of relatives and close friends.

 In a recent article on adult health by Mayo Clinic staff members, they stated that good friends prevent loneliness, increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost happiness, reduce stress, improve self-worth, help you cope with traumas such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one, and encourage a person to change unhealthy lifestyle habits such as excessive drinking and lack of exercise.

 In the book of Hebrews, chapter 10:24-25 we are admonished to encourage one another and in 1 Peter 4:7-8 we are called to love one another deeply. When God could very well read our minds, we are told to ask and seek Him for His answers to life’s problems. Relationship…God wants one with us and He wants us to have lots of relationships with others, especially those who are also His children. That’s why we should go to church, get involved, and even join a small group.

 Kids today send anywhere from 10-100 texts a day but rarely have a face to face conversation with anyone. Even the boy/girl bantering back and forth with young teens is superficial, done through texting. Medical research proves that we were created with a need for real friendships, real face to face encounters, and with the more people the better. Their research proves that “It’s better to eat a Twinkie with someone than to eat broccoli alone.

 

For further study: Matt.5:23-4; Rom.12:19-21; Philemon 1:8-9

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Sophie Dawson Sees the Life

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 18, 2014

Seeing The Life

Seeing The Life
By Sophie Dawson

About the Book

Seeing The Life is a look at the life of Yeshua the Christ in a way never used before. Dassa, the daughter of the innkeeper, is sent to fetch the midwife to help the young woman in the stable give birth. She and Mary become close friends as do Micah, her fiance then husband, and Joseph. Separated when the young family flees Bethlehem in the night, their friendship resumes several years later in Jerusalem.

Dassa and Micah know Yeshua is special, but he is still a boy with a boy’s interests and love of life. Through the years the families, though separated most of the year, spend time together in Jerusalem during the Jewish Festivals. Then Yeshua begins speaking and teaching.

Micah, Joseph of Arimethea, their sons and others who follow and believe Yeshua’s message. Yet do they really understand it? Is he the long awaited messiah who will free the Jews from the grip of Rome? What do the stories he tells really mean?

Seeing The Life sees the life of Yeshua within the social and political culture of the time. Not only do we see his ministry but also his family and friendships as he grew. Yeshua was a normal baby who cried, spit up, wet and messed. He was a child who fell and skinned his knees. He lost his baby teeth. He had siblings. He had friends. My goal was to show the humanness of Yeshua’s life. We see him as fully God but often miss that he was fully man, boy and baby also.

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

Sophie DawsonSophie Dawson is Midwestern born and bred and is the author of several novels, including the Cottonwood Series and Stone Creek Series. Her novel Healing Love has won three awards: AuthorStand 2012 Gold Medal, Indiebook 2012 Silver Medal, and Readers’ Favorite 2013 Silver Medal. Giving Love was a finalist in Readers’ Favorite 2013. Her books have also been #1 Best Sellers in their genre on Amazon. Seeing The Life is a finalist in Readers’ Favorite Awards 2014. She is a member of Christian Independent Authors and Association of Independent Authors. An award-winning quilter with eclectic interests, Dawson posts to several blogs, including Little Bits Blog on her website, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Iowa Wesleyan College.

Follow Sophie Dawson
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We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

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Conduits of Salt and Light

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 17, 2014

This morning I decided to look up the word conduit. In Webster’s online dictionary, a conduit is a pipe or channel for conveying fluids, such as water. Or it can be a tube or duct for enclosing electric wires or cable. A conduit is a means by which something is transmitted. For example, an arms dealer served as a conduit for intelligence data.

We might, if we were a teacher, be a conduit of information, or a conduit of academic excellence. A pastor is a conduit of spiritual excellence and information, if he is a good one, but he can also be a conduit of false teachings, if he chooses to step outside the Biblical accounts and teachings.

Have you ever seen yourself as a conduit? Do you allow something to flow through you into the lives of the people 0162eb710b86505ff4576c34d0f2372f14f0839b22around you? Jesus, in Matthew 5, in verses 13-16, tells us that we are the salt and light of the earth. He said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

Jesus expects us to allow Him to flow through us into the lives of the people with whom we come in contact, the people He places in our path. He wants us to be their seasoning, a preservative of His values. He wants us to allow his light, His Shekinah glory, to shine through us to allow others to see that we serve a living God who loves them. He wants others to see His glory in the work we do and the deeds we do for others because we love Him.

We are a conduit, if we are living as Christ asks us to. When we go into a dark place, people see us everywhere because we are a conduit of His light, and when others curb their language around us, we are a conduit of His values. Does that scare you? It should place upon you a great sense of responsibility…especially if you claim to be a Christian.

By our actions, we can be a conduit that turns people away from Jesus. If we choose to hide His light by acting inappropriately or by continuing to walk in the dark places, then we are a conduit of hypocrisy. If our language and actions are no different than those of the sinful people we hang with, we preserve nothing of Jesus’ values.

Take a moment to assess your life. Notice the times when you are the perfect conduit of Christ’s values and glory and then take notice of those times when you fail miserably. It’s at those times when He loves you the most as you kneel before Him, ask forgiveness, and strive to do better the next time. Today is the beginning of another opportunity to get it right. Go in the power of the Holy Spirit and shine.

For further study: Lev. 2:13; Mk.9:50; Luke 14:34

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Expect a Blessing

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 15, 2014

I looked up the word expectation in the dictionary and wasn’t surprised by what I found. Expectation is the act or the state of expecting, an expectant mental attitude, something we look forward to, or a prospect of a future good or profit. Christians have expectations. They expect honor, security, prosperity, and freedom from fear. These are called blessings and most believe that they come from God. However, there is a proviso.

014dfcbf4d57d779a3c1fed9b9f3c6122650909cdaIn verse one of Psalm 112, the Psalmist who remains anonymous says, “How joyful (blessed) are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.” (NLT) Actually, there are two provisos. If we EXPECT to receive blessings, then we must first fear the Lord or show Him due respect and position in our lives, and obey His commands. And these are only some of the blessings.

The picture that comes to mind when I think of expectation and blessing is one that women and men all over the world have experienced at one time or another in their life, a new baby. Whether naturally born or adopted, we call ourselves expectant parents as we look down the road toward that moment when we will hold that little bundle in our arms. We forget all the pain, weight gain, hoops we’ve leaped through, everything, when we finally have the blessing in front of us. At that moment, our expectations are everything we envisioned. Aren’t they?

Can you see blessing as finished joy in this context? I can and I did, with every child that we were given and one that we will meet in heaven. Blessings from God make us feel as if we’ve been showered with His assurance that we’re on the right track. But it is a direct result of our deep commitment to Him and what He asks of us. Little bundles of joy, in the humanly realm, didn’t just happen. We had to be committed, and follow some guidelines in order to produce or receive a healthy child.

Sometimes we expect God to gift us with His blessings just because we exist. We shake our fist when our expectations are not met. Yet we’ve done nothing to fulfill our part of the covenant.

Jesus tells us we are blessed in many situations that, if someone should ask, we wouldn’t consider a blessing at all. But, when we look at the alternative, and how our walk with God could be affected, we see how blessed we are in our circumstances. It’s all about eternity, and relationship. If we have assurance of an eternal home with Jesus because we’ve asked Him to be top priority in our lives, and we’re building a relationship with God, so we walk closely with Him, then we have been blessed indeed

Blessing.

For further study: Rom. 8:19; Phil.1:20; Heb. 10:27

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Trials Now, Blessings Later

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 12, 2014

Charles Stanley, in his Handbook for Christian Living, stated, “Becoming a child of God will cost you nothing because it cost Christ everything. However, becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ could possibly cost a great deal.” In the book of Luke, chapter 6, verses 20-23, Jesus is talking to his disciples. He turns to them and says, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, fo012ed652ac7682fffbf785e841d66e82ac0a76355dr in due time you will laugh. What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.  When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.” (NLT)

What does it mean to be a disciple? Jesus was giving these instructions to His disciples and He doesn’t sugarcoat it. He doesn’t make discipleship sound as if it is a bed of roses. Does He? Charles Stanley continues by saying, “Being a disciple – or follower – of Jesus Christ is essentially this: when your desire and God’s desire are in conflict, you go with what God wants.” He calls this battle a daily occurrence and I’m guessing, for many, a minute by minute occurrence sometimes.

The Beatitudes, both here in Luke and in Matthew, are a blueprint for right living, for being a disciple. These verses give us a clear indication about what Christ expects of us and on first inspection, these seem like rules that are nearly impossible to live by consistently. However, I suspect that Christ knew this and that’s why He left us the Holy Spirit to help us along.

No one wants to be poor and yet I can’t help but marvel at the strong faith people in third world countries have in comparison to the majority of people in North America. They have nothing and we have everything. People do not seek to be hungry or to hurt so badly that weeping becomes a daily way of life. Yet, Jesus reminds those who are in these circumstances, that things will not always be this way. The poor will inherit the kingdom of God, the hungry will be fed, and those who weep will be comforted. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ may have some hard times but one day, it will be a time of celebration.

Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Do you set aside your wants and desires to follow the path God has planned for you from the time you were born? Has your life begun to reflect God’s will more often than it used to? One day you’ll look back and wonder why some of your desires were all that important because following Jesus, living as His disciple, has become the most meaningful life you could imagine. Gather closer to Christ. Walk where He wants you to walk and watch out. Life could get interesting.

For further study: Gen.12:3; Deut.7:13; Ps. 29:11; Rom.10:12

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Attitude Adjustment

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 10, 2014

The Beatitudes (Be Attitudes)

Matthew 5

 

01b7684b395f9efe1256f9a389ae43a5783932aee93 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

The book of Matthew, chapter five, begins the greatest sermon ever preached, as far as I’m concerned. In this chapter and all the way to the end of chapter seven, God gives us clear direction on how we are to live our lives as Christians. He covers a plethora of topics, leaving no doubt that He loves us and wants only the best for us. But He also wants us to share His love with other people.

He begins by using the term BLESSED. This is a term used to tell us that those whom He considers blessed, He affirms. We are blessed because we practice wise living based on the verses from the Sermon which, as I’ve said, is a practical guide for righteous living. BLESSED means finished joy.

The words in the beginning of chapter five, referred to as the Beatitudes, are intended to comfort suffering believers. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who are down, depressed, or frustrated. How often have you thought of a wayward child, a sister who shows you nothing but distain because you are a believer and felt as if God was letting you down? He says that’s when we are BLESSED. We sorrow for another human but consider God.

We are BLESSED when we mourn, when we are humble but still seek God and all His righteousness. The pure in heart will see God and as they show mercy to others, mercy will be shown to them. We are BLESSED when we work to keep peace and we are BLESSED when we are persecuted because we adhere to the belief that Jesus is real and we love Him.

Can you think of a time when you’ve mourned for a loved one who does not walk in God’s footsteps? Do you sit quietly when others brag about their riches and achievements knowing that you have the greatest gift of all but they aren’t listening?  Do you thirst for more of God every day? Is your heart pure, protected from the evils around you and do you show mercy toward others?

Matthew, chapter five tells us that we will be comforted, shown mercy, and inherit the kingdom of God. We will see God and be called His sons and daughters. That is why we are BLESSED, why we have finished joy when the world looks on us as deluded, bigots, and hatemongers.

Revelation 3, verse nine, says that someday, everyone will know that He loves us. For now, though, we need just remember that we are BLESSED, no matter the circumstances in our lives. We can wait for the rest, for the best is yet to come.

For further study: Ps. 2:12; Ps.32:2; Ps.33:12; Luke 1:48; James 1:12

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Deep Holy Spirit Breathing

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on November 8, 2014

Not too long ago, an older gentleman informed my husband about the healing properties of breathing deeply. He said that you don’t need to breathe like this all the time, but taking a few deep breaths periodically throughout the day helps you absorb more oxygen. More oxygen means your body can work better and you’ll feel better both mentally and physically.

The research shows that a steady practice of correct breathing is simply a good way to cope with everyday life: It will 018fe9c70766ae16ce92b7971dfdad339a35197d1cincrease your energy levels after a tiring day at the office, help you be more alert even without a caffeine fix, and will help you focus better when everything seems to be happening at once. Deep breathing can improve blood circulation so that your bones and muscles get more nutrients, reduce your symptoms of stress, especially when you feel like your heart is racing a mile a minute, and it can relieve pain.

This is some good information, especially for those of us who have a computer at the end of our fingertips for most of the day. We sit crunched over the machine, taking shallow breaths with our diaphragms compacted and our shoulders slumped. But what about the other breathing that is so necessary to our vocation as Christian writers? The Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:25 (NLT) says, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

If we truly are living, working, and communing with the Holy Spirit of God every day, how do we access His power, His comfort, His direction? A few years back, I listened to a speaker talk about Holy Spirit Breathing. He spoke about the practice of breathing in as we ask the Holy Spirit to take over total control of our lives and then to breathe out all the other things that we’ve placed in that position.

For instance, who makes the decision when you get up in the morning about what you want to accomplish that day? Do you or do you ask the Spirit to direct you or, for those of us who are writers, to direct our words. I love to spend time with my morning devotions before I sit at the computer because I know that the words will flow better and the thought processes will have clarity if I’ve taken a holy breather. However, there are days…

I stumble out of bed, grab a quick cup of coffee, and settle in, even before I’ve gotten dressed. I get bogged down with social networks, bill paying, invoices, and snail mail. The phone rings or the doorbell chimes and I have to scramble to get some clothes on before the caller leaves. That is not a day controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. There is no peace, and certainly no clarity of thought.

Holy Spirit breathing is something we can do no matter where we are. It’s simply acknowledging that the Holy Spirit has the podium. He sits on the throne of your life, not on the footstool. Like breathing deeply, injecting our body with life-saving oxygen, breathing in the Holy Spirit daily, sometimes more than once, refreshes, relaxes, and gives us peace beyond our imagination. Let Him lead and the dance will be smoother, more graceful, and your audience will be thrilled.

For further study: Rom.8:14; Gal.5:18; 1 John 3:7

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