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The Rule of Three

February 18, 2017

In the current social climate we find ourselves living in, do you ever wonder who to trust? I mean, we listen to the news, read articles coming from FaceBook or Twitter or various news sources and hear totally opposite opinions or even differing facts on the same subject. In the polarization of our country, one side slants a story one way and the other side slants it the opposite way. And it seems as though never the two shall meet.

What exactly is the truth then? (I’m not, in this post, talking about spiritual truth.)

I’m talking about political news or product information or what is happening in countries around the world or medical information or even the weather and things dealing with the environment.

For instance, I can google a subject on what might be wrong with my cat, type in the description of his symptoms and find someone saying this is normal and others saying it could be serious. Even reviews have to be read with discretion.

We’ve become a world of information at your fingertips but can you trust the information?

I can’t answer that for all subjects, and that isn’t the scope of this post, but I might have a suggestion to help us in trying to find what’s real and what isn’t. Or at least what comes somewhere close to trustworthy. Let’s call it the Rule of Three.

When I was first learning to write, I attended many writer’s conferences. I will never forget one class I sat in on taught by a multi-published, award-winning, best-selling historical fiction author. I will never forget what she said about researching historical facts, which can also apply to any facts we seek today.

The advice? Check at least three different sources when researching a subject. Make sure those sources are unique to one another. In other words, don’t just go to three websites that are all quoting the same source. If you can find three different sources that agree on the matter, you can assume your fact is probably true.

Of course, in history, nothing is full-proof. We often don’t have eye-witness accounts and can’t time travel to actually see what happened. This is why I write fiction, not text books.

But whether we are talking about writing historical novels or an essay on current day events, we would be wise to research well. That would mean we don’t read an article on a website that states something as a fact (especially if we want to agree with it) and then quickly post it on social media without checking to see – is this a good source? Can I trust this newspaper to be unbiased? Is this fact supported by other sources not linked to the same group or mindset?

If we ever want to come together as a nation that stops pushing news from “our” side, whichever that side may be, let’s at least be sure we understand the subject based on more than one simple reading.

I hope reporters are wise enough to do the same and not just spout their “breaking news” that might not be accurate yet. Sometimes, as in the Rule of Three, it pays to check more than one authority or document, take a step back and breathe for a moment, and ask ourselves – is this true? And is it going to help other people in a positive way to understand the situation from as true a standpoint as possible?

Because if we do not search for the truth, we end up reading and promoting agendas – whether that’s someone trying to sell me a particular miracle working weight loss diet or what is happening in Congress or around the world.

The Rule of Three is good advice – and not just for fiction writers. I pray we will use sound judgment as we seek truth in these trying times.

~Selah

#livegrace

 

by jill at 6:24 pm in ,

Redeem Grace

February 8, 2017

I did a radio interview last night, which will air this weekend in Grand Rapids. The interviewer, Ivy Donovan, asked me about the title for Ruth’s story – why Redeeming Grace? Was there a theme to the story?

First, I have to admit, I didn’t pick the title – Revell gets the credit for that, but I do happen to love it because it fits the theme, not only of Ruth’s story but of every story I write. Grace. Forgiveness. Redemption. Reconciliation. These themes pop up in my stories whether I want them to or not because that’s who I am. They are an intricate part of me.

Grace. We hear a lot about grace these days, but I wonder if even I fully grasp what grace is in the context of God’s economy. Grace, in biblical terms means “unmerited favor”. I’m given a gift of God’s favor without doing anything to earn or deserve it.

Grace is shown in so many ways in Scripture. Esther won grace and favor in the sight of the king. Sometimes I pray for someone to look on me with grace, especially if there is any doubt, which Esther certainly felt. Grace. Favor. Kindness.

Grace can also be the way we speak – our words are seasoned with grace toward others. Grace is also a new beginning. Scripture tells us that the law came through Moses (old covenant) but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (new covenant).

John tells us that, “And the Word (another name for Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus embodied grace and truth. He granted favor to sinners and tax collectors and prostitutes, much to the chagrin and animosity of the Pharisees. He offers salvation to those who know they need it, through grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God lest anyone should boast.” 

We can’t brag about grace. We can only bask in it’s glory because it comes from God who loves us beyond all measure. 

God gives grace to those He loves. 

God gives grace to those who ask for it.

And that means anyone. He is no respecter of persons – in other words, he doesn’t care if you are poor or rich, famous or unknown, what color your skin, what country you come from, your status in the eyes of the world. He isn’t concerned with how far you think you have fallen – no one is exempt from His offer of grace. 

And if we are truly honest with ourselves, we know in our hearts we are not all we should be. We know there is more to this life than what we see because God has placed eternity in our hearts.

We may worship all manor of other things but Jesus right now, but God knows where we are, what we think, what we long for. He knows our hurt, our pain, our past, our present, our future. 

And He wants to be part of it all. Jesus didn’t come here for the fun of living on earth. He gave up riches for poverty so that we could become rich in Him. He came because we needed grace. He came because no one else could offer us that grace.

The law tells us where we are wrong – has any single one of us never coveted? The law was given to show we can’t keep it. Jesus came to offer us undeserved favor, grace–not to offer a way around the law but a way through the law. He fulfilled it so we don’t have to. He redeemed us because we couldn’t redeem ourselves.

Jesus. Lived. Grace. Redeeming Grace.

And that’s why I love the story of Ruth and the title Revell gave her story. Because it fits exactly what the Old Testament story shows us. Boaz redeems Ruth to save her husband’s family line and to restore what was broken in her life. Jesus redeems us to restore what is broken in ours.

All because of God’s desire to show us unmerited favor. Offering us something we cannot earn because it is His delight to do so.

How truly amazing is grace? I don’t think we can grasp the answer to that until we experience it for ourselves.

And I think once we taste grace, we will keep coming back wanting more.

Selah~

#livegrace #redeeminggrace

February and January 2017 Christian Fiction Releases

February 2, 2017

As usual, I’m late with January releases, so I’m going to post January and February together. This could be a long list. I’ll start with February first, then scroll down to January.

February 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Biblical:
redeeming-graceRedeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith — When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech’s family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law’s homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it. (Biblical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Biblical Romance:
building-benjaminBuilding Benjamin by Barbara M. Britton — Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife. As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her own tribe. (Biblical Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Contemporary Romance:
grace-and-the-rancherGrace and the Rancher by Mary Alford — Can a runaway singer and a makeshift rancher, thrust together by circumstance and held together by the common thread of loss and a love of music, find hope and a happily-ever-after under the stars of Delaney Mountain? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

capturing-beauty Capturing Beauty by Brenda S. Anderson — Photographer Haven Carlysle is a changed man. He returns to Duluth to capture the North Shore’s beauty … and to recapture the love of his son. But that means making amends with his ex-girlfriend too. Enter Callie Beaumont. All her life, Callie has longed to work outdoors soaking up God-breathed beauty, and the opportunity is finally on the horizon. But being the liaison between the handsome photographer and his son has thrown her dreams, and her heart, into chaos. Can Haven capture her heart when she won’t let him capture her image? And will his poor choices cost Callie her dream job and him the love of his son? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

the-lawman's -secret-sonThe Lawman’s Secret Son by Lorraine Beatty — Suddenly a Father Police officer Seth Montgomery knows all about order—but his world is thrown into chaos when he learns he has a five-year-old son. With little Jack suddenly in his care, Seth turns to neighbor Carrie Fletcher for help. Given her checkered past, Carrie prefers to keep to herself, but there’s no denying she cares for the boy—and her feelings for charming Seth are rapidly developing, too. When someone from Carrie’s past shows up threatening to jeopardize the life she’s worked so hard to build, Carrie will have to fight for her future with the new family she’s found…or risk losing everything. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

maybe-it's-youMaybe It’s You by Candace Calvert — Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive ER nurse, Sloane Ferrell. Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past. Can hope spring from crisis? (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

a-second-chanceA Second Chance by Alexis Goring — Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with her “best friend,” Traci resigned herself to being a bachelorette for life. Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. But his widowed sister Gina Braxton appreciates his compassion and kindness, since she’s raising her two kids alone. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, Traci and Marc find hope for their broken hearts. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)

the-amish-wandererThe Amish Wanderer by Laura V. Hilton — After her daed, the bishop, is admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community, Bethany Weiss is ready to get away from Jamesport, MO—and away from God. Silas Beiler, dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, is hitchhiking toward Pennsylvania in hopes of stability. He sleeps in barns where he can and works for food when possible. When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago, full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Can their old love overcome both this new pain and the hurt and rejection of their past? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

avalancheAvalanche by Gayla K. Hiss — Set in the North Cascades National Park of Washington State, Avalanche is the inspirational story of one man set on revenge and the woman who risks everything to help him find the fugitive who killed his partner. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

the-doctor's-texas-babyThe Doctor’s Texas Baby by Deb Kastner — When Carolina Mason shows up in Haven, Texas, after a three-year absence, no one is more surprised than town veterinarian Wyatt Harrow. Especially when he sees Carolina’s two-year-old son, Matty. Their son. How could she have kept his child a secret? Carolina doesn’t deny the boy is his. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone when she left, but she realizes she was wrong. Though Wyatt is eager to make up for lost time with Matty, Carolina’s not so sure that extends to her. Can these former sweethearts navigate their complicated past to make a family for their son? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

spring-raineSpring Raine by Delia Latham — A last-minute decision sends a young woman to a seaside community and lodging at Paradise Pines…where life takes a whole new path. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

finding-joyFinding Joy by Melanie D. Snitker — A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. He returns to his family’s ranch, the scars on his face a daily reminder of all he’s lost, yet his mom still insists he needs to stop hiding and live his life again. The beautiful new employee she hires is the last thing he needs, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers. Only deep desperation could force Chelsea Blake to work on a cattle ranch. But if she’s going to avoid her parents’ judgment when they arrive in three weeks, she must turn the temporary job into a permanent one. Between dodging mud, feeding longhorn cattle, and dealing with a handsome boss who keeps giving her the cold shoulder, staying gainfully employed is proving to be a challenge. Chelsea may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than Parker’s efforts at forcing her to leave. Surprisingly alike, will the two set aside their disapproval to find immeasurable joy? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

General Fiction:
the-secret-heartThe Secret Heart by Marie Wells Coutu — After a whirlwind romance, beautiful Shawna Moore marries Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee. Now, she wonders if the governor ever loved her or only hoped to avoid a scandal. In this modern re-imagining of the biblical story of Bathsheba and King David, an investigative reporter is asking questions–the wedding took place only six weeks following the death of Shawna’s first husband in Iraq. If he discovers the truth about Shawna’s baby, Hunter’s chances for reelection, as well as Shawna’s reputation, will be ruined. But keeping their secret is destroying their marriage. Will Hunter’s choice mean the end of his political career or his family? (General Fiction from Write Integrity Press)

home-at-lastHome at Last by Deborah Raney — All her life, Shayla Michaels, owner of the Coffee’s On bakery, has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite–well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts? Everything changes one icy morning when Portia runs into the street and Link Whitman nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with Shayla. Can they overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? (General Fiction from Abingdon Press)

baggage-claimBaggage Claim by Cathe Swanson — When Ben Taylor, widower and single dad, gets caught up in a dangerous insurance fraud network, he has to learn to take a stand for right – and make a leap of faith: can he trust his nanny – who isn’t quite what she appears to be – and his newly-discovered biological father to hide and protect his four young children? (General Fiction, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:
the-matchmaker-brides-collectionThe Matchmaker Brides Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens and Liz Tolsma — Meet nine women of the late 1800s who have found themselves in the role of matchmaker. They think they have mastered the art of recognizing romantic potential in others, but when it comes to their own lives they have been unlucky in love. In small communities from Tennessee to Colorado, Wyoming to Indiana, love unexpectedly enters the women’s lives with men they never imagined marrying. But what will it take to get these ladies to say “I do”? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

the-reluctant-guardianThe Viscount’s Proposal by Melanie Dickerson — Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society’s shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She’s determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents–or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage–alone and after dark–the ensuing gossip may force them together.Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety and he certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall’s coach “accident” was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged. Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career–and his life. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)

the-reluctant-guardianThe Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze — When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her… Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

shine-like-the-dawnShine like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky — In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. An even which…might not have been an accident. When Nathaniel Harcourt returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor, he also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend. Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah)

the-bounty-hunter's-babyThe Bounty Hunter’s Baby by Erica Vetsch — Bounty hunter Thomas Beaufort has no problem handling outlaws, but when he’s left with a criminal’s baby to care for, he’s in over his head. And the only person he can think of to ask for help is Esther Jensen, the woman whose heart he broke when he left town. But can he convince her to put aside the past until he tracks down the baby’s outlaw father? Esther is ready to run Thomas off her Texas ranch–until she spies the abandoned newborn in his arms. Soon, working together to care for the precious babe stirs old hopes of a family. With trouble heading to their door, they could overcome it together–if she’ll entrust her wary heart to this sweet, second-chance family… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Thriller/Suspense:
raging-stormRaging Storm by Vannetta Chapman — When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her diabetic teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows Carter can’t survive without insulin–and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it. Shelby’s best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won’t let her make the journey alone. Together, they reach the capital–only to discover that Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy. Now the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive. (Thriller/Suspense from Harvest House Publishers)

Speculative:
long-time-goneTime Search by Danele J. Rotharmel — While the TEMCO staff searches for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for his targets–it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first! (Speculative/Time Travel Fiction from Prism Book Group)

Western Romance:
long-time-goneLong Time Gone by Mary Connealy — Rancher Justin Boden is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on. With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine? (Western Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

January 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley by Valerie Comer, Mary Jane Hathaway, Elizabeth Maddrey, Danica Favorite, Lee Tobin McClain and Annalisa Daughety — Is love possible for a makeshift mom and a handsome widower? What about a bed and breakfast owner and the farmer next door? A curvy jilted bride and a mysterious, handsome chef? Then there’s the real estate consultant and the grandson of her elderly client; a high-powered lawyer and a woman farmer, and a formerly engaged couple. Can love make a difference in their lives? Exploring food, friends, and family in Arcadia Valley, each of these novellas kicks off a three-book series, intertwined with the works of the other authors. This collection is only the beginning of your adventure! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery — Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. As Mitch struggles to keep his business afloat, and Angela works to correct the mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends discover they have something unexpected in common–a young mom fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back from redemption and true love? (Contemporary Romance from New Hope Publishers)

Historical Mystery:

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering — Drew and Madeline Farthering visit the Yorkshire moor to catch a killer and solve a mystery that involves an old feud, a new rivalry and a huge, spectral hound that may or may not be a harbinger of death. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Historical Romance:

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander — A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to get an audition at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. Women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, he says, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed. Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the new opera hall opens. But far more pressing, he must finish it for his dying father, who inspired his love of music. Then Tate’s ailment worsens. Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The American Heiress Brides Collection by Lisa Carter, Mary Eileen Davis, Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Lisa Karon Richardson, Lynette Sowell and Kimberley Woodhouse — Meet nine young women in America between 1880 and 1911 who have been blessed by fortunes made in gold, silver, industry, ranching, and banking. But when it comes to love, each woman struggles to find true love within a society where “first comes money, second comes marriage.” What kind of man can they trust with their greatest treasure—their hearts? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Two Suitors for Anna by Molly Jebber — In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for with her beloved Noah Schwartz, and a new, very different future… But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves. Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share… (Historical Romance from Kensington)

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas by Erica Vetsch — Journey to Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle of emotions versus ideals is about to be waged. When a high-steppin’ eastern fashion artist, Priscilla Hutchens, swoops down on the fort to gain custody of her twin niece and nephew she is met with resistance by their uncle, post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who thinks he knows what is best for them. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Dead Run by Jodie Bailey — Kristin James’s morning run turns deadly when she’s attacked by a stranger who’s after something her deceased soldier brother stole overseas. Her neighbor Sergeant First Class Lucas Murphy steps in to help her and won’t let her brush the attack under the rug. He’ll do everything he can to keep Kristin alive, but he can’t tell her that he’s under orders to investigate her link to her brother’s misdeeds. Kristin has no idea what the bad guy is after and doesn’t want to believe that her brother wasn’t on the straight and narrow. But as evidence against him piles up, can they catch the criminals without becoming the next casualties? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley — It’s been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister’s sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn’t actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, the person who confessed to the crime is Will’s cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in one week–including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])

Undercover Protector by Elizabeth Goddard — Undercover at a tiger sanctuary, Special Agent Grayson Wilde is convinced the owner’s involved in a wildlife trafficking ring–until someone tries to kill her. Gemma’s determined to rebuild the tiger oasis she lost when her family died, but someone wants her out of the way, and she’s starting to wonder if her parents’ and uncle’s deaths were really accidental. Grayson says he’ll do anything to protect Gemma, but she can’t shake the feeling that her alluring new volunteer might not be all that he seems. With a vicious criminal closing in, though, she has to trust Grayson…because she won’t survive without him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Buried Memories by Carol J. Post — A soldier hero suffering from PTSD and a young woman struggling to overcome a traumatic childhood fight for their lives and find healing together. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Still Life by Dani Pettrey — Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart. Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Supernatural Thriller:

Fatal Accusation by Rachel Dylan — Attorney Olivia Murray hopes her life in Windy Ridge will get back to normal after a hard-fought trial. But she soon finds out that the forces of evil have not given up. An embezzling scandal rocks the community church to its core. The New Age groups are ready to declare victory when a high-profile prosecutor files criminal charges against the local pastor. However, Olivia is not willing to give up on the community she’s come to love. She takes on the defense pro bono knowing it could destroy her career, but it’s a case she is called to defend. The battle will be fierce, but she’s not fighting it alone. Her friend and fellow attorney Grant Baxter is by her side. Olivia must use all the tools in her arsenal to combat those who seek to destroy the believers in the community. If Olivia can’t prove the pastor’s innocence, more than her career is on the line. The entire community of Windy Ridge could fall to the forces of darkness. (Supernatural Thriller, Independently Published)

Happy reading~

by jill at 8:00 am in ,

Blaming God

February 1, 2017

How easy it is to blame God for what we as humans do to each other and ourselves. Does it surprise you to know that God’s heart aches when His people reject Him? When they run off and do things their own way without even consulting Him?

Yeah. Guilty. I have regrets of speaking before thinking or praying. Of reacting and sometimes I get pretty intense. (Just ask my hubby!) Hurt hurts. And when we hurt, we so often want to lash out as someone. Something.

And don’t we often want to mentally shake our fists and cry out to God, “Why?” I bet if we’re honest there is not one of us who hasn’t blamed God for something at some point in our lives. We figure that if He’s truly all powerful then He could stop whatever awful thing has happened, right?

But Beloved, God isn’t to blame for evil. But there is an enemy who is. He deceives the world and he is a master of lies. Don’t underestimate his schemes.

And don’t you know he uses our own anger and hurt against us? He feeds off of it and delights in seeing us holding grudges, blaming, mocking, withholding our love, treating our neighbor with contempt instead of love. Oh yeah, he loves it when we blame God for what he’s so good at tricking us to do to each other, to ourselves.

Let’s commit ourselves to becoming so in tune with who God really is that we know His heart. If we do, if we read and trust His Word, I promise we will be far less likely to blame Him and have far more reason to praise Him for He truly is GOOD. And we will be able to recognize the lies of our enemy.

One day God will lose patience with evil. Perhaps you ask why does He wait? He waits to give all people everywhere a chance to know Him. But His Spirit will not always strive with us. He is well aware of evil and injustice and trust me – He has a plan to make all things right. We want it now, and when He doesn’t act in our timing, we blame Him.

But His patience toward us who are so prone to rejecting Him, is for our good. God wants our repentance and he longs for us to seek Him. Oh that we would come to Him instead of run from Him, while there is still time. Evil people will not exist forever. But God will and His Word will prove that He is not to blame. He is good. He is true.

May we all learn to trust Him and love Him as He loves us.

#livegrace #redeeminggrace #trusthisheart

by jill at 1:37 pm in ,

What My Grandma Knew (Finale)

January 16, 2017

CCF02102011_00009Frodo once said to Gandalf:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The issues we are facing today are things, like I said in the beginning, my grandmother would not recognize. Despite the seeds planted in her generation that have fed ours, she would not know how to handle where we are today. And that’s because she wasn’t born for such a time as this. We were.

I wish a lot of things that have happened had never happened. I wish we could undo so many things. I wish the world were a kinder, more peaceful place for future generations.

And it can be. Christians who believe the Bible is the Word of God are told to be peacemakers. When Jesus said that, He wasn’t suggesting peace at any price. But “as far as it concerns you, be at peace with all men.”

In my lifetime it’s become much too popular for my Christian community to grow more political than biblical. Again, this is not taking aim at any one person or group of believers. But when did it become the church’s job to change the nation through lobbying? Or protesting? Or legislature?

IMG_4545Stay with me here. I’m not saying Christians are not called by God to work in government. But until He comes again, Jesus left us with a mission to love one another and to make disciples of all nations. He wanted us to spread the truth about who He is based on how we live.

  • We’re supposed to pray for our leaders so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives.
  • Not violent, hateful ones. Not even barb-throwing ones.
  • We can’t discuss the things that divide us if we aren’t going to sit down across the table and listen to each other.
  • Jesus didn’t have to try to understand—He already understood because God has that ability that we don’t.
  • We need His help to understand each other. We need his help to love each other and to speak truth where truth is needed.

Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to come in on a shining horse and change Rome.

Jesus came in on a donkey to change hearts.

Grandma knew that. And while she probably could have quoted Frodo many times over due to the extreme stress of her times, in the end, her dying word was Jesus’ name on her lips.

There is a lot wrong with our world that people need to work to fix, but let’s actually look for peaceful solutions that uphold the worth of all people. Change the government if you’re called to do that, but if you love Jesus, please remember our real purpose here is to show the world our changed hearts and how He can change theirs too.

Until He comes…

~Selah

#livegrace

 

 

 

 

 

by jill at 8:00 am in