Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Worship: Trust Me

Some times we need to put the promises of God in simple terms, terms everyone can understand.

I will be with you,
I will be with you,
I will be with you,
If you will only trust Me.
Trust Me, trust Me.

The incomparable Richard Smallwood has released a new project, the first single entitled "Trust Me".

Do you trust Him?

Peace & Blessings,


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Worship: Jesus Is Lord

Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus is Lord!

That pretty much says it all!

This old Andrae Crouch classic withstands the test of time, both in message and in song.  I recently heard a remake Crouch did with a Caribbean beat.  I couldn't find that one, but this older version will do.

And because, as with Doublemint gum, two is better than one, here's a recent tribute version with Bishop Marvin Winans and Karen Clark-Sheard:

Peace & Blessings,


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Beauty and the Power of Christian Fiction

I recently read a passage in a novel that, for me, completely demonstrated the beauty and power of Christian fiction.

When the heroine wonders about the changes God subtlely has been making in her life, and how, if she's a new creature as the Bible says, she still thinks and does bad things, her friend compares her state to that of an amputee who still physically feels the missing limb even though it is obviously gone, a condition known as "phantom leg".  He goes on to tell her:

"So long as you have an earthly body, sin dwells in this body.   All our bodies are programmed for death.  But that's just your body.  Your inner man was renewed with Christ.  When you find yourself doing things that don't line up with who you are, that's the phantom.  You can feel and act and link like something you're not.  What matters is when God looks at you.  He doesn't see that old you.  He views you in Christ.  He's trying to get us all to behold what He sees." 

" behold what He sees."

Simple truth.

I know lots of readers don't like "preachy" fiction, but this small passage was as preachy at this book got.  Believe me, there was lots more stuff that would raise more than a few brows on the faces of church folks--and produce some unseemly snorts of laughter.

This conversation took place between two characters in a TGIF restaurant over a chicken and cheese dish and salad.  It was followed by a kiss.  He's a guy in ministry who wishes people would see him for who he is, not simply as a pastor, and she's a woman who is living with another guy and fighting off the effects of Walmart on her aunt's neighborhood store.

Don't worry.  No spoilers in that if you decide to read Someone To Watch Over Me by Michelle Stimpson.

Real people with real problems.  A teensy bit preachy, but mostly thought provoking.

Gospel truths wrapped up in an entertaining package.

That's the beauty and power of Christian fiction.

Fiction can touch people in places they fear or resist to allow the Gospel to tread.  Usually because they don't see it coming or maybe they're just more inclined to ride along with an entertaining story.

I wish I'd had this kind of fiction when I was coming up.  As a teenager and young woman, had I read this passage, I might not have wondered whether I was "saved" for real when I made mistakes.  I finally got a true understanding in my late 20's, some 15 years after I'd given my life to Christ.

So many years wasted on guilt and shame.

In addition to sharing Scripture with new converts or even long time believers, try handing them a carefully selected novel.  A Christian fiction novel.

Christian fiction can change lives.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Worship: Blessings

Sometimes God's blessings are obvious for all to see.  At other times, we wonder and question whether God is blessing us.  Has He forgotten us?  Even when we know in our heart that He never forsakes His own, our head may yet ponder.

We pray for blessings,
We pray for peace.
Comfort for family,
Protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing,
We pray for your mighty hand
To ease our suffering.

And all the while you hear each spoken need
You love us way to much to give us lesser things.

What if your blessings come through raindrops,
What if your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near?
And what if trials of this life are your mercies in disguised?

Have you counted your blessings lately?

Peace & Blessings,


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Worship: You Are Good/Find No Fault

Sometimes a simple refrain captures the outpouring of my heart:

Lord, we love you.  You are good.


I find no fault in Him, no fault in Him.
Jesus my Savior, I find no fault in Him.

Peace & Blessings,


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? by Michelle Stimpson

I've featured books by Michelle Stimpson before.  I've enjoyed her adult and YA fiction.  But this time Stimpson plunges into the nonfiction realm to explore a topic that will speak to many a wife, particularly Christian wives who may feel conflicted about their feelings based on their faith.  After the thrill of getting married wears off and the reality of being married sets in, women all over may second guess themselves and their mate.  In this nonfiction spin-off from her last novel, The Good Stuff, Stimpson offers encouragement and laughter for women wondering whether they indeed married the wrong guy.

I can certainly confess to wondering from time to time, and I'm also certain my husband would admit to the same, especially when we're at odds over something and in the heat of the moment, those harsh, inflated, uncontrollable emotions cause us to feel doomed.  But thank God, through 20 years, we've been able to withstand the emotion rollercoasters, to dig deep in prayer, to listen to wise counsel and to step back and ultimately appreciate each other and the marriage God blessed us with. As Stimpson so aptly points out "every marriage is a foreign land."  A more true statement has never been posited.  You have to learn the culture, language and nuances of your marriage, the rules and regulations, the penalties and consequences for your actions, before you can begin to feel welcome, much less at home.  In a breezy, conversational style, in a book you can read in under an hour (although you'll come back to reflect and consider the wise counsel therein), Stimpson will help you do this with laughter and love.

CreateSpace (May 23, 2011)
List Price: $6.99
Paperback: 84 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (May 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1461186528
ISBN-13: 978-1461186526

***Special thanks to Michelle Stimpson  for sending me a review copy.***


Michelle Stimpson is an author, a speaker, and an educator who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Jarvis Christian College in 1994.  She earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2002.  She has had the pleasure of teaching elementary, middle, and high school as well as training adults.

In addition to her work in the field of education, Michelle ministers through writing and public speaking.  Her works include the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, Divas of Damascus Road (National Bestseller), and Last Temptation.  She has published several short stories for high school students through her educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services, at

Michelle serves in the Discerning Hearts women's ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. She also ministers to women through her online newsletter:

Michelle tours annually with the Anointed Authors on Tour.  She regularly speaks at special events and writing workshops sponsored churches, schools, book clubs and other great organizations.

Michelle lives near Dallas with her husband, their two teenage children, and one crazy dog.

Visit the author's website.


What wife hasn’t second-guessed herself after a heated discussion or yet another curious incident of the missing remote control? In addition to the title’s question, this book discusses those unspoken thoughts lurking in the back of even Christian women’s minds, such as:

* We’ve Grown Apart

* I’m Just Not That Into Sex

* I Miss the Thrill of Being Single

* I Love My Husband, but I’m Not In Love

* Watching My Parents Probably Messed Me Up

While these silent ponderings might seem harmless, they have the potential to create a negative undercurrent of resentment if not specifically addressed in prayer. Through this spinoff of her popular Christian fiction novel, The Good Stuff, Stimpson tackles tough questions about wifehood through this short, humorous book of wisdom for the not-so-in-love-with-my-husband days.


We Started Off Wrong

     I’m sure our wedding picture could appear on posters warning romantic kids about what not to do.  For starters, I was four months pregnant when we married. Stevie and I were in love, but I’d be lying if I said our unborn baby wasn’t a major factor in our decision to marry after our thirteen-month long-distance courtship.

     Stevie was twenty-three, I was twenty-one. He had a child from a previous relationship, and I was still secretly reeling from a past heartbreak. We both came from so-called “broken homes.” His parents divorced when he was in middle school, mine when I was only a child, though my mother re-married when I was four. She and my step-father later divorced. Neither Stevie nor I had any kind of model for a successful marriage.

     Stevie had said that he was raised in the church, but (as is turns out) we had two different working definitions of what it meant to be church-reared. He was a CME member (Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter), while I was the child of the church musician (attending services every Sunday, many weeknights, too). Nonetheless, we were equally yoked because we were both spiritual infants. Probably more like spiritual embryos.

     But we were in love. And Stevie had super-hot legs.

     The one good thing was our financial situation. I had just finished college and begun making decent money as a teacher, while Stevie worked at a plastic manufacturing company. We had very little debt. Stevie was good with money, and we both really liked seventy-nine cent burritos.

     As the “bad years” came upon our marriage, a slew of regrets constantly nagged me:

I wished I’d known him better before I’d gone and gotten myself pregnant.
I wished I hadn’t gotten myself pregnant in the first place.
We shouldn’t have married just because of the baby.
We were too young—I barely even knew myself.
We didn’t have time to settle into our marriage before the baby got here.
We should have had more than thirty minutes of pre-marital counseling.
I should have checked his church attendance record.

     I imagined myself writing any or all of these statements on papers requesting a divorce. Who could expect us to overcome those feats? Why didn’t anyone tell me how hard marriage could be?

     To make my personal pity-party even worse, I was the first of my college friends to get married. Watching them move ahead and do all the things I wanted to do but couldn’t, thanks to my brand-spankin’-new family, didn’t help at all.

     I didn’t want a divorce. I didn’t want to stay married. I just wished the whole thing had never happened.

* * * * *

     Granted, I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry under these circumstances. But if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change anything for Stevie and me because the truth is: every marriage is a foreign land. Over these years that my husband and I have been together, I’ve seen young and old, rich and poor, pregnant and non-pregnant, Christian and non-believer, childhood friends and internet-matched couples rise and fall. Sometimes the people who think they’ve got it all together don’t. Sometimes the ones who don’t have a clue figure it out together and overcome all their previous folly, by the grace of God.

     Whatever shoulda, woulda, couldas you have about marrying your husband when you did, let them go. Maybe you could have done better. You definitely could have done worse. You made a decision with the information you had at the time, and that’s all anyone can do.

     The beauty of a life surrendered to God is His willingness to intervene where His people fall short. If you recognize that your marriage began in a less-than-desirable state, talk to God about it. Admit your shortcomings and ask Him to make sense of your tangled mess. He has a way of un-raveling knots without breaking the string!

* * * * *

Father, I repent of my willful disobedience, and I thank You for Your watchful eye where I was simply ignorant. You have preserved me and this marriage for Your purposes, and I want the testimony of Your ability to deliver us beyond our faults. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Peace & Blessings,