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Radio Interviews this week

February 8, 2016

The Prophetess from AmazonIf you live in the Detroit area or if you have a smart phone or a device that allows you to download a radio app, or if you just want to click on a link on your computer, please consider joining me this week on WMUZ 103.5 FM from 10:45-11:00 on Family Life Perspectives Radio Program sponsored by Perspectives of Troy.

We are talking about the different women in the Bible that are covered in my books, including The Prophetess and how we can learn from their struggles – struggles very similar to what we face today. I hope you get the chance to listen in.

Tomorrow I will be on live radio with KNEO Radio on their Author’s Corner program from 10:30-10:45 CT or 11:30-11:45 ET (my time zone). KNEO’s listening audience covers southwest Missouri but also reaches into Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, so if you live in any of those states or can pull up the station on a phone app, I hope you’ll join us! I hope you enjoy hearing about these women of Scripture and for tomorrow’s KNEO interview in particular – The Prophetess.

Until then~

Release Day!! The Prophetess is now available!

February 2, 2016

BPG_The ProphetessI’m SO excited to share this story with you! I know some have had early copies. (My mom can’t read it fast enough.) :) But now it’s available for purchase everywhere. Hopefully there will be no glitches on any online websites. And I hope those who shop in local stores can find it readily available. If not, I’m sure the store can now order copies.

I’ve created a Pinterest Board for The Prophetess, Deborah’s Story. (Places to purchase the book are on the Books Page.) I’ve included pictures of models or actors that I used in my Idea Board to help me envision the characters as I wrote the story. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

One note about the book signing at Woodside Bible Church Lake Orion – it is THIS Sunday, February 7, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. between services. They are having a grand opening of a bookstore upstairs within the campus. I will be signing books in the store. I hope you can come out to see the bookstore, and I would love to meet you. And if you get the chance to stay for one of the two services, even better! I hear the topic is going to be a good one!

I hope you enjoy my take on Deborah’s story! I’m thrilled to finally share it with you!

Happy reading~

Our differing views of Jesus

January 28, 2016

Shores of Sea of Galilee3Have you ever asked yourself who Jesus really is? I’m sure you have heard much about him over the years. Some of us have been taught His name from the time we were held on our mother’s knee. Some have only heard His name used to curse someone or something. But make no mistake, there are very few on this planet who have not come into contact with the name of Jesus.

To people of faith He is different things. To Muslims, He is a prophet. To Messianic Jews, He is the Messiah. To those who follow Judaism, He was a good man, but not the Messiah they still seek. To Christians, He is Savior and Lord and coming King…and much more.

To agnostics and to many other faiths, Korazim Synagogue Moses' SeatJesus was a good man who accepted and loved everyone. I’ve been reading several blogs lately and comments from people who are rethinking Jesus. Certain beliefs about the Bible, Creation, Sin, Hell, Judgment, Heaven, and who Jesus was and what He claimed have come under scrutiny. People are wrestling with these things, and that’s not wrong. God is big enough to handle our questions.

But sometimes as Christians we fear the questions. I remember even my own dad’s fear when in my teenage confusion I questioned something biblical. I don’t recall what I questioned, only that it scared him. I get that now. Sometimes in our humanness, we fear that people we love will lose faith — that very faith we’ve believed and taught them all of their lives.

And so because of that fear, sometimes we react. You’ve seen it. And sometimes as believers we react strongly in defense of our faith and that can come across to the one wrestling with those issues as judgmental or angry or even dangerous, because they think we are brainwashed for believing as we do. Or perhaps they pity us? But from what I’ve read, they definitely don’t agree and attack the issues we stand for. And sometimes those things (on both sides) become hills to die on.

Sea of Galilee Boat Ride4But should they?

I will be honest here. I don’t have a theology degree. But I know my Bible pretty well. Not perfectly. I cannot explain to you the mystery of the Trinity. I was not there with God “In the beginning” so all of the science we discover and compare to Genesis, I’m not willing to tell you that either side understands creation and exactly how it happened without doubt because we weren’t there. Even science gets things wrong. And the subject of how origins came to be – or even how our Creator caused creation to happen simply can’t be proven without doubt.

Dead Sea View1I can also not tell you that I understand exactly how God is going to bring about the rule and reign of Jesus in a future kingdom. Though it is spoken of in the Bible, I wasn’t there to witness what John saw in Revelation. I didn’t have Daniel’s vision. I can read about them and do my best to understand by God’s grace and with the help of His Spirit in me, but I’m not going to fight for any view other than that Jesus said He is coming again and I believe He keeps His Word.

His Word. That’s the biggest issue being bandied about. Somehow it has become one of the most dangerous teachings to believe that the Bible could actually have been given to men by Almighty God. I find that fascinating.

Gethsemene oldest olive tree It’s not that I’ve never doubted or wrestled with God. Trust me when I tell you I walk with a spiritual limp (like Jacob’s physical limp.) Sometimes I accept what is said easily, but there are many times I wrestle with the Words of Scripture. Do I see metaphor and simile and poetry and imagery and story woven through its pages? Absolutely. Do I believe it’s without error in the original language? Yes. Do I take every word seriously? I do.

To some this makes me sound like a hyper fundamentalist. But please, before you judge me for my beliefs, can I share my heart on this for a moment?

I’m fully aware of the arguments against the Bible. I spend my career studying this book and I see it taken apart and dissected or considered nothing but literature or worse, it’s used as a battering ram to cajole people into believing a specific way. I get all of that. And I hear the arguments about Jesus being a great man who loved and accepted everyone. But that’s not what Jesus said about himself or to the people of His day.

Wailing Wall 5The Bible is one of those books that has the potential to change a life. But we could say that about any great literature, yes? How is this book different? What makes us think it’s God’s very Words to us?

Call this cliche or write me off as a fool, but I believe it’s a heart issue. If you stop and evaluate that idea for a moment, perhaps it will make sense in the way I mean it. The Bible is a love story and God is a God of love. That is woven throughout both Old and New Testaments. The stories of the Old Testament and the life of Jesus and writings of the apostles in the New all reflect that love. We all warm to that idea, yes?

But Jesus (and He often quoted the Old Testament, which taught the same lesson) did not come to make our lives easier. He didn’t come to accept everyone just as they are. He didn’t come to just show us a good example of how to live and to die for the love of other people. He wasn’t just humble and unselfish. He claimed so much more.

medevil fortifications 5He told his own brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.” (John 7:7 NIV) (Woah! He told the world that what they did was evil.)

Later he told his disciples, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law. They hated me without reason.” (John 15:22-25 NIV)

Jesus went around preaching “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” If He accepted everyone as they were, if we needed no forgiveness of our sins, why did he bother to come and die?

IMG_4718C. S. Lewis said of Jesus:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (emphasis mine)

Via Dolorosa2I know this post is getting too long and will probably do little to convince anyone of anything. I wrote it to point out that people who believe the Bible is God’s Holy Word, who love Him with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength (and their neighbor as themselves), who let the Word of Christ dwell in their hearts by faith, who know at a heart level that they have become a new creation because of Jesus, who have the hope of life eternal, the gift Jesus came to give to those who would “believe in His name”, are not dangerous or otherwise.

The truth is, we’ve had a heart change. That’s why I said it’s a heart issue to believe the Bible is inerrant and we take God at His Word. There are many, many people in churches who don’t understand this. They hear the message, but it doesn’t penetrate to a soul level. And maybe that’s because they still need time in their journey of life to wrestle with these things. God’s Word isn’t easy. And life is messy. And we don’t always accept it wisely or without human selfishness getting in the way of what is true.

Via Dolorosa13But to quote C. S. Lewis one more time, “I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

I think this is why Christianity — the kind that trusts that this Word is truth, and that Jesus is the truth and the only way, becomes divisive. Even in His day “the people were divided because of Jesus.” He never claimed to be all inclusive. But He opened His arms wide to include everyone who would come. When He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me,” He was inviting us to come. We are given a choice. In the end, God does get what He wants, and unfortunately, that includes both mercy and judgment. We get a choice in that. But we don’t get to tell God how He has to handle it.

Selah~

by jill at 2:44 pm in ,

Book Signing

January 24, 2016

IMG_7146My heartfelt thanks to Woodside Bible Church for hosting a book signing for me this weekend for The Prophetess, Deborah’s Story. I appreciated every person who stopped by to say hello, ask a question, or allow me to sign a book to them. It is an honor and I must say that I truly value every reader!

Sometimes I get asked questions about writing during these signings, and I wish I had more time to answer them. For those who take the time to ask, I hope I gave you encouragement. Please continue to pursue your dreams. Read books on the craft of writing. Read books in all types of genres. Learn from those you would love to emulate.

IMG_3259I remember the first time I had the desire to write a book. I read one novel and thought, “I could never write like this. She’s way beyond my ability!” Then I read another novel and thought, “Maybe? He writes on a level I can aspire to.” His style gave me the hope that perhaps I could learn this overwhelmingly difficult craft. Because in truth – when you actually sit down to write a story – it is very, very hard.

A lot of people tell me they have a book in them. What they mean (I think) is that they have a story they want to tell. Their life has been through some interesting or difficult trials and they sense that others might be helped by what they’ve learned. And that’s a good thing. We can all benefit from the lessons of others.

But to write a story takes study, just like every other craft be it art or music or film or even the sciences like engineering or the medical field. We don’t just pick up a wrench and declare ourselves a mechanic! We learn by studying and by doing. And writing is no different.

IMG_3257So I hope and pray that those of you who have asked me questions about how I do it or how to get out of the stuck places in a plot or how to motivate to make myself get the book written, that you will take up the challenge and study the craft. Can you do something else and be happier not writing? Then do what you love. The book that is in you may be told through stories you share with friends and family. Maybe your book isn’t meant to be written but told.

Then again, maybe you need that push of encouragement to set a goal and stick to it. Can you write 500 words a day? One thousand? In a year or six months you would have finished the book! Yes, it would be a first draft, but you would have something to work with. First drafts are always improved through editing, and believe me, every writer needs a good editor.

For those who don’t want to write but love to read, thank you for taking a chance on reading my books! I so enjoy meeting each one of you. I wish book signings allowed more time to talk with each person. But I am grateful for the thought, the creativity, the kindness and support of every person involved.

One final note: the book signing scheduled for next Sunday in Lake Orion has been rescheduled. It is tentatively scheduled now for February 7, 2016 at Woodside Bible Church Lake Orion, to coincide with the grand opening of their new bookstore. I hope to be signing books in the store between services. If you live in the area, please do stop by. I would love to meet you!

Shalom~

The Prophetess is here! (Book signing info below)

January 21, 2016

IMG_0310Yesterday was one busy day in my little corner of the world. My editor drove to my house so we could go out to lunch and then came back and met Tiger as we chatted about business. Tiger was super impressed with her. (Cats can tell when they are in the presence of a cat person, and Lonnie and I share that passion.) But we both agreed that Tiger cannot always have his way about a kitty in every story. There is a limit in ancient history, after all. :)

Later that afternoon after Randy returned home, the UPS truck stopped in front of our house. Now normally, I receive my first copy in an envelope and wait a few days, even weeks before the rest of the copies arrive. But they all came together, to my delight. Now I can give my mom her copy when I see her next week! I always love sharing each book with her–one of my biggest encouragers!

That evening I was pleased to learn that the copies for the book signings this weekend had also arrived, so no worries about postponing! My church likes to do the signings early, before the actual release, so if you are looking for an early copy and live near one of these locations, please come!

So…as I mentioned a few posts earlier, this weekend we will hold the first book signings for The Prophetess. Here are the details:

IMG_7127Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time: 6:00-6:30 P.M.
Place: Woodside Bible Church Troy Campus, 6600 Rochester Road, Troy, Michigan (Signing will be after the service.)

Sunday, January 24, 2016
Time: 9:30 A.M.-1:00 P.M.
Place: Woodside Bible Church Troy Campus, 6600 Rochester Road, Troy, Michigan (Signings between services.)

And next weekend:

Sunday, January 31, 2016
Time: 10:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M.
Place: Woodside Bible Church Lake Orion, 2500 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, Michigan 48360 (And as mentioned above, signings between services.)

If you can make it, I would love to meet you!

The official release of The Prophetess is February 2, 2016. If you are a launch team member, you should receive your copy soon, though there has been a glitch with the gift we wanted to include. Hopefully, that will be resolved soon. (The fault of the company we were dealing with, not Revell.)

I am super excited to share Deborah’s story with you! I’m already astounded and honored by the reviews it has received. Sometimes when the work is the hardest thing we’ve ever done, and we are sure it is our worst effort, God surprises us by turning it into something better than we expected. Whatever His purposes, may He use this offering to bless you, dear readers. I hope Deborah’s story inspires you as it has me.

Selah~