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3 Things Make Life Better

June 30, 2015 Leave a comment

DoThreeThingsI love the story of the little girl whose mother found her crying in the kitchen. When her mother asked her what was wrong, she said, “I’m in the kitchen, but I still don’t know how to cook.” Her mother put her up on a kitchen stool and proceeded to help her bake some cookies. Later, as they munched on the delicacies, the little girl observed, “If I let you do it, I can do anything.”

There are times when I’m standing in the middle of life, and I suddenly realize I don’t know how to live. That’s when I try to remember to do these three things. By doing so, I feel as if I can do anything.

1. Ask God to take over.

There’s a popular song entitled “Jesus Take The Wheel.” It’s almost comical to think of Jesus of Nazareth in a long white robe and dusty sandals sitting in the driver’s seat and tooling along the highway of life with me in the passenger seat. However, while the picture may be amusing, the concept is theologically sound. John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” You can have peace; He’s overcome all the obstacles. Trust Him.

2.  Allow others to help you.

It’s an all-American ideal to “make it on our own” or to “act independently,” but, that’s not a Biblical concept. When Paul speaks of believers in Christ, he describes each one as part of a whole. In fact, he sees this whole as if it were a human body. He says in 1 Corinthians 12:14, “the body is not one member, but many.” When I ask help from a fellow believer, I’m functioning in the way God intended His Spiritual body on earth to function.

3. Accept the personality God gave you.

Are you an introvert? Then don’t expect to live as an extrovert. Do you enjoy talking? Then don’t expect to stay silent. God says in Psalm 17, “You are the apple of my eye,” and in Isaiah 44:2, “This is what the LORD says– he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you:” Perhaps the best passage for understanding the hand of God upon the life of every individual is Psalm 139. The message in these verses is that God made you the way you are, and you glorify Him when you accept this truth.

Ask God.

Allow Others.

Accept Yourself.

Remember this pyramid with God at the pinnacle. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.

New Release: Two Days in Caracas, A Titus Ray Thriller

June 17, 2015 1 comment

3 d smallToday I’m announcing the release of the second book in the Titus Ray Thriller Series, Two Days in Caracas.

My first Christian fiction novel, One Night in Tehran, introduced Titus Alan Ray, a CIA intelligence officer, who is brought to faith in Christ after hiding out with a group of Iranian Christians in Tehran, Iran. Their unwavering faith so touched his heart, he was compelled to make his own commitment to Christ, thus beginning a journey more mystifying, yet more rewarding, than any of his previous missions.

In Book 1, Titus tries taking his first “baby steps” in his faith walk when he attempts to pray before a debriefing on his blown mission to Tehran. He fails miserably, but he doesn’t give up. After he learns he’s been targeted by a Hezbollah assassin and arrives in Norman, Oklahoma (no spoilers here, but his visit to Oklahoma was not his choice), he decides it might be a good idea to start reading the Bible. His venture into a Christian bookstore to purchase a Bible is a nerve-wracking experience for this hardened covert officer. This event is followed by his first visit to a church worship service, where he encounters people who want to shake his hand and other strange phenomenon, including a new type of vocabulary he must learn.

In the midst of figuring out what it means to be a follower of Christ, Titus gets involved in a murder, meets a beautiful, local detective—who is also a believer—and tries to evade Ahmed Al-Amin, the Hezbollah assassin who wants to murder him.

In Book 2, Titus Ray, travels from Costa Rica to Venezuela in an effort to stop Ahmed Al-Amin from assassinating a high-profile government official. Along the way, a family crisis jeopardizes his mission, and an Agency division head threatens to destroy his career. As the danger mounts, he’s forced to partner with an untested operative to complete the mission and bring Ahmed to justice.

In this second book, Titus is thrust into several situations where he’s faced with the need to offer forgiveness for past sins. These are gut-wrenching episodes, and he’s not always successful. Then, when he encounters a physically debilitating crisis in the midst of his mission, he reaches out to God to provide the answer and, what happens next, is something many new believers in Christ often experience for themselves.

Because this blog is mostly devoted to insights into God’s Word, here are some of Titus’ own words after reading his Bible one morning during his latest mission.

My self-analysis did little to lighten my mood, so I opened the drawer of the nightstand and pulled out the hotel’s Bible. It fell open to Psalm 42. After reading a few verses, I realized whoever had written the psalm had experienced the same emotions I was having.

He said his soul was downcast, and that’s exactly how I felt.

Unlike me, though, he had the solution.

He advised, “Put your hope in God.”

Feeling foolish because I hadn’t considered this, I bowed my head. (Titus Ray, Two Days in Caracas, Chapter 20).

Two Days in Caracas will release on Amazon on June 26th. The Kindle copy is available now for preorder, and you can order the print copy on June 26th. Many of my readers have said One Night in Tehran is an non-intimidating way of sharing the gospel with unbelievers. I pray Two Days in Caracas will also open up witnessing opportunities, while, at the same time, providing readers with a fast-paced, pulse-racing thriller full of intrigue, romance and suspense.

Link to Two Days in Caracas on Amazon.

 

 

 

How To Stay Away From God

June 6, 2015 4 comments

stay away 2There’s a verse of Scripture in Hebrews that gives me pause whenever I read it. It’s Hebrews 10:22, “Therefore . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”

Drawing near to God sounds like a terrific idea. So, why don’t we draw near? What makes us stay away?

Believers don’t stay away from God on purpose. It’s usually the result of not doing something, rather than actually doing something.

Not confessing sin.  After the writer of Hebrews described what Jesus did for sinners by his death on the cross, he writes in verse 27, “If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” Unconfessed sin creates a reluctance and a fearfulness to be near the One whose responsibility it is to judge sin, and so we stay away.  

Not knowing truth. The writer uses the word,”therefore,” before telling believers to draw near to God. That’s because he’s been explaining great truths having to do with the meaning of the Lamb-like sacrifice and what the shedding of Christ’s blood did for sinners. He says such knowledge gives us confidence to come before God. The reverse is also true. By not knowing what Christ did when He laid down His life for us, we have no confidence and cannot draw near to Him.

Not having faith. The writer says we are to come before God “with full assurance of faith.” Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who draws near to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him,” While our faith in God is a gift from Him (Ephesians 2:8-9), we must be willing to act on that faith or we will never draw near to Him.

What happens when we draw near? Hebrews 4:16 tells us we receive “mercy and grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 7:25 says those who draw near to God will discover “He always lives to make intercession for them,”  and Hebrews 11:6 says anyone who draws near to God will find “He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Draw near. Take the pathway into His Presence made just for you.

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