Monday, January 31, 2011

A not so common dwelling place

He made His dwelling among us...
Years ago, on one of our travels through the Wild West, we visited Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde National Monuments. We were absolutely intrigued by the way the Native Americans used to make their homes in the rocks. The so called cave dwellings form a stunning unity with their natural environment. At that time the word dwelling was new to me, so I looked it up in the dictionary: a place to live in, residence, house, abode...

But more so than a word from the dictionary or an ancient form of housing, dwelling is a biblical word. The apostle John writes about Jesus' coming to earth: The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14), in other words, He lived among us. Hundreds of years before that, the Psalmist cried out: I long to dwell in your tent forever (Psalm 61:4). In the Old Testament the people of God desired to live in the House of the Lord (the traveling tent or tabernacle, and later on the Temple in Jerusalem) and so to be continually in His presence. How that has changed! Now, God desires to dwell in our tent! A total opposite situation! Where people used to cry out to live with God, now God cries out to live with people. The very Son of God came for that purpose, to live among people, to occupy their hearts, to make His living space among men...

In 2 Samuel 7:5 God asked David if he was going to be the man to build Him a house to dwell in. I believe He is asking that same question today. Are you building a house/temple for Me to dwell in? Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received form God? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)...I hope our answer will be yes! We must honor God with our body by making it a welcoming place for Him to live in.

The last chapter in my latest book GRACE OF GIVING is about the sacrifice of the body, about giving our body to God as a living sacrifice, as a place He may use as a residence. It is far beyond my comprehension that God desires to live in me, but I see it as an honor and I long to offer Him a clean house where He can feel right a home. What about you?
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:16).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The secret of getting ahead...

First of all, thank you all for leaving me sweet comments on the previous post :) I asked my friend Meike to draw a name and the winner of the book give-away is: Lisa Tortorello. Congratulations, I'll send you a copy of GRACE OF GIVING!
Second, let me share with you the secret of getting ahead according to Mark Twain:
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."
Happy weekend!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Release Party & Give -away!

4 reasons to read GRACE OF GIVING
Thousands of new books are being released every day all over the world and sometimes it makes me wonder... What difference does my book make? How can my book possibly have a significant place amongst the greatest and most famous best sellers? Furthermore, do we really, seriously need more books? Well, you know the old saying: so many books, so little time! Personally I carefully select the books (or blogs for that matter) that I want to read. I need inspiring, challenging and sometimes comforting books, I want to be able to say that I learned something new after finishing a book. Maybe that is just me, you might have ten thousand other and better reasons why you like to read :) But one thing we bloggers definitely have in common: we all LOVE books! And maybe there can never be enough books... My favorite book in the Bible is the gospel of John and it end like this: Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. So, aspirant writers out there: feel free to write, especially when it's about Jesus! You can always find something new to write about! Now, that is a very encouraging thought!
When surfing the web it seems just about everyone is having book give-aways and book launch parties nowadays and I realize we're all trying to survive in this publishing wilderness! Amidst all this incredible reading material, why should you want to read GRACE OF GIVING? Please, allow me to give you a few simple but profound reasons:
  • you'll find liberation and contentment in your giving
  • you'll no longer worry about lacking anything in your life
  • you'll receive fresh revelation on God's amazing grace
  • you'll experience deliverance of hurts, habits and hang-ups as you give yourself to God

Is it easy to let the Holy Spirit do this work in you? NO! But it will be worth the effort, because you will slowly begin to see that we can live the life that Jesus promised in John 10:10: The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life, life in all its fullness.

So, what is an offical release date? It simply means the publisher has made the book available through distribution. It can now be ordered through all major book sellers, like Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon. For readers outside the USA the Bookdepository offers a great deal, less than 10 bucks, FREE shipping and handling worldwide! And while we're talking books here, let me throw in another free copy of GRACE OF GIVING, it is after all a time to celebrate and be encouraged! Leave me some sweet words in the comment box and if you would like to receive a free copy, please leave your e-mail adress and I'll draw a name next week!

I'll let you go with one more word of thanksgiving. A writer wouldn't be anywhere without readers. So, it is only because of you, my dear friends, that I feel compelled to keep on writing, you inspire me so much! A million thanks for all your support, comments and feed back! I truly appreciate your input!

PS: Don't forget to click on the Google Preview button!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Armchair Christianity

Light and momentary troubles...
We don't watch much tv in our house, but a movie on the laptop is a real treat! The other night we watched A Cry From Iran, a ten times award-winning documentary on the life and secret death of a prominent evangelical pastor in Iran, Haik Hovsepian. A powerful, powerful documentary about life of modern day Christians in Iran, presented by Open Doors. The film reveals the harrowing saga of Iranian martyrs and Christian converts who became victims of their beliefs and paid the ultimate price...

Watching this film as a Christian in America I couldn't stop thinking about how easy our Christianity is in the Western world. How is it possible we sometimes struggle with our faith, we fight over theological differences and we are often ashamed to testify about the power of the Gospel in public? We live in a country where it is possible to buy Bibles, books, cd's, dvd's, jewelery, and all kinds of other gadgets. We can visit concerts, go to church, follow Bible studies, sign up for conferences and put a bumper sticker on our car! Oh yes, people might make fun of us or oppose our worldview, but is that really the hardest thing that can happen to us?

I am currently reading through the book of Jeremiah and right after watching this documentary my attention was caught by a particular scripture in the 12th chapter, verse 5:

If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

It is God's answer to one of Jeremiah's complaints. Yes, the prophet was having a hard time, but God placed his experiences in the proper perspective. He showed Jeremiah that his present troubles were only a test for the real work! These words really intrigued me and I had to ask myself the same question God asked Jeremiah. If I am complaining about present (minor) circumstances, how can I ever truly win a battle? If I do not stand up in a free country, will I stand under trial? The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17, For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
I would like to ask you to look at your momentary troubles as a test that will reveal your true character and measure of faith. Try to see them in proper perspective and in light of what our brothers and sisters around the world are going through, the ones who really suffer for the faith!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Interview with Toni Nelson

Welcome to Toni Nelson and A Beggars Purse
This week I have the privilege of introducing fellow author Toni Nelson to my blog readers. I 'met' Toni on Goodreads as one of the winners in my December book give-away. I checked her profile and noticed the cover of her book A Beggars Purse and it defenitely caught my attention. I also noticed that we have the same publisher, so we started e-mailing back and forth and I asked her if she wanted to do an interview for my blog. She happily agreed to share some thoughts with us, so here we go.

Please, tell us a little bit about yourself Toni.
I've been called Miss Personality, the life of the party, and social butterfly. When I gaze into a mirror, I see Miss Reserved, Deep Thinker, and the Loner. God has a custom design for every individual, equipping each for a specific achievement and purpose. I am an active leader for the seniors at Faith Fellowship Church and also serve on the prayer team. I am married to Rick Nelson, have two sons, three gorgeous grandsons and a dog named, Yaki. I have also been noted as the "happiest person on the Pahrump Planet!" Oh, I love u-no chocolate bars.

What role does your faith in God play in your daily life?
I have trusted in God since 1975. Proverbs 14:26 reads: "In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge."

How and when did you decide to write a book?
I have been telling friends and family that I was going to write a book since 1986! I had no idea what genre, how or when but I knew one day, I was going to write a book.

What inspired you to write ' A Beggars Purse'? Any personal experience?
The inspiration for writing this book came to me while I was lying in bed under a down comforter in the chill of winter ailing from the flu. My mind was wandering aimlessly, as one's mind normally chooses to do when sick with the flu. From my bedroom window, I have a gorgeous view of Mount Charleston. The mountain is a cool haven in the Spring Mountains near Las Vegas, Nevada. As I gazed out over the mountain, completely enveloped in snow, an idea welled up inside of me that made me feel as giddy as Scrooge on Christmas morning. Here I was lying in bed, sick with the flu and actually laughing out loud. I felt like a mad person, a raging lunatic, and the best part was that I didn't even care. This is a story inspired by my own childhood memories in rural Carpinteria, California. God then relocated me to Las Vegas, Nevada, where He engaged me with a population I had long forgotten: The Homeless.

What do you desire to bring across, through this book?
God did not place us here on earth to sit around and become complacent in our journey called life. He wants us to live life to the fullest, which even includes feeling uncomfortable at times. God took me out of my comfort zone and placed me smack in the middle of the homeless population. I hope to share my experiences with the reader so that they too may become "uncomfortable".

Tell us how you felt when your manuscript was finally accepted?
I felt every possible emotion konwn to mankind! LOL. We have a saying in our home, "I can't wait to see what happens next..."

What was the most difficult thing in this writing process, so far?
Far beyond the writing process has been te marketing. I thought I spent numerous hours writing but nothing has compared to the time involved in marketing one's work.

What are your plans for the near future?
Well, I plan to continue to live life... (I hope you realize by now, I have a sense of humor.) I have another non-fiction manuscript I'm working on as well as a children's series. I would also like to learn to play the piano and paint.

Do you have any authors or specific books that inspire you?
I admire John Grisham's works. I read A painted house and was hooked. None of his other works are even remotely close to his writing style in A painted house, but we all have to start somewhere.

Any words of encouragement?
If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't... especially on a blog or website. Encourage and support one another, as the world is perfectly capable of tearing us down. If God has given you a dream, He has placed it in your heart for a reason... Don't quit!

Thank you Toni, for your time and for sharing a little bit of your life's (writing)journey with us!

Feel free to visit Toni's blog, leave her a comment a make a chance to win a free copy of A Beggars Purse!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Call to persevere

Hope for a New Year
It seems to me that the amount of people who have new year's resolutions or clear plans and goals is getting smaller and smaller. Maybe because it is getting harder and harder to stay focused, since we are being tempted by too many things to do, people to meet, books to read and places to visit.

The other day I read a call to persevere in the book of Hebrews and I found it very inspiring. I would like to share it with you for 2011. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews makes his point of confidence quite clear: through His body Jesus opened a new and living way for us to enter the presence of God. Then he goes on and writes his call to persevere, which is still as powerful today as it was 2000 years ago:
  • Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in ful assurance of faith
  • Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess
  • Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds
  • Let us not give up meeting together... but let us encourage one another

You can re-read this in the 10th chapter, starting at verse 19. I don't know whether you are willing to give heed to this call to persevere or whether you need it, but I know I do!

It could very well be that you are working on a project and have been discouraged lately. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed by the world's events, maybe your are disappointed in the church or in people that were supposed to help you or maybe you're downright tired and have lost your joy. It doesn't really matter where you are at the beginning of this new year, the good news is: we have a great priest over the house of God (verse 21). That great priest is Jesus Christ and the house of God is us! Hebrews 3:6 says, We are his house, if we hold to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

Having Jesus Christ live with you will make a new year a new life!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The winner is...

GRACE OF GIVING book give-away
Thanks again everyone, for participating in this year-end book give-away! My husband drew a name, and the winner is.... Karen Lange. Congratulations!
Please feel free to visit her blog Write Now and leave her a note!