Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mount Hermon Christian Writers' Conference

Tomorrow I leave for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, which is both exciting and terrifying! About 10 years ago, I attended the Glorieta Christian Writer's Conference in New Mexico. Just the number of people attending was mind-blowing and I expect Mount Hermon to be the same.

I'm actually taking the same manuscript, though I have since completed a sequel, however, it is a very different book. I have learnt so much in the last 10 years and I have done much re-writing. It has also been professionally edited.

I don't know quite what to expect regarding my book but I believe this is a God-given opportunity, and would appreciate your prayers.

I plan to start an email newsletter when I returned and have added a sign up box on the left. My first newsletter will be about my time at the Writers Conference.

Whilst I'm away I have scheduled some posts, as I'm not sure how much time and internet access I will have.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Blog Tour : Clash of the Titles


Clash of the Titles presents four new reads! 
Peruse the images, read the blurbs, 
then vote on your favourite in the survey. 
Enjoy, dear readers!

~~~~~



He's a nature photographer returning to make amends, and she's a camera-shy naturalist seeking privacy. Their love for a boy brings them together, but the camera could drive them apart.
~ ~ ~


Lifestyle magazine editor Heather McAlister was in the wrong place at the wrong time, witnessing a crime that shakes the roots of the town’s power brokers and sends her life into a tailspin. Previously burned by love, Detective Kyle Taylor has spent his entire adult life protecting his hometown, but now he’s protecting a woman he’ll risk everything to save.
~ ~ ~


She’s ready to fly free of a life-long cocoon; he’s looking for anything but Raine. Can Paradise Pines find a miracle for two unwilling hearts?

~ ~ ~


When a homeless man rescues Glorilyn Neilson from violent assault, he's not the man he seems. What powerful secret keeps him on the streets?
VOTE BELOW!

If you have trouble viewing the entire survey Click Here to load a dedicated page to the survey. 



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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Devotional Thought : 1 Chronicles 5:1-2

The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father's marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph). 1 Chronicles 5:1-2

In Biblical times, the firstborn son received double the inheritance of other sons. Reuben, forfeited his entitlement when he slept with father's concubine, Bilhah (Genesis 35:22). One sinful action had long-term repercussions. Reuben's double blessing passes to Joseph. His sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, become tribes in Israel, alongside Jacob's other sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin (Genesis 48:5-6).

Reuben also lost the position of leadership in the family, and this passes to Judah. When Judah and his brothers go to Egypt for food, it is Judah who takes the lead (Genesis 43-44). Later Jacob's prophesy of continuing leadership for Judah, predicts the coming of Jesus (Genesis 49:10).

We don't receive God's favour or leadership by natural order. It is easy to appreciate why God chose Joseph, who was faithful in challenging circumstances. The choice of Judah is more difficult to understand. We see him behaving badly in Genesis 38, choosing a wife from the Canaanites, not honouring his obligation to his daughter-in-law, and visiting a prostitute. However, in Genesis 38:26, he acknowledges his daughter-in-law's righteousness, and the lack of his own. There was an honesty of heart. God is looking for those who are faithful and honest of heart.

As Samuel learnt, "People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quotes on Writing

Carl Rogers wrote,
"That which is most personal is most general."
This quote is very applicable to writers and agrees with the much quoted Ernest Hemingway's quote:
"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
Writing to engage others, is challenging because it requires high levels of self-awareness and honesty.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hearing God's Voice

"...and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name... and his sheep follow him because they know his voice" John 10:3-4.

Recently I have been pondering the statement, "he who has ears to hear, let him hear" which Jesus says many times. For me this speaks about tuning in to what God is saying. Often times I find myself reading the Bible, yet my mind is thinking about something else. Even in church I can be singing and yet my mind is far away. So I have been challenged to really tune in to what God is saying to me.

I think tuning in to God involves having an expectation that God wants to say something to us. As parents we always have something to say to our children and I believe the same is true of God. We also need to give God the opportunity to speak to us through reading the Bible, praying and through taking the time to listen.

God speaks in many ways. We might be reading the Bible, when it's as if the words leap up off the page, or we may get an idea, an impression, or a desire that comes to us after prayer. We then need to learn whether it's of God or of ourselves and this takes practice. It takes time to "know his voice".

Sometimes we don't listen to God because we are afraid of what he might say. But we need have no fear of Someone who loves us perfectly.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Devotional Thought : 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Such a brief account of Jabez's life and so much we don't know. In what way was Jabez more honourable? What was the particular pain he wanted to be free from?

However, there is also much we do know. He cried out to God, which tells he was humble and poor in spirit, since he acknowledged his need of God. He asked God for what he had already promised his people. God had allotted each of the Israelite tribes an area, but it was up to each tribe to actually spread out and possess the land. By asking God to bless him and enlarge his territory, Jabez was asking to be enabled to do what God had planned. He also stated his dependency on God by saying, "Let your hand be with me," and asked for his protection.

Similarly we can respond to God in the same way. We can acknowledge our need of God and have a humble attitude. We know God's promise to his New Covenant believers is to impact the world, by being salt and light to our communities (Matthew 5:13-16). We can ask God to enable us to do this. We can affirm our dependency on God and ask for protection.

God was able to bless Jabez because he had a good attitude and believed God's promises. Likewise, this can be true of us, if we have the same attitude.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Quote from Warren Wiersbe

Quote from Be Encouraged by Warren Wiersbe.

Wiersbe shares this thought from 2 Corinthians 11:19-21:
“Their gospel of legalism was very popular, since human nature enjoys achieving religious goals instead of simply trusting Christ – allowing the Holy Spirit to work. It is much easier to measure religion than true righteousness.”

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

No deserving people

In Matthew 20 Jesus tells the parable of the workers in the vineyard who were all paid the same, though some worked much longer than others. He concludes with these questions "Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?" (v.15).

Perhaps similar questions today would be, if a mass murderer repented on his deathbed would you be upset if God forgave him? Would you be upset to learn that Hitler, Pol Potts, or Saddam Hassan repented?

There are those who feel called to minister to those awaiting execution for severe crimes in the hope of leading them to Christ before they die. Sometimes they are criticised by Christians who say they should spend their time with more 'deserving' people. But the fact is none of us are 'deserving' people and if God is so generous as to show mercy to us how can we complain when he shows mercy to others. When we mistakenly underestimate the seriousness of our sin we don’t realise the greatness of God’s forgiveness. But when we view sin the way God does, we are overwhelmed by the greatness of his mercy.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Devotional Thought : Numbers 36:10-11

So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the LORD commanded Moses. Zelophehad’s daughters—Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milkah and Noah—married their cousins on their father’s side. Numbers 36:10-11

This is an encouraging note to conclude the book of Numbers. This new generation were prepared to do as the Lord commanded, even when it required a sacrifice on their part.

As Israelites, God had commanded them not to marry anyone from the seven Canaanites nations who occupied the land prior to their arrival (Exodus 34:15 and Deuteronomy 7:3-4). This further prohibition was not to marry someone from another Israelite tribe. This wasn't binding on everyone, but on daughters with an inheritance. It limited their choice to 1/12 of Israel. However, this may not have been as restrictive as it appears. Generally speaking, people didn't travel very far in that day, so young women may not have been in the habit of meeting young men from other tribes.

Nevertheless, these girls made a decision, that even if the opportunity presented itself, they would not marry outside their tribe, and thus preserved the land for their own tribe.

These days we don't have these kind of issues, yet the passage teaches us to be wise and thoughtful about who we form an alliance with. Relationships can be difficult between people who value from different things and believe different things. We may feel we aren't influenced by the belief systems of others, yet if the arrangement becomes a marriage and children are involved, then our decision will have ongoing repercussions.

There are other situations where we would be wise to voluntarily restrict our choices, such as the movies we watch, the books we read, and the internet sites we visit.

May it be said of us, that we honoured the Lord in the choices we made.

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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Book Review : Chocolate Soldier

This book is currently being featured on the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance. Information about the author and more details about the book can be found here.

Chocolate Soldier : The Story of a Conchie by Hazel Barker gives a different perspective on World War II. It is the account of Clarence Dover who works with the Friend’s Ambulance Unit. The book is based on the diaries he kept.

Clarence joined the Ambulance Unit as a result of being a conscientious objector. However, I sensed that was God’s plan for him anyway. I struggled with Clarence’s reasons for being a conscientious objector, which were stated as religious. Yet there were others who believed like Clarence, but felt God would wanted them to defend the oppressed and stand against evil dictatorships. So I felt there was more to his reasons, but perhaps this was sub-conscious, and difficult for Clarence to articulate.

Working with the Ambulance, stretched Clarence in many ways, but he was able to make a valuable contribution saving lives in difficult circumstances. He certainly wasn’t spare the horrors of war as he worked in London during the Blitz, and also in India where the climate and culture added to the difficulties. He was working in China when the war ended, volunteering to go there when he became aware of the great need.

As a conscientious objector, Clarence was not paid like regular soldiers, but only remunerated for expenses, hence the term ‘chocolate soldiers’. This left him in a difficult situation at the end of the war as he wanted to get married, but had no money and little chance of gaining employment on returning to England. The sacrifices he made and the misunderstandings he endured, time and time again, were inspiring.

In order to maintain authenticity, Hazel has relied heavily on material Clarence had composed before his death. Sometimes this caused problems with the writing flow, but the story was interesting and engaging so it was easy to keep reading.

A good read.

Thanks to Rhiza Press for providing a free book for review.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Blog Tour : Chocolate Soldier

This blog tour is for the non-fiction book: Chocolate Soldier by Hazel Barker. This book is part of a blog tour organized by Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

My book review is here.


6 – 10 March


is introducing


(By the Rhiza Press, 1 October 2016)

by

Hazel Barker



About the Book:
London. 1940.

When World War II breaks out and men over eighteen are conscripted, Clarence Dover, a conscientious objector, refuses to go rather than compromise his principles. Instead he joins the Friend's Ambulance Unit. From the London Blitz to the far reaches of Asia the war tests Clarence in the crucible of suffering. In the end, will he be able to hold his head up as proudly as the rest and say, to save lives I risked my own?

One man will stand as God's soldier, not the war's soldier.

About the Author:
Hazel Barker lives in Brisbane with her husband Colin. She taught in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane for over a quarter of a century and now devotes her time to reading, writing and bushwalking. From her early years, her passion for books drew her to authors like Walter Scott and Charles Dickens. Her love for historical novels sprang from Scott, and the love of literary novels, from Dickens. Many of her short stories and book reviews have been published in magazines and anthologies.

Hazel’s debut book Chocolate Soldier, and Book One of her memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind, will be released in 2016. Both books are set during World War Two – the former in England and the Far East; the latter in Burma.

For more information, visit her blog on:

http://hazelmbarker.wordpress.com

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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Devotional Thought : Numbers 34:12

This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side. Numbers 34:12

The boundaries that God described, enclosed an area that was considerably smaller than what he promised Abraham. "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, 'To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates'" (Genesis 15:18).

The area of land delineated in this chapter is like the 'first fruits' of what God was planning to give the Israelites, if they had been obedient. But even at the height of Israel's political power, in David's and Solomon's time, the Israelites never possessed all that God promised.

The land was God's gift to Israel, but the people had to occupy it. "Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess" (Numbers 33:53). God expected his people to be obedient, to believe his promises, and to enlarge their boundaries until they attained to the whole measure of the fullness of God's intention.

And we are to do the same—God gives us gifts, yet we have to be obedient, believe his promises, and enlarge our vision of what God can achieve. So that ". . . we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

God has so much more for us. He equips us with his giftings, in order that we will accomplish great things in his kingdom, more than we can even imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9). Yet this is a huge challenge, because it requires us to take steps of faith, trust his enabling, believe God's promises, and thus fulfil all that God intends.

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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Quote by Hugh Mackay

Thoughts from Generations by Hugh Mackay.
“In other words, our insecurities and uncertainties stimulate our desire for security and certainty. We are almost instinctively attracted to the confident voice, the strong leader, the person who seems to know what ought to be done. Moral vacuums yearn to be filled.

The danger at such times, is that we might settle for an easy certainty, when uncertainty might be more appropriate, we might take refuge in the security of a simple view of the word, when the world might actually be more complex than we would wish.

The challenge is to learn how to live with uncertainty.”
As Christians our security is in God, so we can live with uncertainty.

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