Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pity Party and Peach Blossom Rancher .99 sale


One my gifts: A granddaughter

NEWS FLASH: On Thursday, Oct. 19, Peach Blossom Rancher will be .99 on the first day of a Count-Down Deal offered by Elk Lake Publishing Inc. The price will be .99 until Oct. 24, when the book will be $3.99. Get e-book or paperback on Amazon now at http://amzn.to/2arRVgG

Fall 2017 newsletter

One day I had a big pity party for myself and I was the whole guest list. I cried out to the Lord with my complaints while I wept. I’ve made a habit of telling Him all my troubles since my youth, and I’ve felt pretty good about it.

Yet that day I felt God throwing out the goodies I’d placed on my pity party plate. He jerked the back of my collar and I heard Him speak into my spirit: “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Those words recorded in John 16:33 begin with “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.” Then he goes on to say, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

How long has it been since you knew God loves you and can turn what you’re going through into something good?

How long has it been since you’ve looked at the past to see the amazing blessing of the Lord in spite of difficulty?

Are your children and grandchildren losing their faith in God and the importance of His work in their lives?

Are you discouraged spiritually and going through a hard time?

Do you believe God is working in your life today and in the future?

God can turn miserable moments into jubilant joy. That’s what happened when I spent five years in a Utah town, population 100, three bars, no church, zero Christian friends. I never would have been a writer or a newspaper reporter if I hadn’t gone through Thompson, Utah. I also would not have discovered the wonder of God answering prayer when I asked the Lord for a helper and within a week He sent a beautiful Baptist gal my age to help create a Sunday school in that town. We had the joy of telling 16 children who had never heard about Jesus, and because of Jesus they can live forever!

Perhaps that’s why my writing brand is “Stick-to-your-soul Encouragement.” From my first book Confessions of a Pentecostal and my other non-fiction books, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal; Imagine the Future You; and Facts, Faith & Propaganda; to my fiction books, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult; The Lady Fugitive; and Peach Blossom Rancher; I’ve hoped and prayed readers feel encouraged spiritually when they go through the conflict, suspense, humor, romance,--and turn the last page.

 I hear from many readers that they enjoy the books and the truths shared there, but they also are encouraged! I was blessed recently by a friend who told me at church she wanted a paperback copy of Joe the Dreamer so she could share it at a library. “It’s the best book I’ve read in years and even though it was written in 2013 it’s similar to what’s occurring in our country today,” she said.”

I enjoy letting you get acquainted with my characters, and sharing things I’ve learned over the years. It’s is all about you—my readers.

I cherish knowing you, giving you a glimpse of my life and my Lord – and even recipes.

FYI: Paperback copies of my books will be available at Central Assembly’s Holiday Expo on Nov. 3. Or order anytime on Amazon.



Recipe

PUMPKIN GINGER SQUARES

1 cup flour

½ cup oatmeal

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup margarine



Combine until crumbly. Press into 13 X 9 pan. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

FILLING:

2 cups or one 16-ounce can pumpkin

2 eggs

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (10-ounce can) evaporated milk



Beat well. Pour over crust and bake 30 minutes.

TOPPING

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons margarine

½ cup nuts



Crumble. Sprinkle over filling and bake 30-40 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.









WATCH OUT FOR WOLVES!

By Ada Nicholson Brownell



A young couple, newlyweds, and very much in love, enjoyed the freedom they gained when they got away from their parents.

One example of this new freedom was Sunday mornings. Although the young husband and wife were good Christians, they enjoyed not having Mom or Dad yell at them about 7 a.m., “Hey! It’s time to get up and get ready for Sunday school!”

At first they attended Sunday school once in a while, and then it became easier to sleep in an extra hour. Besides, they didn’t really fit in with the other young married couples anyway. Most of them had children.

A year later they still had no fellowship in the church. Their closest friends were not Christians. Now instead of missing only Sunday school, they eliminated Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services and were spasmodic in their Sunday morning worship attendance.

Even though they witnessed occasionally, their personal devotions suffered. It seemed there was never enough time. Their circle of unsaved friends became closer.

Things they used to regard as sin suddenly appeared harmless. They began drinking socially. Then they used the Lord’s name in vain, and their consciences didn’t even wince because almost everyone they knew talked that way.

In a few months both had committed adultery. They planned to repent. They even made an appointment with a marriage counselor. But they didn’t live to keep it. They both died in a car accident.

This young couple separated themselves from the Lord’s flock, and Satan, like a wolf, found them an easy target.

When a wolf attacks a flock of sheep, it first makes a swift wild approach. If all the sheep stay together as they run away, the wolf ends the chase. If, however, one of the sheep gets cut off from the rest or falls behind the wolf pounces on it, snarlingly rips open the throat, and begins to eat the flesh.

“Behold I send you forth as lambs among wolves,” Jesus told His disciples (Luke 10:3).

The apostle Paul also warned against wolves: “After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).

Satan uses some of the same tactics as a wolf. That’s why he hates Christian fellowship so much. He’d rather get the Christian off alone so he can come in for the kill.

Those who have studied wolves say that endurance, not speed, is the wolf’s secret of success. The wolf can travel for hours at a fast dogtrot. It lopes at 20 mph across the miles, but can go twice that fast when it comes in for the kill.

Satan also is known for his endurance. He travels on the Christian’s heels, waiting for the right opportunity to move in. No matter how far we go with the Lord, Satan is still ready to come at our throats when we least expect him.

Domestic animals are their most likely prey, and because of this bounties have been placed on wolves. One of the most famous wolves, called Custer, avoided capture 10 years with a $500 bounty on his head. He was blamed for destroying $25,000 worth of domestic animals!

Domestic animals are easy victims for the wolf because they lost their native agility and ability to defend themselves when they no longer had to hunt for their food.

Some Christians likewise have become pampered domestic pets with no ability to fight against the devil. These Christians insist that the pastor or someone constantly attend to them. They don’t search the Word for spiritual wisdom and guidance, but insist on getting their spiritual food from the hand of another Christian.

These spoon-fed Christians become confused when Satan attacks because they haven’t put on the believer’s defense. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10, 11).

The Christian can stand in the face of the enemy. The howl of the wolf in the dark hours should not strike terror in the hearts of the Good Shepherd’s sheep who have the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit.

Even though the Lord Jesus Christ has gone away into heaven, He gave us power to meet the snarling attacks of Satan.  For “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Discouraged? Pity Party or Renewable Energy?


Ada Brownell Writing Ministries



NEWS FLASH: On Thursday, Oct. 19, Peach Blossom Rancher will be .99 on the first day of a Count-Down Deal offered by Elk Lake Publishing Inc. The price will gradually increase each day until Oct. 24, when the book will be $3.99.  Get now at http://amzn.to/2arRVgG

Fall 2017 newsletter

One day I had a big pity party for myself and I was the whole guest list. I cried out to the Lord with my complaints while I wept. I’ve made a habit of telling Him all my troubles since my youth, and I’ve felt pretty good about it.

Yet that day I felt God throwing out the goodies I’d placed on my pity party plate. He jerked the back of my collar and I heard Him speak into my spirit: “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Those words recorded in John 16:33 begin with “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.” Then he goes on to say, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

How long has it been since you knew God loves you and can turn what you’re going through into something good?

How long has it been since you’ve looked at the past to see the amazing blessing of the Lord in spite of difficulty?

Are your children and grandchildren losing their faith in God and the importance of His work in their lives?

Are you discouraged spiritually and going through a hard time?

Do you believe God is working in your life today and in the future?

God can turn miserable moments into jubilant joy. That’s what happened when I spent five years in a Utah town, population 100, three bars, no church, zero Christian friends. I never would have been a writer or a newspaper reporter if I hadn’t gone through Thompson, Utah. I also would not have discovered the wonder of God answering prayer when I asked the Lord for a helper and within a week He sent a beautiful Baptist gal my age to help create a Sunday school in that town. We had the joy of telling 16 children who had never heard about Jesus, and because of Jesus they can live forever!

Perhaps that’s why my writing brand is “Stick-to-your-soul Encouragement.” From my first book Confessions of a Pentecostal and my other non-fiction books, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal; Imagine the Future You; and Facts, Faith & Propaganda; to my fiction books, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult; The Lady Fugitive; and Peach Blossom Rancher; I’ve hoped and prayed readers feel encouraged spiritually when they go through the conflict, suspense, humor, romance,--and turn the last page.

 I hear from many readers that they enjoy the books and the truths shared there, but they also are encouraged! I was blessed recently by a friend who told me at church she wanted a paperback copy of Joe the Dreamer so she could share it at a library. “It’s the best book I’ve read in years and even though it was written in 2013 it’s similar to what’s occurring in our country today,” she said.”

I enjoy letting you get acquainted with my characters, and sharing things I’ve learned over the years. It’s is all about you—my readers.

I cherish knowing you, giving you a glimpse of my life and my Lord – and even recipes.

FYI: Paperback copies of my books will be available at Central Assembly’s Holiday Expo on Nov. 3. Or order anytime on Amazon.



Recipe

PUMPKIN GINGER SQUARES

1 cup flour
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup margarine
Combine until crumbly. Press into 13 X 9 pan. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

FILLING:
2 cups or one 16-ounce can pumpkin
2 eggs
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (10-ounce can) evaporated milk
Beat well. Pour over crust and bake 30 minutes.

TOPPING

½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons margarine
½ cup nuts

Crumble. Sprinkle over filling and bake 30-40 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.

PEACH BLOSSOM RANCHER SUMMARY

Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance

The sequel to The Lady Fugitive; Book 2 in the Peaches and Dreams series.

Suspense, romance, humor, murder, insanity, hope

 For Christians who love a great book they feel good about reading.

By Ada Brownell

A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.

John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help rebuild the ranch and eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who homesteaded, but also is an attorney.

Will the doctor ever be released from the asylum? Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor he constantly fusses with? This neighbor has a Peeping Tom whose bootprints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. Will John even marry, or be hanged for the murder?

Ada’s Qualifications to write this book

The author is a journalist who spent a good chunk of her life in the newsroom at The Pueblo Chieftain. She has a little experience with horses, but even more experience with the mentally ill. The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum, was on her beat. Ada grew up in peach country. Picked fruit, worked in a peach packing shed  inspecting peaches.
Get e-book or paperback on Amazon now at http://amzn.to/2arRVgG








Friday, October 13, 2017

Defense: A SWORD IN THE NIGHT


Our grandchildren at play defending Aslan

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

Shouldn’t I say something to defend my Lord?

Much changed in the world between the time I was employed in the 1960s and when I reentered the work force recently.

Filthy language assaulted my ears then, but not to the extent it does now. Gutter talk has been elevated to everyday conversation, and it appears no words or subjects are off limits.

Even though I cringed every time I heard God’s name taken in vain, it seemed every dirty word clawed at my flesh, I managed to smile and go about my work.

But there was one thing I could not ignore: the deliberate, sacrilegious mockery of the Lord Jesus Christ.

One evening at work a young man who was brilliant and likable—despite an obvious bitterness toward God—was reading something that pertained to Jesus. He was the office clown, and his outburst of profanity and strange twists of wit usually brought gales of laughter from those around him.

Suddenly that night he began acting as if he were praying. He called upon Jesus in mockery, trying to feign sincerity.

Since I was busy, I thought I could ignore him; but the tumbling forth of his mockery assaulted my ears.

I had been subjected to such things before at the secular university I attended. Open attack on the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ seems to be popular among non-Christians today.

Previously I coined my own phrase about it: “Atheism is the opiate of the sinner.”

But as the young man pretended to pray, I found myself growing angry. I felt an intense desire to say something—to shut his mouth. I felt I should defend my Lord.

At the same time, I was hurt and wanted to cry. The Lord Jesus Christ is my life, my all. How could I continue to allow such profanity in my presence?

At other places where I had worked, people noticed I was different, and slowly the atmosphere changed. But this fellow seemed to take particular pleasure in attacking the Lord when I was present. And I said nothing.

For the next three weeks I wept at every church service I attended. After working in   such an ungodly atmosphere, when I went to church I felt as if I’d gone to heaven. As uncontrollable tears ran down my cheeks and I basked in the love and presence of the Lord, I felt I had failed miserably in the office. Shouldn’t I say or do something in defense of my Lord?

The third week I was still having trouble with tears as the minister preached. During his sermon, he mentioned how Peter had tried to defend the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus.

As the soldiers seized Jesus, Peter drew his sword. The weapon flashed in the darkness and evidently he soldier ducked, for Peter cut off the soldier’s ear.

“Put away your sword,” Jesus said. “If I wanted protections, I could call ten legions of angels to assist me.”

Then Jesus touched the soldier’s ear and healed him (Luke 22:51).

Even though I had studied the incident many times, suddenly it came alive with new meaning. It made me realize how much God loves sinners! His love goes beyond my anger and desire to retaliate.

He doesn’t want my defense. He doesn’t need it. He wants me to show others His love—not anger; not a sword!

In spite of a sinner’s rebellion against Him Jesus still loves that sinner. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” Jesus said (John 15:13).

The supreme act of love already has been given for me and for the office clown. I began praying more earnestly that he would accept that love— and that he would see that godly love in me.

THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, July 22, 1984


Saturday, October 7, 2017

WHAT'S YOUR REASON FOR NOT GOING TO CHURCH?


WHAT’S YOUR REASON?

By Ada Nicholson Brownell



The man was about 60. He was dirty and missing a few teeth.

“I haven’t been to church for about 30 years,” he said. Last time I went, I had a brand new hat. I hung it in the vestibule. When I went to get it after the service, it was gone, and a dirty shabby one was left in its place. I vowed I’d never go to church again. I never have and I never will.

(Jesus once lost a garment too, for it is written, “And they crucified him and parted his garments, casting lots…”)

“You want to know why I don’t go to church?” a young fellow responded. “The last time I went I tore a hole in a brand new suit. The pew had a nail sticking out of it. I’ll never go again.”

(There were some nails in an old rugged cross, too, for the Bible says, “I shall see in his hands the prints of the nails…”)

“Every time I go to church someone asks me to get saved,” a teen complained. “I’m tired of it. I’m not going anymore.”

(When the thief was dying on the cross, he did not wait for someone to invite him, but said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom…”}

“They’re always asking for money,” grumbled a well-dressed gentleman. “That’s why I don’t go.”

(Some people, like the rich young ruler who talked with Jesus, would rather die rich but unhappy, it seems. “And he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions…”}

“I know a deacon who is a crook,” a thin middle-aged man said “My wife couldn’t drag me to church with her.”

(Eleven of Christ’s disciples could have offered this same excuse. Jesus knew this and said, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”)

“They’re too strict,” a coed said of her parents’ church. I want to find out what goes on the world. I’m through with church.”

(If she would have been living when Jesus was on earth, she would have considered Him too strict, for He said, “Enter ye at the strait gate…because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life…”)

We must recognize churchgoing doesn’t make a person a Christian—only the new birth can do that—but not one of these people professed to be serving the Lord despite the imperfections of the church. Not many people do.

If you don’t go to church or serve the Lord, perhaps you have your own favorite reason. Of course, you know it should be a good reason because it will be all you have to tell God when you stand before Him and try to explain why you didn’t serve Him.

It should be a good reason because it will have to show why you didn’t accept Jesus’ sufferings for your sins. He knows the imperfections of His church better than you do, but He does not forsake it. His love for us is enough to bind Him to us.

Whatever your reason for avoiding God and not associating with His people, ought to be good enough to comfort you for a Christless eternity.

Wouldn’t it be better, though, to recognize that excuse for what it is—a flimsy device to justify your rejection of Christ by the visible rejection of the church—than to face up to it when it’s too late?

Don’t let your excuses keep you away from God for another hour. You’ll find many good reasons for serving God in this life, and more in the world to come.



THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, January 15, 1967


Thursday, September 28, 2017

GET THE MOST OUT OF LIFE

Get the Most Out of Life


By Otto Kaiser

 Global University Professor

Introduction



            Are you getting the most out of life? Are you achieving all that you want to achieve? I want to answer these questions from The Parable of the Lost Son.



            In the immediate context, tax collectors are coming to Jesus. In reaction, the Pharisees complain that Jesus, who claims to be a prophet, receives sinners and eats with them. In response, Jesus tells three parables: (1) the lost sheep, (2) the lost coin, and (3) the lost son. The last parable on the lost son has a tremendous missionary application.



Title: Get the Most Out of Life



Text: Luke 15:11-32

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

            What does the Holy Spirit want to teach us from this parable of Jesus? How does this parable of Jesus apply to world missions?



Outline



I.                 Significance of Abundance

II.               Sympathy for Sorrow

III.             Silence in Conversation

IV.            Scorn from Selfishness

V.              Satisfaction for Service



I.                Significance of Abundance



What are the circumstances of the older son? He is in his father’s house eating and enjoying life. The older son is filled with abundance. True, the younger son asked for his inheritance and left home. But according to the Old Testament Law, two thirds of the inheritance remained with the older son. Also according to the Old Testament Law, none of the family estate could be sold; it had to remain in the family. Thus when the younger son left home, all he could take with him is one third of the movable portion of the father’s wealth. The bulk of the inheritance remained with the older son. Through his austere handling of his father’s wealth, the older son more than doubled what the younger son had taken with him.



The family most likely lived in the great fertile plain of southern Galilee. Jesus boyhood home of Nazareth on the side of a mountain overlooked this great fertile plain. In the middle of this great fertile plain was a major trade route over which the camel caravans traveled. News came back through the caravans of the scarcity of the younger son. Does the older brother see any relationship? What is the significance of the abundance of the older brother and the poverty of the younger brother?



God has blessed our nation in a wonderful way. We have beautiful homes, modern cars, and electrical appliances. We spend more money on luxuries, pleasure, and entertainment than any other people. What is the significance of our national abundance with the spiritual and material needs of the rest of the world?



As Christians, we are crowned with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. We have become new creations in Christ. We have become more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. Many of us are being blessed with a Bible college education. What is the significance of our spiritual abundance with the spiritual poverty in the rest of the world?



II.             Sympathy For Sorrow



The father had great sorrow for his younger son. What sincere human parent would not have great sorrow for his wayward son? The father was always on the lookout for his younger son. He waited for the least news that might come with the next caravan. He never ceased watching and waiting. This is the reason; the father could see his younger son returning at a great distance. And when he saw the younger son at a great distance, he ran to him, embraced him, and kissed him.



The older son was not sympathetic with the sorrow of the father. The older son did not enter into the concern of his father. The older son told his father, “Dad forget him. He choose his life. Let him learn his lesson. Why worry about him? You have more important things to think about?”



What does all this say to us today? Here is a heavenly Father of whom the Bible says, “For God so loved the world.” Here is a heavenly Father who wants all people to come to Him. Paul wrote to Timothy, “God desires all men to be saved.” Peter wrote, “God is not willing that any should perish.” Are you sympathetic for the sorrow of your heavenly Father? Have you felt the heart beat of your heavenly Father for lost humanity?



The father of the lost son cried out to God for his wayward son. He saturated his pillow with tears as he wept for his lost son. Have you felt the burden of your heavenly Father for lost men and women? Have you prayed that reapers might be sent into the harvest? Have you prayed that God will raise up those who will be empowered by the Holy Spirit? How often have you prayed and fasted for the younger son?



III.           Silence in Conversation



Have you ever considered what the father and the older son talked about? I am sure they talked about the most recent scientific agricultural techniques developed at the State College at Caesarea. With the large staff of servants, I am sure they talked about the latest principles of psychology in labor relations. I am sure they talked about the recent strike of the camel driver’s union. I am sure they talked about the price fluctuation on the grain market at Rome.



But what did the father and the older son talk about in reference to the lost son? Reports kept coming back of what was happening to the younger son. Was there a silence in the home? In some homes, it is understood that the family members do not talk about certain topics. Family members can be in the same home and yet be far removed from each other. The older son was living in his father’s house yet he was not at home with his father.



Did the older son ever volunteer to bring back his younger brother? Did the older brother offer to his father to go and look for his younger brother? Did the older son go to his father and say, “Dad, I know you love my younger brother. Let me go and bring him back. We can entrust the estate to our servants.



Have you ever volunteered? Like Isaiah, have you cried, “Here am I, Lord send me?” Like John Knox, have you prayed, “Lord, give me my country or I die?” In eternity, will others put their arms around you and say, “We are in heaven because of you?” How many of your friends, your neighbors, your family members, have you bought to Jesus Christ?



IV.           Scorn From Selfishness



Let’s look closer at the character and motives of the older brother. Upon the return of the younger brother, the older brother was out in the fields supervising the hired servants. The fields would be several miles from the home. Because of raids and wars, the home would be in the village. As the older brother approached the home, he heard instrumental music. The father had quickly hired professional dancers to act out the story of the return of the wayward son. As he came near the house, the older son asked a servant what was happening. When the older son was told that his father was celebrating the safe return of his younger brother, the older son refused to enter the house. Even at the entreaty of his father, the older son refused to enter the house.



What were the motives of the older son? Most all Bible commentators in my library suggest: material selfishness and legalistic self-righteousness. The older son angrily shouted out, “I refuse to go in. If I share my inheritance with that brother of mine, my rating on the New York Stock Exchange will go down. If I give my money to world missions, I will not have enough money left to enjoy life when I get old.”



What did this selfishness lead to? All that the older brother could do was spit out scorn upon his younger brother. I have heard white Christians downgrade Indian Christians as being drunkards. I have heard mission leaders (not Assemblies of God) accuse Oriental Indians and Africans as being lazy. The older brother accused the younger brother of wasting his money while living with prostitutes. No where in the Bible does it actually say that the younger son slept with a prostitute. The original Greek only says, “loose living.” Without the wise counsel of his father, the younger son may have made a free wheeling investment and failed.



All that the older son could say to his father was “This son of yours.” No one can really say “Father,” and not say, “Brother.” No one can really say, “I love Jesus,” and not have a burden for those who do not know Jesus.

V.              Satisfaction for Service



In response to the entreaty of his father, the older son replied, “Lo, these many years I have served you and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, you killed for him the fatted calf.” In the original Greek, the older son used a term that describes gallow slaves in the hole of Roman worships, a concept totally foreign to a father-son relationship. The older son never really appreciated his sonship with his father. The older son never appreciated what the father said, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is thine.”



Why was the older brother not happy when his younger brother came home? Most all Bible commentators in my library suggest: material selfishness and legalistic self-righteousness; and I looked up almost twenty sources in preparing this message. But I believe that there was a far deeper reason why the older brother was not happy, and you don’t find this in Bible commentaries.



The older brother was not happy because he had no part in bringing his younger brother home. The older brother only stood off on the side and criticized. Why? Because great things were happening and he was not participating. God was doing great things, and the older brother was not involved.



Today, God is doing great things around the world. I am a grading professor at Global University. I am professor of record for the undergraduate Islamic courses. We have four undergraduate courses on Islam and three more in preparation. I also grade courses in church history, world history, preaching and Christology. Global University has an active enrollment of over 430,000 students worldwide and over 170 Bible colleges use our curriculum. Over two million have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior though our evangelism and discipleship courses. God is doing great things in the world today. Are you involved in what the Holy Sprit is doing in the world today?



In 1949, when Mao came to power in Mainland China, there were only one million Protestant Christians in China. Mao began his Red Purge in which he attempted to eliminate Christianity in China. All the missionaries were kicked out. Chinese Christian leaders were put in slave labor camps and many were martyred. What did the Chinese Christians do? Under severe persecution, Chinese Christians prevailed before God in prayer and fasting. My wife and I were part of a Chinese Diaspora group at Fuller Theological Seminary at the time. What were the results as Chinese Christians prevailed before God? God sent a mighty move of the Holy Spirit to China: supernatural dreams, healing, miracles and even people raised from the dead. Multiplies of millions came to Jesus when the doors to China were closed. Today the Chinese government claims that there are 130 million Christians with over 70% Pentecostal.



Up through the 20th century, the Islamic world was closed to the Gospel. Mission leaders were told by church growth scholars to put their missionaries among the receptive populations and only keep a few missionaries in the resistant areas like the Muslim people. But then about 20 years ago, groups of Christians worldwide, independent of each other, were led by the Holy Spirit to pray and fast for the Muslim people. What are the results? In the 21st century, that is, the last 12 years, more Muslims have converted to Christianity than in the entire 1,400 years before. Some scholars claim at the rate of six million a year. In answer to prayer God has sent supernatural dreams, healings, miracles, and even people raised from the dead. Our Global University courses are being downloaded. In every Islamic country, there exists a secret house church movement that did not exist 20 years ago.



In the world today, there are 1.6 billion Muslims and 16 million Jews. Have you caught the burden of the Holy Spirit in intercessory prayer for these multitudes? Have you caught the burden of your heavenly Father for these who are outside His Kingdom? Jesus gave His life on the Cross for them. By bloodline or adoption, they are descendents of Abraham through Ishmael and Isaac. God said to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you” (Gen. 12:2). Those who intercede in prayer for the Muslim and Jewish people worldwide will come into the blessing God promised to Abraham. Will you be one of those blessed ones?



Jesus has promised that His house will be filled whether you bring people in or not. You can stand off on the side, like the older brother, criticize; and be very unhappy. Or you can be involved in what God is doing and experience the joy of the Holy Spirit. Can you experience a greater joy than finding the lost sheep, than finding the lost coin, then finding the lost son? Can you experience a greater joy than being the arm of God extended? Or will you be like the older brother, critical and unhappy, because you missed out on the joy of the Holy Spirit? You did not help bring your younger brother home.



Let me ask you again, are you getting the most out of life? Are you achieving all that you want to achieve? How can you get more out of life?



Permit me to close my sermon with a brief illustration from church history. As I describe a late teen age boy, you may recognize who I am talking about. This 16 year old boy lived in a coastal town of West England which was part of the Roman Empire at that time. His grandfather was a pastor of a church. This young boy was raised in a Christian home. His mother taught him Bible stories in the Old and New Testament. This boy learned about Jesus from his mother. Even though, he had a head knowledge of the Bible, he took spiritual things lightly.



Norsemen from Norway raided the west coast of England. They killed his father and mother and kidnapped him and his younger sister. He was separated from his sister and never saw her again. He was sold as a slave to a farmer in Ireland who raised pigs.



For the next six years, this young boy cared for pigs on a farm. In the field watching the pigs, he remembered the godly teaching of his mother. The prayers of his mother followed him. The Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin. He prayed for Divine forgiveness and asked Jesus to become his Lord and Savior. Then for six years while watching pigs, he prayed and fasted for the people of Ireland.



The Holy Spirit enabled him to escape the pig farm. He saw a beam of light come from heaven. He followed the beam of light from heaven to a seaport. He was able to get a boat ride to France. He was able to work his way back to his home town. He was welcomed by his extended family and hoped to settle down and live a normal life.



While having his devotions, this young man had a vision. In this vision, a man from Ireland said to him, “Little boy, come over and walk among us again.” This young man received this as a call of God to become a missionary to Ireland. You may now recognize that I am talking about Saint Patrick of Ireland.



Patrick enrolled in a Bible school in France and was sent by the Bishop of France as a missionary to Ireland. God confirmed the preaching of Saint Patrick with many supernatural healings, miracles, and even people raised from the dead. Saint Patrick started over 200 churches, baptized over 100,000 converts to Jesus, and in one life time changed Ireland from being pagan to a Christian nation. Why? Because as a 16 year old boy, he prayed and fasted for six years for the people of Ireland. What God did for Saint Patrick, He can do for you as you catch the prayer burden of your heavenly Father for the lost. Will you become a prayer warrior for Jesus and win people for Jesus?
Make a commitment today!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Lillian Duncan's new novel and her struggle with brain tumors




PUZZLE HOUSE by Lillian Duncan:

Life isn’t a box of candy—it’s a puzzle!

Rachel Summers is all about Rachel Summers…until the day she crashes headlong into a semi-truck. As her life hangs in the balance, she has a visitor who asks a very simple question.

Does she want to be healed or to be a healer?

She makes her choice, but the journey doesn’t go quite the way she expected.

And so Rachel now runs Puzzle House. Every guest is different and yet the same. They all come to the Puzzle House for one reason and one reason only—to be healed, usually from a life-threatening illness. Sometimes they receive their miracle, and sometimes they discover there’s more than one kind of healing.

Nia is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. And she’s angry about that. Very angry. Against her wishes, Nia’s aunt brings her to The Puzzle House.

Together, Nia and Rachel will take a journey that will change both their lives.



GIVEAWAY INFO: To celebrate the release of Puzzle House, I’m having a very special giveaway on my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. Leave a comment on one of my Puzzle House posts and you’re entered to win. Thanks!



INTERVIEW:

Tell us a little about yourself.

My husband and I live in a small town in Ohio. I mean small—we only have 1 traffic light. I grew up in the area, but moved to the big city of Cleveland for many years. Like Dorothy, I love being home again.

Where did you grow up and attend school?

I grew up in rural Ohio, near Wooster. It’s a farming community. Most of my books have a similar setting. Sometimes I actually use the names of local communities, other times I use a fictional name

I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Akron University and my Master’s Degree from Kent State. Then I moved away to the big city of Cleveland to work for many years until I retired from Cleveland Schools in 2007.

What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

Mostly I read and write Christian mystery and suspense with a little horror thrown in. PUZZLE HOUSE is a complete departure from what I usually write. I would simply classify it as Christian Fiction, like the book WAR ROOM.

Tell us about PUZZLE HOUSE.

I call it the book I never wanted to write!

Really? Can you explain that?

Early on in the story, the main character (Rachel Summers) discovers she has brain tumors due to a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF 2).

Neuro…what?

That’s exactly what I said when I was diagnosed with NF 2 and bilateral brain tumors in 2012. Don’t gasp! The tumors are almost always non-cancerous but as I like to say that hasn’t stopped them from wreaking havoc on my health and my life.

And that is why I say Puzzle House is the book I never wanted to write. I would never have written it if I hadn’t developed the brain tumors. But I do have NF 2 and the brain tumors and Puzzle House is one of the good things that’s come from it.

What inspired you to write this novel in particular?

Like Rachel, I have Neurofibromatosis Type 2. I wanted to show that even when you have a serious chronic illness, God can use you to help others.

What is Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2)?

It’s a rare genetic disease that allows tumors to grow anywhere there are nerves, but most people with NF2 develop brain tumors, which I did. The tumors affect both your hearing and your balance which can affect your health in significant ways. It’s been a difficult journey but God is good. There’s a lot I can’t do these days because of the brain tumors, but I can still write!

Tell me a bit about your main characters.

Rachel Summers was all about Rachel Summers until the day she crashed into a semi-truck. While in a coma she has a very special visitor that asks a very special question. Do you want to be healed or to be a healer? Her answer changes the course of her life as well as many others.

What’s the setting for PUZZLE HOUSE?

It starts out in the icy cold city of Cleveland Ohio but moves on to the warmth of Georgia.

Do you have personal experience with any of the events in your story, and if so, could you share about that?



Like Rachel I have neurofibromatosis Type 2 which is a genetic condition that causes bilateral brain tumors. They are usually benign meaning non-cancerous but believe me when I say they aren’t benign meaning harmless!



I was diagnosed a little over 5 years ago. In that time I’ve had two Gamma Knife surgeries, 3 rounds of chemotherapy, and months and months of being on steroids. I’m completely deaf in one ear and partially in the other. I also have severe balance issues that make it hard for me to walk or do lots of daily activities that other people take for granted.



It’s been quite a journey but even as my health declines my faith in God grows stronger and stronger. And that has been a blessing.

What’s your day job? Tell us a little about it.

I retired as a speech therapist from a large city school district in Ohio, then spent several more years working part-time in smaller, rural districts near where I live. Between the two jobs, I don’t think there is any type of child I haven’t worked with at least once.



How did your education or previous career impact your journey to publication and where you are now?

My day job was as a school speech pathologist, better known as a speech therapist. So for more than 30 years I listened…and listened…and listened some more. I think it helped me in a lot of areas but certainly with writing dialogue of my characters.

What do you want readers to take away from PUZZLE HOUSE?

That God can and does still do miracles but the miracle we want isn’t always the miracle we need and God knows the difference.

What is your writing process?

I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.

When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.

Do you have a favorite or “life” verse? Why is that one important to you?

Romans 8: 28:   And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

After I was diagnosed with the brain tumors, the treatments and the side effects wreaked havoc on my health as well as the tumors themselves! When I was at my lowest points, I kept repeating this verse over and over. It kept me trusting God and it kept me in peace and joy in spite of how bad I felt at the time.

Looking back I can now see how God used many of the past events in my life to prepare me for this struggle of a lifetime and for that I’m very grateful.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to PUZZLE HOUSE. It’s called The David Years and without giving too much of the plot of Puzzle House away, it follows one of the characters you meet in PUZZLE HOUSE.

Are there any other authors in your family? 

Actually there is! My nephew, Chad H. Young, is a missionary for CRU, formerly Campus Crusades For Christ. A few years ago, he decided to give writing a try, nonfiction. I’m so proud of him—he has two books out and is about to have a third published, Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony World and Wrestling with Faith, Love, and Gators: Overcoming Barriers to Fully Loving God.
How did you get started writing? How old were you? What made you want to start?

I started writing when I was 40—a late starter. (This is a pretty good story.) I was feeling the way a lot of 40 year-olds feel. Unsettled, not sure if I wanted to keep teaching. I was watching a TV show, probably Oprah. Her guest recommending writing your own obituary and putting in outlandish things that you’ve never done.

So I did. As I reread the obituary, it said that I was a multi-published author. What? I’d never written any fiction even though I was an avid reader. The most I’d ever written was some poetry years before.

When I read those words, a spark ignited inside me.

And I started writing!

It took me a year to finish my first novel and it was horrible. I made every mistake that writing “experts” say are no-no! As bad as it was, I knew I wanted to keep writing and I did!

If you could offer a word of encouragement to an aspiring author, what would you say?

DON’T GIVE UP! It took me 15 years to get a traditional contract, and now I have almost 20 books published! If I can do it, so can you. But not if you give up your dream!

How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website is www.lillianduncan.net and I have a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com.  I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan



THE BOOK I NEVER WANTED TO WRITE

By Lillian Duncan
Puzzle House is the book I never wanted to write.

What??? Let me explain. Rachel Summers, the main character in my new book, Puzzle House, has brain tumors due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2.

Neuro…What?

That’s what I said when my doctor told me I had brain tumors and something called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2 for short) in 2012. It didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. After all, I felt fine, but I was wrong—really wrong!

So what exactly is NF2? It’s a rare genetic condition that allows tumors to grow anywhere on the nervous system, but especially in the brain (almost always on the auditory nerve and vestibular nerve) and the spine.

The Rare Disease Act of 2002 defines a rare disease as one that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States or about 1 in 1,500 people. So exactly how rare is NF2? About 1 in 25,000 to 40,000 people (depending on what source you use) have it so as you can see it’s extremely rare which is why you probably haven’t heard of it either.

The tumors are almost always benign, but there’s two meanings for benign. One being non-cancerous and the other being harmless. The good news is that my tumors are not cancerous, the bad news is they are definitely not harmless.

So how has NF2 affected me? Without going into all the gory details, since being diagnosed I’ve had two Gamma Knife Surgeries, three rounds of chemo, and countless months of being on steroids. Because of the tumors and/or the treatments, I have chronic fatigue, balance issues that affect my mobility, complete deafness in one ear and partial deafness in the other, neuropathy and severe pain in my arms and legs that also affect my mobility as well as a multitude of “less severe” symptoms.

After reading all that you might think Puzzle House is a really depressing story, right? I certainly hope not. My first goal when writing a story is always to entertain and that’s true with this one as well. In fact, the subtitle of the story is a novel of healing and hope.

I’m not going to give away the plot but I’ll give you a little hint. While unconscious after an auto-truck mishap, Rachel has a very special visitor who asks, “Do you want to be healed or to be a healer?” She makes her choice and that’s when her adventure begins.

Let’s get back to the healing and hope part of the novel. Nia is a 14 year-old girl who has lost hope and wants nothing to do with Rachel or Puzzle House. But they’re stuck with each other for the week so Rachel shares her story with Nia as they work her puzzle together.

It’s true that Puzzle House is a book I never wanted to write, but it’s also true that God uses all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) and I believe that’s what He’s done by inspiring me to write Puzzle House.

Why did I choose a puzzle theme? Because in many ways life is like a puzzle—not a box of candy! There’s lot of pieces that have to be put together before you can see the whole picture. Many times we don’t understand why we need a particular piece of our puzzle but God does.

That’s where faith comes in. It’s not easy to keep trusting when we’re suffering, whether it be from a physical condition like brain tumors or some other difficulty. But if we trust God with all the puzzle pieces of our life, He will use them to create a thing of beauty.

DEVOTION:



Are You Sure?



Hebrews 11: 8

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.



In my upcoming book, PUZZLE HOUSE, Rachel is asked, “Do you want to be healed or to be a healer?” She wants to please God so her answer is to be a healer. Of course when she answers she doesn’t know she has a serious medical condition that is about to turn her world upside down.

Most of us will be asked that same question during our life if we’re deeply committed to following God’s Will. The question won’t be exactly the same since God has different plans for all of us.

My question was do you want to be a writer? I’d already been dabbling in fiction writing when God asked me that question. Not literally of course, but in my spirit. My answer was a resounding yes, but… like Rachel, I should have taken a few more moments to think about it. To ask myself “are you sure?”

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and even more I love writing Christian fiction. My stories demonstrate God’s goodness is many different ways depending on the story. But it hasn’t been an easy journey.

It took fifteen years to get my first traditional contract. That’s a lot of rejections. Would I have kept writing if I’d known it would take that long? I’m not sure but I’m so glad I didn’t quit.

Let me give you a short glimpse into a writer’s life. It takes a lot of time to bring a story to life. First you have to write it then you have to rewrite it and then you have to rewrite it again and again and... Then it’s time for editing, revisions, and polishing before submitting it to my publisher. Then it’s time to go into marketing mode. Actually you have to be in marketing mode all the time. And at the same time I’m in the process of writing and rewriting new stories to get them ready for submission.

It’s a never-ending process, but I truly love it so it’s OK. And then there’s my reward, right? If you’re thinking a financial reward, stop! Yes, some writers make big bucks—but so far I’m not one of them.

But my reward is even better than money. My reward is knowing I’m doing what God wants me to do. My reward is the joy of creating stories that demonstrate God’s love to my readers as I entertain them (and myself.)

So when God comes knocking at your heart and asking you your question, it may sound like an impossible task and you may ask yourself—are you sure? No, you can’t know what will happen, whether you’ll be successful or not, whether it will be an easy or a difficult journey, whether you’ll quit or persevere.

But like Abraham, you have to start the journey if you want to get to your destination. The destination God created for you. The destination that might bring you a few tears or more than a few along the way, but that will also bring you peace and joy and a satisfaction that can’t be described.

That sounds good, right?

Are you sure?





Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. She was a speech pathologist for more than 34 years but retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with brain tumors as a result of Neurofibromatosis Type 2.  As an educator, speech pathologist, and a writer, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.



Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.