Monday, August 20, 2018

International Christian Fiction - New Releases | August 2018



Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar


First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption—the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.

After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future—and very lives—hanging in the balance.

When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.

Be transported back in time by this gripping tale of adventure, bravery, and redemption, and discover why Debbie Macomber says, “No one brings the Bible to life like Tessa Afshar.”

Available at Amazon.com



The Stone of my Accusers by Tracy Groot


You’re the one, Nathaniel had said. You go and tell her, “No stones.”

Rivkah knows her own sin all too well. She knows the prophets’ judgments against women like her—and still believes that prostitution doesn’t even compare to the most secret and shameful incident of her past. Not even her best friend knows what she did. Only God knows.

Determined to make her way to Caesarea Maritima to confront the mother of her beloved Nathaniel, Jorah has no time to consider the rumors she hears of her brother Jesus’ resurrection. She’ll stop at nothing to get the answers she needs.

A former Zealot, Joab is wrestling with delivering a message to a woman named Rivkah—a message that challenges everything he ever believed. A message from her son . . . “No stones.”

Available from Amazon.com

Friday, August 17, 2018

Pray and Wait

Lorraine Hossington | @lorrainehossing




God wants us to come to him in prayer. He wants a close relationship with his children, and the longer we spend with him the closer our relationship will become.

Persevering in Prayer

Luke 18:1-5 (NIV) The Parable of the Persistent Widow

In this parable we see how this widow would not give up! She kept coming back and asking for her plea to be granted, she wanted justice against her adversary and finally wore the judge down. And she was granted what she asked for.

When we have a prayer request we should keep asking. An example is of a friend of mine. She came to know the Lord after she married. Her husband didn’t want to know anything about God and refused to believe in him. She and a friend whose husband didn’t believe, began to meet regularly every week to fast and pray together. Asking that their husbands would come to know Jesus. It took seventeen years before my friend’s husband became a believer in Jesus Christ. And shortly afterward her friend’s husband came to know the Lord.

Those years weren’t easy ones, yet they persisted and wouldn’t give up. If you are praying for someone and feel as though you are getting no where let me encourage you to keep on praying. Be like the persistent widow who refused to go away and kept coming back and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Waiting for Answer to Prayer.

A friend described prayer as a traffic light.

Red: This is when we are praying.

Yellow: This is when we are waiting for our prayer to be answered.

Green: This is when we have received our answer and we can go forward.

It’s wonderful when we get the green go sign. Not so good when we are in the yellow and having to wait for our answer. This can be so difficult, we want to know now! God is never to late or too early, but always on time with his answers.

Acts 16:22-35 Paul and Silas in Prison

Praying and Worship

Imagine being flogged and then having your feet put in the stocks. This is what Paul and Silas endured. Then having gone through all of this to start singing and praising God. In our lives we have times of testing and trials. When this happens it is a difficult and challenging time, and as the storm rages around us we can feel depressed and start to feel worn down. This is when we need to focus on God and pray our way through the turmoil in our lives. It’s a hard thing to do. Sometimes it makes us feel as though we just want to give up.

1Peter 5:6-10 (NIV)

Verse 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


God cares about every detail in our lives and he wants us to give all of our frustration and pain to him. He wants to hear about what we are going through. He longs for that deeper relationship with us. If we can go to that quiet place and talk with him and listen to what he says to us. He will see us through the storm. At one time I was going through so much hurt and pain that I couldn’t even pray. Then I went to a place in the quiet countryside for a few days. As I sat in my room overlooking the sea I began to see God’s amazing creation and how much beauty he had created. Then slowly his peace washed over me, I knew that even though I couldn’t pray or worship him he knew what I was going through, and he would be with me all the way through it. And he stayed with me all the way through the storm, and he will be there with you. Be encouraged and keep praying God will never leave or forsake us. He is always with us.

Lorraine Hossington lives in the Gower Peninsular in Wales. She writes contemporary Christian Fiction. And loves nature and being able to see the wild ponies and sheep on the hills in the area she lives in. As she used to live in the city, but loves where God has put her in the country.
Twitter @lorrainehossing Facebook Lorraine Hossington

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Tree That Bore Too Much Fruit

By Elizabeth Musser @EMusserAuthor 





When I was writing The Long Highway Home, one of my very favorite Persian proverbs was this:


Oh, how that proverb made my heart sing, and I found it profoundly true.

Usually. Hopefully.

In our lives as Christ followers, we long to ‘bear fruit’, by doing the ‘good works’ He’s chosen for us before time to bring Him glory. But sometimes it takes a long time—maybe even a lifetime—to be humble enough to ‘bend ourselves thankfully to the ground.’

Sometimes it takes months or years or decades to get over ourselves and realize to Whom we owe our gratitude. 


I recently attended my 40th high school reunion. Since I live out of the country, I don’t have the opportunity to attend many reunions, but I’ve been to a few, enough to have been able to say after this one, “Well, we’ve finally gotten over ourselves. As we approach sixty, we are, for the most part, more self-aware and less out to impress.”

This has been true of my experience in ministry and in writing.

Early on, I tried so very hard to produce fruit. 


These were the two things I could do, and I had to prove that I could do them well. For the Lord, of course. I literally wore myself out, trying on my own strength, and failing, until I learned to come humbly before the Lord and trust Him for the results.

So now, when there is fruit, I know, I KNOW, Who to thank, and it isn’t myself. I love that visual of a branch, laden with fruit, hanging toward the ground, so that even the little fingers of children could pluck a piece of the tree’s juicy fruit.


But something that happened in our yard recently forced me to ask this question: Can we at times bear too much fruit? 


My husband and I returned to our home outside Lyon, France after having been in the States for over ten months. We had a wonderful young couple renting our home. They kept the house in great shape, and they mowed the yard when necessary, but we didn’t ask them to prune our fruit trees. We figured, with three young children, both the husband and wife had enough to do without worrying about our trees. So we came back to an immaculate house and an overgrown yard.

Last week as I was blithely typing in my little writing chalet, a tool shed that sits in our front yard, I heard a strange noise. I stepped outside the chalet to listen. It sounded like a squirrel or some other animal was frolicking in one of our little apple trees.

But we don’t have squirrels in this part of France. And the only things that tend to frolic are birds and bees. But this noise was of leaves rustling and apples jingling and then a crunch. I walked over to the tree, careful not to step under it. Upon closer inspection, no animal or insect was bothering our dear little tree. She had another problem that was, unfortunately, much worse. One of her biggest branches was breaking off because it was overladen with apples, hundreds of apples on this one branch. Little by little it groaned and gave way, the branch bending ever more towards the ground, although I do not believe the tree felt thankful. She was literally having a limb ripped off because of too much fruit.

We hadn’t been here to prune her back in the right season and she, bless her sweet soul, had just done her job as best she could: producing apples. Now it looked like she had done her job too well. Indeed, my husband sadly had to come and cut off the branch where it was irreparably broken.


I wonder if sometimes, as we strive to serve our Lord, we are in danger of producing too much fruit?


We serve and we give and we bear the burdens of others and we keep on going, ignoring our bodies’ plea for Sabbath rest. We become overworked, but often we tend to ignore self-care which in time leads to broken branches and burn out. We dodge our Master’s pruning shears, avoiding them at all costs.

Until…

The bough breaks.

We need the Lord to cut us back and often that involves calling us to slow down. While wearing myself out in ministry and writing, I became very ill. I felt the Lord’s pruning shears as I was forced to rest. But I learned invaluable lessons about life rhythms and seasons and Sabbath.

May we take heed and allow our dear and perfect Gardener to cut us back. May we abide in Him and soak up the perfect rest for our souls that He offers. So we will bend, but not break. 


 “I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit…” John 15: 1-2

About Elizabeth 

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Her new novel, The Long Highway Home, has already been a bestseller in Europe and is a finalist for the Carol Awards.

For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe with International Teams, now called One Collective. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.


 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Light Within Me

Rita Stella Gailieh | @RitaSGalieh


Front Cover Photo - Brian M Tully
I have just this week finished reading an inspirational memoir of a lovely lady who happens to be an anchor on the morning breakfast TV show, Fox & Friends.

We often watch this TV show at about 9pm EST and have always appreciated Ainsley Earhardt's warm personality.

The words of some of her contemporaries tell it all:

    "Very few public figures would ever be willing to be vulnerable and real by sharing their innermost thoughts and secrets. In The Light Within me, Ainsley does just that revealing the true secret of her success - her deep faith in God."
    --- SEAN HANNITY
Fox News Channel television host and nationally syndicated radio host

    "If you are looking for a refreshing and uplifting account of a person who has found success without losing her bearings, this is it. Ainsley invites us to meet the people who shaped her, the principles that sustain her, and most of all, the faith that grounds her. In a day when so many public figures struggle to maintain balance, her story is a welcome breath of fresh air."
   --- MAX LUCADO, pastor and author

 I enjoyed reading about her passion for journalism and how much she was tested. But in that long road to the top, she maintained her dedication through plain hard work - never giving up. She is so open the way she shares those low moments many of us go through and the challenge of being a working mother.

At the White House -  Photo, Brain M Tully
Tim Tebow, a professional athlete, shares her secret. "Among other things, Ainsley is passionate about her relationship with Jesus."

I also believe such openness is God honoring and her reliance of the Lord for her strength really resonated with me. Reading the highs and lows of her story is a real inspiration for readers and writers alike.





BIO:
Australian Historical Romance novelist, Rita Stella Galieh, has Indie Published a trilogy and is now working on a third series. Her brand: Everything can change in a heartbeat. She has also contributed to several US Cup of Comfort anthologies. As a member of ACFW, CWDU, ACW and Omega Writers, she can also be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/galleyslave Twitter: @RitaSGalieh and connect with her at www.ritastellapress.com

Currently she co-presents Vantage Point, an Australia-wide Christian FM radio program. Her fun-filled presentation of "Etiquette of the Victorian Era" in costume is also inspirational. Contact ritagal (at) optusnet (dot) com (dot) au

Friday, August 10, 2018

WHO ARE YOU WEARING?

Karen Rees | @ICFWriters

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Romans 13:14

Sometimes mannequins have faces, sometimes they don't. It doesn't really matter which it is because, unlike beauty pageant contestants, mannequins aren't there to display themselves. Their purpose is to display their clothing.

The year our Hong Kong Flower Show included mannequins, pictured here, people didn't go to see the mannequins. They went to see the dresses of flowers the mannequins were wearing.

As followers of Christ, we're to live like mannequins, not like beauty pageant contestants. Rather than 'wearing' behaviors that call attention to ourselves, we're to be clothed with Christ. When people look at us they should see Him.

To wear Christ is to wear Love. Not the emotional 'hearts and flowers' kind of love. It's the compassionate, self-sacrificing love that Jesus showed when he died for sinners like you and me. It's the love that does what's best for the other person even when I can't stand the person.

If you're like me, becoming a mannequin for Christ is easier said than done. It takes time and effort to become clothed with Christ - our time and the effort of the Holy Spirit working in us. Why? Because we still have that old sinful nature to deal with.

It would be much easier if we only had to clothe ourselves with Christ on Sundays or when we're with other believers. But that's not how it works.

We're to wear Christ 24-7. Everywhere we go, everything we do, everyone we speak with, whether at work or at home, at the grocery store or at the park, driving on the highway or playing on the beach. And especially when we get on Facebook. Our every word and action should show Christ.

Thankfully wearing Christ 24-7 has a completely different result than wearing some outfit 24-7. With constant wear and our body odors, a garment will eventually turn into a smelly rag. But when we're clothed with Christ, he has the power to renew us and dispel our spiritual body odors of sin. As a result, the longer we're clothed with Christ, the better we look and sweeter we smell to those around us.

Colossians 3:12-14 lists some of the items, including the most important one, we'll be wearing when we're clothed with Christ. I know which I'm still struggling to fully put on. What do you struggle with?

Bio: Karen Rees exchanged life as a farmer's daughter for SE Asian “big city” life when she and her husband began mission work in Hong Kong. They've worked with local Chinese, household servants imported from the Philippines and Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka.
As a result she's eaten chicken's feet, baby octopus cooked in its own ink, barbecued pig's ear and several other delicacies that she didn't ask about.
Karen is the mother of two and grandmother of three, an avid reader, quilter, lover of history and an author of historical fiction set during the English Reformation.
Facebook Author Page: https://www/facebook.com/Author.KarenRees