Monthly Archives: November 2012

Guest Post by Vicki Tiede — Interview and Her Latest Book: When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart

Interview with Vicki Tiede

Today, we welcome author Vicki Tiede and we’re talking about her latest book, When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart.

Welcome, Vicki. This book is set up like a Bible Study. What led you to set this book into sections of time?

In When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography, I lead women down the healing path of Emmaus. Emmaus means “warm springs,” which have long been heralded as a place of healing. I set my book up to create an opportunity for guided discovery, much like the two men on the road to Emmaus experienced.

  • I ask her to slow down and fix her thoughts on Him. Christ will catch up to her in the pages of the book that are saturated with His Word. (I assure her that He walks with her whether she acknowledges Him or not.)
  • I ask her to listen to what He’s telling her through His Word– even the gentle rebukes.
  • I remind her that when the destination/healing seems to be near, she’s going to want more time with him, so she should invite Him to stay.
  • Finally, when He reveals Himself to her anew, I encourage her to bask in His presence and acknowledge His care for her.

My hope is that by breaking the book into day and week sections, it will encourage the reader to slow down and really consider what Christ is saying to her.

 

What advice can you give to pastors who might want to use this book as a resource? How would you recommend using this with women in their church?

So many pastors are well-intentioned, but truly do not know how to help women in this situation. First, reading my book himself will certainly expand his understanding of the issue and its implications for the wife of a husband addicted to pornography. I would encourage pastors to have a few copies of the book on hand, so that when she comes in, after counseling and praying with her, he can give her the book to begin working through. There are many options after that.

  • If you have a number of women in your church who you are aware would benefit from this book, then perhaps someone could lead a small group.
  • The pastor or someone else in the church who does pastoral counseling could meet with her periodically to hear how she is processing through the book.
  • I also encourage pastors to be aware of support groups that may already be in existence in their area. It’s not news that women are highly relational and having a support group can be a tremendous blessing to them.

When a woman’s heart is healed, regardless of her husband’s daily choices, she will be in a better position to help promote a healing environment for her husband as well.

I want to mention that I’ve written an article about this for pastors, which is available here on my website. It helps pastors know what to say (and what not to say) when a woman comes to see him and her husband is addicted to pornography.

http://www.vickitiede.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Pastors-Guide-for-When-Her-Husband-is-Addicted-to-Pornography.pdf

I love the phrase (page35) “but you also need to get off your duff and fight for your marriage.” What do you mean by this? Does this go against the grain for many women?

The first person a woman needs to be talking to is God. She needs to pray like she’s never prayed before, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to do. You can’t change your husband, but you can work vehemently with God to change your heart. That’s why you have to embrace your hope in Christ. If you don’t, then you lay in the middle of the battlefield whining, “It’s hopeless.” Whatever! Get up! I want my readers to experience a hope that can’t be shaken regardless of the enemy’s efforts. In Christ she is able to claim joy that can’t be taken despite the pain of her present circumstances. If my reader wants to DO something, she’d better claiming hope and trusting God with her marriage. That is doing something productive. That is how you fight for your marriage.

Does it go against the grain? Sure it does. She wants to cling to the lie that if this is HIS addiction, she shouldn’t have to do anything.  She needs to get over that. She made a sacred covenant when she married this man and she needs to do her part to live up to God’s standard of marriage. That means trusting Him and dealing with her heart.

More about Vicki: I am an author and speaker who has a passion for opening the Scriptures and pointing women to their true source of grace and faithfulness. For the past ten years, I have been honored to speak for numerous women at conferences, retreats, and women’s events. I am the author of three books including When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography (2012), Plug Me In and Let Me Charge Overnight (2009), and Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years (coming January 2013). I live in Rochester, Minnesota, with my husband Mike, daughter, and two sons. Visit her on the web.

For Your Readers: Sample Chapters from When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart

Links to buy the book:


Vicki Tiede
 

NGP 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (BN’s processing times are lagging, but it will eventually be available here too)

Nook

CBD  

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Searching for Sara Book Launch — Guest Post by Nona King

Searching for Sara has been in the works in some form or fashion since 2001. At first it was a sequel to Broken Angel (not yet released) titled To Rachel With Love. In this version I killed the heroine, Rachel Samson, and inserted a new love interest for our grieving hero Robert Trent. This appalled my sister, who directed me to rewrite it.

To be honest, the only reason I killed the heroine, Rachel, was because I wanted to experiment with the intense emotions of grief and sorrow. When my sister scolded me and tasked me with rewriting that storyline, it gave me a sense of relief and became the best project I have ever undertaken.

The rewrite gave birth to the hero Christopher Lake and his adorable five-year-old daughter. Sara Little has been the one constant, a meek servant girl from England who steps out from behind fear in obedience to God and begins to live the life she always dreamed of, as an artist.

In writing Searching for Sara I discovered so many different things about myself and my own struggle with fear. Sara became my hero, my inspiration to become more than I was. An encouragement to continue walking forward in determination, comforted by faith. Sara taught me a deeper truth about love, compassion, and forgiveness.

I love her, Sara Little, and her story of romance which focuses on walking in obedience and faith. This story that shows us how friendship and facing our fears can lead us through grief to love. Searching for Sara is one of my favorite novels, and I hope she will be yours too.

Searching for Sara, Heart of the Blessed Book One

My inspirational [historical] novel, Searching for Sara, launches TODAY in hardback, paperback, and digital formats. Searching for Sara is not your run of the mill “romance”, as this is simply a small facet of the story. Searching for Sara is the story of two people who face their daily tortures of fear and grief to find happiness and renewed faith.

 If you buy one today, contact me with your order number and the site where you purchased it from, and get a free copy for a friend or family member this Christmas!

Submit a review on Amazon (or Kindle), Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or Shelfari and you can get a second free copy, or a free copy of one of my other books!

Searching for Sara

About the Book

Sara Little has ached to live in America. But being born of a single mother in London’s working class, she could only dream. Then, scrawled in hasty intensity, Sara receives an invitation to America. Drawn to the possibility of a new beginning, she follows God’s whisper and steps forward into the unknown. But more awaits than the realization of her dreams. Sara’s benefactor is handsome widower Christopher Lake, a philanthropist dedicated to helping the less fortunate redefine their future. Though devastated by the loss of his wife, he dedicates himself to her last request: To provide Sara the means for a brighter future. Sara’s gift of art inspires Christopher’s sponsorship, and he is determined to protect her gentle heart while propelling her into artistic society. Even if he must press her forward beyond her shy nature. But when a local paper weaves tales of a romantic entanglement, Sara is stricken by the stark reality of a growing devotion. Caught in the whirlwind of debuts and dinner parties with prospective patrons, she has fallen in love with the one man she believes she does not deserve. Could a servant girl hope to bless such a noble man to happiness?

Where Can I Buy Searching for Sara?

eBook

Amazon Kindle B&N Nookbook Smashwords Goodreads

  • B&N Nookbook – Pending
Print

Amazon B&N Nona King's eStore

  • Let me know if you would like a library cloth hardcover edition complete with dust jacket

About Nona King

Nona King is an independent writing professional for Angel Breath Books. She has dedicated herself to writing true-to-life characters, be they villain or hero, so her readers can experience life and its many passions. All her stories focus on faith, honor, and the importance of communication and trust in our relationships with others. You can find more books by Nona King at these locations: Fiction URL: www.NonaKing.com Blog URL: www.WordObsession.net Amazon Author: amazon.com/author/nonaking Shelfari Author: shelfari.com/nonaking Barnes & Noble Author: barnesandnoble.com/c/nona-king Goodreads Author: goodreads.com/nonaking Smashwords Author: smashwords.com/profile/view/nonaking

About Nona King

There was never a conscious decision to be a writer, honestly. From the moment I can recall there has been a press in the deepest part of me to weave stories. As I matured, it blossomed into a daily, unquenchable thirst to bring characters to life on the page, to heal the tortured soul, to tell the story of the characters I see so vividly in my mind. Whether the story was inspired by a movie seen or a book read, there was always the impression that another story waited just on the horizon.

As a young writer I would “pants it” from the first, working from a general or rough idea of the characters, the plot, and sometimes the end goal. I still tend to do this for NaNoWriMo, although the storyline is more completely thought out. At times, it is easier for me to allow the characters to flesh themselves out in a rather spontaneous manner. More frequently, I write a bio of the character, especially their life’s goal, summarize the story I see in my head (acknowledging to myself the freedom to change it as I write the rough draft), and do any research of the location or a particular career/job held by the characters. I remember one novella required researching DNA and genetic manipulation, while another will require I research State Troopers. It’s fascinating where stories will lead us!

Growing up, my parents encouraged us to read and use our imaginations when at play. While I don’t recall encouragement to pursue a career in writing, my mother is now one of the best research assistants and quality assurance managers I could ask for. In fact, she is creating a timeline for my fantasy saga and very excitedly informed me that she finished working in book one. She is a great brainstorming partner, asking questions that spin my imagination into realms it might not have ventured into without her. My husband is the same way, being a fellow writer and a strong “idea man”. He also is a great resource for my villains.

Now, after more than two decades of writing stories, I cannot imagine doing anything else. There are so many characters in my head who haven’t yet had their day in the sun. They are like my friends, because they help me discover things about my own character that need to be enhanced or changed.

Nona King

EMAIL: nmk@nonaking.com

FICTION: www.NonaKing.com

BLOG: www.WordObsession.net

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Dressing up for the Holidays: Free Images to Help You Make Ebook Covers

There isn’t any one magic charm that forces readers to buy your book, but certainly a great cover will at least tempt them to linger and consider. If you’ve already put your ebook out into cyberspace with a less-than perfect cover, it’s not too late to make it better. I just ran across a site maintained by a professional stock photographer. http://1photos.com/ Has an abundance of beautiful images, all kinds, even people, which are rare in stock photography without payment. but here’s the statement brom the site owner:

“Hello, My name is Kiselev Andrey. I am professional stock photographer. And now I want to present 1photos.com – the big collection of free stock photographs. All of my photos are free for corporate and personal use. Every image is free! 1photos.com features exclusive images found nowhere else on the web with new pictures being added every week. Without even registering, you can browse archive and download all the images you need. Photos are not offered in different sizes, but the standard resolution is generally high resulting in large pictures.”

So dig in, and even if you don’t make your own covers, perhaps you can give your designer a heads-up about this wonderful site. Here are three covers I have remade using images from this site. They make me happy, like newly wrapped presents for Christmas. And I hope they will be more tempting for readers to unwrap.

Benny and the Bank Robber 2: Doctor Dad takes place roughly in the mid-eighteen hundreds, and involves three teenagers and some of their growing pains. I am so happy to have found a handsome young man in fancy dress for the Christmas ball at his school and two lovely young ladies to portray the twin sisters who make his life more than a little uncomfortable. Be sure to take a look at the Benny and the Bank Robber series, three books so far, if you have a younger reader looking for a historical adventure to grow up with. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/102416

At the beginning of the book Prince Tristan of Parangor attends his father’s funeral, trying to avoid the cold and drizzle with a dark wool cloak, so this image of a handsome, cloaked man was a happy find for me. Mayra, Tristan’s student and later his love interest, comes to life as this young beauty enslaved by a cruel mistress and trained against her will to please men. The royal seal of Parangor, a ring depicting a badger in a wheat field, goes with Tristan on all his journeys and puts its stamp on his identity, his marriage, and his right to return to his kingdom.  The Baron’s Ring is a Historical Fantasy dealing with bullying, child slavery and a Black Widow murderess who uses occult powers to try to destroy Tristan of Parangor’s kingdom and his life.  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/90923

For my first ever NaNoWriMo, venture, the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November, I decided to work on the sequel to A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist, and I made the goal by the 19th of the month. The story is not yet finished, but I was looking for Victorian-era images and was so happy to find these. Doctor Oliver Twist comes to life as the narrator of this tale, and even Pinocchio and his mama surprised me by living among the images on this wonderful site.

I hope you will consider putting some of our books, in new wrappings or old, on your giving list. They are all linked along the right side. Enjoy taking a look at what we have to offer.

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Filed under Excerpts from our Fiction Books, Excerpts from our Nonfiction Books, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

Illustrated Dodge Free Today!

“Try this for me, would you?” he begged. “I’ve been working on it for years but I couldn’t find the right test subject.”

“Ummm, what is it? I don’t want any projector showing pictures of my eyeballs on the wall, thanks.”

“Nothing like that. Eyeglasses, for want of a better term. Please, I’ll get down on my knees and beg, but I must know if they work.”

Doctor Mac divested himself of his own glasses and slipped on the bronze visor-like device. Oliver adjusted lenses and the clockwork gears ticked softly. Mac began to grumble but then stood silent a moment, stunned.

“I can see it in your expression. They work!”

Mac swung his head and I saw him pick up his wife at the far end of the room. The clockwork continued its soft ticking and the lenses moved minutely, adjusting without Doctor Twist’s touch. “That’s the most beautiful thing I never really saw before. What is it? Is it really Rosie clear as crystal, or another of your projections?”

“Not a projection at all.” Oliver laughed like a child dipping his toes in the mud for the first time. “The amber crystals make a much more efficient and versatile lens than plain ground glass. And some of these lenses are especially sympathetic to a particular type of eye injury resulting from sunstroke. It’s technically a brain injury, but this compensates for it. It’ll take a little time, but the clockwork will adjust the lenses automatically as the detectors built into the frame notice your eyes’ and eyelids’ attempts to compensate for near and far, that sort of thing.”

“But I’ve never — I’ve never ever seen this well.” Mac still stared at Rose. She chatted with the ladies, oblivious until something made her turn toward her husband. She saw his dumbstruck expression and the strange eyewear and smiled uncertainly.

“Oh, thank you, Doctor Twist. I think I’m the one to be kneeling. Do you have any idea — ?”

“I have an idea that you’ve lost opportunities to study a few more hours in the sunshine, identify a few more specimens under a microscope, remove a few more bad cells in surgery … ” Oliver trailed off and glanced at Rose, who was smiling a little wider and blushing in a way that made both Doctor Twist and me quickly find something else to look at.

Check out the image gallery from this book here: https://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/a-dodge-a-twist-and-a-tobacconist-image-gallery/

Free today and tomorrow. 70+ full page, full-color illustrations.http://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009SG3WXO

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Free Days for both Illustrated and Plain Versions of Dodge: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving. May you enjoy God’s blessings and your family’s love, and a free copy of Dodge November 22-24. http://www.amazon.com/Dodge-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009NV1DMG

Plus the illustrated version is free 11/24-11/25
http://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-Tobacconist-Alexander-Legacy-ebook/dp/B009SG3WXO

Here’s an interview with the main character, Florizel of Bohemia. Even if you’ve read the book — And if you have, why haven’t you posted a review? — You may not know him as well as you think!

Florizel of Bohemia, the protagonist of The Alexander Legacy Book One: A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist, a Steampunk Literary Tribute by Sophronia Belle Lyon.

How do you feel being the main character of a book?

It is rather embarrassing. I worked hard at not drawing attention to myself so I could secretly carry on my work of fighting villains who take advantage of those robbed of hope. But Phoebe Moore Campbell discovered me in the most remarkable way and asked me to join the Alexander Legacy Company.

Who is the most interesting side character you’ve met and why?

Oliver Twist is both a delight and a puzzle to me. His absent-minded manner must be partly due to his absorption in his scientific projects. His ability to do without sleep is enviable. And his rebounding from the brutal attack he suffered, which may have been helped my humble words of comfort and counsel, but was in truth God’s doing, staggers me.

Do you think anyone in your world is crazy? How do you deal with this?

People have said I am mad for leaping off the roof of the country house after the stealth glider and for flying it to London in the dark. You must be the judge of that. Zambo declared Twist mad when he tried to climb out the window of the hotel penthouse to collect pieces of the ruined glider after my crash-landing, but he has always thought him so.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

I have been up before dawn to see Doctor Mackenzie Campbell off at the docks. I have visited Uncle Vanya’s coffee shop well after midnight. The criminals we seek do not keep schedules.

Why did you choose your current profession?

I became a tobacconist with a small private club because I sought to provide an enjoyable place for fellowship and relaxation. It also assists me in my other career as a seeker of justice by giving me insight into London life on many levels. My second career is simply unavoidable because I cannot see the helpless or even fools taken advantage of.

How long did it take you to explain your predicament to the author?

Sophronia Belle Lyon is the most obdurate meddler in existence. She had no respect for my privacy — Look at her brazen communication of my difficult history in Bohemia! She may have permanently destroyed Ambassador Newsome’s career. My desire was to remain obscure. My only consolation is that her bringing me into this odd association with this strange group of people has allowed me to expand my ability to seek out evildoers and bring them down. Acting alone is not always the best plan, as I have learned through Madame Phoebe’s wise guidance. These people have taught me to value friendship and camaraderie again.

If you could work in any profession outside of what you’re doing now, what would it be and why?

It would be pleasant to spend more time repairing pipes and choosing fine tobaccos for my patrons. I would even wish to indulge the interest I have developed in these devices Doctor Twist and Sluefoot Sue create, but duty calls.

If you could change one thing that the author wrote (or told) about your life, what would it be?

Perhaps she should not have been so quick to have me propose to my little vessel, Kera Mion. As much regard as I have for her, there is so much danger, so much wrong to right, it may have been a hasty decision to engage her promise. She is so much younger than I and has had so little chance to be free.

What is your favorite pastime?

Repairing pipes, hunting, and eating Uncle Vanya’s breadballs. I beg your pardon. That was three past-times, but I cannot establish a hierarchy.

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but just didn’t have the guts, courage or strength to follow through with?

Perhaps one day I shall take Tod’s place in the pilot seat and fly the airship myself.

What’s your greatest strength?

Since you have been courteous I will try to answer. I am loathe to speak of my own abilities, but the strength I believe I bring to the Alexander Legacy Company is the ability to think quickly and put together pieces of information. I specialize in making a whole picture out of bits and ends. It permits me offer a solution while others remain puzzled.

What’s your greatest failing?

I tend to act hastily, and to act alone. Those who tried to aid me in the past were harmed by our association. I thought it best for a time not to have associations. I still struggle to be one with the members of the Legacy Company.

Who is your favorite relative and why?

Oh, that I could see my little sister Sophia again, with her violet ribbons tinting the family gray eyes. We were all to each other once. She must be fully a woman now, and perhaps my mother’s poisoning her against me has not fully taken root.

 How do you overcome life’s obstacles?

Prayer and the study of the Word of God emboldens me to push on, whether I overcome or not. His is the victory and His the glory for any success.

Do you have any pets? If not, which pet would you choose to own if you could?

I once had a fine pair of hunting dogs. I miss them. Would that I could hope to some time again possess a dog.

If you could change one thing about another character in the book, who and what would it be?

Spring-heeled Jack must one day discipline himself to learn to speak clearly and plainly, instead of making street-cant riddles of everything.

What makes you happiest?

My little vessel being filled up with the joy of the Lord.

What annoys you most?

That leopard of Mowgli’s will sniff me as if I were a dead animal each time we must work together. One cannot teach an animal manners, even when it lives in a five-star hotel.

Can we look forward to reading about you again anytime soon?

 Madame Lyon is determined to make a series of the Alexander Legacy Company’s exploits. I am told I am to be included but that the future books shall have different characters relate the tales. That is most agreeable, since I never sought the limelight.

Is there a secret you’d like to let readers know about you? One that isn’t in the book perhaps?

You have presumed upon my good nature too far, sir/madame, but, with great reluctance, I shall state clearly what the book implies but does not spell out. I admit I had more than just admiration for Madame Phoebe early in our association. When we thought her husband would die … well … for a moment … just a moment, mind you, my baser nature rose at the prospect of this magnificent, angel-voiced, brilliant woman being … alone.

Where can readers find your book(s)? (links)

A Dodge a Twist and a Tobacconist http://amzn.to/W3iCNI

Illustrated Dodge a Twist and a Tobacconist http://amzn.to/TUxj1m

Sophronia Belle Lyon grew up in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, reading HG Welles, Jules Verne and other classics. She dressed up and acted out scenes with friends much like Louisa May Alcott’s beloved “Little Women,” and got to be a cauldron spirit in Macbeth in fourth grade. She traveled to Italy by way of Iceland and Luxembourg. She’s taken apart her share of clocks to study the gearworks and feels well-prepared to enter the Steampunk genre. Hundreds of cat friends informed her about Bagheera’s attitudes and manners. Oliver Twist’s oblivious, eccentric habits came from the Science-absorbed men in her life, and her love for weapons translated into the well-armed members of the Alexander Legacy Company. She travels widely, shoots when she can, collects swords and knives, but is so far too shy to be photographed.

This series melds some better and lesser-known characters of classic literary fiction: A literary dream team of crime fighters including nods to Dickens, Stevenson, Alcott, Austen, Kipling, Doyle, and other writers across the pond, with plenty of homages to great books sprinkled throughout. Prowl the foggy London streets on the track of a ruthless enslaver of souls. Travel the Thames in a Giant Catfish. Soar over London in a stealth glider, and witness true redemptions and restorations no one ever imagined.

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Amphibious Thoughts of the World Around Us. . . Guest post by Marilynn Dawson

The powers of observation come in many different forms. . . taste, touch, smell, hearing, seeing, and intuition.  By themselves, these methods of observing our world tell us about it and help us interact with it.  How they help us interact with the world around us requires more than mere observation however.  It is thoroughly possible to observe something and have absolutely no inclination to interact with it or do anything about it.  This lack of inclination has proven downright deadly for critters and people alike down through history.  Sadly, this lack of inclination to act on what is observed around us has even hit God’s People at various times in the past as well.

We have all heard the analogy of the frog in a pot of boiling water.  But something about that analogy hit me over the head tonight as I was talking with a friend about the various definitions and uses of something known as discernment.

What is discernment?

Discernment is the ability to act wisely based on what has been observed, and the implications such an observation has presented.  Unfortunately, if the implications of what is observed are not apparent to the person doing the observing, their ability to discern the appropriate course of action is severely hampered.  Scripture sometimes refers to discernment as walking circumspectly, having your wits about you, being alert, being wise and knowing the right choice to make when faced with a decision.  This is not to be confused with intuition.  As listed above, intuition is merely another method of observing the world around us.  It can tell us when something is about to happen. But if we have no knowledge of that event’s implications or have no inclination to act on what our intuition is telling us, its useless.

While some translations of God’s Word list the Gift of Discernment, God has this to say in Hebrews:  5:14  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  The way a child of God hones their spiritual senses, is through active use combined with having studied God’s Word.  Ideally, this will produce the ability to not merely observe a situation, but to also recognize short and long-range implications of that situation and make the appropriate judgement call as a result.

This requires several things:

1) It requires knowing what God says about the situation.  Many people over the years have come to me asking what God says about this or that.  Sometimes it’s the proverbial, “What does God say about eating a hamburger?”.  Other times I am asked what God says about relationships or entertainment choices or church family situations, just to name a few.  There are some excellent resources out there that I have used through the course of my life. . . Offline or online, there is first and foremost, the Word of God itself!  God’s Word is stuffed full of guidance in handling every day situations that come up in our lives.  Learning to pull out the guiding principles comes with learning how to study God’s Word, learning how to ask the 5 W’s and then learning how to appropriate that information to today.  God’s Word is always relevent!  However, that relevance isn’t always apparent at first glance.  God’s Word has the basics for life on the surface, but has filled the Scriptures with depth and layers.  God says Himself that those layers are to be plumbed for the riches they contain.  The deeper one goes in the Word of God, the more mature they become.  Paul speaks of both the milk and the meat of God’s Word.  The milk refers to the basics of our Salvation and of living the Christian life.  The meat refers to the deeper things of God’s Word, doctrinal issues, and applications to every day life.  We are told in 2nd Timothy 2:15  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

It is in learning how to rightly divide the Word of Truth that other tools can come alongside God’s Word to help us get the most out of it.  Now please do not interpret this to mean that God’s Word can not stand by itself!  Far from it!  If none of the resources I will mention existed, God’s Word would still contain all we need for life and godliness!  God’s Word does not need these resources to be understood.  These are merely helps!

Resources include a copy of the Strong’s Concordance, the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Interlinears, one of many Bible Dictionaries, and even commentaries written by others who have studied the passage you are looking at.  Keep in mind that commentaries are written by people, not by God, and therefore may occasionally be prone to error.  Several commentators may interpret the same passage a variety of different ways, not all of which will keep the 5 W’s in mind as they do so.  I’ve heard some pretty strange commentaries on various passages of Scripture that left me wondering how on earth they got that out of the passage they were reading!!  So be careful!  Even the use of resources requires that one be discerning and careful, not accepting everything they come across as Gospel.

2) Knowing what God says about the situation lays the foundation for examining the situation before you.  Once you know what God says, you can then begin to ascertain the short and long-term implications facing you.  This requires thinking beyond the immediate!  Too many people these days think only in the moment, and give no thought as to how their actions will affect themselves or others in the sometimes not-so-distant future.  Thinking only in the immediate removes the knowledge of that situation’s implications, and has been repeatedly known to have dire effects on those affected by both the situation and the lack of foreknowledge.

But how do you gain a sense of foreknowledge?  In most cases it’s pretty simple. . . Ask yourself what will happen if you respond to this situation in a given manner.  Sometimes you are watching something happen, and it’s a simple matter of extrapolating the final culmination of what you see going on before you.  For example, if you are watching a motorbike speed down on the wrong side of the road, you can extrapolate that if that biker doesn’t cross back into his own lane, the chances of a head-on collision are imminent.  The short term effect will often be his death, and the long-term effect might be the loss of a Mother or Father’s critical influence in someone’s home, and the need for the other driver to replace their vehicle and end up deeper in debt as a result.  The person without any such foreknowledge will see the biker speed down the wrong side of the road and rather than see any implications, will comment on how cool that bike is, or how amazing the guy’s leathers are, totally missing the import of the situation before him.  That example doesn’t require action on the part of the observer.  But a little imagination on the part of the reader can no doubt come up with examples that require them to act.

3) Once you have that foreknowledge, you are required to act!  Notice I said “required”!!!  Scripture says that we are beholden to the knowledge we possess.  One example is in the book of Proverbs:  Proverbs 6:30-31  “Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;  But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.”  In other words, for this example from Proverbs, a man is not scorned for needing to eat.  But if he’s caught stealing, he is expected to pay up!  He is liable for his actions, and those around him will expect him to own up and pay up.  Scripture also says in James 4:17  “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  When you come across a situation and ascertain the potential implications of which way that situation could go, you are obligated to make a choice!  The choice you make will decide which of those short and long-term implications will take place!  For good, or for bad.

But what if the situation is vague?  What if the situation could go either way and neither way seems to have bad implications in the short or long term?  What then?  Actually, most of life’s situations are in this particular camp.  Most of life carries along on the backs of the small, seemingly insignificant situations and decisions that appear to affect no one in any kind of negative way.  But taken together, they can steer the whole course of a person’s life either toward the right track, or away from it.  Lifestyle choices for example, are full of this.  Choices to be a couch potatoe, eat fast food on a regular basis, don’t exercise the brain or the body very much, and just coast through life generally results in a physically ill person with a simple mind, going nowhere and accomplishing very little.  We know this is not God’s will or purpose for anyone’s life, and Scripture is full of the guiding priinciples that encourage us away from such a life style.

Discernment grows with time and use.  It is needed across ALL areas of life, from home life, to entertainment to work life to church life to education and everything in between.

Discernment requires wisdom!  God says in James 1:5  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  Christ said before He went up into Heaven, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26.  Other translations say that the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth.

There are times when we do not have the knowledge within us to make a wise decision regarding some situation that we face.  In such situations, we can ask God for that wisdom, and He will guide us to the answers we need in order to formulate the action required to get through that situation wisely.

Unfortunately it would seem many among God’s people have become lax over the decades and are nolonger circumspect about what is going on their world, nolonger discerning the implications of their immediate actions, nor discerning how events around them will affect them now or into the future.  This has led to a cooling of faith for many and resulted in what evangelists, preachers, and theologians are referring to as the Laodicean church.  This is a church that has lost its saltiness in the world around it.  This is a church that has lost its ferver and its fire for serving God at all costs.  This is a church content with blending in with those around it, and that has lost its relevancy due to straying from its first love.  This church has become blind not only to the world around it, but blind to its own condition, thinking of itself as beautiful and rich, when in reality it is sickly, naked and poor.

This brings me back to the analogy of the frog that I mentioned at the beginning.  As we all know, the frog is a cold-blooded amphibious creature.  It warms itself in the sun or in warm water.  It knows where there is heat, and it knows where there is cold.  It can tell hot and cold apart.  It’s not a dumb frog and would be offended if you referred to it as dumb.  But being the cold-blooded creature it is, combined with its love for warmth, it has a weakness.  If its surroundings gradually warm up past the point its body can handle, the poor frog will not notice and die.  As a child, I used to rescue tree frogs from the road outside my home.  They loved to sun themselves there, but would invariably either get run over by cars driving down the street, or get so warm they’d fry right there and die.  So my brother and I would rescue them and take them back to the creek behind our house in an effort to save their little lives.  These frogs, for all their knowledge of hot and cold, could not discern the danger inherent in gradual temperature increases, nor the danger of their chosen surroundings.  Pavement heats up really nice on a sunny day, but it is frequented by huge noisy metal creatures driven by humans, and can get so warm that it hurts human feet to walk on!  The frog’s ability to discern these things does not seem to exist and many have died as a result.

There is a dark and dire warning here.  As Christians, we need to be alert not only to life’s myriad of little decisions and situations that make up who we become and how we shape our existence, but we also need to be alert to the situations we face that affect our spiritual lives and those around us.  We can’t allow our powers of observation and intuition to be limited just to the here and now.  It is imperative that we are exercising these abilities in the spirit realm too; learning when seemingly innocuous situations might have short and long-term effects not merely in the physical realm where they appear to be occuring, but also in our hearts and minds and in our spirit, and in the spirit realm around us.  Seemingly innocent things such as an interest in ancient mythology, has been shown in my experience with children and young adults, to have deeper consequences than first thought.

I grew up with a fascination for the ancient mythos of Greece, Rome, Norse, Egypt and Babylon.  It was a passing fascination and nothing I ever got obsessed with, a fact that I would become very thankful for years later.  Several years ago as my own daughter began to develop a fascination with ancient civilizations and their mythos, she discovered ancient Egypt and began bringing books home about it.  These books mentioned the Egyptian mythos and the various names of the gods and goddesses that were not merely in the mythos, but worshipped by the people of the day.  Around this time a young friend of mine on the Internet revealed to me a struggle she was having with a particular demon.  When she mentioned its name, I ran for one of these books my daughter brought home, and sure enough, it was the name of one of the gods in the book!  Suddenly I was aware that what I had previously thought was a combination of “explanation of how the world works” and ancient false worship, was very much alive today and I had to warn my daughter about the dangers of obsession with the ancient mythos.  More recently it also occurred to me that the demons behind the perpetration of these myths are bringing their stories into modern times with the likes of the new Persie Jackson series of books and the movies now being made from them, the fresh rise of interest in vampirism, and the growth of the darker sub-cultures leading people into witchcraft(wiccan) and other earth worship such as druidism, paganism, and others I could name.

The discerning Christian must look at what is going on around them, whether it be in entertainment such as books, movies, music, etc, or whether it be on the news, and not simply see the surface for what it is, but look past the surface and see the implications, both short and long-term of what they are hearing, seeing, and experiencing.  Failure to discern the times in which we live will hamper our ability to be salt and light in the world around us.  We need to see what is coming down the pipe to be prepared for it.  Without such preparation, we will be at the mercy of those events equally as much as those God is otherwise calling us to be there for.  If we look at the news and say to ourselves, “oh that’s over there, it will never affect me”, we are missing the import of what is going on.  If we see natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, religious uprisings and unrest, we are to be alert and wise, doing what we can to ensure first that such things are unnecessary where we are, and second, that if such things should ripple back to where we are, that we are ready to address them and to help those who will go through them.

We must not be like the frog, knowing hot from cold, knowing right from wrong, but being desensitized by the world around us because we fail to notice the gradual changes taking place.  Remember its all the little things that come together to change the course of one’s life, and sometimes change the course of history!

Let us pray for wisdom to be discerning, and for the wherewithall to act on that wisdom in a way that will benefit all involved so that we are enabled to be God’s hand extended.

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Capture the Memories Guest post by Mary Anne Benedetto

It seems as though we were just in the midst of the heat of summer with its tornado and hurricane warnings, floods, and humidity so thick it sometimes felt like you could chop it with a machete. Now here we are rapidly approaching the holiday season!

Whether you are celebrating by devouring luscious Thanksgiving turkey, accompanied by all of the requisite trimmings, or perhaps seated around a Christmas ham and trying to keep the little ones quiet long enough to say grace, this is a time of year when we hope to enjoy some quality family time with loved ones. From the presence of senior citizens to the smiles of sleeping newborns, memories are being made at these events. And stories are being told. The seniors sometimes like to reminisce about holiday events back when they were growing up, but do we really listen? And do we actually capture and preserve the stories they are telling?

 Lauren and Clara Greene

Some grandparents and great-grandparents may sit back and remain fairly silent, shell-shocked by the chaotic activity surrounding them. Perhaps they need coaxing to join in and share some of their recollections. What we must remember is to take the time to make them feel special. Let them know that you value hearing what life was like for them when they were growing up. Some of them are under the distinct impression that no one is interested. Are they correct?

The sad truth is that once they are no longer here to sit at that holiday dining table, unless their stories have been preserved, they are forever lost.  During this holiday season, why not attempt to engage the elder family members in conversation about their lives? A few tips are:

  • Ask questions about the paths that brought them from there to here.
  • Have a small, inexpensive hand-held recorder handy to capture the priceless memories.
  • Recruit a family member or friend to transcribe the recordings, producing a document that can be shared with future generations.

When I was working with a senior group a few years ago, their limitations prohibited them from  producing full blown memoirs. I devised a form, which I call the Mini-Memoir. It is a fill-in-the-blank one pager that will generate discussion about favorite aspects of life and can be utilized by the older folks, as well as the younger generation. Make it a family holiday tradition! This form is a free download at my Web site http://www.awriterspresence.com. Click on the page called “Write About Your Life,” scroll down and print a PDF copy of the Mini-Memoir. Print as many copies as you’d like because it is my gift to you to help preserve some of those family memories which may erupt.

Ask the kids to tuck away their iPods, iPads and cell phones for a little while and participate. Everyone has a story, and involving the children in listening to the tales told by the older folks equates to creating lasting memories. Encourage them to ask questions and engage in meaningful conversation with Grandma, Grandpa or Uncle Joe.

Enjoy your 2012 holiday season, and please honor those beloved senior citizen family members by capturing some of their stories. You’ll be glad that you took the time because we can’t rewind! We can’t go back once they are no longer with us. God bless you, your family and your dear friends as you celebrate His love and grace during the holidays and begin a new tradition that will benefit future generations!

Mary Anne Benedetto is a speaker, ghostwriter,  blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor and author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! and two novels.  Her passions include helping people preserve their life stories, creating Christian fiction, world travel and walking the spectacular South Carolina beaches.  Visit her at www.awriterspresence.com, www.maryannebenedetto.blogspot.com and www.4womenwholove2travel.blogspot.com

 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!

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