Friday, December 28, 2012

Beauty or what? What makes a special woman?

God gave Solomon a special Gift of Wisdom, but the king didn’t seem too smart where women were concerned. God permitted men to have more than one wife in Old Testament days, so Solomon married 700 women and had 300 concubines, many of them foreign gals God forbid Israelites to marry.
Apparently Solomon couldn’t find the one woman—the one jewel—the girl that would be his one and only until death. But Solomon did have supernatural wisdom that told him the qualities of the ideal wife.
I respect Solomon’s wise counsel and he wrote many things I use as goals. But I’ve never reached the perfect woman he describes.
Here’s what Solomon penned in Proverbs 31, followed by what I think he and the Lord are saying to me.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” [She is beautiful inside because of her godly lifestyle, her love, devotion and faithfulness.]
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” [She earns her husband’s loving respect.]
“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” [She is a good mother and compassionate.]
“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.” [She has a business of her own, yet keeps up with the work at home.]
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. [She is charitable.]
Solomon said, “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet (a type of woolen cloth). [She looks out for everyone in her house.]
“She makes coverings for her bed.” [She’s probably romantic.]
Solomon said, “She is clothed in fine linen and purple.” [She has good taste in clothes and desires to look her best.]
“Her husband is respected at the city gate where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” [She chose a husband with good character.] Solomon also wrote in Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” [Lord help me not to destroy my home with my words.]
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. [This gal is no dummy; she studies and teaches others.]
“She can laugh at the days to come.” [She has a sense of humor.]
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” [The whole family adores her and they voice appreciation.]
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” [She knows loving God, her family and others a more important than anything.]

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A shooting at a school had a young mother going into panic attacks—months after the killings many miles away.

When the mother put the child in the bathtub at night, fear would almost paralyze her heart as she worried some crazed monster could take her child’s life, too. Watching her daughter play or skip off to school was torture. The mama wanted to keep the child near her all the time. But even then, worry so clouded her mind there was no joy or fun in their house.

The young lady shared her story with a group of young mothers and me while I served as a Mothers for Preschoolers mentor.

Saint John wrote, “Fear has torment.” Although our little group helped her some, the young mother ended up needing professional counseling.

At this time of year, we sing much about joy, comfort and peace. But now, not only is a nation mourning because of tragedy in an elementary school in Connecticut, I imagine every mother with a child in school from kindergarten through the highest college grades has a higher level of fear than before.

What of the peace the angels sang about in the hills of Judea when the Christ child was born? The angel said, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord….And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Peace? When it seems the world is on fire and at war? Peace, when half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Peace? When it’s not safe anymore to walk in most cities at night? Peace, when there’s mass unemployment, diseases too numerous to mention? America divided and few seeming to love one another or God? Government sending us over the fiscal cliff?

What did it mean when the angels announced peace on earth and Jesus said He would give peace? As a Bible student and by experience I’ve learned the promise didn’t refer to nations but to peace in the hearts of men. That’s how Jesus has built His kingdom—in hearts in every nation, tribe and tongue.

Yet, I need to be honest. I’m a worrier and worry is the opposite of peace. Every new grandchild added to the family is another to worry about. My children teased me one time about my anxieties.

“The more creative you are,” I confessed with a grin, “the more things you can find to worry about.”

I learned something else about worry. God doesn’t make a practice of honoring creative worry. The majority of things I’ve worried about in my life never happened. Jesus told us not to worry about what might happen tomorrow. Experience taught me the truth of that. When I hit a real trial, such as the loss of our oldest daughter to cancer, I had supernatural peace. I went to sleep at night repeating Philippians 4:7: “The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” and I slept.

Yet I can’t borrow peace today for trials tomorrow. God’s peace comes only when we need it, and we have to ask for it and accept it.

Christmas is a good time to receive it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Build Faith in Youth with this new novel:
Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult

I apologize for not posting on my blog for a few weeks. I’ve been ill and I also have been working on the last proof of my new teen novel, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult.
I’m feeling much better and today I’d like to tell you about Joe the Dreamer.
The fictional character, Joe, and I met when I was teaching an after-school and summers program for upper elementary school and junior high students as an extension of our church’s day care. I had recently retired as a newspaper reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.
After a few weeks teaching in the program, which I named “The Dunamis Academy,” I decided I needed something beyond the gospel lessons, Bible memorization, the fun and field trips. I wanted to interest the youth in the Bible so much they would read it for themselves when I could no longer teach them. Many of them were unchurched.
So I started the story about Joe, age 14. One night his parents disappear, and the same evening someone breaks into his house while he and his sister hide. Days, weeks, pass. A non-Christian aunt and uncle take them in. Raised by parents dedicated to God, Joe begins to read the Bible to see if he can believe God answers prayer, and then when he sleeps he often slips into the skin of Bible characters and experiences what happened in their lives. But sometimes he wakes up shouting or screaming and his uncle assumes he has a mental illness.
His uncle’s best friend is a psychiatrist.
In the sub-plot, the reader knows what happened to Joe’s parents. A radical group dedicated to erasing Christianity from America snatched them from a hospital parking lot. The radicals want a computer design Joe’s dad created which could be an advance in the prevention of epileptic seizures. They want him to change it so they can use it to cause seizures in influential Christians.
The parents are being held at a nearby castle in the mountains, taken over by the radicals. They plan to make it a center to train terrorists to kill Christians. A whole group of local Christians also were abducted and are being used to build a wall around the castle before they begin bombings.
Joe and an East Side gang team up to find his mom and dad. The Christian gang is dedicated to preventing and solving crime with ordinary, harmless things such as noise, water and a pet skunk instead of blades and bullets. The enemy is fully armed—even with a robot programmed to kill.
Joe and the gang are beginning to suspect his parents are being held at the castle when Joe lands in the juvenile unit of a mental hospital.
Will he be stuck there forever? Will his parents ever be found? Or will God answer prayer and deliver?
The book should be released on Amazon in a week or two. This is a great book for you, your children and grandchildren because, although it’s not preachy, it contains faith-building facts as characters defend their beliefs. Beyond that, as is the goal of every fiction work, it’s a good story filled with suspense and even humor.
Look for Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult under my name on Amazon. It will be available as a paperback and for Kindle and should be on and other websites in the immediate future.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Lillian Duncan brings us news of her Christmas novella, as well as a devotion we can use that ties in with the book.


Are You Too Busy?
Luke 2:10
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Americans are busy!! And we’re even busier at Christmas time. So much to do and so little time to get it all done. In all our busyness of the season, some of us lose the joy that is ours. After all, who has time for joy?
That’s sad, but what’s even more sad is when we make busyness a lifestyle and live an unjoyful life because of it. I’m not sure unjoyful is a word, but it makes my point. God sent his only begotten son to us. Not so we can be busy but so we can have the peace and joy of HIS kingdom.

In my new novella, THE CHRISTMAS STALKING, Destiny has it all—money, fame, and beauty. And yet she’s not happy. In her busyness to become “a star” she’s not left room in her schedule or her life for God.
In an effort to elude a stalker, she escapes to upstate New York where she spent summers as a child. It’s only when she isolates herself from all the craziness and busyness of her celebrity lifestyle that she’s able to realize that she’s not happy and that something’s missing from her life. Of course, being terrorized and stalked doesn’t help matters.
There comes a moment when she must choose between her busyness and God. Here’s Destiny’s moment (Her given name is Holly).
Robby opened the car door, and Holly stepped out in front of a little white chapel, its front door decorated with pine boughs and pretty, silk red and white poinsettias. She stood staring at the church, not moving.
This was the church she’d been baptized in on a hot summer day long ago. She’d not stepped inside a church for a long time—too long. Guilt wrapped around her heart.
“You OK?‛
She nodded, not sure if her voice would work.
“Are you sure you’re feeling all right?”
Robby held on to her arm as he led her up the steps.Thankfully so, because Holly wasn’t quite sure she wanted to visit her past. She took a deep breath and nodded as they stepped inside. Her step faltered. She could almost hear God saying, Welcome back, My child.
A long time had passed since God spoke to her.
Once they were seated, Robby pulled out his mobile phone and frowned at the text message written there. ‚I’ll be back in a moment,‛ he whispered.
She was alone with her thoughts and her guilt—and with God. She stared at the old wooden cross at the front of the church. Her eyes filled with tears and she knew something was happening deep inside. She had a choice to listen to that still, quiet Voice. Or ignore it.
And each of us has that same moment. In fact, we have that moment every day, but even more so during the Christmas holidays. Shall we focus on the Good News that brings great joy or shall we choose the busyness?

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: She also has a devotional blog at:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012



You’ll be able to see on my new novella “Season’s Greeting from Amelia” how good intentions are not enough to justify our wrong actions. I hope you enjoy this short read which will be on sale for 0.99 for the month of December. This great novella brings mystery, suspense and the best stocking stuffer for your favorite e-reader. You can get your copy for just 0.99 cents on Kindle, Smashwords and Nook only during the month of December.

Book Description

Daisy has the perfect life, beautiful children and a wonderful husband. And Christmas is right around the corner. Tis the season to be jolly… Or is it?

Daisy’s life is flipped upside down by strange letters that are sent to her by her best friend, Amelia. And as her life continues to quickly spiral out of control, she realizes that something BIG is about to happen. Can she put aside her confusion, hurt, and anger in order to solve a mystery that may have a horrific ending????

Can Daisy’s life ever return to normal regardless to whether she does or doesn’t?

Author Bio
Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at



Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right
Where did we get the idea that it is right to do unto others as they have done unto us? I may not be a Bible scholar, but I believe the Scriptures say to love others as we love ourselves and also to forgive our enemies. I see people on both sides of this dilemma, including brothers and sisters in the faith, and it baffles me.
The whole idea of “I forgive but do not forget” is nothing but a lie from the enemy to encourage us to hold onto resentment. Can you imagine if God forgave us but didn’t forget our sins? I think it would be a horrible thing to know, that when we face our Lord, he tells us…“You know I forgave what you did, but let me show you what you did.” (Luke 6:37) “Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
The Word of God talks about how once we are forgiven we should not live in condemnation. God, the Master of the Universe, our Creator, and the one against whom we truly sin (aside from transgressing against those around us) forgives and forgets. Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” Who are we to consider ourselves higher than the Creator, with the right to judge and decide not to forgive others? On the other hand, the Word of God talks about receiving forgiveness as we forgive. So, don’t we want to be forgiven? Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” If we do… we need to start forgiving others.
The other side of this coin is the truly repentant transgressor. I know that for a long time in my life I felt that everything that was going wrong in my life was my punishment for my transgression, therefore I needed to suck it up because I was getting what I deserved. I think we get confused between bearing the consequences of our actions vs. being punished for our actions. When we repent, God forgives us and gives us a blank slate immediately. No condemnation, once again, says the Word of God. Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So if that’s the case, once forgiven, it’s not God reminding us and dragging us through the mud for our sins; it’s ourselves!
Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
There’s no point in being a Christian if we’re not going to enjoy the benefits of it. It’s like paying for a gym membership and never going, which I have done that plenty of times. I can tell you first-hand that it is a waste of time and money. In this case, it’s more than a waste of time; it’s a waste of life…of which we only have one. One of the benefits of Christianity is freedom. “Who the son sets free, is free indeed.” (John 8:36) Don’t we want that freedom? Then why do we insist on binding ourselves in the tentacles of unforgiveness, shame, and condemnation?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Staci Stallings' best seller COWBOY: free Dec. 4-5

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only...
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Staci Stallings: Three Ways to Talk Yourself Out of Anything

Three Ways to Talk Yourself Out of Anything
By: Staci Stallings
Good things. Specifically doing good things.

Oh, we all say we want to do good things, and sometimes we even do. But then there are those other times. Those times when we know what the right thing to do is, but we just can’t get ourselves to do them.
Well, just for those out there who are looking for a really good excuse to get out of doing something good, here you go. Three ways to talk yourself out of doing anything good:
1) Why is this my problem?
If you’re like me, you see them–the people who need help all around you. Some are small problems. Maybe someone needs help getting picked up for services, or maybe someone else needs a babysitter for the evening. It doesn’t really matter what the problem is. The solution to getting out of helping, is one little question: Why is this my problem?
The truth is. It’s not. It’s their problem. And you have no obligation to help anyone. Someone else will probably help, and even if they don’t, you won’t have to worry about the consequences of not helping. So, when you’re faced with someone needing help, go ahead, ask yourself, “Why is this my problem?” It’s not, so you don’t have to do anything about it.
2) What’s in it for me?
Probably nothing. In fact, the greater the need of the other person, the less chance that there’s something in it for you. We all know that if there’s nothing in it for me, there’s really no use doing it. So, now you have a back-up to Question #1.
3) What’s the very minimum I have to do?
If all else fails and you find that despite your best efforts to avoid helping, this question is for you: What is the minimum I have to do? If they say come for two hours, can I show up 10 minutes late and leave 15 minutes early? After all, it’s the face-time that really counts. If they need a Sunday School teacher, can I tell them I will do it and then show up… oh, say 3 out of 4 times? If they need food, can I bring something store-bought, frozen, or maybe just napkins?
/snark off
Okay. Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but too often, I find myself using these three questions to get out of doing something good. Now I know there are people pleasers among us (you know who you are) who say yes to everything, including things they know they cannot hope to accomplish. However, some of us go to the other extreme.
If any of these sound like you, do a simple heart check. Make sure your actions are lining up with what you profess to believe. After all, I really can’t see Jesus asking any of these questions. Can you?

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2010

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Get the inside info about becoming a writer from our guest Jo Huddleston

Jo's new book,That Summer, a Southern historical, will be released Dec. 8.


Author of forthcoming Southern historical, That Summer

Book Launch December 8, 2012



Offering spiritual tonic and hope

When deciding to write for publication all I had was aspiration and hope. I had not studied the craft of writing but I had loved books and reading all my life. So I sent my first stories to Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal. Those form rejection letters came back immediately. It didn’t take me long to learn that I needed help.

I scoured the magazines in the mall bookstore and found some about writing. I discovered names of books about all aspects of writing and lists of writing conferences to attend and gain knowledge.

I decided my first conference would be the Professionalism in Writing School conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’d read in my new magazines that I should take samples of my writing and business cards to identify myself when I made an appointment with an editor or agent. I didn’t have business cards and was relieved when I read that I could put my information on a 3x5 card and share that with people.

My husband let me out at the front of the large hotel where the conference was held while he parked the car. I stepped into the area between the outer entrance doors and the doors into the lobby. A young lady came inside pulling a carrier stacked with books and paper materials. At the threshold of the first doors when she pulled her carrier into the space where I stood, everything tilted and scattered around us. I timidly helped her stack things back as best as I could. Didn’t introduce myself, didn’t recognize her.

I’d learned in my teen years when I was in an unfamiliar situation it would serve me well to keep my mouth shut and my eyes and ears open. So from the outset of the conference that’s what I did. The attendees appeared to know what they were doing so I watched and followed their lead. But among these seasoned writers’ conference-goers I was so invisible I didn’t even realize I was invisible.

I got in line to register and received my folder and name tag. I noticed that many folks were getting in another line before entering the auditorium, so I again followed. When my turn at the front of the line came I realized they were putting their names on sheets for 15-minute appointments, each sheet having a name at the top. The instructions indicated these sheets were for time with editors and agents. I signed up on an editor’s sheet and made myself a note of my allotted time and the room number.

As others filed into the auditorium so did I. Alone among groups, I found a seat with nobody on either side. I sat, ramrod straight, eyes and ears open. Someone from the left got my attention by asking if the seat beside me was taken. I shook my head. A woman with a beautiful Texas drawl introduced herself, forcing me to speak my first words at my first writers’ conference as I in turn introduced myself.

I browsed the book room and it was like finding delightful presents on Christmas morning. When the editor’s appointment time came I made my way toward the designated room and waited my turn outside the door.

I went in the room, sat across the table from a perky young lady and pushed my 3x5 card toward her without a word. She picked up my card, looked at it and said, “I’m Karen Ball.” She asked me what I wrote, a question I couldn’t answer. I just wrote whatever came out of my head, but I didn’t say that to her. She was gracious to recognize that I was out of my depth and prodded me along by asking what I had brought for her to look at. I had been writing short prayers for women in circumstances they might find themselves and I’d brought five prayers with me.

I didn’t know that Karen Ball was a fiction editor and she probably could have told me so and to go sign up with a nonfiction editor. No—kind, sweet, and professional Karen Ball read each of my five prayers. She wanted to take my pages back to Tyndale House with her and I agreed. I did not know the significance of her doing so. I did know I hadn’t made any copies of them but they were in my computer, so not to worry.

Before too long Karen phoned me that Tyndale would like me to write more prayers. The result was Tyndale published two prayer books by me: Amen and Good Night, God and Amen and Good Morning, God. Later, another company published my devotional book His Awesome Majesty. As I learned the craft and used a writers’ market guide, I began submitting short stories and articles—and getting them published.

That Professionalism in Writing School conference was good for me and I attended several years. Oh, and by the way, that young lady who spilled her books in the hotel entrance was Bodie Thoene. She and her husband Brock were the keynote speakers for the conference. And that woman with the beautiful Texas drawl who sat beside me in the auditorium was Vickie Phelps and is now a close writer-friend. We’ve coauthored three e-books and our husbands also get along well.

I now have a 3-book publishing contract for my first novels. I’ve finished Book 1, That Summer, which released in December 2012. Book 2 is scheduled to release in April 2013 and book 3 in September 2013.

Perhaps one of the hardest things about writing for publication is having patience. My patience muscles have grown much stronger over the years. This writing journey is never-ending. How could I not write? What writing ability I have comes from God and I must be the best steward of that gift that I can be.


On December 8 the book will be available in paperback and eBook on

My publisher's website:

Christian Book Distributors: