Friday, August 19, 2016

Cuban Christian Reflections

The Lighthouse of Asaph
Roberto Ornan Roche

The Lighthouse of Asaph: Unforgettable Christian Reflections

Every year, with the arrival of terrible and threatening hurricanes to the Caribbean, I lose both sleep and joy, fearing that the strong winds might destroy the trees that my father planted almost forty years ago. Already some have been blown down, but others remain, and these trees are among my fondest memories of him. I can recall many occasions when my mother and I were by the door, praying, while the destructive winds outside continued to roar.

When I think of such things, I feel that our faith is like those trees, nurtured by other people. At the same time, new trees are starting to grow, like fresh ideals and good deeds, and perhaps some of these spring up from the seeds that have been stored in those old, demolished trees.

The most important thing in my book is always to discover a new way to rescue faith in the midst of the pain that exists all around.

Buy the Book on Amazon US
eBook .99
Paperback 6.50
ISBN-13: 978-0987901118
132 pp

Review by Lisa Lickel
It’s refreshing and energizing to read about the development of a faith life from a different perspective, one that comes from a different culture in another arena. I am too comfortable in my lifestyle and I need to step outside that zone on occasion to truly appreciate what I have been given.

Roche’s joy, fear, and desire to grow and practice his faith glow from the pages. Told through anecdotes, personal revelation, stories of meeting people on the streets where they are, and reflections on Bible verses and stories, such as that of Job (Our Job does not have a story to be told because we spend all day long rejecting it.), The Lighthouse of Asaph will give Christian readers pause. Am I living to my potential where I am, here and now? Roche will help you answer that question as you walk with him in his life as a Cuban Christian living in a land that long despaired yet retained pockets of joy.

Roberto Ornan RocheAbout the Author

Roberto Ornan Roche, a Christian writer from Cuba, is an internationally recognized author with stories published in English and Spanish. His book, A Lighthouse of Asaph, is a story collection capturing the emotions and longings of a Cuban heart. The stories were written in an attempt to reconcile the author’s life of faith with a society that discourages it. Born out of fear and sadness, sadness from praying for dreams that were never realized, A Lighthouse of Asaph is a book to encourage you and help you find meaning in your circumstances.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"My Father's House, a novel" - by Rose Chandler Johnson - Enjoy This Short Excerpt



Chapter One


Go on, Darling, and see about the colt,” I said.

He stirred a cup of steaming coffee, and then handed it to me. When my hands wrapped around the warm ceramic mug, he leaned down and gently pressed his lips to my forehead. I closed my eyes, grateful for his touch.

“I love you,” he said, while taking me by the shoulders and gently pulling me into the circle of his arms. I laid my head against his chest and felt its rise and fall.

“Go,” I whispered. “I’m going to take a walk and look at the gardens.”

He rubbed my back in wide slow circles.

“I’m grateful she died in the spring,” I said.

“I know,” he said. “I won’t be long. I imagine I’ll find you sitting under the magnolia when I return.”

“Uh-huh.”

“I’ll join you there,” he said.

I followed him out onto the porch and watched him walk to the truck, stop, and turn. He fixed his gaze on me, and I knew he didn’t want to leave. I smiled then, and he nodded before getting in and backing down the driveway. He waved, and something about his smile and the gentle blue of the sky strengthened my heart. I watched him disappear down the street before I turned and walked back inside.

Yesterday we buried the woman who raised me, tethering my heartstrings to both heaven and earth. Full of simple goodness, her love never let me go. She wanted to be buried next to her husband, and so she is, and before we lowered her body into the red Georgia clay, we read the 23rd Psalm. The words flowed like a soothing balm.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This morning the words are whispering to my soul, and I can’t help remembering.

*~*~*~*~*

You can connect with Rose Chandler Johnson on Facebook at 
and blog at

Twitter: @rechanjo 



Rose Chandler Johnson's award-winning devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments released in July 2013 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Her devotions, poems, short stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications over the years. My Father' House is Rose's first novel. Rose has lived near Augusta, GA for the last twenty-nine years. For the last twenty plus years, Rose has been a French and English teacher. Currently she is an adjunct English instructor at a technical college. Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families. Another devotional is in the works and another Southern lit novel.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Life Transformed, Memoir by Sana Edoja.

I (Lorilyn Roberts) have known Sana Edoja for several years and am glad she wrote her memoir to help others. Memoirs are powerful, and I look forward to reading hers.  I hope you enjoy this short excerpt.


STRUGGLES

Going through tunnels,
I can’t see the light.
Surrounded by darkness,
who will save me?
Who will say,
This is the way; walk in it?
Who will hold my hand
to tame my fear?
Who will even say?
It’s over. I am here,
to be your guide.

From beginning to end,
Earth to Heaven.
I will never leave you, nor forsake you!
Island of plenitude,
Encounter with the light
is what I desire
most in my life.
The fields are white to be ripe.
My Savior has come.
My struggles are over.




I was born into a modest family in France. My dad is French. He is a non-practicing Catholic. He was baptized as a baby and received his First Holy Communion. Catholicism was practiced as my grandfather was Protestant, and my grandmother was a non-practicing Catholic. My grandmother was very strict; when her children misbehaved she used a whip. They lived in the countryside near a small village called “Saint-L├ęger.” My dad and his siblings dropped out of school at the age of 12 to work in the fields to earn wages for the family.

A few years later, my dad travelled to Morocco where he met my mum; they married and moved to France. They lived in Toulouse, the south of France where my dad worked as a builder. Later on, he trained to become a quantity surveyor to provide for our family. My dad was exhausted when he came home from work and barely spent time with us.

I was the eldest of five children (three girls and two boys). He always wanted to watch the news in silence on TV before going to bed. He would only intervene in our upbringing if we needed to be disciplined. He rarely asked us questions about school or life. On a few occasions, he would take us on bike rides and to the fair, but he usually only played with us on Christmas Day. He never had time to develop a proper relationship with his children. I saw him just as a disciplinarian. My parents usually sent us to summer camps on holidays.

My mum had been a primary school teacher in Morocco who taught nine and ten year olds. She had four brothers. Her dad worked in a factory, and her mum raised the kids at home. Her father was also a disciplinarian. Her younger brother used to misbehave. One day, her dad hit him on the arm so strongly causing him to bleed. The wound became infected, and he died at a very young age.

My mum’s uncle controlled the family’s decisions. Children had to financially support their family. My mum’s wages were shared between family members. She wanted to work in research labs, but her family forced her to become a teacher. Her uncle was a tailor; he made the uniforms for the Moroccan army. He made my grandma sew a few uniforms, but he hardly paid her. My mum had to dress poorly because she had to give most of her wages to her family.

This caused strife in the family. Her father performed a lot of Moslem rituals in order to please his Moslem god. My mum described a family environment of strife, poverty, violence, oppression, greed, stinginess, and unhappiness due to money issues. My mum’s dad used to beat his children when they misbehaved.

I concluded that there was a lot of unhappiness, poverty, and violence in my dad’s and my mum’s families. I now understand why my siblings and I had a harsh upbringing.
From a very young age, I longed for a better world, one filled with angels, peace, and love. Deep inside, I always knew that Heaven might be somewhere, and I wondered how to reach it. I believed in a better life after death, free from oppression, fear and suffering.


Disappointed by the world around me, I desperately needed to find meaning and decided to search for the truth. I tried all sorts of things to make my life better. I went as far as doing things like making a wish when losing an eyelash, reading my horoscope, and visiting fortune-tellers. The predictions turned out to be all lies—not one of them has come to pass. The most amazing thing is that none of these practices were able to tell me that I would one day have a personal encounter with the God, who would give meaning to my life.




I remember coming back from school, completely depressed. I had enough of my family and the cruelty at the hands of my classmates. I lay on my bed, crying and thinking about going to a better world with angels. I wanted my life to end on that day. I managed to pull myself together when my sisters came home from school.


I enjoyed scaring my sisters and brothers by hiding in their cupboard. One day I even scared my dad by hiding in the dark as he came back from work. He didn’t find it very funny and scolded me by telling me it was very dangerous, and that I could cause somebody to have a heart attack. Scaring my family was a way to bring a bit of fun in my life, to forget my own problems.

One day, I hid in my bedroom cupboard for a game of hide and seek. Unfortunately, my dad saw the door of the cupboard wasn’t locked properly, and turned the key to lock it. I’m grateful that my sisters came home. As I shouted for help, my sisters heard me and opened the door. Maybe I was looking for help and didn’t really want to die.

I enrolled at a university in France in business administration, which I found extremely boring and a waste of time. I chose this path for the sake of achieving something, but did not really know what I wanted. Most of the things I had wished for, such as a career, a boyfriend, a loving home, and friends, had not happened. I was so unhappy that I often thought about committing suicide. Life at home was very tense because my parents were always arguing. I had to find a way to get away from my depressing life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

He's Still Working Miracles: Daring To Ask God for the Impossible - New Release by Dana Rongione



Guest Post by Dana Rongione



The Bible is full of the impossible. The parting of the Red Sea. The crumbling of Jericho's walls. Jesus walking on the water. A multitude being fed with one boy's lunch. A Father sacrificing His own Son for fallen mankind. And now, Christian author and Bible teacher, Dana Rongione, wants to take you on a tour to explore what God has done, what He's capable of doing, and how He works in the lives of His children.
Each chapter of He's Still Working Miracles highlights a story in the New Testament where an ordinary person met an extraordinary God and gives application of how these encounters relate to your own life and circumstances.
You are not alone in your struggles. You don't have to face your heartaches alone. Call out to the One who cares. The One who can make a difference. The one and only God of possibilities.
In this book, you will:
·      Learn to identify miracles in your own life.
·      Understand how to apply the principles of Biblical miracles to specific circumstances that the Bible doesn't address.
·      Discover compelling reasons why keeping the faith is so difficult, yet imperative.
·      Be encouraged and inspired to stay on course with God for years to come.
·      Glean valuable insight from each story's unfolding and conclusion.
·      Learn how to pray and accept God's will in every situation.
·      Find the answer to the question, “Does God still work miracles?”
It's time to lay your questions and doubts to rest. The God of yesterday is the God of today. He is still watching. He is still working. And He is still doing miracles.

Limited Time Offer:
Sign up to receive a free Kindle copy of the book on launch day, August 9th.  http://stillworkingmiracles.weebly.com

Book Excerpt:
The Overlooked Miracle
When you hear tales of miracles, which ones do you hear most often? Water into wine? Healing of the blind and the lame? The raising of Lazarus? Feeding of the 5,000? Walking on the water? Let's face it, when it comes to miracles, there is certainly no shortage in the Bible. Story after story. Verse after verse.
But I often wonder how many miracles are there that we pass right over. I can personally think of one that I missed for years and years. In my defense, this miracle follows on the heels of another miracle, so I think that for many years I was so enthralled with the one that I didn't even notice the other. Look with me at John 21:3-11.

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 


As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
I believe we're all familiar with this miraculous catch of fish. The disciples fished all night (the time when fishing is best) and caught nothing. Jesus gives a simple command, and boom, instant fish. The interesting part is that within that miracle is another miracle that teaches precious truths that we all need to be reminded of from time to time.
In verse 6, the Bible tells us that the disciples were not able to draw up the net because it was so full and heavy. To further illustrate the point, it goes on to tell us that they had to drag the net alongside the boat. According to verse 2 of this same passage, there were seven disciples aboard the ship. Seven strong men could not lift the nets out of the water. Pretty clear picture, huh?
But did you notice that when Jesus directed Peter to bring in the fish they had caught, the Bible says, "Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes." 

Simon Peter, one man. Not all the disciples. Not a few of the disciples. Not Jesus, the God-man. No, just Peter. In that moment, Peter could do what the seven of them could not do earlier. How is that possible? Well, I think there are a couple of answers to that question.
First, Peter was out fishing in his own strength. He had given up on the Lord. His return to his job as a fishermen was basically his saying, "Well, that fisher of men thing didn't work out like I planned, so I'll just go back to what I know." But that wasn't where God wanted Him. I think Jesus intended to show Peter (and us) that when we act in our own strength, our efforts are in vain.
Second, I think Jesus was reminding us all that He will give strength when strength is needed. In the midst of the most dire circumstances, Jesus can give strength to move mountains. If God calls us to do something, He will always equip us with what we need to accomplish the task. No matter how small or great the task may seem, His strength is always sufficient.
Another interesting thing I see in this overlooked miracle is Peter's response to the Lord's command. We all know Peter, right? The one who's always sticking his foot in his mouth. The one who always has something to say. That's the Peter we know, but this Peter has changed. When Jesus gave him instructions, Peter obeyed. He didn't comment. He didn't question. He didn't complain that it was impossible task. According to the Bible, he didn't even give it a thought. Jesus said to do it, so Peter did it. I believe there was no doubt in his mind and heart that he could do what the Lord had asked of him.

How much better off would we be if we would learn the lessons taught within this miracle? (1) Stop acting in our own strength, and walk in His strength instead. (2) Where God guides, He provides. If He's called us to do something, He'll give us everything we need to accomplish the task. (3) When God gives us instructions, follow them without question or complaint, believing that with Christ all things are possible.

*~*~*~*


About the Author:
Dana Rongione is the author of several Christian books, including the highly-praised Giggles and Grace devotional series for women.  A dedicated wife and doggie “mom,” Dana lives in Greenville, SC, where she spends her days writing and reaching out to the hurting and discouraged.  Connect with her at DanaRongione.com, and be sure to sign up for her daily devotions.


John 3:16 Books donated to orphans and library in Nepal