Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday Devotion: Complete Salvation

Keona Tann | @ICFWriters

In Luke 22:19 Jesus asked His disciples to partake in communion in remembrance of Him:

“And when He had taken bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke ‭22:19‬ ‭Amplified)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

There were so many things that Jesus could have asked His disciples to remember Him for. But He wanted them to take communion with Him, to remember that moment, the moment that was the start of the cross.

We are given powerful access to Jesus when we remember the cross. There is power in declaring the complete work of the cross, for the cross is the centre of victory:

The process that Jesus endured was one that gives us access to complete salvation:

Jesus secured emotional healing in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus went there to pray and He cried out: “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke‬ ‭22:42 NLT‬‬‬

More explanation is provided of just how distressed Jesus was, in verse 44 Jesus is described as being in agony; deeply distressed; and anguished. It even states in the Amplified version that Jesus was “almost to the point of death”. He prayed with such deep intensity that “his sweat became like drops of blood, falling down onto the ground.” (Luke‬ ‭22: 44‬ ‭NIV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬

You might be able to relate to Jesus’ feelings because you might be there right now, in that place of despair. Can I encourage you grasp hold of these words:

I’m overwhelmed right now, Lord let Your will be done.

I’m facing an impossible situation, please Lord let Your will be done.

I can’t see a way forward, Lord let Your will be done.

We have mental healing because of the crown of thorns that Jesus bore as described in Matthew‬ ‭27:29‬a (NIV): the guards “twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.” ‬‬‬

But more importantly we are healed because Jesus is now “crowned with glory and honor” as declared in Hebrews‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭(NIV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬

Our physical healing and wholeness comes from the physical punishment Jesus endured, this is described in Isaiah‬ ‭53:5‬: Jesus was wounded for my transgressions; He was crushed because of my wickedness; my sins and my wrongdoings were his undoing. Jesus was pierced because of my rebellion. The punishment that should fall upon me was taken by Jesus. He was beaten so that I could be whole. He was whipped so that I could be healed. Because of what my precious Savior Jesus endured, I can boldly declare: ‘by His stripes and wounds I am healed and made whole!’ (Amplified version paraphrased).‬‬‬

Our spiritual healing comes from the complete work of the cross, when he cried upon the cross: ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30), it was a declaration that the price was paid for our sins. It was a declaration that the enemy’s grip upon us was broken! It was a declaration that Jesus holds the victory. Philippians‬ ‭2:9-11‬ declares that God elevated Him to the place of highest honour. Jesus’ name is the name above all names. At the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow and every single tongue will declare that He is Lord. All for the glory of God the Father. (NLT paraphrased)‬‬‬

Romans‬ ‭8:11 declares that the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead. We are promised that the very same spirit resides in us, therefore giving life to our bodies! God’s Spirit of Resurrection breathes life into us. (NLT paraphrased)‬‬‬

Now that’s a very complex and wonderful promise and something that is hard to comprehend but If we can truly grasp the complete work of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection, I know it will be life changing!

If we live our lives walking in the victory of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection, I know we can change the world around us.

I pray that this Easter you can reflect on the complete work of the cross. I pray that you can find time to thank Jesus, the triumphant and conquering Lamb, the Lord of lords and King of kings (Revelation 17:14).

Here is a prayer that you can you boldly pray today:

Precious Jesus, thank You so very much for the sacrifice You made for me. Thank You for the extravagant love You displayed.

Jesus, I declare boldly over my life that I have received complete salvation. I am emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually healed because You are my Saviour.

Jesus, I thank You for Your precious blood that You so willingly shed for me. I ask that You would cleanse me afresh and fill me with Your amazing grace and transforming love. Lord let Your will be done in every area and aspect of my life.

Thank You Jesus. All glory and honour to You forever and ever, Amen!

Many blessings, Keona

About Keona:

I’ve lived most of my life in Tasmania, which is one of the beautiful Australian states. Deliriously happily married to my college sweetheart for over 20 years, we consider ourselves extremely blessed to be raising 2 wonderful teenagers. Hubby and I have also been long time child sponsors with Compassion so we have overseas kids!

I struggled with illness and disease for most of my life. The biggest battles were: endometriosis for 28 years and adrenal/chronic fatigue which was severe for 28 months. In September 2016 healing was declared over my life, praise God, this set me on a path of deep inner healing, restoration and transformation. My passion to write was reignited and I wrote out a mission statement:

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

I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding.

In my new-found boldness I’ve started a weekly blog which you can find at:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wandering Wednesday - El Paso, Texas & Campo Bom, Brazil ;)

By Patricia Beal | @bealpat 

Hi! Nice to see the writing world beyond editingville.

For the past four months, all I’ve done is edit Desert Willow (formerly known as The Song of the Desert Willow—I edited the title too).

Today I want to take you to some of the places in the novel.

Desert Willow began as a NaNoWriMo in March project back in 2014 and now finally received a much-needed rewrite and edit. It's been on submission before, but it's new and better. My new agent will be reading it in April and then we will see what we want to do next.

This rewrite and edit-again process is so familiar to me. My debut, A Season to Dance, went through seven years of that. One day I will write a novel the easy way—should there be such a thing.

Without further ado, let's wander :) 

Here's the blurb:

Clara Malone is a new college graduate who puts her job-hunting on hold to travel to Texas and deliver her grandmother’s last love letter before the woman’s impending death. Andrew Lee James is a young Army captain whose first shot at love and marriage imploded on the steps of a West Point chapel during graduation week.

When the letter’s recipient, General Mario Medeiros, is delayed in Germany with a weak heart, Andrew is put in charge of Clara’s well-being. Andrew wants to tell off the woman who left him at the altar but now wants him back. If Clara would look at him with the slightest bit of interest, maybe he could. But three generations of women in her family were betrayed and ruined by Army men. Sure, he is handsome and looks just like Prince Harry. But she didn’t date soldiers—not anymore.

Surrounded by cactus flowers she never thought possible and desert willows that sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara soon finds herself enjoying her time with Andrew more than she should, and as a delay that was supposed to last a few days turns into weeks, she is offered a temporary job she can’t turn down.

Could it be that her mission at Fort Bliss is what she needs to understand her family’s painful history, learn to love them as they are, and chart a hopeful future? It is possible. But a blast from the past threatens to get her off track.

Behind the scenes:

I enjoy this story so much. It has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil before WWII, the beginning of the shoe industry there (still famous worldwide, with women’s shoes always available at stores like Neiman Marcus), the life of the richest family in town, the most influential man (my great grandfather), his death, loss, change. It’s a fascinating slice of history that I hope to share with readers soon.

And then the contemporary story of Clara is fun to write because I’ve worked for the U.S. Army on-and-off since the nineties and have been an Army wife for more than twelve years. There are tons of neat details of Army life to share. This could easily be book one of a series.

Clara and Andrew are fun to write too because I created them in 2015, so by now, I know them well. And I love the antagonist. I should write her story one day. I think I cried for that woman for five whole chapters toward the end.

Emma Stone would be Clara in the movie version ;) Pinterest image.

And Prince Harry would be U.S. Army Captain Andrew Lee James :) Pinterest image.

But I think that what I enjoy the most is making all the connections, showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply. It’s how life works, I believe. To be able to hold all that history in three hundred plus pages, massaged and shaped, can be astonishing and transformational.

Growing up in New Hamburg, Brazil.

The city of Campo Bom continues to honor my great-grandfather and the families that put the city on the map. Here I am with my mom, grandma and uncle.

The city created a great cultural space in the heart of the city to preserve its history:

With my grandma at the top of the monument's chimney. The chimney of her dad's factory was the clock by which city life happened. 

Desert Willow

I hope you enjoyed this slice of family history and this look around my writing desk.

Love y’all. See you next time :)

About Patricia

Patricia Beal has danced ballet her whole life. She is from Brazil and fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald's in Indianapolis. She put herself through college working at a BP gas station and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature. She then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years.

She now writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2017). A Portuguese translation will be out in her native Brazil in late 2018 via Editora Pandorga. Patricia is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Bookish Tuesday: Food, Glorious Food

by Jeanette O'Hagan

But seriously, everyone in Akrad’s Children eats it and it sounds delicious.  

I had to chuckle when I saw this review on Akrad's Children - not because seeing new reviews brings a smile of pure happiness to my face (mostly); okay not only because I love seeing new reviews, but because it was such a great way to start a review. And it got me thinking about memorable mentions of food in books I love.

After all, food tells us so much about the characters, the setting, the occasion. It grounds us in the story, gives us warm feelings and makes our mouth water (or our stomach curdle).

One of my short stories starts this way:
Dana snatched a food packet and shoved it into the rehydrator, keying in the sequence.
Not a mouth-watering meal perhaps, but in one sentence we've learnt something about Dana, about where she is likely to be, about the genre of the story.

Are you surprised to learn the title is Space Junk* and that this is a science-fiction story?

So what are some memorable food moments in literature that you remember?  Here are some of mine.

Blueberries in The Palace Thief, Ruhanna's Flight and other stories

Oliver Twist 

Who can forget in the book and the film, when Oliver draws the short straw.
"Please, sir, I want some more."

With only three small bowlfuls of oatmeal gruel per day, an onion twice a week and a bread roll on Sunday, the boys in the workhouse are ravenous. The empty bowl; Oliver's pale, wane face; the outrage on the well-fed master's face says it all. We feel Oliver's hungry and wonder how anyone could treat children this way. (Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens) 

Anne of Green Gables

Do you remember Marilla's famous raspberry cordial which poor Anne (unaware that it's alcoholic) gives to her best friend Diane in a wonderful tea party full of cake and cherry preserves. The results are catastrophic. Diane greedily guzzles three glasses and goes home tipsy. Her mother is rightly incensed and bans her daughter from ever seeing Anne again. Anne learns a hard lesson, but luckily for the bosom friends, Mrs Barry eventually relents. (Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery)

Lucy Pevensie in Narnia

Two food scenes stays with me in C S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  - one is Lucy's brother Edmond gobbling down the wicked White Witch's enchanted Turkish Delight. Her flattering words, false promises, his own jealousies, and the addictive sweetmeat all lure him into betraying Aslan, his siblings and all of Narnia.

In contrast, there is the cosy meal Tumnus the fawn offers Lucy- lightly boiled eggs, sardines of toast, honey on toast, sugar-topped cake. While this did seem a bit ordinary to my seven-year old self (but probably not to war-torn rationed Brits), I loved the homeliness of the meal. For sure, Tumnus was attempting to lull Lucy to sleep so he could hand her over to the White Witch, but he repents and he risks his life to save hers.

Two meals, two temptations, two different outcomes.

Hobbits and Elves

As a teen devouring J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, I loved the idea of Lembas - the Elven waybread (a gift to Frodo and his companions from the Lady of Lothlorien). It was wrapped in leaves, nutritious, long-lasting, and delicious - and sustained Frodo and Sam on their epic journey into the horrors of Mordor in their quest to save the world. The gifts of friendship and fellowship make their heroic deeds possible.

And then there is the feast Bilbo unwillingly provided to his unexpected guests of twelve dwarves and Gandalf at the start of The Hobbit. Bilbo's pantry seemed endless, full of cakes, and cold meats, and tasty delights, though by the end of the night, it was pretty much empty - and Bilbo found himself going on an adventure into the unknown. The hilarious scenes tells us a lot about dwarves - and hobbits - and the need at times to let go of our familiar comforts.

Mina Improvises

In Stephen Lawhead's Skin Map (Bright Empire series), Mina is separated from Kit Livingstone and is lost in an alternative earth, in seventeenth century Bohemia. Fortunate for her, she meets up with a baker and together they create the best (and only) coffee shop in Prague with delectable pasties. While her talents languish in the ordinary world, the new situation brings out her ingenuity and grit.

Ruhanna's Flight

And before I leave, I'd love to share another food scenes from my recent release Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.

In the first story Ruhanna's Flight* - Ruhanna prepares for her father's homecoming with a gift - and a special meal.

From the little kitchen came tantalising smells fit for the palace in Silantis. Mariam had surpassed herself with Baba’s favourite dishes—turtle and seaweed soup, baked fish, baby tomatoes and sea-sage, oysters and rock crays with a creamy dill sauce, stuffed quails and fresh wave-berries with yarma cheese to finish off. Everything was ready by late morning.

Ruhanna sank down on a cushion in the reception room, stroking the carved albatross on Baba’s box, and waited.
I have fun thinking up food appropriate for the different people and places in my fiction.

What meals do you remember in your favourite books? I'd love you to share them in the comments.

* Space Junk - first published in Mixed Blessings: Genre-lly Speaking (Breath of Fresh Air Press, 2016), also included in Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.
* Ruhanna's Flight first published in Glimpes of Light (edited by Jeanette O'Hagan and Nola Passmore: By the Light Books, 2015), and also included in Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.

Giveaway  Ruhanna's Flight and other stories

Ruhanna's Flight and other stories by Jeanette O'Hagan (By the Light Books, 6 March 2018)

Tales of wonder, romance, adventure - dip into the world of Nardva with this exciting collection of stories. It includes Ruhanna's Flight,  Before the Wind, Heart of the Mountain, The Herbalist's Daughter, Moonflame, Rendezvous at Alexgaia and many other stories. A delightful introduction to Jeanette O'Hagan's fantasy world of engaging characters and stirring adventures.

Available from

Jeanette O'Hagan is giving away a e-book copy of Ruhanna's Flight and other stories. To enter the giveaway, on this post and/or ICFW's March New Releases post on March 19. Receive two entries in the drawing by commenting on both posts. I'll draw a winner from the comments on Saturday, March 30.

Jeanette recently published a collection of fantasy and sci-fi Nardvan stories, Ruhanna's Flight and other stories. She started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of eight or nine. She enjoys writing secondary world fiction, poetry, blogging and editing.

Her Nardvan stories span continents, time and cultures. They involve a mixture of courtly intrigue, adventure, romance and/or shapeshifters and magic users. She has published numerous short stories, poems, two novellas and her debut novel, Akrad's Children.

Connect with her: website | facebook | pinterest | twitter

Friday, March 23, 2018

DEVOTION: Consider Him

By Leila Halawe | @Lhalawe

I was reading a devotional the other day and I came across this verse: 

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls - Hebrews 12:3 (NKJV)

As I sat and pondered the verse, my eyes kept going back to the first few words: For consider Him. 

Consider Him

As I sat there staring at the words, I asked myself how often I consider Him. Really consider Him, not just say some quick thanks for the day and for my food and for safety. But really stop and consider Jesus.

How often do I stop and consider Him who created me? That question led me to stop and really take stock of all the things I know about God. Like the fact that He created the heavens and the earth. And the fact that it is Him who makes the sun go up each day. Or the fact that He was the one who placed every star in the sky and calls each one by name.

How often do I stop and consider that He knew me before I was born? When I stop and think about how often I consider Him who left heaven and came down to earth to walk among us and show us the way to heaven, I realise that I don’t stop to consider Him as often as I should. I don’t stop often enough and consider Him who took my burdens and shame on His shoulders; who went to the Cross as an atonement for my sins, and was tortured so that I would not have to deal with the consequences of our actions. I realised that I don’t spend enough time considering Him who lay in darkness for 3 days before He was raised to life again; He that defeated death so that it would lose its sting over my life. Him, who sits on the right hand of our Father in Heave advocating for me so that I can draw closer to God and have eternity with Him in Heaven. I don’t know about you, but I realised that I spend far too much time considering other things, and nowhere near enough time considering the One who loved me so much that He sent His Son for me.

In the coming days, most of us will start to stop and think about Easter. We will think about that needs to be done; the gatherings and meals and services. We will stop and celebrate the victory we have in His resurrection. But let’s also stop to really consider Him and all that He has done. Not just His place on the Cross in exchange for us, which still baffles my mind, but let’s sit at His feet and consider all He has done for us; the miracles we have seen. The provision He has provided. The kindness He has shown us over and over and over again. The favour He has poured out over us. Let’s stop and consider the blessing it is to know Jesus; to intimately know the One that was there before the foundations of time. The blessing and joy it is to be known by the Creator of Heaven and earth and know that He knows us by name. And as we consider Him, let’s lift up our eyes and our hearts and sing praises to the One who deserves all the honour and praise and worship. May your Easter season be one of love and peace and sweet communion with God.

*This post was cross posted at Looking In

Leila (Lays) Halawe is a Sydney based coffee loving nonfiction writer and blogger. She has published a short devotional, Love By Devotion, and shares her views on life and faith via her blog page Looking In . You can connect with her via Facebook at Leila Halawe Author  and via Twitter at Leila Halawe.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Roller Coasters, Readers and Resilience

by Elizabeth Musser @EMusserAuthor 

The UPS man just delivered five boxes to my door. Four I was expecting, but the fifth was bigger and heavier and not something I had ordered. When I looked at the return address, it came from The Netherlands. 

Suddenly I had a very good idea of what was inside, and, I was right.  

Five hardback copies of my newest novel, The End of Myself. In Dutch.

I held them up, delighted with the cover, the fact that they were hardback. Thankful.  

But once again, I was moving forward in a very convoluted, backwards way. 

I write my novels in English. For the past twenty-something years, they have come out in English, and also in Dutch, German, French and Norwegian. In an ideal world, I would have them all available first in English. But my journey has never been quite ‘normal’. My third novel came out in German first, then Dutch, then Norwegian and then, twelve years later, in English. My last three have come out in Dutch first, then German, then Norwegian and eventually, hopefully, in English. 

I have found that a writer’s life is rarely ‘normal.’ Most of us have some pretty good stories to tell about how we got into this business and how we’ve stayed afloat. 

I call the writing life a roller-coaster of emotions which often includes many of the following list: a stack of rejection letters, the first contract, a royalty report showing less than stellar sales, a great review, a rotten review, a lost publisher, a new publisher, an international publisher, a publisher going out of business, a bestseller, a change in editors, a self-published book. The twists and turns are as numerous as a ride on a roller coaster or the plot of a suspense novel. 

This drama goes on behind the scenes, away from our readers, and it can be very draining. But then, thank heavens, we have you, our readers. What would we writers do without you? We’d be unemployed! In this age of social media and e-books, writers can more easily connect with readers, who may be spread all over the world. Dear readers, never doubt the blessing you bring an author by sending a Facebook or Twitter post or an email or handwritten letter telling how her novel has touched your life. 

Sometimes we even get to meet you in person. 

 As I held that hardback copy of my latest novel in Dutch, I was preparing to speak at several book clubs, a women’s club, a church event and a library. Getting to meet a reader in flesh and bone even as she whispers her story of being encouraged and entertained through my novel delights me. 

I often say that every time I sign a book, it’s like getting a hug from the Lord. 

He has allowed me the great privilege and joy of using my gift to bless others. I think most writers would agree with me:  hearing from and meeting readers encourages us, fuels our creativity, helps beef up our resilience to face the next uphill climb or downward plummet on the roller coaster. And so, on behalf of all my writer friends, I say to our readers, “Thanks for coming along for the ride!” 

About Elizabeth Musser


ELIZABETH MUSSER usually writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe. To be closer to family, the Mussers have moved back to the Southeast for 2017-2018 school year and are living in the Chattanooga area near their son, daughter-in-law and three grandkids. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.