HOPE IS A DANGEROUS PLACE by Jim Baton ~ a review

Hope is a Dangerous Place

Christian Suspense, Christian mystery

 

This novel has a mystery at it’s core and there’s no shortage of suspense. It could even be said to span genres and slip into Christian Young Adult Suspense.

Hope, Colorado has secrets, more than one. There are the ‘haves’ who’ve got all the power and the ‘wannabees’ as high school jock Jordy so crassly calls them. Harmonie Seymour’s family had been in Hope for generations on the black side of town where folks live in run-down houses. The Latino residents practically live in shacks. Bigotry is rampant. Kelsey is the new kid in town. She arrived with her widower pastor dad, Bret Axel. Both girls are outsiders in the high school and soon become fast friends. Pastor Bret Axel has the gift of prayer. He is a mighty prayer warrior, but he’s also bound by anxiety and fear since the untimely death of his wife…so much so that he pops Valerian to calm his nerves.

Enter the new high school teacher Olivia Montez, who has her own baggage. She assigns the three students in her journalism class an assignment  and has no idea will blow up in all their faces. She wants Kelsey, Harmonie, and an angry young Latino student named Miguel to interview elderly residents about the town’s name change. It was once named Purgatory. However in the mid-1940s the name was changed to Hope. There are powerful people, perhaps those in the original families, who don’t want anyone looking into the past and they will go further to stop the investigation than these three students can ever imagine.

This novel is a very good example of redemptive Christian fiction…and yet the author keeps it real, very real. Bad and/or worldly guys act and talk like bad and worldly guys. I’d recommend this novel to anyone from ages 17 to 117 who enjoys suspense and a story where the characters grow in their Christian walk.

 

Epiphany 2020 ~ my three lovely gifts

Xmas FL 20 Three Best Gifts

Thinking of the gifts of the magi today

 

 

Of course today is January 6th, Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. It’s the twelfth and last day of the Christmas season that began on Advent Sunday (not the day after Thanksgiving) and ends today. I’ve had a wonderful, interesting, and blessed holiday. I hope all my readers and supporters are blessed in the new year. That is my heartfelt prayer for you.

These three decided to nap together and gave me this photo. The tortoise-shell in the foreground is Beauty, because she is one. She’s the queen of the household, is a talker, and has an opinion on everything. Then you have Sophie The Wonder Dog. Her name was Sophie when she was rescued and we kept it. At that time our kids were in the house and we started calling her “Soapy.” I sometimes now call her that and she perks up and prances, perhaps going back in time. I’ll have to call her that more often. And in the background is Trouble. He earned that name by his mischievousness since he was a teeny tike. He’s either in trouble or causing it. I know he looks like an angel here under the tree. That’s his cover. He’s part of an international cat burglar and jewel thief ring.

Ghee, I sure have a vivid imagination. Perhaps I should write murder mysteries with a national security twist. Hmm, now that’s a thought.

Vision Journal/Board vs Blessing Jar vs War Room ~ for 2020

Blessing Jar, Russel Stover

Several years ago (actually, January 2013), I started making a Blessing Jar in preparation for the new year. It wasn’t even a jar, but I’m sure God didn’t take offense. I had an old Christmasy tin I liked that had originally houses Russel Stover caramel candy. So, it became my Blessing Jar for several years. There are several ways to work with a blessing jar, but the way a writer friend told me she did it appealed to me. 1) Write a short, focused list of blessings I’m believing God for and put it into the jar along with Scriptures that support those blessings and place them inside. As I searched the web looking for ideas on making Blessing Jars, I found that many people wrote down their prayers for other people and put them into the jar. So, I did both of those. I wrote down a list of 5-8 things I was believing for with supporting Scripture. That took up three pages. I folded it and put it into the tin. On smaller pieces of paper I wrote down individual prayers for people. I’d read through these several times during the year and continue adding prayers for people.

Then in 2016 I got creative and made a Mason Jar/Blessing Jar that I hand painted. I did all the same things. Wrote out three pages of blessings that I was believing for and also on smaller pieces of paper prayers for others. I added prayers throughout the year. Only my list had become a formal Prayer of Petition, involving thanksgiving, and seeking to ask for whatever vision, desires, and inklings I prayerfully believed God had put into my heart. That year I signed my Prayer of Petition and took communion at home over it.

War Room

The Christian movie War Room came out in the Fall of 2015. My dear Christian writer friend Beth Glash (writing as Jenna Victoria, Beth Ellen on Facebook) and I went to see it. From time-to-time during 2016, we talked about having a “war room” or space in our own homes. By 2017 my Blessing Jar had become my “war room.” I kept my formal Prayer of Petition in the Blessing Jar but prayers for people went up on the side of my refrigerator where I could see them every day and continually pray for people. The photo above is the beginning in January 2017. By the end of the year the refrigerator’s side was covered in prayers. I also wrote out . My war room.

As early as 2014, I began learning about Vision Boards, the Christian kind as taught by Terry Savelle Foy and a few others. I knew about Terry because it was in her father Jerry Savelle’s ministry that I found the clearest teaching on The Prayer of Petition. I had kept a spiritual journal since the late 1990s and it was not difficult get separators and make the back of my journaling notebook into a Vision Journal. I like the vision journal because it allows me to see that God is indeed moving in my life. For example, in 2014, I taped a few words onto my journal page that I found in a magazine, “Blessed With A New Car.” I kept the old car in excellent running condition and in 2017 was blessed with a newer car, a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I blessed my oldest daughter by giving her my 2009 Dodge Journey. I believe God wants to bless us, but part of that is He wants to bless us so we can bless others. As you can see the pages (above) are worn, handled. I’ve looked at them many times and prayed for my vision, thanked God for my blessings, and marveled at how He works in my life.

So, which is the best? Blessing Jar? War Room or Space? Vision Board or Vision Journal? I heard it preached that Oral Roberts was once asked which is the best scriptural prayer to pray. He answered, “The one you need at the time.” That’s kind of how I view Blessing Jars, personal war rooms, and/or vision boards and vision journals. Do what work for you. Do, what you will stick with throughout the year and into future years. And let it spiritually evolve as the Lord leads.

I pray that all my subscribers and visitors to this blog will be mightily blessed by the Lord. May you have a healthy, happy, prosperous new year.

Flying Solo ~ so, what’s that about?

Fighter Piolot

Party of One.

Flying Solo doesn’t mean there are no other people around. It means you alone are in the cockpit flying the craft. The fighter pilot has a ground crew, yet, when he’s at the controls, it must often feel as if he is alone. As believers, we are in the army of God, and for some of us who have lost a mate, who have prayed for a mate and are still single, whose mate has repeatedly and consistently been unfaithful or alcoholic or drug addicted or addicted to pornography, those who have outlived all their relatives and friends, or for some other reason are living alone…the reality might be we are flying solo. And we really are. It’s not just a cute statement. We go home and we’re cooking for one, watching TV alone, sleeping alone in the bed. An individual can be in assisted living or in a nursing home surrounded by people and still be solo.

Flying Solo also doesn’t mean that there is no radar system. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit and we must develop a closer relationship with God. That’s an absolute if you are flying solo. You need the best guidance system you can possibly have and that starts with making Jesus the Lord of your life, and getting into the manufacturer’s manual…the Bible.

I’ve been a widow for nearly four years, yet it was only about six months ago that it hit me, as if I’d slammed into a wall, that I was flying solo and what that really meant. I wish I could say I handled it in a delightfully pretty and delectably appropriate manner. I didn’t. Still, I’m pretty stoic. I kept functioning. My house was clean, I fed my strays every morning and my inside cats, walked Sophie the Wonder Dog twice a day and fed her. Published my latest murder mystery release by the deadline. But, but…emotionally, I was messy, messy, messy.

Of course, I went to ‘my’ default. Whining. I whined to friends and associates. And mostly, I whined to God. And I heard very clearly in my spirit that I should pay attention to my feelings and actions because God had given me the gift of writing and my assignment was to write about flying solo for the purpose of helping other people. So, I whined about THAT to God. I’m pretty sure the Bible says, “Whining endureth for a season.” It’s probably in the Taylor Swift translation.

So, what have I learned about flying solo in the last six months? To go back to the basics.

PRAY. Pray for yourself, bless your house, your pets, put a prayerful hedge or protection around yourself and what’s yours. Talk to God. It’s okay to have an out-loud, running convo with God. Talk to Him as if He’s an older, wiser friend, a father, a brother. He’s all that. Pray for others. Pray for their healing, prosperity, the health and protection of their children. Pray for the nation. Keep it up and soon you’ll become a prayer warrior without even trying.

KEEP AFTER THE DETAILS. Get up, get dressed, eat nutritious meals. Keep your home/surroundings in good order. God loves you. Take care of yourself. And, as much as you can, surround yourself with the things you love.

KEEP IN TOUCH. You have a phone, so use it. Phone, text, and/or email friends and associates. Get involved on social media. Facebook has groups you can join. So do other social media platforms.

GO OUT. Don’t stay trapped in your home. Go to church…and also to the mid-week service. Don’t have a church? Go church shopping for a few weeks or months until you find one that’s warm, comfy, and welcoming for this stage of your life. Get your hair cut and/or styled regularly and start a convo with your stylist. Go to the library, sit, read some magazines, recipe books, holiday decorating books, health and beauty books. Ask the librarian to guide you. Start a dialog, but a quiet one…it’s the library.

I hope this is helpful. I’ll be praying for everyone who subscribes and /or reads this blog.

Memorial Day And You’re Alone ~ singles, soloers

soldiers widow, grave

 

Some of us are single, solo, and alone because our hero husband died on the battlefield, or in a training accident. Some are single, solo, and alone because our hero husband came back from the battlefield all messed up in the mind or the body, and he left us.

In this world today, Memorial Day is not only to honor departed military, but also departed first responders. They are also on the battlefield to hold off those who would destroy civilization.

In times of grief, darkness, loneliness, it’s the time for prayer…for all of us.  This is the time to know God loves us. He has not left us. He is near us. It’s time to know what God’s Word says about us.

Psalm 139 ~ New American Standard Version [NASB]

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

 

Tips and Suggestions for Singles/Soloers on Memorial Day:

  • Make sure you have time with God.
  • Start your day with praise and worship music in your home.
  • Plan a Memorial Day activity with family and friends. Make sure there’s time for remembrance and time for fun in your day.
  • Get around others. Don’t be alone all day. Go to a public Memorial Day activity.
  • If you need to get away from grief, go to lunch/dinner and a comedic movie with a family member(s) or a friend(s). Go bowling, swimming, surfing, fishing with family and/or friends.

May you and yours be blessed this Memorial Day.

Memorial Day

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO by Ada Brownell ~ a showcase

What Prayer Can DoPrayer is a practice in my life and a topic dear to my heart. I believe in the power of prayer, the comfort of prayer. I’m so excited…and it’s my privilege to showcase Ada Nicholson Brownell’s work WHAT PRAYER CAN DO. Ada is one of those dear people, I’d love to reach out to through the internet and hug. (((hug)))

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO

A Collection of articles and testimonies written by Ada Nicholson Brownell, published by The Pentecostal Evangel.

MOTHER’S SEARCH

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

An excerpt from What Prayer Can Do

Irene Hoselton suddenly awoke and sat up in her bed, cloaked by terror. Hot panic shot down her neck.

“My children! My children!” she cried in anguish. “O God, help me find my children.”

This was not an isolated experience for Irene, an acquaintance of mine. She was age 30 when her husband took the children to their grandparents’ house for the weekend—and never returned. He and his parents packed their belongings and moved to another state where Irene couldn’t find them.

Weeks, months, and years passed with no trace of her missing children. Although she searched throughout the western states, even with help from authorities, they seemed lost forever.

But the mother never gave up. Often she awoke in the night as anguish nearly ripped her emotions apart. She worried about her two boys, Waldo and Wendell who were 11 and 7 years of age when they disappeared, and her little daughter, Jessie, age 9.

She prayed. She asked God to take care of them. She prayed she would find them.

False hope would be raised at times, only to be dashed and to deepen her anguish. She became so emotional she couldn’t work or do anything but sit and brood.

Only a mother can understand how she felt. To think one might never see her children again is a distressing thought.

Only bereavement itself could be worse. Being separated from loved ones when one knows it is final is perhaps the most terrible earthly experience.

But some day a worse terror will come when those who have rejected Christ as Savior will be separated eternally from God! They will never again taste His joy, peace, and love (Revelation 20:12-15).

Fortunately Irene Hoselton’s story had a happier ending. She was miraculously united with her children in May 1972, after searching for them 38 years.

A phone call did it. After Irene’s children were old enough to have homes of their own, she would call long distance to cities all over the U.S., asking the operator if her boys’ names were listed. The calls were fruitless until one day, after a particularly fervent prayer session, she seemed to hear a voice say, “Call Kansas City, Kansas.”

With trembling fingers she dialed Kansas City, Kansas, and asked if a number were listed for Waldo. In a few minutes she was talking to Waldo’s wife! They were shocked to find their mother was still living, as her husband told the children their mother was dead.

In only a few weeks she saw all her children and grandchildren. What joy to be in each other’s arms again! Now her home is filled with pictures of her family, and her heart is bursting with joy.

The separation of 38 years was a painful ordeal—but what if the separation were eternal? How tragic when families not united in Christ are divided between heaven and hell. That final separation will be the most awful of all.

If you are one of God’s lost children, He is seeking you. Like the mother who sought her children, the Lord will never give up the search while life remains.

Jesus indicated this when He told about the search for the lost coin, and the prodigal son. He summed it by saying, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth (Luke15:10).

Repent and follow Christ now so that you will not be lost. Call on the Lord and let Him save you today.

THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, August 11, 1974.

Testimonial:

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

One family’s baby, born with hydrocephalus where the child’s head grows faster than the body, was said to not have a fully developed brain until she was prayed for by their pastor. A few weeks later, the parents received a call from the special center where the child was kept.

 “Your child is completely normal. Come and get her.

 New X-rays showed the brain fully developed, and this amazing woman has lived a normal life for nearly sixty years.

The doctor wrote “Absolute miracle” across her records.

Hebrews 11:26 says to please God we must believe that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

What Prayer Can Do has true testimonies from people the author knows that God rewarded.

Bio:

ada brownell

Ada Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a B.S. degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to freelance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books. She occasionally writes op-ed pieces for newspapers.

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO Purchase on Amazon

­Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries

Twitter: @adabrownell

Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement

Talking With Jesus ~ a two way communication

Lion and baby
The Lion of Judah

Talking with Jesus requires an intimate relationship with Him. Most Christians have a first-hand knowledge of this. Obviously Joy Behar and Omarosa do not.

Most Christians, at least to some extent, function in a spiritual arena whereby we talk to God and hear back from Him. That’s billions of us worldwide.

Over the years God had taken me on a journey to greater intimacy with Him. I have grown spiritually to a point where I hear His voice more clearly. As I speak with fellow Christians, they tell me of a similar walk. This is an exciting way to live. I love watching what God is doing in my life. I can’t wait to see what He will do next.

I can’t give any formula for hearing the voice of Jesus. But I would suggest simply asking Him, with sincerity, to speak to you. Another suggestion would be to read the Bible, especially the words in red. A red-letter Bible puts what Jesus has said in red ink. If you read what He’s said, when He speaks to you, you’ll more readily know if it’s Him. He will not speak in a way that is against the Bible. For example, Jesus will never tell you to steal. That is against the instruction of the Bible and Jesus will never speak to a believer in a way that is against what the Bible teaches.

Who is it who actually speaks to us when Jesus speaks? That’s an interesting question and so is the answer. Right now Jesus is in heaven sitting at the right-hand of the Father. Jesus is our High Priest in heaven and He’s making intercession for us. So, if Jesus is doing that, who is speaking to us?

It’s the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus in the earth today. Jesus was a man (and also deity) but in His physical body He could only be in one place at one time. The Spirit of God, the Counselor is a spirit and can be everywhere at once. Jesus told us in John 16 that it is to our advantage that He goes away for the Comforter will then come to us. The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus) is the teacher of the church. He is the one who speaks to us with an inner witness, with a whisper in our hearts, or by bringing intense peace in a difficult and painful situation. There are times, perhaps in a dangerous situation, where the “voice” is so loud it’s almost as if it’s audible. Many Christians have sworn it might’ve been audible. “Stop” “Don’t move.” “Don’t get on that plane or train or boat.”

It’s happened that I’ve had several unrelated individuals come up to me separately saying almost the exact same words about a distressing situation in my life. I believe this came about through the power of the Holy Spirit. If I experience extreme peace, then I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit speaking through those people. I’ve had situations I’ve not shared with anyone, and then, out of the blue, some person(s) randomly gave me the answer(s). The Holy Spirit. These things not only make me feel better, they solve problems in my life. Some might say this is coincidence. Well, I love these coincidences I keep having. Please, keep bringing them on Holy Spirit.