I’m always fascinated when I read the Bible and identify God’s humor. That’s what happened when I was writing God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-written with my husband, Larry). Our book examines the questions God asks in the Bible. His questions are fascinating because He asks as if He doesn’t know the answers. But of course, He does and that’s what makes it humorous. He knows everything and asks questions to make people think and examine their motives and comprehension.
The book of Job is filled with God asking questions. They are fascinating because many of them are asked with humorous tongue-in-cheek. After God allowed Job to vent his frustration, He pointed things out in His created universe that are pretty outrageous. In Job 38:4, God says to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”
It would be easy to picture God as a vindictive, sarcastic, and mean-spirited being because of this wording. But knowing God as a lovingly-purposed God gives us confidence He responds to us in only redemptive and loving ways—even when He’s using humorous, huge contrasts to point out His outrageous obvious deeds—and our lack of power. He’s saying, “Have you forgotten the beyond-comprehension things I’ve done and how it contrasts with you? You can trust in Me. If I can lay the foundation of the earth, I’m in charge. But let me know where you were at the time. Maybe I didn’t see you.”
Thankfully, Job responds with humility after God compares Job’s abilities to God’s incredible works. I don’t have any trouble imaging God’s huge smile as He’s asking His question. He smiles at us also when we understand how He is reaching out to us.
Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books and a thousand blog posts and articles. She has spoken in 9 foreign countries and over 30 US States. Her books include women’s Bible studies, devotions, Christian living topics, and commentaries. She and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. www.KathyCollardMiller.com
Today’s Fascinating Friday post comes from Joan C. Benson. Thank you, Joan!
The quirks of this writer are about to be laid bare before the world. Oh, no! What will they think? After years of self-analysis, I reached an “Ah ha!” moment not long ago. My trick may amuse you, or even better, might help you in your creative endeavors. I hope my revelation will at least be fascinating since this is a “Fascinating Friday” post.
Have you known people who set their clocks ahead so they won’t be late? I used to laugh at this ploy. I was sure my brain would override the trick and think, “Oh, no worries. I have an extra ten minutes.”
For the backstory to my discovery, I confess. I began as a contract writer. I was hired, mostly by educational publishers, who always seemed behind schedule. There would be scopes and sequences, outlines and projections, but the project was often behind when it began. The managers, editors, and supervisors, from my observation, lived in a constant state of stress.
As a novelist, I had no high-pressure stakes. I had learned how to keep deadlines because paychecks were tied to nailing guidelines and deadlines. I even worked ahead of schedule whenever possible. To do this, I mapped out my due dates on the calendar for each aspect of my writing. However, when I faced my own creative projects, no structure focused my writing. I lost momentum. The conclusion in this quirky story is I had to “set my clock ahead” to trick my brain! I had to devise deadlines on my own. Otherwise, every little squeaky wheel became a saboteur.
Perhaps this has made you grimace, giggle, or acknowledge how challenging time management can be. Working from home as an author is not an easy feat when life beckons with demands. I pray this might help you in some small way. Or, give you a laugh.
Joan C Benson is a wife, mother, grandmother, educator, and author/speaker. She has been a freelance writer for over thirty years. Her debut historical fiction novel, His Gift, was released by Elk Lake Publishing in 2020. She has been published in magazines and on CBN.com. She is a blogger and you can find her at www.joancbenson.com
Today we welcome CAN member and author Ginny Dent Brant as she shares the story behind her inspirational book detailing her healing journey.
Hearing the words, “You have cancer,” was a shock to this health nut. When I saw my real life MRI flashed up on a screen, it looked like a tornado had invaded my body. Bewildered with disbelief, I asked to meet with a chaplain.
The first words from my mouth, “How could a health nut like me end up with an aggressive and deadly cancer like this?”
“Ginny, consider it a gift from God,” encouraged Pastor Sewell. “Sometimes God allows things in your life for you to help others. As an author and speaker. your experience in this journey can be a guiding light to others.”
“Never.” I insisted. “I’d never write about cancer. It’s the gift I never wanted.” I was praying desperately this cancerous thorn (tornado) would be taken from me.
“Yes, I can see it now, your next book with this inscription—‘It was the book I never wanted to write.’” He chuckled. “In time you will see the hand of God. I promise.”
My diagnosis and that tornado sent me on a quest to discover what caused my cancer and what I could do to help my doctors to beat it. As I began to connect the dots between nutrition, the immune system, conventional and integrative medicine, medical research, and the Word of God, I was able to pull back the curtain on cancer for me. The more I learned, the more I felt led to share my findings with others to help them prevent and survive cancer.
Pastor Sewell was right. These words appear on the first page of Unleash Your God-Given Healing: “This is the book I never wanted to write.”
And that tornado that invaded my body became my book’s analogy to The Wizard of Oz.
Ginny Dent Brant is a counselor, educator, speaker, and wellness advocate. Her recent book, “Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer,” contains commentary from an oncologist. It won a Golden Scrolls Award and was featured on CBN News. Cancer prevention and wellness blog at www.ginnybrant.comhttps://www.facebook.com/ginny.d.brant/
I’ve experienced God’s happily-ever-afters in my life many times since I became a Christian at age twenty-one. I suffered a difficult childhood. When the Lord made me a new creation in Christ Jesus, He began my emotional healing that transformed me into the happy, content person I am today.
Again, when my first husband died early in our marriage leaving me with almost no money and two young children, I learned first-hand the Lord does take care of His children. When the first love of my life died, I felt physically torn in half. I often looked down at my body to see if I was bleeding. But God became my constant companion and took my torn halves and knit them back together. He gave me the verse, Deuteronomy 31:6—The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. He kept His promise. At the right time He brought a new forever love, a new husband into my life. Through that experience I know without a single doubt that I have complete freedom to trust God. He loves to make His children happy.
Now, when God takes me out of my comfort zone and walks with me through difficulties, I can look back on His faithfulness and set my trust in Him.
Knowing God is in charge and He truly cares allows me to write happy-ever-after endings to all my books.
ANNE GREENE delights in writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. Anne hopes her books transport the reader to awesome new worlds and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Read More about Anne at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.
Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship; it will affect every aspect of your relationships. Good personal communication is the act of revealing yourself—your past experiences, present feelings, and future dreams. It’s sharing your fears, needs, and desires carefully and honestly. Communicating well is also about setting boundaries, confronting problems, admitting when you’re wrong, rejecting fearmongering and negativity, and extending grace to each other.
But in this crazy COVID season, it feels so isolating, so anti-relationship, and so self-withdrawing. In short, it’s scary. It’s confusing. It’s lonely. It makes us want to hide from others. And it’s unhealthy.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they broke the communication they had with their Creator and caused isolation from Him. They covered up and hid. They withdrew, isolated, and lost relationship.
God never intended that. He knew that a life of withdrawing and hiding would be painful and counterproductive. That’s why God delights in His people fighting back fears of connection, overcoming negative communication patterns, and learning to communicate in healthy and loving ways. And I dare say, He still wants that for us, even during this COVID season. Connecting, communicating, and not isolating might look a little different during this time. You may have to be proactive in connecting with others through Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, social media, or the phone. You may have to fight the isolation and the fear that comes with this COVID season. And you may have to proactively reveal yourself by communicating your fears, frustrations, concerns—and your faith.
In my latest novella, Reagan’s Reward, Reagan struggled to build healthy relationships and communicate with those different from her. She tried to isolate and fear overtook her. And she plunged into a dark place. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. God wants us to encourage others. God wants us to be authentic and hopeful.
This will pass, and everything does. But God’s truths never change. Communicate that, and we’ll all be encouraged. And healthier for it.
Susan G Mathis is vice president of CAN and an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
Every author I know, myself included, wants to make readers happy, especially the cheerleaders who love our genre and stories. After all, by loving and reading our books, they keep us in business. Nevertheless, not all readers agree on what works for them, and some get downright nitpicky.
What’s a writer to do when we are stymied by conflicting feedback? Case in point: my recent release (Miss Tavistock’s Mistake: Brides of Mayfair, Book One).
Reader 1: “The Jane-esque language in this novel is exquisite.”
Reader 2: “Kudos to Ms. Burkard! (for) a few words or phrases that were new to me.”
Reader #3: “I have no idea what that word means.”
And what about pacing? We try to build plots that snowball to keep those pages turning. One reader writes, “This latest offering from Burkard explodes onto the page;” another, “Like a runaway horse, the plot picks up speed, hurtling along…” But just when I’m about to relax that I nailed the pacing, another writes, “It took me a few chapters to get into this book, but once I did…”
Wait. It took a few chapters? Aargh.
So what’s a writer to do? Personally, I watch for responses that are repeated. For example, phrases like “pure delight,” “a hero to swoon for,” “a perfect escape.” If I see such phrases in numerous reviews, then I can be sure I’m hitting the sweet spot for my cheerleaders. I have to accept that, as with most things in life, I can’t please everyone.
But I sure do appreciate the cheerleaders. If you love a book, be sure to review it and let the author know what they’re doing right. You are the ones we write for and who help keep us going!
Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, she also writes contemporary suspense and contemporary romance. Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.
I’ve been baking, cleaning, and catching up on those “will-do-sometime” projects. Thumbing through a stack of magazines that I didn’t have time to read when they arrived over the past few months, I’m ready to discard a bunch and free up space. I appreciate having time to organize. Friends tell me they’re cleaning and organizing, too.
In our normal, busy life, we handle the urgent and leave everything else until a day when our to-do list isn’t so jam-packed. That day has come.
Meetings have been cancelled. Stadiums are empty. Churches are live-streaming services. Gyms have closed. Restaurants are providing only drive-through/takeout service. Life as we are accustomed to living it has come to an abrupt stop.
We’re working from home—with huge gratitude for a comfortable place to wait out this weird attack called coronavirus. We never saw this coming. Multitudes are infected. Thousands are dying. These are desperate times. Fear nips at our heels.
Being cautious is wise. But we needn’t live in panic mode, afraid of what tomorrow might bring. We’ve never had the privilege of knowing the future. That’s why we put our trust in God. We still don’t know the future but we know the One who does.
As we remind ourselves to follow procedures to protect ourselves and our families during the pandemic, we can fight panic and fear by choosing to remember awesome facts that will not change.
God knows me by name (Isaiah 43:1).
He says I am precious in his sight (Isaiah 43:4).
He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
He delights in me (Psalm 18:19).
He has imprinted me on his heart (Psalm 136:23, see Amplified version).
He has engraved me on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16).
He cares for sparrows and considers me of greater worth than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).
Friends, be safe from both contagions—coronavirus and fear. Make the following your daily prayer and confidence.
“Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).
“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psalm16:8-9).
Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Word Weavers International. Visit www.diannebarker.com.
As I was talking with a women’s ministry director at a church training conference, I hoped she would invite me to speak at her women’s retreat. I enjoyed one of the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies set before us while we sat in the lounge of the convention center. When she asked my opinion on some important issues, I spoke with confident tones. I was thrilled to see her staring at my mouth, obviously eager to hear my every word. Surely, I was impressing her. All I have to do is say the right things, I assured myself, as I anxiously tried to think of what those “right things” might be.
After we concluded, I headed for the restroom feeling content with the open door God had given me. I walked through the restroom door and saw my reflection in the mirror. What’s that dark thing on my lip? I went closer and realized chocolate was dripping down my lip and chin. Oh, no, how long has that been there? I realized the mess had decorated my face during most of our conversation. For whatever reason, she had not felt comfortable telling me.
Oh, Lord, what have you done to me? What about my pithy statements and wise admonitions? How foolish I must have looked. How humiliating!
In a flash of truth, I recognized my dissatisfaction with God’s plan. And I started laughing. Oh, Lord, you do have a sense of humor. Please forgive me for my pride and self-importance. I fell into that trap again. But I also acknowledged God’s power because rather than being discontent with myself for the next five days (like other times), the reflection in the bathroom mirror brought immediate joy. I started laughing! My heart rejoiced! I thought, I have grown in this area!
Kathy Collard Miller is an international speaker and author of over 55 books including Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a women’s Bible study on Proverbs. www.KathyCollardMiller.com
I’m writing to you from deep within the Iowa farm country. It’s chilly, but a small price to pay while on my way to ride my horse this morning. To warm the heart and soul, I’m thrilled to share an interview with professional coach, author, speaker and teacher Linda Goldfarb. A favorite on the AWSA and CAN circuits, and serving as Regional Group Director for CAN, Linda blesses others with her thriving coaching practice. I caught up with her today and look forward to sharing the wisdom with you.
Thank you for joining us today, Linda! Let’s start out learning about some of your passions. What would you like to share with us about the passions of your heart?
First, I must say thank you for making passion plural. As much as I am a multifaceted daughter-of-the King, my passions are equally numerous. I will say the root of all my passions stems from my love for God’s truth. I’m known for being a Truth-talker by choice.
I’m passionate about my spirituality as I seek God’s Word daily to know more about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and how I can walk out His best for me.
I’m passionate about my family and the role I play in the lives of my four adult children, my grandchildren, and my,(he really is) amazing husband, Sam.
I’m passionate about my health and being a good steward of my body. My goal is not perfection. My goal is to be the healthiest me I can be in the time God has given me here on earth.
I’m passionate about helping my coaching clients grow from strength to strength to experience God’s best life.
I’m passionate about helping others discover more about their God-given personalities.
In addition to serving as the CAN Regional Group Director, where else do you volunteer in your spare time? Spare time? What’s that? LOLO(Loving Our Lord Out-loud) I’m blessed to have a balanced life – though it hasn’t always been that way.(I’ll leave for for another time.) As far as volunteering—I’ve had the pleasure of serving in multiple capacities in my local church as the women’s ministry director, parenting ministry director, and more. I’ve traveled on mission trips with the youth and adults. I’m honored to volunteer with the San Antonio Marriage Initiative, speaking on parenting, marriage, and personalities across the city at local YMCA facilities. I also mentor writers, speakers, and parents on a regular basis, outside of my coaching clients. Whew!!
How do you use this experience in your writing? Hmmm, good question. God has used every experience I’ve walked through in my writing and speaking. No wasted pain, no wasted relationships, no wasted time.
What short, humorous thing would your readers want to know about you or your writing life? I am a pantser. I write in spurts and pray all the dots connect when I’m finished. I talk to my dogs while I write, sharing a thought or two when I get stuck. Their usual response is to wag their tails, lick my face, and lay back down. I take this as affirmation—I’m doing a good job so far!
Do you have a funny story relating to your writing or an event? There’s one memorable moment coming to mind. I was the keynote speaker at a ladies retreat in the piney woods of east Texas. Our event took place on a lake and the room we were in had floor to ceiling windows facing out to a deck directly on the water. This one evening, I was sharing on the power of the Holy Spirit in us. As the full-moon cast its glow across the lake it spotlighted a large opossum on the deck who made his presence known by standing up against the window and scratching the glass. Mind you, I was closing out the talk and we were at a pivotal point in the message. The last thing the group needed was a distraction. In that instant the power of the Spirit showed up in a great way. Without hesitating I said, “There are many of us here today who shut down as though playing dead when we are faced with unfamiliar obstacles in our lives. (I threw my shoe at the window, the opossum fell backwards with his feet perfectly still in the air I went on) But, unlike that opossum who has been stopped in his tracks, we have the Holy Spirit who will make a way when there seems to be no way. Let’s pray.” There were many of the women who cornered me to ask how I planned that so perfectly. I replied with a smile, “All things are possible with God.”
Did you find a fascinating fact/story while doing research for your book? The book, Loving the ME God Sees, is about embracing relational transparency for women and it is based on the book of James. For me, I was fascinated by the way God moved me to put pen to paper. It wasn’t with a still small voice, He used a 2×4!
It began on a Monday morning in September of 2009 with my usual routine of getting up early before the rest of the family. Positioning myself on the couch in our sunroom, I read God’s word and contemplated its Truth, current relevance, and finally how I was to apply it to my daily life. This one morning everything was going along as usual when I felt a specific prompting in my heart, “I want you to write a Bible study.” Believe it or not, I actually looked around the room.
Once again an inaudible voice clearly said, “I want you to write a Bible study.”
I chuckled out loud, “You have got to be kidding! There is no way I could write a Bible study. I speak; I don’t write. Well, okay I write articles and How-to Books maybe, but not Bible studies. And besides, I’m not what anyone would consider a Bible scholar.”
I breathed in a deep sigh and quietly justified my feelings, I think there’s been a mistake. With that, I went on about my day refusing to acknowledge a “whisper” as Bill Hybels calls it, from my Father—the struggle was on.
Over the course of two months, God’s whisper remained a constant companion during my quiet time as did my refusal to consider it. Finally on a Friday morning early in November 2009, I’d had enough. His whisper was not going away.
“Fine, if You really want me to write this study, I need to know it’s of You and not just a whim I’m dreaming up. So, today I am claiming the wisdom You say You want to give me according to James 1:5 and I am believing this day You will make it clear if I am to begin writing a Bible study.” With that, I closed my Bible and walked into the rest of my day.
Late that afternoon, I was meeting with some friends of mine from church. When I arrived at our get together, Brenda Blanchard (a dear friend and mighty prayer warrior) walked up to me in her usual sensitive and caring way and said, “Linda, you know I pray for you everyday, right? Well, this morning during my quiet time, God said you were writing a Bible study. What’s it about?”
After a moment of standing there dazed by her pronouncement, I looked up towards the sky, looked back at Brenda and sputtered, “What did you say?”
We laughed together in amazement when I explained the last couple months and my refusal to obey God and His persistence to not let me go about business as usual. The rest as they say is—this story of Loving the ME God Sees. Is God good or what?
What a wonderful story, Linda! Thank you for sharing your heart and your stories with us today!
Linda Goldfarb is a bold communicator who’s passionate about personalities. Her frequently quoted mantra, “transparency transforms” is most definitely experienced by her readers, audiences, and clients. This Powerful-Popular personality is an award-winning author, international speaker, certified personality consultant, professional actress, audiobook narrator, and board-certified Christian life coach. When Linda is not performing, speaking, podcasting, or equipping her clients, you’ll find her sipping frothed coffee and photographing nature from odd angles while she and her hubby, Sam, play golf and hike their way across the USA
I had been dating Roy for a while, and he decided the time had come for me to meet his children, Jill and James. Very apprehensive but knowing this was the essential next step, I flew down from New Jersey to Atlanta with him.
You wouldn’t think a six-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy could terrify a thirty-plus-year-old woman, would you? I’d never been around children much, other than an occasional babysitting job while I was in high school. And having the approval of these two kids meant everything.
We went to Chuckie Cheese for the afternoon and for dinner. Even though the place was warm, Jill wouldn’t take off her furry, plush coat. Roy went off with James and left me alone with Jill. Oh, boy, what to do? She shook her head “no” at everything I suggested until skee ball.
We played skee ball for what seemed like an eternity, but when Roy and James came back, Jill had more winning tickets than anyone and had warmed up enough to the room (and to me) to take off her coat.
Their tradition at Chuckie Cheese was to have pizza (cut into kid-sized squares) and Cokes. After we’d devoured most of the pizza, Roy and Jill started a food fight with each other with the leftover pieces.
I was horrified! While scooting over to distance myself from the two of them, my sleeve caught on my Coke. The Coke tipped over, right into my lap. Now who was misbehaving! Laughing at myself and my clumsiness, I finally relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the evening.
This family was one I could certainly fit into with my penchant for mishaps and love of funny situations. I’ll never forget my introduction to Jill and James, skee ball, pizza fights, and fun.
Deb Haggerty is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Elk Lake Publishing Inc., a traditional, royalty-paying Christian company that “Publishes the Positive.”
She’s a Christ follower, wife, mom, and “Nana.” Deb is the author of These Are the Days of My Life and co-author of Experiencing God in a Broken World.