Friday, July 23, 2010

Why Do We Fast?

Excellent words and insight from Hubby on fasting! I'm exhorted.

I am fasting today, and it’s helpful to know others have joined me in this commitment. I don’t like fasting; it isn’t easy, and I’m not always successful in my attempts, so I really appreciate your willingness to make such a sacrifice.

That being said, "Why are we doing this? What does it accomplish?" We can fast just because the bible says to, and accept by faith there are some intangible spiritual benefits, but that doesn’t motivate me much. The bible does give us some clues that I hope will encourage you.

As we look at a few verses, keep in mind the bible links fasting with prayer. It is assumed that both are working together in these passages.

Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. (Mat 9:14-15)

Jesus equates fasting with mourning, and specifically mourning His absence.

Fasting expresses our longing for Jesus just rule in the earth, our lamentation over sin and darkness that oppresses His creation.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

When we pray with fasting, we’re partnering with Jesus, the great intercessor, who continually makes intercession for us. (Rom 8:34, Heb 7:25) We enter into mourning over the things that concern Him, and receive the comfort of intimacy with Him.

Contrast this attitude with the one we see in the world, both before God judged the earth with a flood, and again before His second coming to judge the earth again.

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Mat 24:37-39)

In the last days the world will be satisfying their physical desires, unaware of what’s coming, but the church will be fasting and praying “come Lord Jesus,” longing for Christ’s righteous reign.

Fasting is a cry for justice.

In John chapter four, where Jesus meets the woman at the well, He tells His disciples His “food” is to do God’s will and finish the work. He was choosing to focus on the eternal over the merely earthly.

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17) When we fast, we’re voluntarily choosing the surpassing pleasures of the Kingdom.

Fasting is a cry for the manifestation of the Kingdom.

Above all, returning to the first passage we read:

Fasting is a cry for the presence of Jesus, longing for the one we love!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The ACFW Carol Award Finalist

Here's a list of the ACFW Carol Award Finalist. Congrats to all the editors and authors.

This is the first year for the Carol Award, named for pioneering Bethany House fiction editor, Carol Johnson. Johnson saw the possibility for Christian based stories when she read a charming manuscript written by Janette Oke. That was in the early '80s.

The Carol Award takes over for the former Book of the Year Award -- affectionately called the BOTY.

The awards will be given in September 2010 at the ACFW Conference in Indianapolis.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Weight of Shadows by Alison Strobel

Please welcome my friend and author fantabulous, Alison Strobel!

Her new book is The Weight of Shadows. As always, Alison does a great job of dealing with difficult topics.

After a difficult childhood, Kim has built a successful life for herself
... but she'd leave it all if it meant being rid of the guilt she harbors over a tragic mistake she made years ago.

When she meets Rick, she finds everything she needs---including a way to pay for her sins every time he hits her. Kim and Rick's new neighbor, Joshua, knows more than Kim realizes about Rick, but Joshua has battles of his own to fight.

Soon to intersect Kim's and Rick's lives is Debbie, who has saved countless women from abuse through the shelter she runs, but Debbie might be as desperate for love as the women she serves.

Meanwhile, as Rick's wrath extends to their baby, Kim must decide if her penance is more important than protecting that innocent life---and if she should dare leave Rick when he has the power to bring her hidden crime to light.

Here's a bit about Alison in her own words.

I started writing as soon as I got the hang of spelling and what made up a sentence. I can remember slaving over word choice in first grade! (RH: Me, too!) I distinctly remember knowing there was a word out there that meant what I wanted to write, but my vocabulary was too small for me to figure it out. Writer angst started early. (RH: Me, too!)

I was forever writing stories as a kid. I'd start a novel every summer (except for the year the neighborhood kids all got together to do a newspaper--which lasted all of four issues) and write in the tree in the front yard, or on the porch, or in the backyard, typically using my dad's old portable manual typewriter. (Yes, I lugged a typewriter--and paper!--up a tree.) I never finished them, because this was before I thought to outline first. Although I did write an entire novel in seventh grade. It was about what you'd expect from a twelve-year-old--nauseating amounts of melodrama interspersed with my attempts at being deep. I don't know what ever happened to it, but I can only pray it is long, long gone. :)

Besides singing in choir, creative writing was my "thing" up until college. All the research papers in college drained me of any desire to write, however, and it wasn't until a couple years after graduation that I attempted another story. This time I decided to try making an outline, and the result was
Worlds Collide, which would eventually become my first published novel.

The basic plot of The Weight of Shadows floated around my head for a few years before I ever tried to write it. The idea began to form after a friend told me about a high school senior she knew who had been involved in a fatal car vs. bicycle wreck.

She was driving, and an off-duty police office was biking. I don't remember the details now, only that she was eventually found to be not at fault. But in the days leading up to that decision she was in limbo, wondering if she'd be charged with his death. But the most amazing part of the story is that, when she met the officer's widow, the woman pulled the girl into a hug and told her the family held no grudge and that they absolved her of any guilt she might be feeling.

When I heard that, my first thought was of the enormous relief that young woman must have felt. But then I started to wonder what would have happened if she'd had a reason to hold on to her guilt--say, because she knew that she really
was responsible for the wreck.

How would that affect her self-image, her faith (she was a Christian), her future? That was the kernel from which the book eventually grew, after germinating in my imagination for about six years.

RH: Wow, so The Weight of Shadows deals with this! What an amazing book. Don't we all wonder about those close-calls we've encountered. Thanks for stopping by, Alison!

Y'all, get The Weight of Shadows.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher

Welcome my friend, Robin Lee Hatcher, award-winning author.

Who says a woman can’t keep a secret?

It's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs. But Daphne has a secret.

A series of dime novels loosely based on local lore and featuring a nefarious villain known as Rawhide Rick has enjoyed modest popularity among readers. Nobody in Bethlehem Springs knows the man behind the stories … except Daphne.

When newspaperman Joshua Crawford comes to town searching for the man who sullied the good name of his grandfather, Daphne finds herself at a crossroads, reassessing the power of her words, re-thinking how best to honor her gifts, and reconsidering what she wants out of life.

View the book trailer here:

About the Author:

The author of over 60 books, best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love.

She makes her home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family and her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet. She invites you to drop by her web site and her Facebook Page to learn more about her and her books.

Web site: