Blog / Recent Posts

Politics or Prayer?

September 26, 2016

I would like to say a few encouraging words to each of you before I go off and start my day. I watch the news. I read the articles. I know our nation is in multiple crises that human beings can help but can’t fix. If we’re honest, we have trouble even fixing ourselves!

Tonight we are going to be hearing from our two political candidates in a debate, and a lot of people are discouraged, because, if the polls are any indication, neither candidate is very popular with the people at large. Personally, I would have liked different choices.

tel-bet-shean-roman-settlement25-and-verseBut may I say this?

Remember the Lord. Remember His compassion and unfailing love and His kindness to all of us.

If you are a Christian – and I know many of my readers are – or even of the Jewish faith – we share the same Scriptures and the same God and we know that one truth rings out in both Old and New Testaments.

God reigns. He is not blind. He exists, despite what some may think. We can’t stop His existence just by saying He isn’t there.

And He is in control of this universe. I could go into a long-winded reasoning on that, but I won’t. I just have to look at the heavens to see the way He keeps things in place. The constellations, the North star, the sun and moon and our earth have continued to spin and rotate and move for as long as men and women have observed them. God has made it possible for us to live and breathe – He is far more involved in this world, in our lives, even in our daily bread concerns than we can begin to imagine.

So please realize that He knows what is happening. He isn’t sitting back waiting to watch us destroy ourselves. He puts kings on thrones and takes them down. And for His purposes, He has allowed us to come to this place.

Perhaps our greater need right now isn’t to worry about who will have the power of the White House. Perhaps our greatest need is to realize that we need God, we need Jesus, the only Savior who can actually do something with our messes because He doesn’t work like we do. He works with each one of us to change our hearts.

And He wants to start with those who already know Him because even we need to be more like Him.

So please pray. Pray for change of hearts. Pray for mercy and acknowledge that He is God and has the right to do what He does because He is the one who made us.

Pray for these candidates – that whoever ends up with the power to make decisions good or bad – will truly SEE the Lord, high and lifted up. And will acknowledge that they need Him too.

I will not tell anyone how to vote. I would only appeal to fellow believers to pray. And not to fear the future because even in this messy world – God sees. God hears. God knows. And it may be that He will use us to love Him and our neighbor enough to slowly change the world, not through political means, but through loving one soul at a time.

God’s grace and mercy be upon us all.

~Selah
#liveloveprayhopetrust #prayfortheelection #prayforourleaders

by jill at 10:26 am in

September 2016 Christian Fiction Releases

September 19, 2016

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

Biblical:

Smith_DaughteroftheNileDaughter of the Nile by Jill Eileen Smith — Explore the exotic world of ancient Egypt and ponder the dilemma Siti faces when she leaves her homeland, her family, and the worship of her many gods, to live in Jerusalem where only Yahweh is worshiped. Can Siti leave her favorite goddess Bastet behind? Will she ever make sense of this land, it’s strange worship of one God, and a husband who is as wise and ever-changing as the wind? (Biblical e-book from Revell [Baker])

Contemporary Romance:

When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander — Dani Prescott plans revenge when Brett Somers blames her mother for the plane crash that killed his parents. But the crash killed her mother as well, so Dani can’t believe the story Brett’s trying to sell to the media. She vows to find a way to discredit his story, but when she catches his eye instead, she offers up a fake name and agrees to a date—only to spy on him. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something, but he’s got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is? (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])

Feta and Freeways by Susan M. Baganz — Nikolos Acton is the lead singer of a Christian Band, Specific Gravity, struggling to make it in the industry after an unplanned break, touring the country with their manager, Tia Bartel. Tia loved Niko for the longest time, but it’s not until she steps in to save his life that he finally realizes what has been there all along. Is it too late for him? Could a relationship between them work after years of ignoring her? How would he ever convince her he’s worthy of her trust? As they journey on the freeway of life and love, they encounter struggles as they are forced to rely on their faith, and friends, to make it through. (Contemporary Romance from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

Sarah’s Orphans by Vannetta Chapman — Sarah Yoder belongs to a Plain community in Oklahoma, but her days are far from simple. After Sarah’s bipolar father dies, her long-abused mother packs a bag and leaves Sarah behind with five needy siblings. Though exhausted with new responsibility, Sarah is finally at peace. Then she nearly runs over a small Hispanic boy with her buggy…and somehow finds herself sheltering two more orphans. Paul Byler moved to Cody’s Creek to help his brother in a time of need. But now that Joseph has recovered from his heart attack, Paul’s ready for a quiet place of his own. The only problem? His new property lands him next door to the orphaned Yoder family—and a calling from God he can’t seem to ignore. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

Dance Over Me by Candee Fick — Danielle Lefontaine, a fledgling actress raised to the lullaby of Broadway, searches for her long-lost brother and her place on the stage. But when a jealous cast member threatens to drop the curtain on her dreams, Danielle fears her one brilliant moment in the spotlight is about to become a dim memory. Alex Sheridan is living his dream. Playing the trumpet. Helping run his family s dinner theater. But there’s a hole in his soul that can only be filled with the love of that “someone special” — the better half of him. When “Dani” dances into his life, Alex thinks he’s found his perfect partner. But will the bright lights of a bigger stage steal her away before they find their perfect song? (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Cozy Mystery:

Out of the Frying Pan by Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer — When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, two retired sisters-in-law decide to solve the case, but their zany attempts to track down the killer leads them on a downward spiral into drugs, extortion, and worst of all. . . broken hearts. (Cozy Mystery from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

General Contemporary:

Faith Countryman by Lori Hartman Gervasi — A beautiful woman with the spiritual gift of healing grows up, makes mistakes, and then steps into her destiny by moving to a small Northern California town one summer where she helps the residents find redemption and revival. (Contemporary from Waterfall Press)

Historical Romance:

Mountain Christmas Brides by Mildred Colvin, Mary Davis, Susan Page Davis, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin, Debby Lee, Tamela Hancock Murray, Carrie Turansky, and Gina Welborn — From a Wyoming ranch in 1880, to a logging camp in Washington Territory in the late 1800s, to Denver, Colorado, in 1913, meet nine couples who find that Christmas is the perfect time for climbing to the heights of romance. Watch as their faith and courage propel them through challenges that come with mountain winters to cozy fireside celebrations that lead to lasting proclamations of love. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Mattie’s Pledge by Jan Drexler — Since Mattie Schrock last saw her childhood sweetheart Jacob Yoder, they’ve both grown into different people with different dreams. Jacob yearns to settle down, but Mattie can’t help but dream of what may lie over the western horizon. When a handsome Englisher tempts her to leave the Amish behind to search for adventure in the Wild West, will her pledge to Jacob be the anchor that holds her secure? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo — In 1928, Marjorie Corrigan thinks she sees her first love–believed killed in the Great War–alive and well in a train station. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White — All her life, Lady Ella Myerston has been sheltered from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends. Unwilling to wait around for peril to strike again, she sets out on an adventurous journey to the Cotswolds. Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those intent on destroying them all? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:

Breach of Trust by Jodie Bailey — A former soldier teams up with the partner she thought was dead in order to expose a cybercriminal bent on terrorizing the US military. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens by Colleen Coble — To supplement income from her family’s failing blueberry farm, Kate Mason rents out the small cottage on the property, but it won’t be enough. When entrepreneur Drake Newham shows up looking not only for a place to rent but also for a nanny for his two nieces, it’s almost too good to be true. And maybe it is–because Drake brings with him dangerous questions about who might be out to kill his family.  The more time Kate spends with Drake and the girls, the more difficult it becomes to hide her attraction to him. But between Drake’s family crises, news of an escaped murderer, and a local stalker’s threats, there’s no time for romance. Kate wonders if her blueberry fields will ever flourish again . . . or if this twilight is her last. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Game On by Lillian Duncan — Congressman Lucas McMann believes he’s the victim of a bizarre stalking game, but to stop them he needs proof–and help from an old friend. Private Investigator Nikki wants to refuse, but her new found faith tells her she should help him–even if he was the first man to break her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

Widow by Denise Weimer — In book two of The Restoration Trilogy, Jennifer Rushmore has overseen the restoration of brooding bachelor Michael’s ancestors’ doctor’s house long enough to work through their initial differences. Now the apothecary shop discloses a heart-breaking tale circa 1870 Georgia, shaking loose Jennifer’s own carefully suppressed past. She fears that when Michael sees beyond her facade, her tentative steps toward trust and love may disintegrate into rubble. On her journey to forgiveness, Jennifer draws on her new faith and friendships, even as the mysterious accidents clouding her first preservation job escalate into imminent danger. (Romantic Suspense from Canterbury House Publishing)

Speculative:

Killswitch by Victoria Buck — The world’s first transhuman finds his true calling, and it’s not what his creators intended. (Speculative from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Overflowing, Amazing, God Blessed, Beyond Understanding Hope.

September 17, 2016

Hope is a word that means a lot to me, so when a friend of mine sent me this verse…well, perhaps you can imagine my reaction. To think of God as a God of Hope, that His Spirit can cause us to OVERFLOW with hope is pretty amazing.

romans-15-2Because if you look at the world around us…we don’t have a lot of cause to hope, do we? I mean really. I don’t know if it’s just what the news wants to report or if the world has really gone crazy, but there seems to be so much anger!

People feel entitled to things rather than grateful, powerful rather than meek or humble, and afraid. If I didn’t believe in my God of hope, the One who knows what is around the next bend, I’d be afraid too. Truth is, sometimes I can feel fear even though I’m trusting Him for the future.

Part of our fear is human nature. Part of it is what Deborah faced in ancient Israel. Terrorism. No one knows what tomorrow holds, and that can be scary for people who want to control their own destiny.

Today I read about another attack on one of our basic American freedoms – the freedom of speech. Anger breeds this fear to the point that everything that may be just a difference of opinion is suddenly considered hate, when maybe it’s not hate at all. Since when did is become a sin to express a different point of view?

Isn’t the beauty of the right given to us the ability to disagree and still be friends? Otherwise we toe the party line and don’t dare speak up for what we believe to be right and true. (The article was pointing out how this is beginning to affect fiction. So storytelling is now suspect even when we are just sharing our imagination?)

So I can see a reason for fear. But perfect love – the love of the God of Hope casts out fear. When we know we are loved by our Heavenly Father, what is there to be afraid of? As we trust Him, we learn that He wants to give us joy and peace and can you even imagine your spirit OVERFLOWING with hope?

I could get used to that.

My friend knew I needed this verse because sometimes I tend toward the very opposite of hope. I play the part of doubting Thomas or I wonder like Peter, “What about him, Lord?” I have never been great at waiting and yet that is the one thing God wants me to learn well. As it turns out? His timing, as my mom continually reminds me, is NEVER wrong.

So we don’t get what we want when we want it. So we misunderstand another person. So we disagree with another’s point of view. These are not causes for anger or fear. They are causes to be kind, compassionate, and pray for those who mistreat us.

They are causes to put our trust where it rightly belongs – in the only One who has any control over anything anyway. And as I learn to trust Him – and believe me it’s such a daily thing – I have hope. I am learning to thank Him IN ADVANCE for keeping His promises. I have Him, therefore I have HOPE.

We don’t need to fear the future. We don’t need to fear anyone but God because God is the only one with power to do anything eternal. So when we trust Him? We are given joy and peace and overflowing, amazing, God blessed, beyond understanding hope.

I can definitely live with that.

~Selah
#liveloveprayhopetrust #overwhelminghope

by jill at 8:26 pm in ,

Trust

September 11, 2016

Trust. Do you ever struggle with that concept as much as I do? I know some people who never wrestle with things. Their faith is as steadfast as God is true, and I admire that.

isaiah-26-verse-and-picBut I’m an over-thinker, and maybe a wee bit emotional at times. (My family would tell you more than a wee bit.) And sometimes it’s hard to let go of my emotions and just trust that God truly is Sovereign. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows the questions I’m going to raise and already has the answers – in fact, He has had the answers since before time began.

And actually, I believe He knew I would struggle with trust before I was ever born.

For me it’s not a matter of faith. I think, as I’ve said here before, that faith and trust are different. Faith that God is real has never been in doubt for me. Never. Even though I cannot see Him, I believe He is real, He made the world and me and everything we can see. He made us in His image and gave us the ability to create as He is the Creator.

But trust is something stronger, something deeper. It involves believing that tragedy or heartache has a purpose. It sees hope attached to loss. Trust isn’t a quitter. Trust in God never lets go.

I have that kind of trust – sometimes. My family will also tell you that I’m not a quitter. Waiting twenty years to see a career begin is not in keeping with quitting. But I’ve wanted to give up on a lot of other things in life. I can be stubbornly proactive. And I can fall into a puddle of defeat. Perhaps those are my emotions talking again.

Maybe it’s also the human condition. It’s hard to trust God with our future, isn’t it? The trouble comes in that we can’t SEE God. That’s why so many people put other things in His place. The first of the ten commandments says that we are to have “no other gods before him.”

Why would God command that? Because people want a god they can see, touch, worship with eyes that don’t need the faith that gets tested in the dark times. We want something to cling to in the valley of the shadow, and we want a shepherd with flesh and bone or at least something tangible, don’t we?

But God isn’t tangible. Jesus was tangible when He walked the earth. Creation is tangible. We can touch what God has given, but we were never meant to worship IT. We were made to worship HIM.

A big part of worship though is TRUST. When we trust our Good Shepherd, our Maker…when we really let our hearts rest in the fact that He knows the plans He has for us and they are for our good, to give us a future and a hope, that’s when our minds can have His peace.

We might not trust in a God who is touchable because He is Spirit, but He is also rock-steady and true and the more time we spend in His Word and in prayer and getting to know Him, the easier it is to let our hearts rest assured that hope is coming. He is trustworthy. We don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to be defeated.

The day is dawning. Hope isn’t hanging by a thread. It is rising from the ashes. God is true. And He is trustworthy. But it takes at least a little faith and a little hope to recognize that truth.

~Selah
#liveloveprayhopelove #perfectpeace #therocketernal

by jill at 8:56 pm in ,

Release Day! Daughter of the Nile!

September 6, 2016

Daughter of the Nile

Smith_DaughteroftheNileRELEASE DAY!!

This third installment in the Loves of King Solomon e-book series is now available from the following vendors:
Amazon (for Kindle)
Barnes and Nobel (for Nook)
Christian Book

If you missed them, the first two books in the series were:
Desert Princess
The Shepherdess

Coming next year will be the last novella (short story) on the Queen of Sheba. Then I will be working on a paperback compilation with extras for release in 2019.

Here is the info on Daughter of the Nile:

Explore with me the exotic world of ancient Egypt and ponder the dilemma Siti faces when she leaves her homeland, her family, and the worship of her many gods, to live in Jerusalem where only Yahweh is worshiped. Can Siti leave her favorite goddess Bastet behind? Will she ever make sense of this land, it’s strange worship of one God, and a husband who is as wise and ever-changing as the wind? What must it have been like for a foreigner to marry the famous Israelite King? Come…imagine with me…

About the series:
Four royal women. One king. Each has a story uniquely their own and each must face a life they did not expect. What events set them on their course? What love will they choose in the end?

I hope you enjoy this exotic story of a Egyptian princess who married the most powerful man in biblical history.

In His Grace,
~Jill