Friday, May 26, 2017

The Fragrance God appreciates.




To accept the fact of the Passover sacrifice pointing to Jesus in His redemptive role, there must be some significance in the other sacrifices. The morning and the evening sacrifices are a case in point (Exodus 29:38-41). This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight….a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the Lord by fire.’ 

These sacrifices began and ended the day. They were to be a perpetual sacrifice. Each lamb was totally consumed by fire as it was exclusively offer to God. Other sacrifices were for the benefit of priest and people in the Lord’s presence. C.H. Mackintosh in ‘Notes on the Pentateuch, p.578 said, ‘(the morning and evening sacrifices pointed to) God’s delight in Christ. Morning by morning, evening by evening, day by day, week by week, from one new moon to another, from the opening to the close of the year, it is Christ in His fragrance and preciousness to God ward…the heart of God is refreshed and delighted by Christ.’ This was testified to at His baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration.

The crucifixion was no chance affair. Political intrigue and personal animosity may appear to have driven the nails and the spear. It was however all in the perfect timing of God’s purposes. We rejoice in the Passover. What is not so apparent is its link with the morning and evening sacrifices. Each morning sacrifice was prepared from 7:30am and sacrificed at 9am. The evening sacrifice was slain at 2:30pm and became a burnt offering at 3:30pm.  We can so easily overlook the significance of what Mark records in chapter 15:25 ‘It was the third hour when they crucified him.’ That was 9am. Luke 23:44-46 (NIV) ‘It was about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour…Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.’  That’s around 3pm. The Passover completed that day’s sacrificial services, which on every other day would have concluded with the evening sacrifice. 

Therefore, what was for us, salvation was combined with the sacrifices which delighted the Father! Ephesians 5:2 ‘Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering to God.’ Because He was accepted our commitment to Him has also made us share in the aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15. NRSV)

Of all the sacrifices spoken of in the Old Testament none surpass the morning and evening ones. ‘It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night. (Psalm 92:1-2 NIV). Yes, they have been fulfilled! However, when we uphold the Name of the Lord Jesus before the Father’s throne we maintain the principle of the morning and evening sacrifices.

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Ray is the author of a 31 Day devotional series on Biblical themes. You can see his books on http://rayhawkinsauthor.blogspot.com.au  they are available at some Christian bookshops and as ebooks. He can be contacted at ray.haw3819@bigpond.com


Thursday, May 25, 2017

It's a Great Time to be a ... Reader!

Photo courtesy of Paul/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How often do we read the line “It’s a great time to be an author,” with all the various publishing options, affordable tools and study choices available to us?
An obvious flow-on to the above statement is that readers are winners too. And we are. I can’t believe the deluge of reading opportunities I get everyday. It’s very easy to be distracted by incredible choices available to us at the touch of a few buttons. Hands up who regularly ponders the thought of how great it would be if reading were a paid occupation?
Variety of story lengths
The ebook revolution has enabled reading to be delivered in a variety of story lengths. Certainly the shorter form stories existed prior to the ebook but weren’t easily accessible or as prevalent. Now a reader can discover a new author or series from a favourite author by reading a novella or short story for a minimal cost.
Many of this group has participated in a compilation of stories and once again it’s a fun way to discover new authors and/or read multiple authors who are exploring a similar, eg, an Aussie Christmas.
An Episodic Series
This is one of my favourite forms of stories. It harks back to the days stories were published in newspapers, one chapter at a time each week. Most of us know this is how Dickens stories, for example, were first read.
It also borrows from the TV series: the weekly episode that may have a continuous storyline or a new one each episode. My wife is a great TV series watcher but only enjoys those that feature a new story each episode. However, I have friends who much prefer the continuous storyline style.
I’ve just finished Episode 20 of theHarbingers series. 4 authors take one character and take it in turns to publish an episode in the POV of their particular character. A unique story set in a new location with the gang of four trying to get to the bottom of a riddle that has dire global implications involving a mysterious dastardly enemy who has evaded them for 19 episodes.
Simply delicious!
Featuring the writing talents of Bill Myers, Angie Hunt, Frank Peretti1 and Alton Gansky the series has brought me great enjoyment over the past two years. Each month I eagerly waited for the next episode to land. It became so popular Bethany House elected to publish them in four-book cycles.
Any spec fiction reader should try the series.
What’s a new story form that you’ve discovered in recent years that has added to your reading enjoyment?
Notes: 1. Peretti left part way through to be replaced by Jeff Gerke who introduced a fifth character.




Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Passing it On

“I am an author,” my 10-year-old granddaughter declares with a conviction many published adults would envy. And, indeed, she is. She will read the cereal box if she has forgotten to take a book to the table. She spends hours alone in her room writing stories. She has sleepovers with a friend, and they spend the night writing. And, like a young Jane Austen, she delights in reading her stories aloud to her family.

Of course, her writer nana is thrilled to encourage her. I pass on writing tips and ask her questions about her plot when she is stuck. I listen to her reading and congratulate her—as she truly deserves. I buy books for her and gave her a pink leather journal to write her stories in—although she has recently moved up to writing them on her brother’s computer.

And, dear to my heart, she is well on her way to becoming a devout Janeite. She reads the Little Miss Austenbooks (supplied by Nana) to her little sisters, and has read an unabridged Pride and Prejudice herself. I followed up her reading with a “book discussion group” between the two of us.

I have also give her Eva Marie Hamilton’s delightful Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility colouring and puzzle books, which we do together when I visit.

The crowning touch came on my latest visit when I was able to take her and her mother to the Pride andPrejudice Ball in Calgary. We began the day with English Country Dance lessons.

Then fashioned a Regency hairstyle for her.

Earlier in the week we had remodeled a Disney princess gown a friend had given her and used the cut-off sleeves to make a reticule. The perfect cloak was waiting on a cupboard—another hand-me-down from a friend. She was very concerned that everything we do be “period correct” which made the entire event a teaching moment—even to her lacing nana into her stays.


The ball was a true Cinderella dream. This was not a children’s event. Many an adult male registered surprise, then grinned, when he turned to “set” to his new corner and found she was four feet tall. Our princess danced every dance and never missed a step.


Will my budding author become a professional? I believe the odds are high. But if not, by encouraging her current interests I have helped give her a foundation for a lifetime of pleasure in books. That may well be the greatest contribution I can make to literature.

Indeed, passing on our knowledge and enthusiasms and encouraging the next generation is so much of what life is all about. Those of us who love books can support libraries, volunteer with children in schools, Sunday school and other community programs. Picking up on a child’s interests and encouraging them may well be the greatest contribution any of us can make.

Donna Fletcher Crow has 14 grandchildren, all of whom she endeavors to encourage in their varied interests. She has authored 2 contemporary mystery novels with Jane Austen backgrounds: A Jane Austen Encounter which visits all of Jane Austen's homes and A Most Singular Venture, murder in Jane Austen's London. She looks forward to passing  these on to her granddaughter as well.





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Writing Through the Dark Times

It was the fall of 1994. My father had just been diagnosed with cancer. Apparently, the disease had been at work for a long time. At Thanksgiving, we traveled to my parents’ home in Alberta for a bittersweet weekend. 

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law, who had been feeling poorly for years, was told she had a brain tumor. Surgery would take place Thanksgiving Monday, so we rushed home from Alberta to see her before surgery.

We were in the midst of moving my in-laws to a retirement home in the city, and we were moving into their house. Through a number of renovations, moving households without the in-laws in attendance, visiting my dad and my husband’s mom—we carried on with force of will and prayer that sometimes seemed to bounce off the ceiling.

How did this affect my writing?

I obviously had long stretches of time where I couldn’t write, either because I was otherwise occupied, or because my mind was in neutral. But I did learn a number of things about life, about my level of endurance, about responses to trials.

What did I do with what I learned?

Over the years, I’ve transferred some of these experiences into the lives of my characters. This is not a manipulative move, but a logical use of suffering. Why waste it? We want our characters to be realistic, so we allow them to make convincing responses. We provide them with true-to-life challenges to deal with in our stories. We keep throwing difficulties their way, and look for their reactions.

As writers, we are always opening up our lives to public scrutiny by sharing our deep thoughts, our struggles, our victories and defeats…through our characters. We become vulnerable to our readers. That’s the name of the game. We are writing about life.

What else did I learn from the dark times?

That God is faithful all the time, even when we don’t realize it. That He is always seeking us out, offering comfort and healing. And that’s why I weave a thread of faith and hope into every one of my novels. I don’t want to force it; I want it to be organic to the story, but hope is something God has given me, and I need to share it with my readers.

For those interested in how my personal plot turned out: my dear dad passed away ten weeks after diagnosis, shortly before Christmas 1994. We miss him deeply, but he has gone ahead of us into glory. My mother-in-law’s surgery went well, only to be followed by a disabling stroke. She struggled for ten years before she passed on to her heavenly reward. We endured and healed, and are enjoying the lovely home we’ve now lived in for twenty-two years.


Life is not easy. Sometimes it’s very dark. But in Christ, we have hope in all things. That’s something I want to share.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Season to Dance Cover - Go Behind the Scenes + Giveaway - by Patricia Beal

Hi everyone! So the debut has been out for a couple of weeks, and people love the cover. I want to give away a book, and take you behind the scenes for a look at the cover development and selection.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of A Season to Dance (void where prohibited)

My original idea didn't work out. I wanted something like this Picnic in Provence cover, but in yellows and oranges. Maybe a sunflower field, the Rhine, the girl. But my publisher doesn't do this kind of cover.

We needed a photograph and a person. I was given the opportunity to search a site and provide input, and I offered a dozen photos/ideas. One was a bride and flowers. The designer found a different image inspired on that bridal idea and that was the image that later became the cover. 

I'm so grateful I was able to give so much input. As most of you know, most contracts, mine included, give the publisher full control of the cover.

Here are other ideas we looked at.

This one was too happy. There are happy moments in the novel, but this cover doesn't reflect the overall mood. And while I like partial faces on covers, I wasn't too keen on this one.


And we looked at this option too. The idea could have worked. I love the tree branches and the flowers, but the model is too young for a story of second chances. Wrong hair color too.


So the bridal stood. I love it because it communicates the perfect mood and is so elegant. It's mysterious. She's walking into her story and reflecting at the same time. I'm so thrilled with it.

Promo image designed using PhotoFunia

What did you think about the other options we looked at? How about the process?

Remember to comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of A Season to Dance (void where prohibited).

Thanks for stopping by!

Patricia


Patricia Beal writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, is out now (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2017). Order here!

She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Now, after a 10-year break in service, she is an Army editor. She and her husband live in El Paso, Texas, with their two children.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

SUNDAY EDITION


Coming Up This Week 

Monday 

Patricia Beal: A Season to Dance Cover - Go Behind the Scenes + Giveaway

Tuesday 

Janice Dick: Writing Through the Dark Times

Wednesday 

Donna Fletcher Crow

Thursday 

Ian Acheson

Friday Devotion 

Ray Hawkins: The Fragrance God Appreciates

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New Releases

Patricia Beal's debut contemporary women’s fiction set in Germany and in the United States, A Season to Dance, is a May 2017 release from Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Sprouts of Love, Book 1 in her new Garden Grown Romance series (part of Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series), releases independently in May 2017.


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Upcoming Releases

Carolyn Miller's regency romance set in England, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, Book 2 in her Regency Brides series, will be a June 2017 release from Kregel.

Kara Isaac's contemporary romance set in Australia and New Zealand, Then There Was You, releases independently in June 2017.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Memories of Mist, Book 3 in her Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, releases independently in July 2017.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense set in Italy, Fatal Cover-Up, will be a July 2017 release from Love Inspired Suspense.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Better Than a Crown, Book 3 in her Christmas in Montana Romance series, releases independently in October 2017.

Carolyn Miller's regency romance set in England, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Book 3 in her Regency Brides series, will be an October 2017 release from Kregel.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Rooted in Love, Book 2 in her new Garden Grown Romance series (part of Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series) releases independently in November 2017.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense set in USA, Vanishing Point: A Nikki Boyd Novel, will be a November 2017 release from Revell.

To find more International Christian Fiction books, please visit our 2013 - 2016 Book Releases page and Backlist Titles.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Devotion: Goosebumps and Tears


My heart has a way of recognizing truth long before my mind catches up. I can be washing dishes, driving my car or feeding the cat, but when truth hits home inside of me, two things happen - I get goosebumps all down my arms and I find myself blubbing. (Ugly crying, in case you didn't get it.) Without fail. Every time. It doesn't matter whether it comes through a movie, music or an ad on t.v... Prod. Bumps. Crying. That's just how it works.
As a writer, I get excited when I go goosies reading something I've written simply because I know what moves me will touch my readers. Maybe not all of them, but that's okay. 

Us creative types are 'moved, to move'. Rory Noland describes this dynamic beautifully in his book The Heart of the Artist. To paraphrase... when you watch a movie, hear music or see a painting that makes you want to weep - its because the artist felt deeply about what he was creating.
So I'm learning to breathe and write those things that don't sit comfortably. Awkward things that refuse to fit into my neat theological boxes and some days leave me with more questions than answers.    

There's a song that had me undone for weeks when I first heard it. Why? Because Matt caught the heart of the Father and sang it over me. Over you. Over a broken, hurting world. Truth got hold of my insides.

I'll leave you with the song as an invitation to explore those things that give you goosies and make your eyes leak... then write them!




Dianne J. Wilson writes novels from her hometown in East London, South Africa, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She has just signed a three book contract for a YA series, Spirit Walkers, with Pelican / Watershed.

Finding Mia is available from AmazonPelican / Harbourlight, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Shackles is available as a free ebook from Amazon & Smashwords.