Monday, March 28, 2011

Newspaper article

This past Saturday there was a really nice article in the Ventura County Star about me and the books I write. Needless to say I was thrilled with positive exposure in the traditional press. It is funny how I found out about the article. Picture this: I was attending a fundraiser luncheon for Teen Challenge and the lady sitting next to me kept looking at me and finally said "I know you, I saw you in the paper this morning". Now, how cool is that?

The article can be found on-line at the Star's website, click here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why do the nations conspire?

We will see great changes...
Over the past few months I have written several times about the turmoil in our world. It is hard to make sense of all the drama and violence that is going on around the globe. For one thing, it urges me to read the Prophets in the Bible. No, not so that I can point a finger and condemn, but so that I may learn and know how to pray. Although I often do not understand all the doom and gloom in their messages, I can clearly see that in the end there is always hope for the people, for the nations.

Yesterday, one particular scripture in Zechariah 2:11 caught my attention: Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. How awesome to read such a promise in the midst of all the uproar worldwide. It is God's plan and will that many nations, if not all, will become His people! It brought me back to the promise God gave Abraham, You will be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4). Not just Israel (although they are His treasured possesion), but many nations, including all Arab nations. A little later God confirmed His words about Abraham and said, all nations on earth will be blessed through him (Genesis 18:18), and in saying this He was pointing to the Messiah who was to come from Abraham's bloodline.

God desires the nations! I believe that is why Jesus gave us the great commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations... (Matthew 28:19). We have a calling to disciple the nations, to share the love God has for them, however it may and can be done! Many people and nations do not want to hear that message, which is also something that has been foretold long ago. Among the signs of 'the end of the Age' is the fact that Believers will be hated by all nations because of Jesus (Matthew 24:9). That hatred should not scare us, it is all the more reason to see God at work in this world. The Bible reveals it over and over again, like I wrote at the beginning of this post: in the end there is always hope.

The last book in the Bible talks vividly about the battle for the nations, it also holds a precious promise and our hope in troubled times: All nations will come and worship before you (Revelation 15:4) We might not see it yet in the natural, but it has been foretold in the spiritual and it will happen! I really believe all the uprisings and turmoil and rebellion is because of what the prophets said so long ago. The book of Revelation holds some beautiful Messianic songs, one in the 5th chapter says:

...with your blood
you purchased men
for God
from every tribe
and language
and people
and nation.

When that realization begins to sink in, we will witness big changes around the world, especially in the Middle East!

PS: what is your prayer for the world? Any particular nation you frequently pray for?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What others are saying about Grace of Giving

It's been seven or eight weeks since the release of Grace of Giving and I am happy to see the first reviews coming in. I am not talking comments from friends and family here, but reviews on Goodreads, blogs and websites from people I do not personally know. Of course I love Grace of Giving (which author doesn't like the book they penned?) and sincerely recommend it to anyone who is serious about growing in their faith. But I believe it works so much better to share some positive words from the readers, so here we go:

"... a short book with a wonderful message..."

"Concise and well written..."

"... I would highly recommend this book to any bible study group..."

" I love every page of this book... I have come away enlightened, inspired, challenged and positive that this little book is anointed..."

Writing is good, books are better, but happy readers are the best!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Now is the time

My times are in your hands
One of the things I bring before the Lord quite often, is the aspect of time. Probably my biggest struggle in understanding God is understanding His view of time and the times we live in. I believe that all the promises in God's Word are true and amen in Jesus Christ but I also realize that I will not always see them come true in my time! God answers my prayers for sure, but I simply do not always know when.

As human beings on this earth we are limited by time, we have to live within the rythm of 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week etc. God however is not confined by time, He is eternal, He is the great Now! 2 Peter 3:8 says, With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. God views time totally different than we do. I am currently reading through the book of John and I noticed that Jesus demonstrated this often when He spoke. He asks Philip on one occasion: "Don't you know me, even after I have been among you such a long time?" (John 14:9) Such a long time?? We are speaking two, three years at the most, here! Can you imagine how it would feel if He would say that to us today? 'Hey, how long is it going to take for you to understand Me, you've been a Christian for 3 years now, for crying out loud... ' Three years is nothing on the scale of a lifetime. So, this passage clearly shows that God's idea of time is different than ours. Further on in the book of John the disciples ask among themselves: "What does He mean by a little while?" (John 16:18). They couldn't figure it out, they struggled with it, like we sometimes do when a prayer doesn't get answered or when God is silent.

While reading through the 16th chapter in the book of John I noticed that Jesus talks past, present and future as if everything is now. He tells His diciples "... a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language..." Right after that his disciples proclaim: "Now, you are speaking clearly..." Jesus said the time would come and when He said it it was right there! In verse 32 he does it again, He says: But a time is coming, and has come... The moment He says it it is done, it is there. I find this very fascinating. In the 17th chapter Jesus prays to His Father. He says: I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world... (verse 13).

I don't blame the disciples for not always understanding the time and the times they lived in. In Acts 1:7 Jesus told them: It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. We can try to grasp His eternal character, His timeless being and His endless love, but I don't think we will be able to fully do so until we leave our earthly time frame behind to be with Him forever! There are, however, a few things the Bible teaches about time. They can offer comfort and hope in our present day troubled times:
  • There is time for everything... a time for war and a time for peace (Eccl. 3:8)
  • The time is short (1 Cor. 7:29) It doesn't say how short, but please don't wait any longer before surrendering your life to Him if you haven't done so yet!
  • Now is the time of God's favor (2 Cor. 6:2) Any moment is a good moment, God is waiting for you!
  • My times are in your hands (Psalm 31:15) When you belong to Him, you can feel safe, no matter what the time will bring!
I do not know whether you ever wonder about God's timing, but let me close with another word from the Psalmist, Trust in Him at all times, O people! At all times, good or bad. At all times, whether we deal with past, present or future situations.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interview at Write Now

This week I am happy to announce that I am an honored guest at Karen Lange's blog Write Now. She posted an interview and a book give-away! So, make sure you visit her blog, leave her a kind word or two and sign up for the give-away, another chance to win a free copy of Grace of Giving. Karen's blog is a treasure among the many blogs about writing. She says: "My blog discusses the adventurous writing life with musings, resources, tips, book reviews, and more..."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blogging buzz

About the generosity and hospitality of fellow bloggers
One of the things I really enjoy about the blogging world is the generosity and hospitality of fellow bloggers. I am so blessed to be part of an on-line community that not only positively proclaims the Gospel, but also frequently offers give-aways, hosts interviews and shares book recommendations. The blogs I visit on a regular basis (please, be patient with me as I struggle with dial-up at my current location) are excellent places to be encouraged and inspired. Such a visit can make any ordinary day special! Let me highlight a few things from my blogging week...

Susan Panzica from Eternity Cafe e-mailed me with congratulations.... I am the winner in her recent book give-away. Needless to say I am thrilled. I am a true book worm and nothing makes me happier than holding a new book in my hands. I'll hunt for a few quiet hours in the coming busy weeks (we are flying back to Holland on March 31) and hide away with my new treasure! Grab a fresh cup of coffee and visit Eternity Cafe, you'll find it a delightful place.

Monday March 14 I will be guest at Karen Lange's blog Write Now. This month she is celebrating her blogoversary with lots of goodies. Her blog offers a great variety of writing stuff: reviews, news, interviews, useful links, recommendations and devotions. Don't miss her blog and don't miss the interview!

Blogging evolves and changes, all the time! It really helps me to read at least one blog on blogging (yeah, right!) each week, so I can learn more about the craft as I move on. I have some very useful links in the sidebar of this blog, Michael Hyatt's blog being one of my favorites!

Happy blogging!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Got news?

How beautiful are the feet...
Thanks to modern media it is possible to easily communicate with family and friends overseas. I call, e-mail, Facebook and blog my way around the world and I love it! Topics of  discussion include the weather, my books, our travels and lately... the political turmoil around the world. "Have you seen the news? Have you heard the news?" are questions I frequently hear, mostly followed by concerns and fears about the future of the world. The other day I couldn't help but think about the words in Psalm 112, Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.... He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord (verse 7).

Bad news penetrates our society 24/7. Civil wars, uprisings, political turmoil, recession and natural disaster; not a day goes by without a constant stream of bad news on television, radio, internet and in the news papers. Although all these things are a reality, they are not the truth. The truth is God's Word and the Word says we do not have to fear bad news. Let me take it a step further, the Word says we have to spread good news! Jesus set the example when He went around, preaching the good news of the Kingdom (Math. 4:23). In Luke 4:43 He says: I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact it was all He did after His resurrection. The Book of Acts proclaims: He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

Jesus was a bringer of good news, He knew the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news'. I truly believe we should take heed to the calling and be messengers of the good news of the kingdom, instead of listening to and spreading all the bad news the world has to offer. The apostle Paul explains in detail what the message of the Kingdom should be: The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Let that be the news we deliver, let that be the news we post and proclaim! I am not afraid to say that our days, our week, our life will be so much better if we decide to spread good news in stead of listening to bad news!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Wow! I just received the Stylish Blogger Award, all the way from New York City. How cool is that! The sky is the limit for us bloggers :) Check out the blog of this lady on a roof... She writes about her travels, her love for the Big Apple and shares her favorite restaurants with the readers.
I actually met her while she was fixing the roof of the Teen Challenge Center in Holland. She came to Holland on a short missions trip with a team from Times Square Church and did a great job of bringing joy, encouragement and practical help to the guys in the residential program! My husband and me were there as volunteers too and really enjoyed this young and enthousiastic group from New York! Thanks for the award Carolyne, I appreciate it!

I will pass this award on to my blogger friend Wyn, from downunder! Her blog Ponderings is a place I enjoy visiting. Wyn is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother who enjoys writing poems. I think she deserves an award!