Monday, October 31, 2011

Spiritual Housekeeping: Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Charisma House (September 6, 2011)

***Special thanks to Kim Jones | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


Kimberly Daniels is a sought-after conference speaker, preacher, and powerful prayer warrior. She pastors Spoken Word Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Ardell and is on the Jacksonville City Council. Daniels graduated from Florida State University and Jacksonville Theological Seminary and is the author of Inside Out; From a Mess to a Miracle; Clean House, Strong House; Delivered to Destiny; and Give It Back! and the coauthor of More Than Just The Catch.

Visit the author's website.


Stay Prepared for Satan’s Unexpected Attacks

Do life’s challenges seem to throw you off balance? Do you struggle with the should haves, could haves, and would haves? In Spiritual Housekeeping, Kimberly Daniels outlines the keys to defeating the devil and putting your spiritual house in order.

Using numerous Bible passages and experiences from her own life, Daniels provides proven principles that give you the balance to live in the world while pleasing God by…

Avoiding compromise and ungodly tolerance
Discerning the difference between what is holy and what is not
Understanding the realms of spiritual authority
Keeping the occult out of your house

Discover how to become a gatekeeper to your home and receive God’s instructions for the spiritual traffic there. You can depend on the Holy Spirit to help you with the devil’s unexpected attacks and difficult situations.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382384
ISBN-13: 978-1616382384


Delivered From

Social Intercourse

The Bible tells us that believers are “in” the world but not “of” it (John 17:11, 16). God has called us to be a light to the world. At the same time He has warned us not to be unequally yoked with people, places, and things that would hinder our walk with Him. So with this in mind, how do we run our businesses, educate our children, and relate to society in a way that will not displease God or cause us to be unequally yoked with the world?
The answer is simple—beware of social intercourse! Let’s start by reading 2 Corinthians 6:14–15 (kjv, emphasis added):

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

I have read this scripture many times over the past twenty years of my salvation. I found it very interesting that the Holy Spirit would open it up to me in a new way, as He did recently. Though the foundation of my deliverance is rooted in this scripture, until now I never recognized the standard that it sets for a victorious
lifestyle in Christ Jesus. Second Corinthians 6:14–15 represents the line that God has drawn in the Spirit to give us:
• Spiritual strength to avoid compromise and ungodly tolerance
• Stamina and endurance against opposition and persecution
• Discernment to know the difference between what is holy and what is unclean

The key words of this passage are:
• Fellowship—People (becoming one in Him)
• Communion—Places (gathering in His name)
• Concord—God (agreement with God)
• Part—Faith (having a belief that cannot be shaken)

Fellowship—righteousness vs. unrighteousness
The word fellowship is metochos (met’-okh-os) in the Greek, which means, “intercourse.” Intercourse is defined as: “connection or dealings between individuals or groups that causes a coupling or uniting that makes those who have come together one.” As I studied the word intercourse, I noticed the word interchange. When intercourse takes place, there is always an interchange. This means that the people who come together literally experience an exchange in the midst of their union. The word interchange means, “to put each in the place of the other; to cause to change places, or to give and receive things from each other reciprocally.” It also means to cause to follow one another. Based on the word study on fellowship, it is not difficult to see that when we fellowship or socialize with people on a continual basis, a union takes place in the spirit. This is why the Bible asks the question, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The interchange involves everyone and enables each person to get something out of the relationship. This is why we must know those that we labor among. God commands that we “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17)! If you do not want what other
people have, it would not be wise to hang out with them. On the other hand, when believers come together, there is a sweet communion that takes place. Where two touch and agree, Jesus comes into the midst. One believer can put a thousand demons to flight, but two can put ten thousand to flight (Deut. 32:30). The Word of the Lord asks: “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” Whenever the Word asks a question, an alarm should go off in our spirits to do a self-evaluation. We should ask ourselves questions like:

• What kind of inner circles am I a part of?
• Are the values of those who are closest to me committed
to righteousness or unrighteousness?
• What am I depositing into my closest relationships,
and what am I getting out of these relationships that influences me spiritually?

Pause and think on these questions! Is there anything in your life that you are in fellowship with that will stop you from being one with Jesus? If so, break fellowship with it now!

Communion—light vs. darkness
We are called to be in communion with our God. Let’s look at the word communion. The Greek word for communion is koinonia, which means: “partnership, participation, social intercourse, communication
and distribution.” I was knocked off of my feet when I found out that communion means social intercourse. When Paul refers to communion, he relates it to light and darkness. He is actually saying that light and darkness
will never commune or agree. Because of this, we must choose one side with which to commune. There will always be controversy, combat, and a battle in the spirit when dealing with light and darkness. Many people get discouraged when they experience this kind of warfare. This is the kind of warfare we should rejoice about!
The Bible says that we must be watchful when all men speak well of us. The truth of the matter is that not all men are supposed to agree with us. All men are not walking in the light of the truth, and when you are confronted with darkness, there is supposed to be a battle!

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would
love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will
also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. —John 15:18–20

The battle will rage when light and darkness collide. The only true light in the world is the light of Jesus Christ. The world hates Jesus! When believers get this down in their spirits, they will develop tougher skin. Those who represent Jesus must have tough skin and not take persecution from the world as a personal attack.
It is not personal; it is scriptural! The world is not supposed to love you when you love Jesus. When believers allow resistance and rejection from the world to get them down, it is a sin before God! Paraphrasing what Jesus said, He made it simple: “Who do you think you are? You are not greater than Me! They hated Me, and I
created them—I AM God! Do not be moved when they hate you.” This is the commandment of the Lord. Light cannot commune (be comfortable with) darkness.

No matter how good things may seem or how nice people may be, if you are a child of light, darkness will always oppose you. No matter how much you try to harmonize, there will be a screeching sound of discord in the spirit. We have Jesus on the inside of us, and demons will always be uncomfortable in His presence. When we step into a place, we bring Jesus with us. There are places where people do not want Jesus around. We should not be alarmed when we are barred and even kicked out of certain places. The power of manifested light in a dark place is a good thing. It reveals to the people that they are in darkness. It is a glorious thing when the children of God come together to let their light shine. When light connects with more light, the power of God is manifested in the earth realm.

The koinonia of God flows fluently in the midst of the saints. This is why the anointing of the saints increases with numbers. One can put one thousand to flight, but two . . . ten thousand! Koinonia promotes partnership, communication, and a balanced distribution among the people of God. It is a social intercourse that takes place to give birth to the will of God in the earth realm. Real communion causes God’s glory to radiate in the midst of a dark and lost world. There is something awesome that takes place when God’s anointed ones gather. We gain ground in the spirit, and the Lord has free course to move. On the other hand, because of negative agreement there were some places where even Jesus could not heal the sick. When we fellowship with people who are not children of light, we get stuck in a spiritual limbo. To be in limbo means to be caught between. Because light and darkness cannot agree, those who try to make them mingle always end up in limbo. The manifestations of limbo are the spirits of struggle, distraction, confusion, and heaviness. We are in the world but not of the world. We are commanded to go into the world to be witnesses for Jesus, but the approach and strategy we use means everything. We are called to influence and not to be influenced!

There is a difference between communion and compromise. Communion brings forth a unity that bonds believers together for God’s purpose. When we compromise there is no bonding, but a bowing that takes place. It causes a person to knowingly or subliminally submit to the spirit in charge.

Concord—Christ vs. Belial
The scripture also asks, “What concord hath Christ with Belial?” The word concord is sumphonesis (soom-fo’-nay-sis) in the Greek, and it is defined as: “to be in harmony with, agreement, to stipulate by compact; to concur and support.”
Agreement means everything! It affects every area of our lives. We need agreement within ourselves to achieve our everyday goals. Without agreement, our families are dysfunctional and our businesses will fail.

God showed me that agreement is a type of spiritual covering. I believe that this is why Paul used the analogy of Christ and Belial. When we agree with certain things, we come under the covering of a certain ruler. We cannot agree with Christ and Belial at the same time; only one will rule!

Let’s take a look at the meaning of Belial:
• A person considered morally worthless
• Good for nothing
• Diseased in the mind
• Hard-hearted
• One who promotes rebellion against God and constituted authority
• Another name for Satan
• Vile, lewd, licentious, corrupt
• That which works against and has no regard for God or the things of God

Understanding the meaning of Belial brings forth a greater understanding of why this spirit has no agreement with Christ. We can be effective in winning the lost in dark places and during dark times as long as we have the revelation that Christ has no agreement with Belial. This is what accursed means: “dedicated unto doom or
damned by God Himself.” If God has killed a thing, we cannot religiously resurrect it. If the root is holy, the fruit will be holy, but if the root is demonically dedicated, the fruit will be cursed. Christ and Belial simply cannot agree. A biblical meaning for the word agreement is, “to marry, betroth or to gather selves until they
become one.” We cannot attempt to attach Jesus to the accursed thing.

Part—believers vs. infidels
The Word of the Lord asks, “What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” The word part in the Greek is meris (mer-ece’), and it means, “to share, to be in the same province of or to participate with.” It comes from another Greek word, meros, which refers to a coast, portion, or to have respect of.

When Paul asked the question, “What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?,” it was serious! The word infidel refers to one who does not have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. There is a difference between believing in Jesus and believing that Jesus is the one and only living God. Few deny that Jesus walked on the earth. Many
consider Him a great man or even a powerful prophet. The problem comes in when they deny His lordship! Putting it simple, an infidel is one who denies the lordship of Jesus Christ. What part does a true believer have with a person who does not believe that Jesus is the Lord and Creator of the universe? None! Believers should have no part in activities that give homage or even respect to other gods. We should not spiritually hang out in territories where demons are attempting to make us bow to the gongs of the land with the intent to overthrow them. The persecution of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the perfect example of having no part with infidels. The king made a decree that whenever the gong sounded, everyone had to fall down and give homage to the pagan deity of the land. The Hebrew boys were put in the fiery furnace because they refused to bow. Yeah,
I know this is an old Bible story (in the minds of many), but the reality of this story will one day be grafted into the hearts of the saints in America. Many gongs are sounding, and many people who call themselves believers are bowing in our country. Jesus told Satan, “You have no part with Me” (John 13:8). In this same way we must not be a part of, have a portion with, or participate in modern-day idolatries. There are gongs going off in the spirit bidding Christians in America to bow. These are not ancient gongs as in the times of the Hebrew boys. These are gongs of economic trouble, disasters in the weather, seducing spirits from the rich and the famous, political unrest, peer pressure, idolatrous temptation, and compromise. During times like these we can remain steadfast in the things of God if we focus on our portion. Looking to the left or the right will make us lose the race. We can win if we stay in our lane and allow Jesus to be the author and finisher of our faith. We must be able to stand and declare, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Josh. 24:15). God is using His people to do a great work in the days in which we live, and we cannot come down off the wall.

Let’s take a look at how Nehemiah dealt with the temptation to bow to the dictates of the world.
Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with
fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” —Nehemiah 2:17–20

The people of God were in a bad situation, yet Nehemiah bragged on His God. His enemies mocked him and called him a rebel, but Nehemiah had a revelation; God was his portion! His source was not in man, so he did not have to bow to them. He also let his enemies know that they had no portion in what God had for him. When we (as believers) know our portion and in whom it is placed, we also know the portion (or legal right) the enemy has to get involved in it—none! The portion of the wicked has no agreement with what God has for us.
The twentieth chapter of Job describes the portion of the wicked. It describes the portion of the wicked to be like a basket filled with curses.

It includes the following curses:
• The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment.
• He will perish forever like his own refuse.
• He will fly away like a dream and not be found; he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
• His children will seek the favor of the poor.
• His bones will lie down with him in the dust.
• His food in his stomach turns sour; it becomes cobra venom within him.
• He swallows down riches and vomits them up again.
• He will not see the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
• From the proceeds of business he will get no enjoyment.
• He knows no quietness in his heart; therefore his well-being will not last.
• In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; every hand of misery will come against him.
• When he is about to fill his stomach, God will cast on him the fury of His wrath.
• A bronze bow will pierce him through.
• Terrors come upon him.
• An unfanned fire will consume him.
• The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him.
• The increase of his house will depart, and his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath.

The scripture concludes by saying: “This is the portion from God for a wicked man, the heritage appointed to him by God” (Job 20:29). I praise the Lord because we have no portion in wickedness. Today, when the hearts of many are failing them for fear, we must continue to confess Psalm 73:26, which says: “God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever.”

We must rebel against or disagree with the things or the ways of the wicked. This is the only way to avoid social intercourse. Social intercourse is the pathway to idolatry, which comes in the name of status quo social activities. God put the need to socialize on the inside of us, but we must do it according to the Word of God. There is a sweet anointing when the brethren dwell in peace under the covering of God’s covenant. We can operate in the midst of those who do not know Jesus, but we must lead and not follow. We must influence and not be
influenced. This is the calling we have as the salt of the earth. I call it blending without bending.


Music Monday: New Divide

This combines 2 things, ok 3 things, I love - Shia LaBeouf, Transformers, and Linkin Park :) &Hearts;

Friday, October 28, 2011

A little girl's wish... #pray4izzy

You know when you're growing up you dream of so many things. Mainly you dream of the future. But there's one little girl who is fighting for hers right now.

Four year old Izabella has cancer. She was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very aggressive childhood cancer in November 2009. She has been fighting it for about half of her little life. It wasn't too long ago her parents had to make the hard decision of whether or not to allow the doctors to preform an amputation of one of her legs. With the hope that it would help her, they allowed it. Recently, sweet Izzy and her family were informed the cancer had returned.

I'm not telling you this so you can feel pity for this family. Instead I'm asking for prayers. That is what they need most of all. This family is not to be pitied...they have had such an amazing strength and continued faith through it all. As stated on their Timmy's Fund page, Izzy was quoted as saying “If I smile, the devil will be mad… So I’m gonna keep smiling!”. If that doesn't show what an amazing little girl this is, I just don't know what else to say.

Isn't she beautiful? 
I swiped this picture from Facebook. It's been spreading so I didn't think the family would mind.
Also Izzy has a wish I want to share with you all. She wants Justin Bieber to come to WV. I know this is a long shot however I'm willing to tweet and share her wish as much as possible. She deserves to have this come true. From what I understand some Fayette County teens started this massive Twitter campaign in hopes that Izzy would have a dream come true.

We can help!

If you feel like you would like to help get this trending and noticed worldwide please use the hashtag #pray4izzy when posting anything on Twitter.

Thank you and remember to #pray4izzy!

Your Pathway to Miracles: Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***


At age 80, Dr. Marilyn Hickey, founder and president of Marilyn Hickey Ministries, is still going strong. Known and loved worldwide for her clear, down-to-earth Bible teaching, she’s brought Scripture to life for countless thousands through her radio and TV broadcasts, books, and speaking ministry. In recent years she’s ministered across the U.S. as well as in the Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, India, China and Pakistan. The author of dozens of books and pamphlets, Marilyn Hickey’s recent Whitaker House releases include: Spiritual Warfare, The Names of God, Total Healing, and Your Pathway to Miracles. She and her daughter co-host the weekly worldwide television show, Marilyn and Sarah.

Visit the author's website.


In her latest book worldwide Bible teacher Marilyn Hickey offers a “how to” for those in need of a miracle. Dr. Hickey teaches readers how to learn to build trust in God, creatively interweaving faith-building Scriptures with her considerable personal experience, such as giving birth to her daughter after being told it was medically impossible. Christian leaders are applauding the results, recommending Your Pathway to Miracles to their congregations and audiences, with Joyce Meyer saying, “it will fuel your faith and give you a new passion to believe God for the miraculous,” and from Richard Roberts: “allow her new book to set you on your own journey for miracles in the mighty name of Jesus.”

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603743251
ISBN-13: 978-1603743259


Everyone Needs a Miracle

What Miracle Are You Seeking?

In the United States and around the world, countless numbers of people are looking for miracles in their lives. When some people say, “I’m praying for a miracle,” they are really talking about wishful thinking or a vague hope that things will get better. Others, however, mean that they are asking God to intervene in their lives based on the reality of His promises. There’s a big difference! Over the years, my ministry has received numerous reports of miracles that have come through prayer and holding on to God’s Word, miracles such as:

My eight-year-old son had leukemia. I called for prayer for strength to go through the treatment. That wonderful prayer partner rebuked the disease and prayed that he be healed in Jesus’ name. Now my son is healed! There is no leukemia in his body! It was such a testimony to the doctors and nurses.


I had a nervous breakdown [and when I was feeling the worst I would] listen to you say, “This is the best day of your life!”…Little by little the joy I felt began to increase.…I want you to know that my mind is healed now. I was sick for seven years. I feel the peace of God and the joy of the Lord again.


I recently requested that you agree with me to lose weight because I had reached a whopping 203 pounds. Well, praise God, the Lord has done a miracle for me. I went on a diet and have lost 53 pounds, and I’m not through yet.


You prophesied that a child who had been kidnapped by his father was going to be returned to his mother. I claimed that word as mine! I had stood in faith for 2 1/2 years before that word; and in less than one month, my son was returned to me. I was tired and weary…ready to give up—your word from God renewed my strength to stand.


Everyone needs a miracle of some kind, whether it is one of healing, financial provision, restoration of broken relationships, open doors of opportunity, favor with another person, or another intervention of God. I have experienced many miracles in my life, and I am still experiencing them. Miracles are available to us today because God’s Word promises them. What miracle are you seeking?

Our heavenly Father is a God of the miraculous. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a miraculous book. It is a supernatural gift, a revelation from God, which He has given for our instruction, comfort, and guidance in life. It tells us of many miracles God has provided for His people over thousands of years. Yet the Bible doesn’t talk just about past miracles; it tells us how we can experience miracles in the present and the future. God hasn’t changed. He desires to do miracles for us, too!

For I am the Lord, I do not change. (Malachi 3:6)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
A Miraculous Sign

A miracle is something that, without the intervention of God, would never have happened to the person who received it. A miracle may also be defined as something that occurs outside the natural processes of life that we would ordinarily experience in our physical world.

In October 2000, I took a group of travelers on a ministry trip to La Paz, Bolivia, and held a series of citywide meetings in the stadium there. There are many indigenous people in Bolivia whose cultural roots are steeped into idolatry, witchcraft, shamanism, and the like, and who need to hear the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

One of the travelers accompanying us told me she’d had a unique dream. “I dreamed that there were three rainbows in perfect arches in the sky,” she said. “I don’t know what it means, but it could be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or some special visitation while we’re in Bolivia.” I didn’t share this conversation with anyone but kept it hidden in my heart.

While we were in Bolivia, we would hold three nights of healing meetings in the stadium, as well as two days of meetings with Bolivian ministers, because we like to pour the knowledge of God’s Word into the hearts of ministers. We had brought books printed in Spanish, and we had special times of instruction and fellowship with them.

The president of Bolivia invited me to join a breakfast meeting he was sponsoring, and I was asked to speak to some of the key leaders in the government. This was an unexpected and wonderful open door for ministry.

Little did I dream what God the Father would do to prepare the hearts of the people for that breakfast and our healing meetings. The first morning of our ministry training school, we were in downtown La Paz teaching the local pastors. About one thousand Bolivian leaders were there, plus the one hundred and twenty-five people from the United States who had accompanied us on the trip. One of our staff people passed a note to me while I was speaking, saying that there were crowds in the street and that traffic was stopped because there were three rainbows in perfect arches over the building we were in. I said to the people, “There is something very unusual happening outside. We must go out and look.”

We walked outside, and, as had been reported, there were three rainbows in the sky above the building. All three were shaped in perfect arches, and each one was a different color. We were able to capture this sight on video. No one knew what to think. I was shocked that God would perform such an unusual miracle right then and there.

We went back to the meeting and praised and worshipped God. Following the meeting, we boarded our buses to go back to our hotel. When we arrived, we saw that the three rainbows had followed us and come to a stop over the hotel. We also found that witches had gathered outside, protesting by ringing bells and banging pans. The president of the country had called a leadership conference of witches, and these witches were very upset with our being there and with the rainbows that were positioned over the hotel, and they had come to speak curses against us. But let me tell you something: You cannot curse what God has blessed.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible says that Jesus took the curse of our sins on Himself on the cross so that we could be blessed. (See, for example, Isaiah 53:4–5; Galatians 3:13–14.) Knowing this, we rebuked Satan and asked God to bring these witches to salvation in Jesus.

When I went to the breakfast, oh, what a breakfast it was, because of all the news that had been on television and in the newspapers regarding our visit and the manifestation of the rainbows. What timing the Lord has! He had given a woman on our team a dream and then brought it to pass as a sign to us and to the people of Bolivia. Because the three rainbows had appeared over the city, I knew what to say to all those attending the breakfast. I asked them, “What is God saying? He wants to bring revival to La Paz, Bolivia. God wants to move on this country, but He can do it only as we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.”

The breakfast was a wonderful opportunity to praise God. He had already sent a sign of His presence in the form of the three rainbows. The Bible says that miraculous signs will follow those who believe. (See Mark 16:17.) That was a time when signs both went before us and followed us! I built on the sign God had sent by calling the people to repentance. Then, at the stadium meetings, people were Spirit-filled, and literally thousands of people were saved and healed. There were an unusual number of people healed from growths and tumors. People also came and threw their eyeglasses onto the platform because they could see perfectly without them.

We were able to broadcast these meetings over satellite to all the Spanish-speaking countries in the world. It was an awesome time, a time when God showed up and “showed off.”

Why Miracles?
Why does God do miracles in the lives of His people and in relation to situations that concern them? Our experiences in Bolivia draw attention to five significant reasons God does miracles.

1. God’s Miracles Reveal His Power as Creator-King

When God created the earth and everything in it, including human beings, it was a miraculous event that reveals to us His power as Creator, as well as His sovereignty over the earth. The created world continues to reveal God’s nature and power.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1–4)

The three remarkable rainbows in the sky demonstrated that this same powerful Creator God was involved in our visit to Bolivia. God spoke the world into existence at the beginning of time, and He not only continues to create wonders that glorify Him, but He also brings the things we need into existence as we speak His Word to the circumstances and problems in our lives. As He does so, He manifests His nature and His ways to us.

2. God’s Miracles Reveal the Spiritual Reality Supporting Our Physical World

Miracles make known the existence of an invisible spiritual reality that is the true or ultimate reality in life. Most people live only according to what they can experience through their five senses, but there is a spiritual realm that undergirds, and is greater than, the physical reality of our world, and within which our physical world exists. The Bible tells us that Jesus, who is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, both created and sustains our world: “All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [“hold together” niv]” (Colossians 1:16–17).

A miracle sign such as we saw in La Paz, and the resulting outpouring of supernatural healings and other manifestations, revealed to the Bolivian people the presence of God’s spiritual realm and His desire to intervene to meet both their physical and spiritual needs.

3. God’s Miracles Convey His Compassion for His People
God the Father does miracles to bless and deliver His people, because He is loving and compassionate. For example, when He sent Moses to deliver the Hebrews, who were enslaved in Egypt, He told him,

I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:7–8)

In the course of delivering the Hebrews, God performed many miracles, including the manifestations of the pillars of cloud and fire, which were signs of His constant presence with His people, and the parting of the Red Sea, through which He rescued them from their enemies. (See Exodus 13:21; 14:21–30.) And God still saves and delivers today.

God loves all the people of the world. He created them in His image and sent His Son to redeem them. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). When Jesus came to earth, His healings and other miracles were prompted by His compassion. In one instance, when two blind men called out to Him, asking for mercy, “Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matthew 20:34).

The sign of the three rainbows in Bolivia was a symbol to the people that God knew them and loved them and wanted to move among them in compassion, healing, deliverance, and the outpouring of His Spirit.

The apostle Paul wrote that if God gave His Son to die on the cross for us, “how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). “All things” includes miracles.
4. God’s Miracles Promote Faith in the Truth of the Gospel
Miracles are also a way in which God the Father confirms people’s faith in the legitimacy of the gospel message, helping to bring them to repentance and into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

[Jesus said to His followers,] “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature….And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;…they will lay hands on the sick, an they will recover.”…And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” (Mark 16:15, 17–18, 20)

Likewise, God opened the door and validated our ministry in Bolivia by the manifestation of the rainbows, which drew the attention of the people as they saw the sign personally or heard about it through the media. Then, during our meetings in Bolivia, thousands of people were saved and healed. The healings, including those of growths and tumors, were further signs—“accompanying signs”—that confirmed the ministry of the gospel God had given to us for the people.

Please remember that Jesus said we are not to seek manifestations of signs as a substitution for belief in God’s Word. (See Matthew 12:38–39.) And we are not to seek signs for their own sake, as a form of entertainment. However, God will use miracles to promote faith in His Word so that people will believe and be saved, healed, and experience abundant life in Him.
5. God’s Miracles Reveal Genuine versus False Spirituality
The signs accompanying our preaching of the gospel in Bolivia were a testimony to the people of true, godly spiritual activity in contrast to counterfeit spirituality. The witches who had protested our presence there had gathered for a conference in La Paz at the request of the president, who had also invited me to speak to governmental leaders at a breakfast, so there was obviously confusion in that nation regarding what kind of spirituality should be practiced and promoted. To some people, witchcraft or shamanism may seem innocent and helpful, but these things are false and destructive. The witches had tried to cause a commotion and disrupt our ministry, yet God showed that He is greater than counterfeit spirituality. He poured out His Spirit in a powerful way according to His love, bringing salvation, healing, and deliverance to the people.

Please be aware that false teachers and prophets can exhibit counterfeit signs and miracles. Jesus said, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). And the apostle Paul wrote,

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

(2 Thessalonians 2:9–10)

Genuine miracles from God, however, are recognized by those who know His ways and are enlightened by His Spirit. One of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day named Nicodemus told Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). And the Corinthian believers to whom Paul ministered were aware that the message and work of an apostle from God will be confirmed by signs and miracles: “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:12).

Remember that true miracles bring glory to God—not to a “miracle worker.” They confirm the truth of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection and triumph over the devil and all the forces of evil. (See, for example, Colossians 2:11–15.)
How Do God’s Miracles Come to Us?

God’s miracles—His supernatural interventions in our lives—come to us in different ways. While there may be similarities between these ways, and they may overlap, each is important in itself. Throughout this book, we will explore various avenues through which God brings miracles into our lives. We will also discover what we need to know and act upon in order to receive our miracles. Miracles usually don’t just “happen” in our lives, for, as we have seen, God does miracles for various reasons and gives them as we seek Him through faith in His Word.

Think of yourself as on a pathway to receiving the miracles you desire from God. I invite you to take a journey with me as I relate the adventures of miraculous living that I have experienced in my life, knowing that you, too can experience the same kinds of miracles and live in the realm of the miraculous. The path to miracles is an ongoing one, and we can experience miracles of various kinds throughout our lives.

Let’s be sure not to miss out on all that God has for us. There are consequences of not accepting and receiving the miracles He wants to give us through our faith in Him. The Scriptures say that Jesus “did not do many mighty works [in His hometown] because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58). We don’t want to forfeit our miracle opportunities, which are part of the spiritual wonder and destiny God has planned for our lives.

If someone witnesses God’s miracles but observes them only as a spectator and stays in unbelief toward Jesus and His offer of salvation, there is a high cost to him.

Then [Jesus] began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.…And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”

(Matthew 11:20–21, 23)

Not to experience a healing or deliverance God desires for you would be tragic enough, but to lack repentance and refuse to receive Christ would lead to a grim penalty. We don’t want to fall short of God’s purposes for our lives. In this book, we’ll see how to both receive Christ into our lives and enter into the realm of the miraculous. Let us be able to say with Paul, “In [God] we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Receiving Your Miracles

Through Your Pathway to Miracles, I want to show you how to gain a deeper relationship with your heavenly Father and learn how to live in the miraculous according to His plans. He has spectacular episodes for your life as you hold fast in faith. Get ready to be liberated from frustration and defeat as you set your eyes continually on His positive truths and principles, even as you contend with negative circumstances and situations. You will discover…

how miracles begin
the reasons and seasons for miracles
the roles of faith, expectation, positive affirmation, and prayer
the importance of claiming your miracle
how to recognize the miracles in your own hands
keys to removing mountainous problems blocking your miracles
how to access “giant” miracles for big needs
ways in which God gives favor and opportunity
the nature of “miracle packages”
how to persevere to receive God’s miracle when there seems to be no solution for your problem and all seems hopeless.
My friend, whatever kind of miracle you need, read on!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rockin' the Party at COTT!

*guest post by Delia Latham

It's been a bang-up bash all week at Clash of the Titles. We've been blog-hopping for treasure, and a couple gals found the loot!

LINDA won Game #1. She'll receive a 
$10 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate 

CLAUDIA RIZZI won Game #2. She'll receive a 
$25 Partylite Gift Certificate 
Michelle Massaro.

Congratulations to our game winners!

And the fun continues all the way through Nov. 4th. Our doors are open and we have a whole pile of party hats just waiting to be worn. Bring your votes and come on down!

In the midst of all the fun and games this week, we had four authors at swordspoint with TWO Clashes. All four entries were outstanding, and each possessed strong winning qualities. But, as in any race or competition, not everyone makes the finals.

We chose a single winner from each Clash. These two went head-to-head on Saturday…and only one will proceed to the finals and duke it out for the COTT Laurel Award.

This week's Clash WINNERS are:

Clash #3:

Erin Rainwater with her excerpt from 

Clash #4: 

Elaine Marie Cooper and her excerpt from 


These two went head-to-head on Saturday…with only one proceeding to the finals to duke it out for the COTT Laurel Award.

That one is....

Elaine Marie Cooper and her excerpt from 

Cyber-hugs and sincere thanks to Anne Patrick and Margaret Brownley! These were tough decisions and difficult votes to make. You're ALL winners!

More games and more exerpts are up for grabs this week, so don't miss out. Stop by COTT and play.

*Delia Latham is the author of the Solomon's Gate Series and a Blog Alliance Correspondent for COTT

A Quarter for a Kiss: Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri James | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Mindy Starns Clark is the author of many books (more than 450,000 copies sold), which include A Pocket Guide to Amish Life, Shadows of Lancaster County, Whispers of the Bayou, and The Amish Midwife. In addition, Mindy is a popular inspirational speaker and playwright.

Visit the author's website.


With a touch of romance and a strong heroine, A Quarter for a Kiss offers more of the fast-paced and suspenseful inspirational writing found in A Penny for Your Thoughts, Don’t Take Any Wooden Nickels, and A Dime a Dozen. In this fourth book of the Million Dollar Mysteries, Mindy Starns Clark weaves another tale of mystery and God’s touch on the lives of those who seek Him.

As a young widow, Callie Webber finds strength in her faith in God and joy in her growing romance with her employer, Tom Bennett. When their friend and mentor, Eli Gold, is shot, the search for answers as to who and why leads Tom and Callie to the beautiful Virgin Islands. There they face a sinister enemy among the ruins of an old sugar plantation—an enemy who’s willing to do anything to keep his identity secret and the past deeply buried.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736929592
ISBN-13: 978-0736929592


“Come on, Callie,” Tom urged. “You can do it. You know how.”

Ignoring the burning in my calves, I kept my gaze on Tom, who had reached the top of the wall almost effortlessly and now waited there for me to join him.

“There’s a grip at two o’clock, up from your right hand about six inches,” he guided, speaking in the low, soothing tones I teasingly called his “rock climbing” voice. Glad for that voice now, I released my handhold and reached upward, my fingers easily finding and grasping the tiny ledge. “Now your foot,” he said. “Slow and easy. You’re almost there.”

As I went I concentrated on all I had learned about rock climbing in the last few weeks. It was Tom’s passion, and we had spent a number of hours practicing on a real rock face while he taught me the basic tricks and techniques. Now we were in an indoor gym, on a simulated rock wall, climbing much higher than we had ever gone in our practice runs. And though I was wearing a safety harness that was roped to the ceiling, that didn’t make it any easier or any less scary—particularly where the wall actually bent outward, pitching me at a difficult angle.

“You are one step away, Cal,” he said, excitement evident in his voice. “Most of the people won’t make it half this far.”

With a final burst of daring, I slid my toes against the next hold and straightened my knees, rising high enough to touch the ceiling at the top of the wall.

“You did it!” Tom cried, and only then did I allow myself to smile and then to laugh.

“I did do it!” I echoed, slapping a high five with Tom and feeling the rush of pleasure and relief he said he experienced every time he finished a challenging climb. Of course, to him “challenging” meant the Red Rocks of Nevada or Half Dome in Yosemite. For me, a big wall in a rock-climbing gym was a pretty good start.

We repelled down together, my legs still feeling shaky once I was on solid ground.

“That was great,” the teenage staffer said as he helped unhook me from the harness. “And to think you were worried. Are you sure you haven’t done this before?”

“Not that high and not indoors,” I said.

“Well, you’re a natural.”

“I had a good teacher,” I replied, glancing at Tom, who was busy removing his own harness. He and I had spent the last three weeks together vacationing in the North Carolina mountains. During that time, we had enjoyed teaching each other our favorite sports—climbing and canoeing—though I liked to tease him that my hobby was the superior one, because one false move with a canoe paddle wouldn’t exactly plunge a person hundreds of feet to their death. Tom had replied that if one were canoeing above Niagara Falls, that wouldn’t exactly be true, now would it?

As the teenager moved on to help the next set of climbers, Tom gave me an encouraging smile.

“Hey, what did you say this is called?” I asked him, pointing at my visibly wobbling knees. “Sewing legs?”

“Sewing-machine legs,” Tom replied. “A common climbing malady. Come on. You need to rest for a bit.”

He bought us two bottles of water from the snack bar, and then we found a quiet corner and sat on a bench there, leaning back against the wall. I felt thoroughly spent, as if I had pushed every single muscle in my body to its very limit.

I sipped on my water, feeling my pulse slowly return to normal, looking around at the activity that surrounded us. Across the giant room, a new group of climbers was being instructed by a guide while about ten more people waited in line for their turn. In the front window was a giant banner that said “Climb for KFK,” and beside the cash register was a table where pledges and donations were being accepted for “Kamps for Kids,” a charity that provided summer camp scholarships to impoverished children. Instead of a walk­athon, they were calling this event a “climbathon.” I liked the idea as well as the whole atmosphere of the place, from the easy joviality of the people waiting in line to the upbeat encouragement of the instructors who were manning the ropes and providing assistance as needed.

“So what’s up, Callie?” Tom asked. “You haven’t been yourself all morning.”

I shrugged.

“Sorry,” I said. “This is my work mode, I guess. You have to remember, we’re not just here to have fun. We’re on the job, so to speak.”

Tom nodded knowingly and then leaned closer and lowered his voice.

“So how does this happen, exactly?” he asked. “Do you just walk up to the people and say, ‘Hi, here’s a big whopping check’?”

I smiled.

“Oh, sure, that’s usually how it goes. I call that my Big Whopping Check speech.”

“Don’t be hard on me,” he said, grinning. “I’ve never done this before.”

I leaned toward him, speaking softly.

“Well, first of all, you have to wait for the proper moment,” I said. “Like just before you’re about to leave.”


“Second,” I continued, “you have to have the full attention of the correct person. You don’t want to give that whopping check to just anybody.”

“Get the big wig. Got it.”

“Finally, the act of presentation takes a little bit of flair. It’s a huge moment for them. You want to help them enjoy it.”

“I think I understand.”

“You also want to bring them back down to earth a little. I actually do have a short speech I give every time I hand over a grant. I remind the recipient where the money’s coming from and what it’s for. That seems to go over well.”

I felt funny explaining how I did my job to Tom, because he wasn’t just my boyfriend, he was also technically my boss. Though he lived and worked on the other side of the country, far from our actual office, Tom was the kind and generous philanthropist behind the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation. I worked for the foundation as the director of research, and basically my job was to investigate nonprofits Tom was interested in and analyze their suitability for grants. If they checked out okay, I then had the pleasure of awarding them grant money. That’s what we were doing here today. For the first time ever, Tom was joining me as I gave a little bit of his money away.

“Hey, Tom! Tom Bennett!” a man cried, interrupting my thoughts.

The fellow bounded toward us, grinning widely. He was tall and wiry, with deep laugh lines in a tanned face, and when he reached us, we stood and the two men shook hands warmly. “You said you might come, but I didn’t believe you.”

“I’m glad I was able to work it out,” Tom replied, smiling.

He introduced his friend as Mitch Heckman, owner of the gym and co-organizer of the event. I told Mitch how impressed I was with the gym and with the climbathon concept.

“Most of the credit goes to my wife,” Mitch said, shaking my hand. “I’m just glad we could use the gym to help out a good cause.”

“Have you raised much?” Tom asked.

“Our goal for today was twenty-five thousand dollars,” Mitch said. “You can see how we’re doing on that poster over there.”

He pointed to a drawing of a mountain with a zero at the bottom, amounts written up the side, and $25,000 at the top. Sadly, it had only been colored in about half of the way up—and the event would be over in another hour or two.

“Of course, we had a pretty big learning curve in putting the whole thing together,” Mitch said. “I’m sure we can make up the difference with some bake sales or car washes or something. We’ll get there eventually. Mai pen rai, huh?”

“Yeah, mai pen rai.”

They chatted for a few minutes more, and then Mitch was called up to the front. After he was gone, Tom explained to me their acquaintance, that they had met a few months ago while mountain climbing—specifically, while scaling the limestone cliffs off of Rai Ley Beach in the Krabi Province of Thailand. Tom had been working hard in Singapore and had taken a weekend off to visit the nearby mountain-climbers’ mecca, where he met Mitch atop one of the peaks after a particularly challenging climb. As the two men rested, they talked, and it turned out that they were both avid climbers and eager to explore an unfrequented jungle crag nearby. Together they had hired a guide and ended up having an incredible day of climbing. Though the two men hadn’t seen each other since, they had been in touch off and on ever since via e-mail.

“What were you saying to each other just now? My pen…”

“Mai pen rai,” Tom replied. “That’s Thai for ‘no problem’ or ‘never mind.’ The guides say it to encourage you while you’re climbing, kind of like ‘you can do it.’ ‘Don’t worry.’ Mai pen rai.”

“Does Mitch know about the foundation?”

“Nope. He thinks I’m just another rock jock.”

“He’s in for a nice surprise, then,” I said. “This is fun, giving a grant to someone who never even applied for one.”

This wasn’t our usual mode for doing business, that was for sure. But this particular charity was so new—and the amount we were donating so relatively small—that the investigation hadn’t been all that complicated. Since KFK had never applied for a grant from us, I hadn’t really had the authority to go in and do an extensive investigation. But they did belong to several good nonprofit watchdog groups, so I had felt confident doing the research from our vacation home in North Carolina, mostly over the internet and on the phone with the foundation’s accounting whiz, Harriet, the day before.

“Anyway, now you’ll finally have the pleasure of making a donation live and in person,” I added. “Something I’ve only been bugging you to do for two years.”

“Almost three years now,” he corrected. “And, yes, I’m hoping this might shut you up for good.”

“Oh, you want me to shut up, do you?” I asked. “What about—”

He silenced me with a finger against my lips, which he allowed to linger there.

“No,” he whispered, gazing a moment at my mouth. “Don’t ever stop talking to me. I want to listen to you forever.”

We looked into each other’s eyes as everything else in the room blurred into the background. My legs shivered again, but not from climbing this time.

“We need to get going,” Tom said gruffly, standing and then helping me to my feet. I squeezed his hand, and then we separated into the men’s and women’s locker areas to get cleaned up.

After a shower I dressed quickly in a pair of black slacks and a soft blue knit shirt. I towel-dried my short hair, combed it out, and took a moment to put on some lipstick and a touch of mascara.

As I looked in the mirror, ready to leave, I was suddenly overwhelmed with sadness. In a few short hours Tom and I would go our separate ways, boarding two different flights to head toward our homes on opposite coasts—him to California and me to Maryland. For three glorious weeks we had done nothing more than shut out the rest of the world and spend time together, but we couldn’t hide out and play forever. Our work and other responsibilities awaited us, and as one week had turned into two and then to three, we had already stretched the length of our available time to the very max. Soon our idyllic vacation together would officially be over, and Tom and I would be back to our long-distance romance as usual.

Slinging my bag onto my shoulder, I decided to take this day moment-by-moment. Despite the difficulty of parting, we still had a job to do. We still had a grant to give out.

I emerged from the locker room to find Tom also showered and dressed, standing nearby and squinting toward the front of the room. He had in his hand a check from the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation, dated today and made out to the charity, though the amount had been left blank.

“Callie, can you read that figure?” he asked. “I need the exact amount they’ve raised so far.”

I walked a little closer and then came back to report that they were up to $11,043. Quick with numbers, Tom didn’t even hesitate before he filled out the check for $23,957.

“That’s ten thousand more than they need to bring them to their goal,” I said after doing the math in my head, not surprised one bit by his generosity.

“Yeah, but it’s the least we can do, don’t you think?”

He tried to put the check in my hand, but I pushed it back.

“No, you don’t,” I said. “Enjoy the moment.”

Carrying our bags, Tom and I walked to the front of the gym, where his friend Mitch was chatting with a woman that I assumed was his wife. We were introduced, and I liked her firm handshake and the way she looked me directly in the eye. She thanked us for coming and then moved on to speak with someone else.

“We’re going to head out,” Tom said to Mitch, “but I wanted to give you a check first. I talked my company into making a small grant.”

Of course, the way Tom had said it, you’d never know that it was his company, nor his money—nor that he was using “small” as a relative term. Mitch took the folded check without looking at it.

“Listen, buddy, every bit helps. Thank you so much, and thanks for coming.”

The two men shook hands, and then Mitch shook my hand as well. We said goodbye, and Tom and I departed, walking silently through the packed parking lot toward our rental car.

“You were right, Callie,” he said nonchalantly, pressing a button on his key chain to unlock the car. “Giving away the money in person really is kind of fun.”

I was about to reply when we heard Mitch calling Tom’s name. We turned to see the man running toward us, breathless, his eyes filled with disbelief.

“I don’t understand,” he gasped, holding up the check. “This is so much. Is it some kind of joke?”

“No joke, Mitch,” Tom said. “We’re affiliated with the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation. That’s a grant.”

“A grant?”

“Yeah, we give them out all the time. Callie, what is it you like to say when you give grants to people?”

I smiled.

“Basically,” I said, going into my spiel, “we want you to know that the best way you can say thanks is to take that money and use it to further your mission. The foundation believes strongly in what you’re trying to accomplish, and we just wanted to have some small part in furthering your efforts.”

To my surprise, Mitch’s eyes filled with tears.

“Your generosity leaves me speechless,” he said finally. “Won’t you come back inside? Let me tell my wife. She’ll be so excited. Maybe we can get a picture for the newsletter or the website or something.”

I looked at Tom, but he seemed decidedly uncomfortable.

“Mitch,” I said, “we really prefer to do this in a discreet manner. Just tell Jill that the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation gives the money with love and with God’s blessings. We’d rather not receive any individual recognition.”

Bewildered, he looked back down at the check.

“And you promise this isn’t a joke?” he tried one more time.

“No joke,” Tom laughed. “I give you my word, buddy. It’s for real.”

With a final sincere thanks, Mitch turned and headed back to the building. We stood there and watched until he went inside and the door closed behind him.

On impulse, I turned and threw my arms around Tom’s neck. Startled, after a moment he hugged me back.

“You are such a good man,” I whispered, feeling absolutely, utterly, and completely in love.

He laughed, pulling me in tightly for an embrace.

“Wow,” he replied. “This giving-away-money thing gets better all the time.”

Knowing the clock was ticking closer toward our flight times, we managed to pull apart and get into the car. He started it up and pulled out of the parking lot, driving toward the airport.

We were quiet as we went, both lost in our own thoughts. As we wove our way through traffic, I considered our relationship and the long and winding path my life had taken since my husband’s death. This coming summer would mark four years since Bryan was killed, and in one way it seemed like yesterday, and in another it seemed like decades ago. My husband had been my first true love, the sweetheart I had met at 16 and married at 25. We’d had four wonderful years together as husband and wife, but that had all come crashing to an end that fateful day when we went water-skiing and Bryan was hit by a speedboat. The boat’s driver went to prison for manslaughter, but I also went into a sort of prison myself—a self-imposed prison of mourning, of loneliness.

Only in the last six months had I allowed myself to consider the possibility that there might be life for me beyond my husband’s death. Tom and I had developed a good, strong friendship through our many work-related conversations over the phone, and then, slowly, that friendship had started taking on other dimensions. We finally met in person last fall, when Tom received word that I had been hurt in an investigation and raced halfway around the world to be by my side and make certain I was all right. We had spent a mere 12 hours together—just long enough to begin falling in love—and then we were forced to endure a four-month separation while he went back to Singapore on important business and I healed from my injuries and continued my work with his foundation in the U.S.

Then three weeks ago, in the very heart of spring, we had been joyously reunited. Showing up in a hot air balloon, Tom had swept me away to a gorgeous vacation spot in the North Carolina mountains, where we planned to stay a week or so and give ourselves the opportunity to see if our relationship really could work face-to-face. What we had found was that we were so compatible, so comfortable, and so suddenly and deeply in love that it was nearly impossible to end our vacation and return to our regular lives.

Now, however, our time together had come to an end.

“There’s the car rental return,” Tom said suddenly, pulling me from my thoughts. He followed the signs and turned into the lot, but instead of heading straight to the busy rental return area, he veered over to an empty parking spot nestled behind a big truck. He put the car in park but left the motor running.

“Maybe we should say our goodbyes here,” he told me, “instead of out in the middle of the busy airport.”

I nodded, surprised when my eyes suddenly filled with tears. I didn’t want to say goodbye at all. Tom’s cell phone began ringing from his gym bag, but we ignored it.

“Callie, have I told you that the past three weeks have been the happiest weeks of my life?”

The ringing stopped. In the quiet of the car, I held on to his hand, looking deeply into his eyes.

“They have been incredible,” I replied. There were many, many moments we had shared that I would relive in my mind in the coming days. “I don’t know if I have the strength to say goodbye to you or not.”

Tom reached up and smoothed a loose lock of hair behind my ear. Such tenderness was in his gaze that I thought it might break my heart.

“Callie, I have something for you,” he whispered. He started to reach into his pocket, and I swallowed hard, wondering what it could be. Then his phone began to ring again.

“You better see who it is,” I said, sighing. “It might be important.”

By the time he got the phone out from his gym bag, the call had been disconnected. Tom was pressing buttons, trying to see who had called, when my phone started ringing from my purse. I dug it out, surprised to see that the number on my screen matched the number that had just called his.

“Hello?” I asked somewhat hesitantly.

“Callie?” a woman’s voice cried from very far away. “Is that you?”

“This is Callie,” I answered. “Who is this?”

“This is Stella,” the voice said. “Stella Gold.”

I put my hand over the phone and mouthed to Tom, It’s Eli’s wife.

Eli Gold was my mentor, a friend of Tom’s, and the person responsible for bringing the two of us together.

“Stella?” I asked, trying to picture a woman I didn’t know very well at the other end of the line. I had met her the day she married my dear friend Eli, but she and I had not really spoken since, except for those times when I called their house and she had been the one to answer the phone. “What’s up?”

“Oh, Callie, I’m so glad I finally reached you. I need you. I need your help. I need Tom Bennett, also, if you know how to reach him.”

“What is it?” I asked, my heart surging.

“It’s Eli,” she sobbed. “He’s in the hospital.”

“In the hospital?”

“Callie, he’s been shot.”

My thoughts:
A very nice mystery with a little love thrown in. Enjoyable!

Monday, October 24, 2011

At the Throne of Grace: A Book of Prayers - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; Abridged edition (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri James | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


John MacArthur is the pastor–teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California; president of The Master’s College & Seminary; and featured teacher for the Grace to You media ministry. Weekly telecasts and daily radio broadcasts of “Grace to You” are seen and heard by millions worldwide. John has also written several bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, The New Testament Commentary series, Twelve Ordinary Men, and The Truth War. He and his wife, Patricia, have four married children and fifteen grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.


Announcing a special new release from Bible teacher John MacArthur…a select collection of powerful Scripture readings and prayers that inspire heartfelt communion with God and gratitude for all that He is and has done for us.

For more than 40 years, John MacArthur has steadfastly committed himself to the careful and faithful teaching of God’s Word. A key outgrowth of his study of Scripture is the profoundly God-centered prayers that precede his sermons.

John’s prayers are the offerings of a heart that is fully committed to honoring God, proclaiming and obeying His Word, and calling others to do the same. In this book, prayers and Scripture readings from across his years of ministry have been brought together to stir Christians toward more meaningful and edifying communion with God.

This book will guide readers, in the most intimate way possible, before God’s throne of grace…giving them a renewed passion and appreciation for their Lord.

Product Details:

List Price: $22.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Abridged edition (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736938400
ISBN-13: 978-0736938402


Adoring Our
Advocate Unreservedly

1 John 2:1-19

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.

The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

Our Gracious God, we thank You for our heavenly Advocate,

Jesus Christ the righteous, whose death on the cross

made propitiation for all our sins—

perfectly satisfying every demand of Your holy justice.

It is He who brought us

out of guilt and into forgiveness,

out of darkness into light,

out of our rebellion and into Your love,

out of death and into life.

He delivered us from this evil world, into Your glorious kingdom.

How we praise You for the wonder of Your love in Jesus Christ!

We thank You for sending Your Son, the Incarnate One,

who was despised, rejected, beaten, mocked, and crucified—

all in order to atone for our sin.

In Him Your love has outloved all other loves.

Your mercy extends beyond comprehension to sinners

with complete and permanent forgiveness of our sins

through faith in Jesus Christ.

We therefore long to love You with a love like Yours.

We know that is not possible, so with the apostle Peter

we plead that You would know our hearts, knowing we truly love You

in spite of what it often looks like.

Our hearts are too much like stone; we ask that

You melt them with Your grace.

Our private lives are too often gated and locked as if we could shut You out

and thereby do what we want.

Help us throw open the door and lose the key! May Your will rule our lives.

We worship You, Father, for Your great love and the gift of Jesus Christ,

Your only-begotten Son, which is to say God the Son.

We praise You, Lord Jesus, for the wondrous gift of salvation

You provided for us.

We adore You, blessed Spirit, for revealing to us the truth of the gospel

and for making our hearts Your dwelling place.

Heavenly Father, in us may Your Son see the fruit of His soul’s anguish and be glad.

Bring us away from all that we falsely trust,

and teach us to rest only in Him.

Never let us be calloused to the astonishing greatness of the gift of salvation.

May we pursue sanctification—ever-increasing holiness—with all our might!

Lord Jesus, Master, Redeemer, Savior, take possession of every part of our lives—

Yours by right through purchase.

Sanctify every faculty.

Fill our hearts with hope.

May we flee the many temptations that relentlessly hound us
and mortify the sins that continually plague us.

May there be no hypocrisy in us.

Help us trust You in the hour of distress.

Protect us when evildoers pursue us.

And deliver us from the evil of this present world.

Dear Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow,

we confess that You alone are the giver of every good and perfect gift,

and You have given us so many things,

richly supplying us with things to enjoy.

And we are reminded by the passage we have just read that

the greatest gift of all is Your Son, Jesus Christ,

who sacrificed His very life in order that

we might be freed from sin’s bondage.

Fill our hearts with gratitude, and may our lives

reflect overflowing thankfulness

so that all who see may honor You.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.