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Saturday, November 23, 2013

99-Cent Interactive Kindle Book for Christmas - The Donkey and the King, ages 2-7

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Taste of Friday with Violet James: 5 Simple Steps To Get Out of Debt

Welcome, Violet James!

By Violet James, MSM; Published by Maximum Potential, LLC; Date of Publication: 1-15-2013


If you are one of the millions of people who have accumulated hundreds or even thousands of dollars of debt and want to successfully get control of your finances and live debt-free, then this simple, step-by-step plan is for you.  It is crucial to have a strategic plan with set goals on how to get out of debt if you want to be victorious in living debt-free. You are at a huge advantage because you now have all the tools you need to change your situation with this proven, debt reduction strategy plan. Those who have a plan and set goals have a significantly higher percentage rate of accomplishing their desired goals.  

Being in debt and owing money is very stressful and feels like you are carrying around a heavy burden.  It can affect your emotions, health and relationships in a negative way.  Also, if you are living paycheck to paycheck it can be very scary if you lose your job or something unexpected happens that causes the income to stop coming in. You are at a huge disadvantage when you owe money. You are at the mercy of the lender. A proverb states, “… the borrower is a servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7).  It is important to make eliminating debt and being debt-free a priority so you can experience true financial freedom.  

In this book, you will have a step-by-step debt reduction plan to follow.  It is recommended that you take one step at a time and do the assignment/action plan for that step before you move on. When you have completed the steps and action plans, you will have control of your spending, have created a budget and have the skills to master your money. 

Let’s get started to financial freedom!
About the Author:
Violet James, MSM is an entrepreneur, marketing and business manager, award-winning web designer, and artist. She has over 20 years of experience in business consulting, marketing and management. For more information go to:


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Christian Short Story Collection Available for Youth

A new anthology encourages young readers to live for God. Entitled Growing Faith: Stories with a Message for Today’s Youth, the book is a unique collection of stories aimed at readers nine and up.

Compiled and edited by Cheryl Rogers, publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine, Growing Faith teaches the importance of love and obedience, shows how to surrender your life to God, and shares what it’s like to walk in the gifting and calling of the Holy Spirit.

“It is my hope and prayer that this collection will lead many young people closer to God,” Rogers says.

Growing Faith, now available as an ebook through Amazon, retails for $2.99.

Contributing to the collection are:

 * Edith Edremoda, author of Run with Me, a tale about a young girl and boy that like to race home from school together – until he learns he has a hole in his heart.

* David C. Russell, author of Good Days, Restful Nights, about a couple of middle schoolers who learn shoplifting is a bad idea. This story features familiar characters from his book Winds of Change, including Seth Scott and Mr. and Mrs. Dudley.

* Kim Leatherman, author of Pizza and a Cross, the story of a young girl who feels unloved and wanted – until she learns about Jesus.

The collection also contains three short stories by Rogers, including Visit with God, the story about a girl who visits father God in heaven during a dream; Zack and the Space Coast Caper,  a book about Zack and his friends from Rogers’ ebooks Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery, Alone in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery, and Where’s Zack? A Reading Quest; and Holy Ghost Stories, a tale featuring Barry from her ebook Just Like Jonah Wail Tales and the parent/teacher guide Just Like Jonah Wail Tales Workbook.

New Christian Books Online Magazine is a free online publication about the latest kingdom-building books for readers of all ages. 

Interview With Blog Talk Radio Host and Author J.D. Holiday

Recently I was on J.D. Holiday’s Blog Talk Radio Show, and I enjoyed it so much I asked her if she would be willing to do a blog interview with me. I hope you enjoy this interview with J.D. about Blog Talk Radio, and be sure to check out her children's books. 

LORILYN: Why did you start doing a reading show for children?

J.D.:  A few years back when I had just started hosting and running shows at Blog Talk Radio, I saw a movie with Jessica Tandy which I think was called “The Story Lady.” The movie was about a woman who had little to do and wanted to do something. She stumbles into recording reading to children on her own cable access channel. I thought it was doable on Blog Talk Radio with showing a few images from each story, but no one else thought it was a good idea.

After a few years, I still felt it could be done and started “It's Story Time.”

LORILYN:  What are the challenges to doing the show and is it good exposure for authors?

J.D.:  Some of the challenges are reading stories myself on the show and running the switchboard at the same time. Another is reading from a book or reading an e-book from the same monitor as the switchboard is viewed on. I seem to lose my place in the story or script moving back and forth between them.

For “It's Story Time,” I have the help of the wonderful author, Jan Britland, who takes time from her own promotion to help out with reading for authors who for one reason or another can’t come on and read their own stories. For “Halo Kids Tales” I have not found a reader to help do the same for the show.

The last challenge for me is getting authors to come on and read their books.
I have to go to Facebook, Goodreads and other sites and ask authors for the most part. I feel this is a shame since my show has a good audience and is free publicity for them. The shows are archived so not only can the audience come back and listen to the stories but the author can post the show to their own websites as a promotion.

LORILYN:  Why do a faith-based reading show for children?

J.D.:  Three thoughts came to mind. One: That there are faith-based stories for children to hear. Two:  Having a strong faith in God, I felt this was something I could do. Three: Based on my own belief that if people knew more about others of different faiths people might get along better. Not that I was going to bring about peace in any set groups, but I do know from my own life that the more you know about something, the more you understand it. I hope to have both Christian and Jewish stories on the show.

LORILYN:  What are your own children's books about?

J.D.:  I have three children’s books out right now. Two picture books: “Janoose The Goose” and “The Spy Game,” and one chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds, “The Great Snowball Escapade.”

All my stories are right out of my childhood. For instance, my first name is Janice and “Janoose The Goose” was a nickname my dad called me affectionately when I was very young. Once I was a teen he began calling me J.D.

As a kid, I loved sleigh riding. In the “Great Snowball Escapade,” that is the favorite thing the young girl in the story enjoys.  My brother, Ike, asked me to take a puppy his dog, Sheba, had. My brother named him Sidney Reilly after a spy series he and I watched together.  At the time I had a dog and didn’t think my older dog would be happy with a new addition. My brother felt sure this dog was for me and he kept it with that in mind. 

When the puppy was 11 months old, my brother died of a heart attack and Sidney came to me. I was wrong to think that my dog Snoopy and Sidney would not get along. They did in their own way. Although this did not happen in real life, in “The Spy Game,” I have my brother bring Sidney to my character’s house to live.  

LORILYN: Thank you for sharing with us today your shows on Blog Talk Radio and your books.

J.D.:  Thank you, Lorilyn, for asking me on your blog. I enjoyed it.

LORILYN:  You are welcome.


Author and illustrator J.D. Holiday is the host on It's Story Time & The Authors' Words on Blog Talk Radio's Book Garden Radio:

J.D. Holiday’s children's books are: JANOOSE THE GOOSE, THE SPY GAME and  the chapter book for 6 to 8 year olds, THE GREAT SNOWBALL ESCAPADE. Click on the titles here and you will will be taken to Amazon if you would like to check them out.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Taste of Friday with Barbara Ann Derksen: Shadow Stalker

Welcome, Barbara Ann Derksen!

by Barbara Ann Derksen


Her vision seeped through the louvers on the utility room door. The images seemed broken as in a jigsaw puzzle until she leaned forward and placed her forehead against the wood. Her insides tightened. Everyone was shouting. She willed her body to stop trembling but it seemed to have a will of its own. The gun that the stranger held, just like on TV but different, was pointed at her father. This was real. Daddy had hid her ... told me to stay where I am until ... She couldn't remember.
Daddy’s voice sounded like it did when he talked on the phone sometimes. “What do you want with us? You have no business being here. We said no contact."
She watched his face get redder than she'd ever seen it, even when he'd been out in the sun too long. Mommy was shaking her fist. She never did that. The stranger smiled, totally silent. Not intimidated, it seemed to the five year old. A shiver walked its way up her spine. She’d seen guns like that in the cartoons she watched. This one was a little longer though. Only business, the man said. What business, she wondered.
The man straightened his arm, the one holding the gun. Her vision blurred for a second, horror filling the empty spaces in her brain. The explosion echoed in the foyer. The bullet seemed to travel in slow motion. Just like the cartoons, she thought. Her daddy’s body slammed into the banister of the staircase heading up to the bedroom area and the maid’s quarters. The railing shook. Her father’s body flopped forward. His head smacked the floor. He lay still then.
Blood covered the wall behind where her father had stood. Her mother screamed and then was silent. Before her father's body hit the tiled foyer, she watched the side of her mother’s head explode. Specks of blood and other gooey stuff splattered all over the walls, mixing with the blood from her father. Her stomach lurched. She wrapped a hand tightly across her mouth. A silent scream rattled around in her head seeking an escape. Get up, it said. Daddy. Mommy. Get up. Please. The scream evaporated, as if it had never been. They weren’t moving. In the cartoons, they always got back up. Why don’t they get up?
Tears filled her eyes, blurring her vision again. Daddy just lay there. Mommy lay beside him, covered in the blood that flowed from her body. Her sightless eye stared toward the girl, hidden. The girl felt as if she was going to throw up but she swallowed instead. She swiped at the tears that silently trickled down her pudgy cheeks. Her mother told her she had cute dimples, whatever that was. Her mother liked to touch her cheeks. Now...
She watched as the man, the monster, moved toward the entrance. Then he stopped. He looked up the stairs, then down the hall. He looked toward her hiding place, his eyes cold, calculating, wondering. Her stomach lurched, the fright almost real enough to touch. Could he see her? Her daddy had told her to hide here. He knew they were in danger. Why? Who was this man? How did daddy know him? Maybe it was mommy the man hated. Why? Footsteps interrupted her questions. The man was moving down the hall straight toward her.
She crept backwards, crawling on all fours as if she were a spider. Her gymnastics teacher had taught her that. I need to get out of here. He will kill me, too. She remembered her discovery when she’d hidden in here last week. Her cousins had come for a visit. They loved to play hide and seek in the large, multistoried mansion that was her home. She'd found a door leading to the garage where her daddy’s cars were kept under the chauffeur’s apartment. She’d sneak out that way.
Several hanging tools brushed her shoulders as she crept under them toward safety. They swung to and fro. It was as if they whispered, “She’s in here.” She twisted her head behind. She couldn't see through the slats in the door anymore but the heavy tread of footsteps grew louder, closer. She reached the hidden door. It creaked as she slipped through.
“Wait.” His voice echoed through the tiny room, resonating off the walls of the small space, the sound carried over the creak of the door as he pulled it open. The menace in his voice was gone, replaced by enticement.
She scurried into the large garage. Ignoring the man, she skirted the three cars stored there. Her heart pumped so loudly in her ears, the sound blocked out the rustle of the man's clothes as he squeezed through the same opening. She turned slightly and saw his shadow. Her short legs pumped toward the door leading to the stone walled courtyard and the gated entrance to the back yard. The wrought iron gate was open. Good.
Her feet flew over the paved driveway toward the gate. She turned once to see if the chauffeur was nearby. Benson played with her sometimes. He was nowhere to be seen. Then she remembered. Benson had asked for the day off to take Maria, the maid, to the beach. There’s no one to help. She streaked through the wrought iron gate.
The yard was tree filled, almost like a park. She ran like the wind, as if the devil himself was after her. He is. She reached the second gate in the high wrought iron fence that surrounded her parent's property. It was slightly ajar. Her parent's always kept this one locked but now... She almost forgot to breathe as she raced through it and into the street. The sidewalk led to town. Her legs pounded the pavement hard. “Wait.” The shout came from behind her. The man was following.
The sound of his footsteps bounced off cement walls and rock enclosures, the attempt of homeowners to protect what was theirs. Trees, thick for privacy, lined the street, hiding nearby houses from view. Traffic was non-existent along this street at this time of day. She ran. Her instincts told her that life, her life, depended on it. She rounded a corner but then peeked back. He was still coming, walking briskly in her direction. I need to hide.
She crawled under a nearby bush, its dense foliage the perfect cover, she thought. The picture of her mother’s head scattering debris all over the walls played like a ticker tape through her brain. Her stomach roiled again and she gagged. Mommy. Daddy. Please help me. Footsteps rounded the corner. The sound grew louder. He’ll find me. I have to leave.
She stood. He reached for her with one hand while the other, the one that had held the gun, was in his pocket. She ducked just out of his reach. She raced like the wind, staying off the sidewalk this time. She flew through the trees as if someone carried her, her feet barely touching the ground long enough to make an indent in the leaves. Her body slammed into low branches that scratched and tore at her clothing. She was shorter than the man so movement for her was easier here, she reasoned. The heavier footsteps had slowed, proving her right. She heard a twig snap. He was still coming. Maybe a policeman…
The girl ran. Her legs hurt. Muscles contracted painfully. Trickles of blood from scratches marred her perfect skin, skin that her mother would caress from time to time. Mommy. The thought hurt so much. Her daddy liked to swing her over his head. She almost smiled at the thought but then tears flowed again when she remembered. He’s back there. Lying on the floor. Blood oozed from his forehead. He never got back up.
The race continued. She rounded another corner. Her body slammed into legs encased in dark blue pants. Strong hands steadied her but she wriggled to be free. She looked over her shoulder, twisting this way and that. “Hey there. What’s the hurry?” The voice sounded kind, different than the one she ran from. She looked up.
“Melissa?” The man’s smile turned quickly to a frown, concern written all over his face. “What’s wrong?”
She pointed in the direction she’d come from. Her breaths were mere gasps, words impossible. Tears fell unhindered. She slipped behind the legs. Would the man shoot this person too? She pointed again as the man rounded the corner. She saw him stop before the policeman could look in the direction she pointed. The man ducked his head as his foot stepped backward. She watched him, silently and as quickly as he’d come, step behind the nearest tree, out of sight. Her heart felt as if it would leap out of her chest. Then she was sick. All over the shiny black shoes of the policeman she’d collided into.
“I don’t see what you’re trying to tell me, Melissa. Calm down. Just take a deep breath.” He saw her looking at the mess at his feet. “Don’t worry about that. I can clean them. But what’s got you in such a tizzy?”
She swallowed. Tears streaked down her cheeks as if they’d never stop. “He-he," She hiccoughed. She pointed in the direction she'd come from. "He shot mommy and daddy.” She gasped for another breath. Her finger shook as she continued to point toward the corner where the monster had disappeared. “He shot them.”

 About the Author:
Canadian born, and with 19 books to her credit, Barbara Ann Derksen works hard to give her readers the ride of their life when they pick up one of her books. Her favorite genre is murder mystery, but each book brings forth characters who rely on God as they solve the puzzle in their life. She also writes devotionals and children’s stories.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

"I, Saul"

A MURDERER who would change the WORLD

From multi-million copy best-selling novelist Jerry Jenkins comes a compelling international thriller that conveys you from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in A.D. 67, then down the dusty roads of ancient Israel, Asia, and back to Rome.

A young seminary professor, Augustine Knox, is drawn into a deadly race to save priceless parchments from antiquities thieves and discovers a two-thousand-year old connection with another who faced death for the sake of the truth. I, Saul consists of two riveting adventures in one, transporting you between the stories of Augustine Knox and Saul of Tarsus.

Filled with political intrigue, romance, and rich historical detail, I, Saul is a thrilling tale of loyal friendships tested by life-or-death quests, set two millennia apart, told by a master storyteller.

Jerry Jenkins is a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network, and some of our members asked him questions about his new novel and how he has balanced fame and writing with his faith and family. His answers are compelling and convicting. Enjoy these spiritual insights, and make sure you check out his new release, I, Saul on Amazon.

Author Laura Davis:  What research was involved in writing I, Saul?

Jerry Jenkins: I have learned to write about only places I have been to, so I avoid sending my characters the wrong way down one-way streets and committing other gaffes that make readers question the efficacy of the rest of the fictional construct. I want them to wholly buy into my make believe-world.

Author Laura Davis:  Where did you go for it?

Jerry Jenkins: If the place is mentioned in the novel, I’ve been there, including Paul’s dungeon. Admittedly, that location is traditional and no one can prove it’s the very spot, but I had to duck to stand up in it, and there is a hole in the ceiling, and the walls are as I described them, no windows, below ground, etc.

Author Laura Davis:  What sources did you use?

Jerry Jenkins: I did bolster my personal notes with info from internet sources so I knew exact statistics, etc., but that was more for my own satisfaction than for inclusion. I am a stickler for using research as seasoning, not as a main course. Just as diners don’t want a spoonful of salt but rather a dash on their breast of chicken, readers want a story with enough detail to ring with authenticity, not to read like a textbook.

Author Lisa Lickel:  What was your motivation for writing this story?

Jerry Jenkins: On the broadest scale the theme is basic: if the chiefest of sinners, a murderer of Christians, can be redeemed, no one is beyond God’s love and forgiveness.

Author Emma Right:  One question but a bit of preface: 

I have always wanted to write biblically/historically-based fantasy fiction but wondered how fictionalized I can make things—after all, I will be  dealing with real Bible characters and don't want to end up with a story like Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, or like the Red Tent, which I feel is even worse than the DV Code in terms of misleading people. So when you wrote I Saul, how much license did you give yourself to strike this balance between what is true and what can be fictionalized?

Jerry Jenkins: I am neither theologian nor scholar, but I am unbending on the authority of Scripture. I will not invent any scenario that would not align with the biblical record. I have no problem fleshing out something suggested by the biblical text. Paul himself writes that he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, studied under Gamaliel, and was a tentmaker. 

Thus to me it is fair game to fictionalize his early years as growing up in a Jewish home, his father being a tentmaker, his being a bright student of Scripture, the family investigating rabbinical schools and settling on Gamaliel’s, etc. The astute reader understands that these details are not in Scripture and, I believe, gives me the latitude to speculate and say, in essence, “Bear with me, this is what that could have looked like, based on what we do know.”

Author Alice Wisler:  A lot of authors get a little "filled with themselves" when they have successes. Having had so much attention through the Left Behind series, I'd like to ask how much your writing success has changed or affected your faith,  from when your first successful novel came out and then later, after some years went by.  What have you learned about human nature, yourself, the Christian author, and fame?

Jerry Jenkins: That’s a fair question but probably better answered by people who know me better than I know myself. My family, for instance. My real friends. Naturally, I’d like to think I’m the same person. I will say that I’m glad success came to me in my late forties and early fifties rather than in my younger years, because I’d like to think I was more mature when it came. My late father once said that a sudden influx of material wealth would not change a person but would reveal that person for who he really was. In other words, a generous person would be more generous. A selfish person would be more selfish, etc.

I have to say that when the first three Left Behind titles totaled a million unit sales and the publisher sent me those covers mounted in a nice frame, I privately felt pretty good about myself. Soon thereafter the fourth title became number one on Amazon before it was released and I found myself strangely not so proud but humbled. It was as if I were being chastised. I realized that it was folly to take any human credit for something that was clearly a God thing, and when the series began to sell in the tens of millions, I felt a burden of accountability and responsibility.

The highest compliment I was paid during the height of the phenomenon was during an introduction to speak at a writers conference I had spoken at many times over the years. The host said, “This week I have heard many of you say, ‘I knew Jerry when…’ I’d just like to say that if you knew him then, you know him now.” I still well up just thinking of that. Naturally, anyone appreciates being known and complimented, but I want always to be fully aware of who I am and who I’m not.

Author Lorilyn Roberts:  Recently you tweeted, “Writing tip:  The author, like the hero, must grow from page 1 to 400. If it doesn’t happen to the writer, it won’t happen to the reader.”  

How has writing  the Left Behind Series and I, Saul impacted you spiritually? 

Jerry Jenkins: In much the same way readers have been impacted. Writing fiction based on prophecy made me more aware of and urgent about the imminent return of Christ, and also of the infinite mercy of God. So we are to watch and wait—and it could be today. But to God a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day, so If, in His economy of time, He waits just one more day, that could be a thousand of our years.

Author Lorilyn Roberts:What do you long to hear Jesus say after devoting your professional career to writing Christian books?

Jerry Jenkins: The writing has simply been a matter of obedience. What I’d really like to hear is that I was a good husband and father.

Author of more than 180 books with sales of more than 70 million copies, including the best-selling Left Behind series, Jerry B. Jenkins is former vice president for publishing and currently chairman of the board of trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

I Saul, Available at Amazon and your local bookstores.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Taste of Friday with Laura Davis: Learning from the Master

Welcome, Laura Davis!

Faith and Family

NOTE: For ease of reading, this Bible Study Workbook sample chapter for Kindle has deleted the spaces where your answers would have been written.

If you are using this study with the novel Come to Me, read the first two chapters.

If you grew up in a Christian home, you probably said grace at your meals, attended church every Sunday, and had regular prayer and Bible study times. If you were like me, however, you only said grace when grandparents came to visit. Growing up, prayer times consisted of “Now I lay me down to sleep...” We learned The Lord’s Prayer in school. All of these things are good, but reciting prayers by rote and getting perfect attendance in Sunday school does not a Christian make. Faith in God and exercising that faith are essential to your Christian walk. So, how do we learn faith? Is it acquired through osmosis just by being part of a Christian family? Is it something that grows over time? How can we grow in faith? More importantly, how do we instill our faith in God in our children and other family members?
In the selected chapters for today, we get a brief glimpse of what married life was like for Mary. We consider her concerns as she thinks about her marriage to Joseph. We see a willing worker and faithful servant of God.
It is eleven years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Come to Me opens with Mary lost in thought as she waits for the apostle Luke to arrive. As you read these chapters, remember Mary lived in a small community of about 400 people. She probably knew everyone in her village. In fact, most extended families lived close to one another. As she reflects on her life, keep this in mind.


Chit-Chat: When you were growing up, who taught you about God? How important was God in your family?
“4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
This is called the Shema. It is a term given to a set of daily prayers recited by members of the Jewish faith. The Shema is recited twice a day, during morning and evening prayers and is the last thing on the lips of the dying. It is considered a commandment, or mitzvah, separate from the commandment simply to pray. Joseph had carved this prayer into Mary’s bench. What do these verses mean to you?
Take a moment to examine yourself. Do you remember what it felt like when you first fell in love? I do. My relationship with my husband was a long distance one, and we ran up some very expensive phone bills talking to each other every day. I couldn’t stand being away from him. He was always on my mind. My heart soared when the phone rang, and when I saw him in person, I was over the moon. I loved my husband with all my heart, soul, and mind. My question to you is this: Do you love God that way?
As the stepson of a devout Jew, Jesus would have been under Joseph’s instruction and that of the local leaders of his synagogue. The Shema would have been one of the first prayers Joseph taught Jesus. As we read further in the verse, we can see why Jesus knew the Scriptures so well. Moses had just given the Israelites the Ten Commandments.
 “4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
In addition to loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, what does verse six command?
What does verse seven command parents to do?
Verse eight commands, “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” Today you will see Orthodox Jews doing just that. Some wear little boxes on their heads called tefillin. They also wear leather straps on their arms in obedience to this command, all to remind them to love the Lord and obey Him. This is the background Jesus came from. His life was steeped in tradition and the Torah (Old Testament). His parents, who were chosen by God, would have taught him well.
Look at verse seven again. How was Jesus’ life an example of the Shema?

As Mary waited for Luke, she recalled her conversation with her nephew John. You might be surprised to discover that James and John, the “Sons of Thunder” as Jesus called them, were actually His cousins. The next few scriptures will help you discover this for yourself.
 “21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:21-22).
“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John.” (Matthew 10:2).
What were the names of Zebedee’s sons?
“55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (Matthew 27:55-56).
Who was present at the cross?
 “40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome” (Mark 15:40).
Look at the previous verse again and then read the one above. What was the name of Zebedee’s wife?
Who were Jesus’ cousins?
As discussed earlier, Nazareth was a very small village and extended family members tended to live close to each other. While this wasn’t always the case – Mary’s cousin Elizabeth lived more than 100 kilometers away from her – it was the norm. Already we see the close family ties Jesus grew up with and how the strong ties of faith in God kept them together.
“1 And God spoke all these words: 2 ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments’” (Exodus 20:1-6).
In the novel, Luke is worried that his respect for Mary would turn into adoration or worship. The early converts in Antioch, particularly the women, had this problem, as the book suggests. But what does God say about idol worship?
What do we learn about God from the verses above?
Put yourself in Mary’s shoes. She is a servant of God and a Jewess, brought up to honour God and place Him first. How do you think she would react to people worshipping her?
Is the veneration of Mary scriptural or in any way appropriate for Christians?
Tradition tells us Mary was a young girl of no more than fourteen or fifteen. Some scholars suggest she may have been as young as twelve. Her betrothal to Joseph was not how we view engagements today. It was a binding contract. Most betrothals lasted for a year or more. During this time, Mary was considered by all to be Joseph’s wife, even though she still lived at home with her parents and they had not yet consummated their marriage.
Mary is like any young teenager thinking about her wedding day. Contrast this with the promiscuous lifestyle of today’s teens. What is the missing element in teenage lives today that has led to such immoral behaviour?
What or who are the major influencers of this behaviour?
Having a better idea now of how Jesus was raised, we know how important a role parents have in instructing their children spiritually. Teaching them to believe in God and to obey Him is one thing. Being an example of faith to them is another. What can you do this week to show your children, family, or friends that you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind?
Prayer: Lord, faith and family go hand in hand. Help us give you first place in our lives. Help us be an example to our children and a witness to our neighbours as we live out our faith. Keep us from putting anything else above you. May you find us faithful when you come again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
About the Author:

Laura J. Davis is the author of the award-winning novel Come to Me. She is an avid student of the bible. You can contact her at


Friday, November 1, 2013

Food for Thought, Quick and Easy Recipes for Homeschooling Families, Guest Post by Lorilyn Roberts

Guest Post by Lorilyn Roberts

 New Cookbook Helps Homeschooling Mothers Prepare Easy Meals;
And Teach Academics Right From the Kitchen

Take the monotony out of cooking and make homeschooling fun with Food For Thought: Quick and Easy Recipes for Homeschooling Families. “Homeschooling shouldn’t just include sitting around a table poring over books,” says author Lorilyn Roberts, a homeschooling mom for fifteen years. “That’s boring,” Mothers will find encouraging quotes from noteworthy individuals and imaginative homeschooling ideas. “Perhaps the greatest gift we can give our kids is to encourage creativity,” says Roberts. “We can use cooking not only to make tasty meals but to engage our children in thoughtful discussions about philosophy, history, sociology, reading, and the Bible.”

Each chapter is preceded with a unique suggestion to enrich a child’s homeschooling academic studies; i.e., how school-aged children can “buy” rice to feed the poor in developing countries. One chapter is devoted to easy recipes for the young cook. “Worms in Dirt and Crazy Cupcakes were among my kids’ favorites,” says Roberts. Food for Thought: Quick and Easy Recipes for Homeschooling Families presents an innovative way for families to cook, learn, and serve others both at home and around the world.

Chapter Headings (72 recipes with photos):

·         Quick and Easy Dinners
·         Easy Meals for Young Cooks
·         Cheap Eating – Tight Budgets
·         Soups for the Soul
·         Cool Salads for Hot Days
·         Sweets for High Achievers
·         Extras, Extras

Despite being a single mother, Roberts homeschooled both her daughters—the older one through high school. She believes a free democracy resides in the conservative values homeschooling families instill in their offspring—the future leaders of tomorrow.

“If we fail to teach our children how to live out their Christian faith practically, we will have lost an opportunity to impact the world for good. It only takes one generation to forget the past. As JRR Tolkien said, ‘There is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.’”


Food for Thought: Quick and EasyRecipes for Homeschooling Families ($14.95, 178 pages, 6 x 9, paperback, ISBN 978-0-9891426-4-9, and e-book, ISBN 978-0-9891426-3-2) is available at most online bookstores and directly from the publisher at

Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian eclectic writer who enjoys writing in many different genres.

Lorilyn graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama in 1991. Her studies included spending two weeks in Israel at the start of the Gulf War and touring England, Australia, New Zealand, and several countries in Europe. She later attended the Institute of Children’s Literature and earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College.

When Lorilyn was in fifth grade, a teacher accused her of plagiarism in front of her classmates. Little did Lorilyn know the humiliation of that would later lead to a career in writing. When not writing, Lorilyn is busy watching television providing closed captioning for television.

Lorilyn says, “When I start to doubt that anyone is reading my books, I remind myself of the millions of people who have read my captions, even all of my mistakes. The best thing about creative writing is you can make your words perfect. With captioning, it’s live and you only get one chance to get it right.”

Lorilyn has two daughters whom she adopted from Nepal and Vietnam as a single mother. She homeschooled both of them, the older one through high school, and believes that the hope of the United States may rest on the conservative values homeschooling families instill in their offspring.

“If we fail to teach our children how to live out their Christian faith practically, we will have lost an opportunity to impact the world for good. It only takes one generation to forget the past. Homeschooling families can restore those values before it is too late. As JRR Tolkien said, ‘There is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.’”

To learn more about Lorilyn, you can visit her website at and
Be sure to follower her on twitter at

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A Taste of Friday, with Kimberley Payne: Fit For Faith

Welcome Kimberley Payne!

Fit for Faith is a unique workbook program. In addition to learning about the three components of fitness – cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching – your relationship with God will be strengthened through daily prayer, Scripture reading and daily journal writing.
God created you as a whole person, therefore take care of your whole self, not just the individual parts. A direct relationship exists between physical, emotional and spiritual health. A healthy body gives you the energy and enthusiasm to carry out the purposes that God has for your life. Practicing healthy living glorifies God.
This workbook is an invitation for you to discover for yourself the joys of treating your body with respect, learning to love yourself and connecting with God on a deeper level. You are invited to take a fresh physical and spiritual attitude on a daily basis.
You will learn that God truly cares. He is personal and He is intimate. God does listen to your prayers and is there for you. When you rely on God totally, for everything – including such things as losing a few pounds – He will bless you. God loves you and He wants you to love yourself. He did not create you to look at your body in disgust, but rather God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
Each day, follow the outline provided and start with a simple prayer. Read the question in the reflection section and write your own response. At the end of the day, answer the three questions about your activity and healthy eating habits. Test your knowledge with the myth. Finally, close each day by meditating on the scripture verse.
The Fit for Faith Review is a personal record of your week. It is a self-evaluation tool that reflects your strengths and defines areas that need improvement.
You need to be faithful about doing something each day in order to realize the full potential of God’s plan for you. You are invited to develop physical well-being and grow spiritually to deepen your relationship with God. Prayer, Bible study and journal writing are to your spirit what exercise, healthy eating and stretching are to your body. 

Blessings on your journey to health!


Part I: Exercise your body + Exercise your spirit

Cardiovascular exercise & Strength training + Prayer

Think of exercise as either cardiovascular activity or strength training. Cardiovascular activity helps you to increase energy and keep moving. It is good for your heart, lungs and circulatory system. Strength training (also known as weightlifting) helps you keep your bones and muscles strong, reduces bone loss and improves balance and posture.
Prayer helps you to enter into a spiritual communion with God.
What cardiovascular exercise and strength training do for building a strong body, prayer does to build spiritual strength. Your body requires exercise and food, and it needs these things regularly. You cannot just take care of it at the beginning of the week and forget about it. Your spiritual life is similar to your physical body in that way. You cannot pray just once and have a healthy, growing spiritual life.
In strength training, you start by lifting small weights, and as you grow stronger, you can lift heavier weights. It is the same with prayer. You start by praying a short amount of time, and then as your desire grows you can spend time in prayer every day.
Just as exercise strengthens your body, prayer strengthens your spirit. Similarities between exercise and prayer include:

To be physically and spiritually healthy requires discipline. You need to practice both daily and use this strength or you will lose it.
The effects can be both immediate and/or long term. You may see the results right away or the effects can be cumulative.
Both exercise and prayer improve balance in your life, improve your quality of life and boost your mood.
With a pure motive, both delight God.


Exercise your body

What it is

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Exercise rejuvenates your body. Cardiovascular exercise equips you to sustain an activity for a long period of time. It causes you to breathe more deeply and work your heart harder. When you are strength training you use resistance to strengthen your muscles. 

What it’s not

Cardiovascular exercise is not only going to the gym and participating in an aerobics class. It does not make any difference whether you go to a gym or what equipment you use. Try to figure out where activity fits into your life. Any physical activity is better than no exercise. You need to do only about 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily and that half-hour can accumulate in shorter pieces.
Strength training is not only for men or for younger people. Women of any age can also benefit, particularly those most likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
Benefits of exercise

  • Elevates mood
  • Improves balance and mobility
  • Maintains a healthy weight
  • Increases energy level
  • Builds strength and tones muscles
  • A pure motive delights God

Discover the many benefits to exercise, including feelings of accomplishment and well-being, increased energy, reduced stress and improved sleep patterns.
Research indicates that activity reduces the risk of heart disease, falls and injuries, obesity, high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, depression, colon cancer and premature death. The U.S. Surgeon General has determined that lack of physical activity is as detrimental to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
Regular cardiovascular exercise (aerobic exercise) helps you burn calories faster, even when you are sitting still. It does this by raising your metabolism (the rate you burn calories) up to 15 hours after exercising.
Strength training (weight lifting) helps you to better deal with everyday tasks, improves posture, increases firmness of muscles, and helps prevent osteoporosis. It also helps you build muscle so that even if you do not lose pounds, you may lose inches.
You need to include both cardiovascular exercise as well as strength training into your exercise program.
About Kimberley: Kimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author. Her writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God.