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Amy Leah Magaw is a born-again author and freelance writer with a passion for writing country-fried Christian romance, creative non-fiction, poetry, and inspirational short stories. A mother of two active teenagers, Amy spends her days teaching middle and high school—and loving it. She spends her nights escaping to her world of writing she affectionately calls, “The Oasis.” She is available for speaking at Ladies’ Conferences and meeting your freelance writing needs.  To learn more about Amy’s writings, visit her blog at www.AmyLMagaw.com, or email Amy at AmyLMagaw@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Rescue

Captured
Bound

Behind Bars Begrimed

The Grind
The Trials
The Pain
The Sorrow
The Confusion
The Anger
The Rage
The Questions
The Toil
The Fatigue
The Uncertainty
The Desperation
The Fear
The Anxiety
The Loneliness
The Shame

None of these
Can hold me

My Love Rescues me
From their dungeon

And now We

Together are
More than conquerors

Because of
His love for me

 
Inspired by Romans 8:35-39

(In my Creative writing class, we are studying Poetry.  I have NEVER been much of a poet, it seems.  But, I took some advice from the text and decided to give it a try after reading my Bible, because I was so blessed.)

Some of you who are my friends on Facebook know that we are going through a trial with my daughter.  She has an injured shoulder from some past events, and she is in quite a good deal of pain.  She also has to have a second set of braces for one of her canine teeth is coming in wrong, and it is also very painful.  This physical pain is affecting her in many different ways.  As a mother is hurts me to see her suffering this way, even though I know there are others out there who have children that are in worse physical condition than my daughter.  But, she is mine.  There are also other trials that we are going through, which I do not have liberty to share, but...

I sat down to read my Bible this morning feeling defeated; mad at God for so many reasons.  I never really know where to read.  But, Roman 8:28 "popped in my mind".

So, I thought about that, how all things work together for good.  And that sounded like a promise.  The word promise I associate with the rainbow.  Then, I remembered a picture that a friend of mine, a former Sunday School Student actually, took with his cell phone while cutting grass.  He posted it on Facebook, and I downloaded it and altered it a bit, adding the verse to the picture.  It is beautiful. 

Photo by Jeremy Byrd
 
**Click to view larger
 
After creatively manipulating the photo, I checked Facebook for the morning.  A good friend of mine, Joy Nance, posted,
 
"I love my quiet time, in the mornings, with the Lord. Reading my Bible and praying. It's such a sweet time with my Father....... wouldn't trade it for anything <3"
 
And that spurred me to go back and read the text surrounding Romans 8:28, to get a better picture of why all things (including the bad things) work together for good...even though God said so...because at the time, that just didn't seem a good even reason for me (pity party-guest list of 1)
 
So, I read the entire chapter, but verses 35-39 brought me to tears, and painted this picture in my mind:
 

A damsel in distress (looking much like myself, but much thinner, with a clear complexion, and wearing a gorgeous white fitted princess dress, which was torn raggedly at the hem, and stained with dirt and mud) was valiantly fighting in a battle, only to be captured and hauled away to a dungeon.  From the dungeon's meager window, covered with three black grimy bars, barely big enough to fit the arm through, the damsel stretches out with all of her might to let her people know that she is there, that she has been captured. 
 
Who are the captors?  The Grind of daily life, The Trials faced in that life, The Pain and Sorrow felt during those trials, The Confusion over choices to make, The Anger that things are not better, The Rage directed at God who has to allow these things to happen (remember Job...God had to allow Satan to afflict him), The Questions of why?  Why us? Why her?  We stepped out on faith, so why hasn't this worked..., The Toil of scraping and The Fatigue thereof, The Uncertainty of what will happen next, The Desperation of KNOWING that there is nothing that I nor duck tape can do to fix it, The Fear of what the outcome will be, The Anxiety of waiting for the outcome, The Loneliness felt when the rescue party is no where in sight, and The Shame felt because you couldn't handle the situation yourself.

 
Then, I read verse 37:
"Nay, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him that loved us."
 
I surely didn't feel like a conqueror, and truthfully, I've not felt like one in a long, long time. 
 
Then, I thought about the very phrase, through him that loved us...
 
And I saw Him, my Lord, my valiant prince rescuing me from that dungeon of defeat, sweeping me onto his white horse of victory because He loves me.  He wouldn't leave me there in Defeat's Dungeon because He loves me. 
 
I have to remember that I ride with the conqueror so that we can be conquerors together. 
 
Praying that the rest of the day will see...
 
Happy Trails.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Many Waters...

I've never done this before, but I think that I may begin something new! 
 
As you know, good reads are hard to find.  Sometimes, just because something is traditionally published doesn't always mean that it's a good read.  And GoodReads website is a valuable resource, but sometimes it helps if someone YOU know has read the book.  So, occasionally I will be posting reviews that I do for fellow independent authors. 
 
Now, keep in mind, that these books may not be all "grammatically correct".  We "Indies" don't often have hundreds of dollars to pay for professional editing services, BUT it's the content-the story-that we're trying to get out. 
So here is a review for Many Waters, which is by one of my friends and fellow independent author, William Woodall.
 
He has also written several other books that I have personally read:
 
Unclouded Day
Tycho
 
and the Last Werewolf Hunter Series, which I still haven't read yet,
(I know, shame on me!) 
But, I'm getting around to it!
 
And without further delay...I present my take on...
 
Many Waters
by William Woodall


     At first, I thought Many Waters was going to be a straightforward Country-Fried love story; but then I read the second sentence and “evil” was mentioned and I knew this story would be something different.

     I love that this story is told by its two main characters as if they were carrying on a conversation with a friend—not only recounting events, but reflecting on them as well, giving you valuable spiritual insight.

     It has the handsome Christian Cowboy, the kind that makes you want to snuggle up under his Stetson for a while.  And then it has the beautiful, long-lost love interest of his youth, BUT add a long-time family curse and enforcers as evil as home-made sin, and you've got yourself an action-packed, prize-worthy novel.  And to TOP THAT OFF-you'll learn some things, too!

     The story takes you on a journey, encountering some painful situations and some pretty scary happenings!  However, those same “scary happenings” serve as vivid symbols that teach you valuable lessons for your daily life and well as your spiritual life.   You can take away several “Golden Nuggets” to help make your Christian walk a better stroll.

     The story actually left me with some questions about my own life.  If someone was to “taste” my life, what would it be like?  Would they spit it out, or would they want more?  What am I seasoning my life with—Hatred, Bitterness, Un-forgiveness, Love, Peace, Joy, Compassion?  Are these things that someone would want to eat?  TRANSLATION:  Am I displaying enough of Christ in my life that others would see a difference?  Would my life create a hunger and a thirst in someone else for Jesus’ Salvation, which IS the difference?

     I know you will enjoy this book—I did!  And Lord willing, it will be a help to you too!

You can find Many Waters on Amazon.com via this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Many-Waters-ebook/dp/B001VEHZ34/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372298330&sr=1-1&keywords=many+waters+woodall


And on Smashwords via this link:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/330265

To learn more about William Woodall's books, check out his website at:

http://williamwoodall.org/

Friday, May 31, 2013

School's Out! Time for VBS!!!!

Okee Dokee!  Most schools are now either out for the summer or on their last week, so here are some helpful reminders:

Oriental Trading is the BEST for Vacation Bible School supplies and prizes! 

I will be attempting to add a logo and permanent link to their site on this blog-it's a work in progress-but for now, here's a direct link to their VBS page:

http://www.orientaltrading.com/teaching-supplies-and-stationery/vacation-bible-school-a1-551532.fltr
Oriental Trading  is also an AWESOME resource for crafts and prizes to supplement your Sunday School Curriculum!  Here is a direct link to OTC's Sunday School page:


http://www.orientaltrading.com/teaching-supplies-and-stationery/vacation-bible-school-a1-551532.fltr
Please stop by and check out their products, and better yet bookmark them on your favorites list for all of your VBS and Sunday School needs!


Those of you who attended our Ladies' Meeting on May 4th saw their products first-hand!  The Mission Possible Theme was greatly done by products from Oriental Trading!

We love their site and we know that you will too!

Happy VBS'ing!


Love, Amy

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I didn't even cry...

Well, I'm still here...only by the grace of God.  This past year has been very trying, but it is finally coming to a close-the school year, that is.  I only have one class left at Newberry College before I transfer to the University of South Carolina Sumter Campus; and boy am I glad!

Yesterday afternoon I set out on the trek towards Newberry from my job in Orangeburg, SC.  I have been driving the car that my husband usually drives, and I noticed that a red light had come on.  It indicated that the antifreeze was low.  I called him, and he told me to stop at the truck stop, get a gallon of antifreeze, and pour it in to the fill line.

I did this, and got on I-26 Westbound, headed for my class.  The light never went off, but I kept a close watch on the temperature gauge. I had driven for about thirty minutes, and had made it to Columbia, near the Harbison Boulevard exit.  It was then that I noticed another light had come on.  This light read "Check Gauges".  I immediately thought out loud, "Really?  What gauges?  I've been watching the temperature gauge, my speed, what else is there to check?"  And then I realized...my gas gauge was in the red!  I had stopped at the truck stop and was so concerned about the fluids, that I forgot to fill the car up with gas!

I knew that I needed to stop very soon, but I couldn't get in the right lane to get off the interstate at the Harbison exit, and I was beginning to panic, because once you pass Harbison, the exits become really spaced out!  I prayed out loud for God to please help me make it to the next exit to the gas station, but that evidently wasn't His plan!

I coasted to the side of the interstate, barely passing another car that had pulled over and was currently abandoned, and immediately called my husband to ask if there was a jug in the back of the car-and of course there wasn't.  He asked if needed to come and get me, but there was no time!  I was two hours away from him, and I couldn't wait that long.  So, I locked the car, and to the shoulder I went-walking towards the exit ramp. 

I made it to the guardrail over a little branch, and I noticed that a Honda was backing up.  I noticed that it had Florida plates, and I became concerned.  I had my keys in my hand in a defensively position, just in case.  It was still daylight, but nowadays, that doesn't matter!

A man rolled down his window, and politely asked if I needed a ride to the exit.  I thought that I would feel nervous, but I had peace.  I can't explain it other than it was the Holy Spirit letting me know that it was okay to get in the car; so I accepted.

The gentleman had moved in to the area not too long ago, and only really knew the interstates that he used to commute to work.  He took me to the gas station, waited for me to get the gas, drove me back to my car, filled up the tank, and then made sure that I was able to crank the car before he left! 

Talk about your Good Samaritan!  He went over and beyond the call of duty!  Through nervous small talk, I disclosed that my husband was a pastor.  He never remarked in any way about church, whether or not he was a believer, or even if he went to church.  But, before we parted ways, I gave him a Gospel tract with our church's contact information printed on the back along with my husband's name.  I told him that if he was ever in our area, to please contact us, so that we could repay his kindness.  He smiled, took the leaflet, and said that he would. 

That afternoon, before my incident, I had passed a Camper Trailer that had run off the road, and two cars on the shoulder before my car coasted there to join them.  The gentleman filled me in on another wreck that had occurred BEHIND me around the junction of I-26 and I-20, and that it was pretty bad.  I remarked that I couldn't complain.  I only ran out of gas--it could have been much worse--and that God might have actually been saving me from something worse down the road!  He agreed.

I only saw his name on his Photo Name badge once, and I think it was Ted, or Tod.  But, I didn't recognize the Hospital or Urgent Care facility that he worked for.  I'm not totally convinced that he was human.  I'm not crazy!  This is what the Bible says:

"Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."                   

Hebrews 13:1 & 2

All I know is that God goes on to say in verse 5 of that same chapter:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

I could have coveted others' roadside assistance, but I was not upset about walking up that hill to get a gas can, even though it was really hot.  God didn't stay in the car, waiting on me.  He walked up that hill with me, and I know that he sent that gentleman to help me.  He could have been an angel, or God may have allowed me to forget about the gas so that he could bring our paths together, and I could place that Gospel tract in his hands.  I pray that if it was the latter, that he will read it, and ask God to save him before it is too late. 

After the car started, I immediately proceeded to the gas station, filled up, and then drove hastily on to school, as I was now 20 minutes late.  As I was sending a message to my classmates via the hand-held Internet, I noticed blue lights in my rear view mirror.  I looked at my speed, and I was doing a little over, but nothing worth pulling.  But, again, I couldn't complain-I hadn't wrecked that day, and God had sent someone to my rescue.  I'd just take the ticket.  But, the SUV sped right past me, and I said, "Praise the Lord!" and kept on cruising!

Later that night on the ride back home, I was on highway 261, almost home.  I came quickly around one curve, and found three does standing in the middle of the road.  I had plenty of time to slow down, but I prayed, Lord please don't let them jump at my car!  They usually scatter.  But this time, they acted more like cows.  I had to slow down almost to a stop, and honk the horn to get them to move!  They slowly made their way back into the woods!  I'd never seen deer do that before.  But I guess when God is leading them, they don't have to run scared!

I made it home by God's grace and providence.  I know that everything could have been so much worse.  I thank Him for His protection, love and care.  Looking back, I should have felt more afraid, but I'm more excited about the fact that I didn't feel that way.  God's peace kept me stable and sane. 

I didn't even cry...

Friday, February 22, 2013

VBS Time Already? Join Our Team!

Heed the call, friends!  VBS time will be here before we know it, and I need some folks to join this quest! 

Every year, Oriental Trading puts out a Fun & Faith catalog, listed various products that support a particular VBS theme.  Some of those themed curriculum's are published by tradition carriers like Group and Lifeway, etc. 

Our church always writes our own VBS curriculum based on the KJV, because of the stand we take on that version of the Bible. 

So, we figure, if we're doing that, then more than likely there are others out there doing that as well!

Here's the idea:

I would like to host a forum page on this blog STRICTLY for ORIGINAL VBS Curriculum materials.  These materials will be made free for download for churches to use for their VBS programs this summer. 

I'm looking for week-long programs as well as One-Day Extravaganzas.  This would be the place to bring your ideas. 

We need lesson plans, ORIGINAL coloring pages (Please do not scan in a Dollar Tree Coloring Book page with a Bible verse typed at the bottom!  This is copyright infringement! All drawings must be original!) Games for outdoors, Creative Snack Ideas and music (NO MP3 Uploads-Songs can be written to be sung to the tune of familiar songs in the public domain i.e. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star OR ORIGINAL SHEET MUSIC.)

We need team members who are willing to do a small part and reap the full benefit!

Now, there are some rules:

All materials must use the KJV as their Scripture Base.
The materials must not infringe on someone's copyright-the materials need to be originally yours to post-you own the rights!
Materials need to support a particular VBS theme. 

If you are interested in joining this team, please email be at AmyLMagaw@gmail.com and I can give you more details. 

Here is the link to the two themes that OTC is going with this year, "Over The Top" (Amusement Park) and "Mighty Kingdom: Quest for Strength" Castle
Theme.  There are also some other themes listed in the column on the lefthand side, but there are not many products to go along with them.  They may have been from previous years, so I'd like to stick with the two new themes for this year.

http://www.orientaltrading.com/teaching-supplies-and-stationery/vacation-bible-school-a1-551532-5-0.fltr?categoryFromSearch=true&rd=vbs

If you look through the products of both lines, you will always find cut-outs and poster that have lesson themes on them.  These are the topics that we would base our lessons on. 

I would like to develop curriculum for both lines to post for all who need them. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why I Do What I Do

Since coming home from the Writers Conference, I've been looking over all of the information that I'd gathered this past weekend.  I was perusing comments on my work such as:

"You seem to push your characters being in the will of God, thinking about Him all the time, but it's not sounding realistic.  Their lives show what and who they are."

I agree that people's lives do show who they are and what they are, but the question is this: what is determining who they are and what they are-God or the flesh?  The books I write don't have the characters thinking about God ALL of the time, but a good bit of the time.  The reason is because they are Christians, and they are trying to live for God.  They make mistakes, they have character flaws, and the portions of their lives that I present to the reader are important, life-shaping scenes that model how we are supposed to seek God's guidance either through prayer and Bible reading or seeking Godly counsel from Christian Family and friends.  The reason that it sound 'unrealistic' is probably because many of us try to live our lives in the flesh and seeking the will of God has become foreign to us. The comment above seems to assert that my characters should be satisfied with settling for the status quo, living squarely in their comfort zone, living their lives without God.

I do what I do to try and help encourage Christians to be better Christians. 

In referring to Mandie's (Book #2 Wheels of Love) problem of being able to meet a man to have a relationship with while traveling on a Christian Music tour, this comment was made:

"If that's her biggest problem, she doesn't have a problem.  Where does she want to go and what does she want to do?  She apparently has fame and fortune and admirers and family. She is being presented as ungrateful."

Stars turn to drugs and alcohol daily to try and fill a void that only Christ can fill.  Fame, fortune, admirers and even family cannot satisfy that void.  Ask them if their problem is significant.

Even when Christians seem to have everything, there is a desire that God planted in an individual's heart to have a mate.  God looked at Adam in the Garden of Eden and said it was not good that man should be alone. Eve was created to complete Adam. 

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Genesis 2:18

God then made it official by taking a rib from Adam and creating Woman from that rib.  It it clearly seen here that man is not complete without a woman.  And even though women's libbers do not like this, woman was created to complete a man!  God did not say that "it was good" until the end of the 6th day AFTER THIS VERSE:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:27 

God didn't say "it was good" until both male and female were BOTH created-because they complete each other.

Now, with that settled, we see that finding that HELP MEET for you is a PROBLEM.  This is evident from the current divorce rates in America. 

Perhaps if more young people, Christians included, really PRAYED, and SOUGHT GOD'S WILL about their mates, maybe those rates would be lower.

This problem is not "spectacular" but it is a REAL problem.  It is an everyday problem that REAL people can identify with.  I write my stories to entertain, only as a side-goal:

I do what I do to try and show the lost that God loves the average Joes and Janes, and He cares about their problems by using real-life, everyday characters, with real-life average problems so that they can empathize and not idolize.  So that the lost will turn to Christ for their number one problem-their need for a Saviour-and then later they will be encouraged to turn to Him for all of their other problems.

I'm just saying...



Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tears On My Pillow

View from the Dining Hall at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove
Asheville, NC
     It has been quite a weekend here at the Writers Advance! Boot Camp Conference hosted at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, NC. I was privileged to attend this writer's conference with several other aspiring authors from around the country.  I have met fellow Christian writers from Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and even as far away as Arkansas! 
     I have been very blessed to have a roommate from Lumberton, NC, Mrs. Judy Taylor.  She has been serving the Lord in Women's Ministry for over 16 years.  She is seeking the Lord's guidance on compiling her collection of devotions into a devotional book.  She has been a real blessing to me this weekend.  I ask that you pray for her in her endeavors as she serves through Raft Swamp Baptist Church there in Lumberton. 
     We have attended workshops covering everything from using Social Media to market yourself, to determining whether or not your story is worthy of making movie.  There has been a wealth of information presented in a very small window of time. 
     The highlight of this venture was that I was able to schedule several appointments with agents, traditionally published authors, and publishing company founders in hopes of pitching my books and obtaining critiques.  I followed all of the necessary rules of submitting my books for a professional critique.  I anxiously awaited the appointment with this author who has had over 50 Christian Romance books traditionally published.  This lady really knows her stuff.  I expected my work to be thoroughly shredded.  The lady treated me with great respect and gave her advice in love, for which I was extremely thankful.
     I came back to the room after my critique interview to tweet my husband to call me.  I needed to hear his voice.  Through tears of disappointment, I recounted the events to him.  Evidently, just because I have those out there who like my work, who happened to not be related to me or my BFF's, evidently doesn't mean that I'm a good writer.  There are several things that I need to work on mechanics, plot development, and all sorts of things.  I need a very good professional editor to work with on my pieces.  Thankfully, I now have a host of resources at my disposal and I should be able to find one. 
     However, was I thrilled to see all of the "red ink" on my papers?  Not on your life!  After the critique on my first book, I felt like pulling if off of the market and throwing it away!  I was told that I might have a good little story going in my second book, but that one needed a whole lot of re-writing also.  Needless to say, I came away thankful for an honest opinion, but disheartened at the same time.
     Although my husband's voice was indeed comforting, the Voice that I needed to hear came in His still small way.  Will I pull book one from the cyber shelves?  No.  Will I rewrite it at a later date?  No.  Will I correct it to make it a better read?  Yes-but not immediately.  But, unless the Lord leads, I'll not be making any plot changes, even if that means that I'll never be traditionally published.  I truly feel that the Lord inspires these stories because He has given me this gift-and I intend to give the stories that He sees fit, not what will sell thousands of copies.  It's the message that He wants me to bring; even though I write it, I know He uses it to accomplish His work.
     I also met with an agent today.  When I told this agent that I was self-published, that was the end of the discussion.  I was informed that agents didn't pick up self-published authors, because publishers would immediately pull up their Amazon profile, see the lack of sales, and would assume that we indies weren't marketable.  Again, another closed door.
     So, will I continue to write?  Yes.  Why?  Because I must.  Writing for me is a gift that the Lord has allowed me to use to promote HIS agenda.  Instead of promoting myself on Facebook and Twitter I should be promoting HIM!  I need to let Jesus promote me when He is ready to do so, whether that be through traditional methods or other means.  I am more inclined to think it will be the latter for, "...God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;" (I Corinthians 1:27)

     I am thankful for the knowledge that I've gained through this experience.  I will take it to heart, and apply the knowledge to my current work in progress, Book Three of the Breaking Dawn Book Series, Coming Home.
     I am resolved to keep writing as long as the Lord allows me to.  I'm sure there will probably be many more tears on my pillow, but they will dry-and the pen goes on.

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's a Small World After All!

Hello readers! 
 
What a mighty God we serve!  This is a kind of different post tonight.  I've been tinkering with the blog, under direction of my sister, and I have found the "Audience" button.  This allows me to see the demographics of my readers AND MAN WAS I SURPRISED!!!!!
 
We've had readers from:

          The U.S.         Russia          Germany          Poland              
          The U.K.        Latvia           Ukraine            France              
The Netherlands            Argentina
 
I'm amazed at how God allows us to use modern technology.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading! 
 
Tomorrow, we will be at the Sumter County SC Local Author Book Fair from 3 until 5 p.m.  Lord willing, will be get some more exposure, and we'll sell some books! 
 
 
I would also like to invite you to visit our church's website to hear some good, old fashioned, Gospel preaching! 

 
 
Some of you may remember that my husband is the pastor, and he's has just recently updated the website with new messages.  I know that they will be a blessing to you. 
 
 
 
Again, thank you so much for all of your prayers and support.  We need it!
 
God Bless You!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

I have resumed my college courses at Newberry College for the spring semester, and one of the classes that I am required to take is World Literature.  Thank the Lord that one of the required readings was selections from the Book of Job, as a study of Hebrew Literature. 

My assignment was to select a question from the list given and write a one-page reader's response.  I really tried to keep it at one page, honestly, but I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF!!!  :) 

Here is the question:

Why is evil allowed to prey on Job?  What message is conveyed by allowing evil things to happen to Job?  How is Job's reaction to each terrible event an important aspect of the purpose of this selection?

Here is my answer: (I hope this is a help to you-it was to me!)


In the opening selection “Job’s Trials” comprised of the first three chapter of the Book of Job from the Authorized King James Version, we find a man that has had a rather bad day.  In the course of one day, Job lost his herds, his servants, his livelihood, and his children.  He did not respond foolishly, he proceeded in the traditional rites of grieving.  Job rent his clothes, shaved his head, but then he fell on the ground and worshipped God.  All this happened as a result of Satan attempting to assert himself over the Lord God Jehovah by tempting Job who was a servant of God, “…perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1) 

When Satan saw that he had lost round one, Satan asks God for another go at Job.  It is notable to also point out that Satan must ask permission to perform these acts against Job.  God had a shield of protection surrounding Job and his family, which was only removed at God’s discretion.  During this round of affliction, Satan caused Job to be covered in boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. 

At this point, Job’s wife also comes to him advising him to “curse God and die” in a feeble effort to retain his “integrity.”  What she didn’t understand was that she and Job had two very different definitions of “integrity.”  Her definition of the term was “pride.”  She wanted Job to curse God to save face, because people were already talking about them and it was making her look bad; but Job had true integrity which is honor and the fear of the Lord. 

This presents the answer to the question of why God allowed these evil dealings to fall upon Job.  The answer is simple—to bring glory and honor to God Himself, and to create a closer relationship between Himself and Job.  God knew that Job would not curse Him.  God is omniscient.  He knows and perceives all.  Satan is a defeated foe that continues to plague the children of God to fall away and join his band of demonic followers who will find their eternity being spent in a lake of fire.  Since he knows that he cannot escape the wrath and punishment of God, he will try to increase the number of souls that will rebel against God, simply for spite.

The message conveyed by allowed evil things to happen to Job is that through this trial, Job actually grew closer to God.  Job had some “friends” that came to “comfort him!” With friends like these, who needs enemies?  These so-called “friends” proposed that Job had sinned, that he was a hypocrite, and a liar.  They offered him tradition and oriental proverbs.  Job points out in chapter twenty-one, evil people do prosper, so the supposition that he is being punished for some sin is unfounded, but his “friends” continue to offer their “assistance!” 

The only progress that is made comes from “Elihu” the final friend of the account of Job.  Elihu points out that the only thing that Job has done wrong in this situation, is that he has proclaimed his own righteous, and not that of God.  After Elihu’s speech, God speaks to Job from the whirlwind, confirming Elihu’s guidance.  In fact, in verses seven through nine of chapter forty-two, God commands the “three friends” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, to repent of their wickedness, which they did as seen in verse nine.  It is very interesting to observe here that there is no further mention of Elihu.  We don’t read what happened to him.  The name Elihu actually means “God is he.”  There are some that believe that Elihu was actually a Christophany, a bodily appearance of Jesus Christ, there to defend Job against his “friends” and at the same time chastise Job as a Father chastises His child to teach them and bring them closer to Him.

Job’s reaction to each of these terrible events teaches us that we should not be so wrapped up in ourselves.  We should keep our eyes on Christ in His sovereignty, majesty and divine decision.  He knows the beginning from the end because He’s already been there.  He is the true friend, one that “…sticketh closer than a brother.” (Hebrews 13:5)
 
and in the words of Job...
 
BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our Song

You all know that I'm a Christian Romance writer.  I love writing love stories.  The Greatest Love Story ever written is the Bible, and the best part about that is it's TRUE! 

Well, one facet of a couple's relationship is that most of the time, the couple has a special song that they refer to as "Our Song."  Maybe it was playing when he proposed or when they first knew they were in love.  Whatever the case may be, "Our Song" is a popular phrase-and everyone should have a song.

I was privileged to be able to attend the Watch Night Service at Open Bible Baptist Church on December 31st.  One of the preachers there was a missionary going to preach the Gospel in North Korea-that's right NORTH Korea.  For safety's sake, I will not mention his name.  God is able, and He knows this blessed man's name, so we will pray for North Korea and let God handle the rest!
   
In his message, he mentioned this verse:

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
                                                                              Ephesians 2:10

I've highlighted, this word "workmanship", because the Lord used His comments to give me this blog post.  I pray that it will help someone out there.

The missionary said that an old Indian preacher had given him the original Greek word and it's translation, and that made me want to do some research.  I found that the Greek word that is translated as "workmanship" here is "ποίημα", literally translated "poem". That old Indian preacher had done his homework-he was dead on!  A poem, just like any other work of art is indeed a workmanship-make no mistake about it!  When I write a novel, it is definitely WORK!  So, we see that the KJV here is correctly translated.  I still love studying the Greek and Hebrew from the Bible though, because it can give you a different perspective, like we see here.  The missionary continued sharing his conversation with this old Indian preacher-the preacher explained it to him as such:  God is writing a poem, or a song, with our lives. 

This is what jumped out at me-the song.  God has given me many talents to use for him (what a responsibility!) and musical ability is one of those gifts.  I play the piano, sing, and have on occasion written a song or two (read "Wheels of Love"-yes I actually wrote music to that song and everything!) 

So I began thinking about "The Song" and its parts:

Verses: They tell the story-not just the everyday stuff-special events that are worth singing about.

Chorus: This part is repeated over and over, and is always the most popular part of the song-people will sing this the loudest!  Folks will sometimes forget the title of the song, and simply call it by the Chorus!

Bridge:  Not all songs have these, but some do.  This part of the song is very distinctive, different from the rest of the song.  It creates momentum and, most of the time, leads into a key change (modulation) where you sing the chorus again in a higher level, or key. 

So, I thought that the verses of the song are events in our lives. Not the mundane, everyday things, but things that happen in our lives that are special. 

Application:  What kind of song are we singing?  Are we singing the blues-complaining all the time?  Are we singing songs of rebellion? Or are we singing love ballads (some of my favorites) that tell the true love story of Jesus?  Can others see this love song playing out in our lives?

Then, I thought about the Chorus-the part that is sung over and over, and the part that is "the identity" of the song.
 
Application: What's our identity?  What do people "know" us for?  What do they associate with us?  Um.  That really made me stop and think-woe is me!  This is our everyday life!  Sometimes it gets monotonous and tiresome. But, the chorus should always emphasize the main idea of the verses.  And remember, it's the part of the song that's always sung the loudest!  I love to hear my nephews Gabe, Adam, and Jonathan singing "Dwelling in Beulah Land" in church!  They just belt it out on the chorus and literally shout "Praise God" at that part!  It brings a smile to everyone's face!  So, what do our lives "shout out"-bitterness, rebellion, or love?

Finally I thought about the bridge-the part of the song that is different.  Sometimes the bridges in songs may even be in a minor key.  I associate this portion of the song with trials.  God uses trials to refine us-to get rid of the trash in our lives to make us more pure for His use.  These difficult times are designed by God to bring us closer to him, and to make us stronger.  At the end of the trial, don't you feel like you're on the mountain top?  That's our key change!  Our Modulation!  That's our "Higher Ground!"  That bridge helps build momentum and strength for us to make it up that hill!  It helps us to fight the fight, and to keep on keepin' on until we reach that higher level for Jesus! Amen! 

I finished that last paragraph through tears-so if no one else out there needed this post today, I know I did!

In conclusion, let's all take a good look at our lives for the New Year-and let's let Jesus be "Our Song"!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Address!

Alrighty!  We have successful ported the website address in an have attached it to this blog!  YAY!

So, now you only have to enter...

www.vcpbooks.com

and you will come here! 

Much easier, don't you think? :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Don't Forget...!

Happy New Year!
One stop on today's stop on
"The Next Big Thing" blog tour is :
 
 
And I got a preview thought about what the devotion might be, and if Marcie went in that direction, I promise you won't want to miss it! 
 
Lord willing, I'll have a devotion posted for the evening.  I was privileged to attend a Watch Night Service at Open Bible Baptist Church in Sumter, SC on the 31st, and the Lord gave me a thought I'd like to share. 
 
This morning, though, I must travel to Orangeburg, SC to formally accept my new job at Orangeburg Christian Academy!  I've got papers to sign and a classroom to decorate and "move into"!
 
Thank the Lord for his Goodness and Provision!
 
Don't forget to stop at Marcie's and then come back here tonight!