Sunday Devotional: Psalm 90 ~ Infused with the eternal

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Did you know that Moses wrote a Psalm?

Psalm 90 (NKJV) ~ A Prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Moses was, to our knowledge, the first one to ask God His name. And God answered, I Am That I Am. Wording varies depending upon your translation of Scripture, but it boils down to a statement of His eternality.
This concept can be the hardest thing to get our brains around. How can a being have no beginning and no end? For that matter, how can eternity itself stretch endlessly forward, back ... above, below, beyond all that we know and we see, forever and ever without end?

And yet, I believe it foundational to everything else. How could God be God, for starters, if we could wrap our minds around all He is? If He were not completely and utterly mind-blowing?

You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
You carry them away like a flood;
They are like a sleep.
In the morning they are like grass which grows up:
In the morning it flourishes and grows up;
In the evening it is cut down and withers.

And time, by comparison, is here and gone. In light of that—we are ephemeral creatures who, as James said, are like vapors that appear then vanish—how can we refuse to believe in the Lord? How can we, pun not entirely intended, blow our chance at becoming fully corporeal, fully real, formed of changeable time but transplanted into the vast and unmovable Eternal? To be eternal, ourselves?

Verse 3 gives us a clue, then, why God allows hard things to happen to us. “You turn man to destruction and say, ‘Return ...’ ” He lets the terrible things come to make us all turn to Him ... to cause even those of us who love Him to lean more deeply into Him ... because only by looking at Him, pressing into Him, will we find what we need to endure the hurricane-force winds of this life.

Only by leaning into Him, the Eternal One Himself, do we in fact become infused with the eternal.

For we have been consumed by Your anger,
And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
10 The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

This from the man who stood face to face with the Eternal, himself. Whose face glowed with the glory of I Am. Whose heart possibly understood better than anyone else of his time the passion and fury that comprises this One, the love and jealousy and righteous wrath He pours into His pursuit of us and care over us. Let us understand the brevity of our lives, he prayed, so that our very hearts might be changed to understand wisdom.

13 Return, O Lord!
How long?
And have compassion on Your servants.
14 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
15 Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
16 Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Even in his position of intimacy with God, or maybe because of it, Moses felt the press of his own mortality, the weight of God’s exacting perfection ... but he also knows that the Lord is a God of compassion and mercy, that joy in Him is the thing to be desired. And so he not only begs the Lord for joy enough to balance the affliction they’ve suffered, for the Lord to reveal Himself to us, but he steps up with boldness to ask that the Lord would clothe us with His own glory ... and to somehow make our labor, our work, as eternal as He is.

Would an eternal God really do that for these poor wisps of vapor? For us? Not only lift us from the mist of futility that comprises existence on this planet, but even grace our works and efforts with lasting substance?

I believe He not only can ... He does.

Weekly Drawing ~ Christine Lindsay

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book! This week's prize is available to residents inside the continental US only.

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzles in the comments section as well as your email address for notifying you if you've won. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. Enter all weekend long! Winners will be announced Sunday night at midnight.

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Christine Lindsay and her newest release, Veiled at Midnight.

 Click to Mix and Solve

Ah…The Easy Life of a Christian Writer—by Christine Lindsay

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A writer, especially a Christian writer, makes loads of money and can afford to be chauffered around and someone else clean her house and make the meals. A published writer also makes so much money he or she does not need another job to pay the bills.

Laughing out loud.

Here’s another one for you:

A Christian writer only writes happy stories because their lives are so blessed and easy they never suffer.

I’m not laughing quite so loud now.

If it weren’t for the compulsion that the Lord placed on my heart—to write stories that will inspire people to follow Him, I could find a ton of other things to do. Life might even be a little easier. I might not be so tired.

Writing is hard. It’s time consuming, it takes commitment. Especially when you are also a real-life person in your family.

The people I love are complex human beings. Even though my husband and I have tried to be good Christian examples over the years, some of our loved ones have made choices that have brought them great pain. In fact, my own poor choices brought me a great deal of anguish such as getting pregnant out of wedlock as a young woman and reliquishing my first child to adoption. But, those experiences help me get inside my character’s head when she longs for a child that is not her own in Shadowed in Silk.

So all that lovely pain was not without a wonderful purpose.

I guess that’s why I write about characters who suffer from loneliness and depression because I see this in several of my family members and is one of the themes in my book Captured by Moonlight. How about the subject of growing up with an alcoholic father—that features heavily in Shadowed in Silk and even more so in Veiled at Midnight?

Writers write from the heart, but especially Christian writers.

Veiled at Midnight has been a special book for me. I wrote it while watching my young brother recover from alcoholism. At first glance readers might be turned off by a book, where one of the characters is a young man who drinks too much, but let’s keep in mind that a novel has multiple layers.

I for one hate reading a book that depresses me. But I also don’t care for a book that doesn’t have big stakes. I don’t care for books where nothing much happens. And if something in life is worth big stakes, you can be sure the loss of it will hurt big time. The only good thing about the pain in my life as I’ve said before is what it teaches us. How the Lord uses pain to show us a deeper glimpse of Himself.

That’s why I love novels that take the characters through pain, but…and here’s the thing…hope must glimmer on every single page.  Because even though my life is far from easy—and I’d bet the fictitious family farm that your life is tough too—I believe in a great God who turns the dark valleys into mountaintop experiences.

I believe in happy endings. And I will always write a happy ending, that’s my promise to my readers.

So as Veiled at Midnight is released, it’s with a lot of joy, because not only does my character gain victory over his personal dragon, so too did my real life brother, Steve.

Veiled at Midnight is the happy ending to a three book series. It is the passionate and explosive finale to the end of the British Empire.

VEILED AT MIDNIGHT by Christine Lindsay

The Partition of India has sent millions fleeing to the roads, and caught up in its turbulent wake, Captain Cam Fraser, his sister Miriam, and the beautiful Indian Dassah. 

Cam has never been able to put Dassah from his mind, ever since they played together at the mission as children. But a British officer and the aide to the last viceroy can't marry a poor Indian girl, can he?

As this becomes clear to Dassah what choice does she have but to run. Cam may hold her heart, but she cannot let him break it again.   

Miriam rails against the separation of the land of her birth, and as British forces will soon leave India, she struggles--is Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sunderland her soulmate, or a distraction from what God has called her to do?  


Stories of Christine Lindsay’s ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight. The third and final book Veiled at Midnight to that series is releasing October 15, 2014.

Christine makes her home on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.


Please drop by Christine’s website or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest , and  Goodreads

Make sure to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Veiled at Midnight!

The Big Red Do-Over Button by Author Christine Lindsay

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sadly, God did not issue us with a Do Over Button, but don’t you just wish He had? A nice big one like a giant red Smartie on your desk that you could slam, and it would whip you back several years when you were deciding what to write.
In all the writing related blogs and instructive courses, we are told to study the market, see what publishers are selling, what readers are buying, etc. Good advice—advice I heartily recommend.
However, I started writing the first book in my historical series before I ever heard that advice. I was born in Great Britain, so I grew up on novels written about the flamboyant exploits of British Colonialism. Think dashing British Cavalry officers on glorious steeds and rescuing the courageous woman who went out to far flung colonies to be with the brave men they loved. Or soldiers from WW1 and WW2 in tropical uniform. Ah adventure and romance...doesn’t it just make your toes curl?
I grew up reading the blockbuster novels, Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon, written by the famous MM Kaye that big New York agents like Donald Maass and writers like Stephen King still drool over today. 
You can’t beat quality. I wanted to write novels like MM Kaye set in British Colonial India but from a Christian viewpoint. However, I didn’t know that the setting of India would turn some readers off even before they cracked the book open. This even surprised me after my first book Shadowed in Silk won the ACFW Genesis and continued to win awards. This lack of interest in my chosen setting continued to amaze me even after Book 2 Captured by Moonlight won a few awards.
Ah, the setting. It actually hampers sales. Did I choose the wrong setting? Do I wish I had a big red Do Over Button on my desk? 
After my first book Shadowed in Silk won the Genesis, The Grace Award, and was a finalist for Readers’ Favorite, I considered writing for the market. At that point I could have set aside my ideas on the 3-book series and started something with a more lucrative setting. But the artistic passion to finish what I started would not let go. To satisfy myself as a Christian writer, I simply had to finish that series to the best quality that I could. I had to write the kind of book I love to read.
Besides, I felt the encouragement from God to finish what I started. 
Book 3 Veiled at Midnight is releasing this Oct. 15. As this third baby from this series is about to be released I can say with all honesty I’m glad I Don’t have a Do Over Button on my desk. I’m so thrilled that I stuck to my artistic integrity in spite of what the marketing gurus say. I feel good about the quality of these three novels. 
Yes, it’s true my name isn’t as big as some of my contemporaries. YET!!! My sales numbers aren’t as high. YET!!! 
So does this mean I am unsuccessful?
I don’t feel unsuccessful. In fact, I feel a deep satisfaction in my soul. I also believe in the steady build, the slow burn. I believe in longevity. Maybe the slow burn will burn bright in the long run.
So, yes, study the market. If you are passionate about a story that is popular with the market right now—Go for it.
Write the passion on your heart. It will show on the page, and that is what will make the readers heart go pitter-patter too. 
VEILED AT MIDNIGHT-- The British empire draws to an end...
but the turmoil has only just begun.

Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that infamous ship. Londonderry Dreaming is Christine’s first contemporary romance set in N. Ireland. 


Please drop by Christine’s website or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest , and  Goodreads

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 84 ~ A Heart Set on Pilgrimage

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Psalm 84 (NKJV) ~ To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah

I’ve noticed over the years that every denomination and varying worship style has its songs about heaven. We all long for permanence, for a place to belong, for that haven at the end of the long road where we can linger and soak up rest, comfort, and beauty ... and that’s precisely what heaven—the courts of the Lord—is for the believer. Think of the most beautiful hotel or resort you’ve visited. What made you love it? The exquisite décor? Solicitous wait staff? Delicious food and comfortable furniture? A scenic setting? Heaven is all those, and more ... but the journey is yet a while longer.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.

Whose heart is set on pilgrimage ... whose heart is reconciled to the journey, indeed, who understands that this life is all about the journey, and not any particular destination. This one verse has done more to change my perspective over the past year or two. So often I fight the process God has us in, or chafe against the tedium of the walk with Him. I just want to get there—to achieve whatever He has for me, to be what He wants me to be, and skip the journey itself. It took years for me to realize that it’s the journey that shapes us, that teaches us, that gives the us the moments to savor and treasure alongside the heartbreak that drives us back into the arms of the Lord. There’s no shortcutting that. No teleporting. We all have to make the journey, one weary step after another.

But while the tedium must be endured, God gives us strength—joy—in Him. Indeed, we can go from strength to strength, and even our valleys of weeping—the literal meaning of Baca—provide the precious water that washes us clean, refreshes us in our thirst, and transforms a barren desert into a haven of lush, green fruitfulness.

And we will each arrive, in our proper time, at the ultimate haven—in person before the Lord.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
O God, behold our shield,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

I am reminded of that verse in Jeremiah that assures us that even in captivity, God’s promise for His people is one to make them prosperous and not destroy them. We may not be able to see it in every single circumstance, but it’s no less true even when things are difficult. Even when they are devastating.

Maybe especially then.

12 O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Indeed, Lord, we are Yours ... help us to trust in You more.

Weekly Drawing ~ Jodie Bailey

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book! This week's prize is available to residents inside the continental US only.

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzles in the comments section as well as your email address for notifying you if you've won. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. Enter all weekend long! Winners will be announced Sunday night at midnight.

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Jodie Bailey and her newest release, Quilted by Christmas.

Interview with Author Jodie Bailey

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Today we have the privilege of visiting with Jodie Bailey, who writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her novels include Freefall and Crossfire from Love Inspired Suspense, as well as Quilted by Christmas from Abingdon Press. Her devotions have appeared in Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. She is convinced a camping trip to the beach with her family, a good cup of coffee, and a great book can cure all ills. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs.

So tell us, Jodie. What do you love about being a writer, and what do you like the least?

I recently left my teaching job to write full time, because God made it VERY clear it was time. He left no room for doubt or questioning.  I say that because it’s a serious decision to leave the sure paycheck behind. That said, the thing I liked least about writing was trying to find the time to do it between being wife, mom, and teacher. I know a lot of people who do it, but it was next to impossible for me.  What do I love best? Sitting at my desk—which sits in the same place my grandmother’s sewing table sat—and staring out the window while plotting out a scene. I love that creative energy, and I love that I get to use mine sitting at the same place my grandmother used hers.

Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a combination?

Both.  And it depends on the genre I’m writing.  I’m a plotter by necessity for suspense, though I don’ t necessarily like it.  I’ve had to learn to plot because of the need to drop clues and because of the way my publisher works.  Suspense, for me, is more plot driven, therefore I need to know the plot.  If I’m working on a straight contemporary fiction, it’s very much character driven for me. It’s the character who comes to me first, and the process comes through following her through her life, from one episode to the next. That’s all pantsing.  I heard someone refer to it as “organic writing” once, and I love that term so much!  It sounds a lot more sophisticated and like I know what I’m doing.  J

What do you do to get past writer’s block?

I don’t believe in writer’s block so to speak, but I do believe you can spend so much time at the keyboard that you get stifled.  It’s a peril I face, day in and day out in front of the computer. So, I get in my car, bring my iPod, and drive. There isn’t a destination. It’s just me wandering the back roads, singing to the music, and not thinking. Somewhere in the there, the “boys in the basement” (to steal a quote from Stephen King) get to work and new ideas come.  When we lived in Georgia, I used to drive up into the mountains and wander around.  Now, in the flat country, I just keep turning and turning randomly until it’s time to use the GPS to get back home.

What does your typical writing day look like?

I sit down at my desk every day and praise God I have a “typical writing day.”  I’m a very routine-oriented person when it comes to work most of the time.  I get up, have breakfast with my family, get some exercise in, have quiet time with God, then hit the chair.  I spend any time left up until 9:30 checking email or Facebook, then I take every wireless device out of the room and sit down at my desktop, which doesn’t have internet.  If I don’t do that, I’m constantly on Facebook.  At noon, I stop for 30-45 minutes, have lunch and watch an episode of “Psych” or “The Middle” or “Leverage” then get back to work until it’s time to pick the kiddo up from school.  Every once in a while, the sanguine side of my personality kicks in and I have to be around people, so it’s a coffee shop or the like, so I can recharge.

Do you have any rituals you like to go through before you start writing?

I sit down at my desk, look out my window, and thank God for this opportunity.  And then, I give the day to Him.  My husband bought me a coffee warmer, so there’s always a nice hot cup right beside me.  (Funny thing about writers and coffee, isn’t it?)  I read through my last scene, then get to work.  I “write hot” without really stopping to revise until I’m done with the first draft.  It makes revision slower, but it gets the story out!  On revision days, I have my printed manuscript with the proverbial red pen.  I read one chapter, then key in the revisions. On and on. I do that twice, so there are three printed copies I revise/edit before I send it to anyone.

Thanks for taking the time to visit with us, Jodie!

Readers, make sure to stop by tomorrow, when  you'll have the opportunity to enter to win a free book.  This week, Jodie is giving away one copy of each of these two titles: Quilted by Christmas and a novella anthology, Holiday Defenders. Both are Christmas themed and would make lovely gifts!