Friday, June 24, 2016

Words of Faith: Joi's story about the mission field and Peter from The Bible

I’m Peter
A Words of Faith story written by Joi Copeland

When I first became a believer in 1990, my faith pretty much exploded. I knew that God could do anything, even the impossible. I’ve seen God work so many miracles in my many years of following Him, I still believe He can do the impossible.

Yet, as my family and I prepare for the mission field by raising support and meeting with people, I have found my faith wavering. We are supposed to leave by the end of August, and we don’t have all of our support raised. This has been tough. I began to doubt. I began to listen to what others have been saying. Things like, “You aren’t going to make it by August.” Or “What happens if you don’t make it? Do people who support your get their money back?” or “What if you never make it to the mission field?”

To say the least, this is discouraging. VERY discouraging.

And so I became Peter. Peter, the man who had faith to walk on water. You know the story, right? Peter and the disciples are in a boat because Jesus sent them ahead of Him. During a storm, they see Jesus walking on water toward them and think He’s a ghost. Jesus says it is Him, and Peter responds with, “If it’s you, let me come out and meet you.” Jesus says ok, and out jumps Peter, walking on water! I’ve got the faith to walk on water. But like Peter, I took my eyes off of Jesus and began to sink. I sank for a few weeks. It was tough.

Then one day, all of it began to change. No, not because God provided all the money we need. But because I’ve started focusing again on Him. I believe we can still make it on the mission field by the end of August of 2016. I’ve seen God do miraculous things! But no matter what, my eyes will remain on Jesus, His calling, and His timing. My eyes are back on the One who controls the sea, the wind, and the challenges.

~*~
Author bio:

Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys: Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. 

She lives in Denver, Colorado, but within the year, hopes to be living in Galway, Ireland. 

Joi’s love of writing began at a young age. She wrote short stories for several years. She began writing her first novel, Hope for Tomorrow, in 2009.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Words of Faith: M. Simone's story about following God's lead

How to Follow God When You Don’t Know Where He’s Leading
A Words of Faith story by M. Simone Boyd

“Faith is following God when you don’t know where He’s leading.” That’s what my pastor said a few weeks ago in church. And I needed this reminder because I was growing weary of this writing journey.

You see, I took a big leap of faith in the fall of 2014. I left my good government job to write full time. But things haven’t been shaking out quite as I had planned.

By now, I thought I’d be a New York Times best-selling author.

By now, I thought I’d be sitting on Oprah’s couch telling her all about my plans to help heal families.

By now, I thought I’d be making at least a few thousand dollars a month as a writer.

But none of that has happened.

And I think it’s because God is more interested in the journey than the destination. Take the children of Israel, for example. Once they left Egypt it took 40 years to get the Promised Land. 40 years?!

But even when they were wandering in the wilderness, God was proving His faithfulness to them over and over again. Here are three lessons I’m learning as I try to follow God—even when I don’t know where He is leading:

Lesson #1: Look for God’s Protection

You probably know the story of the Exodus. Pharaoh didn’t let the Israelites exit without a fight, and even after they did leave, Pharaoh followed. But God used Pharaoh’s hard heart to demonstrate His protection. Listen to what Moses says as the Egyptian army approached:

“The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14 (NKJV)

Over the past year and a half, I have seen God’s protection time and again. Such as:

· He protected me and my husband from buying a house with termites.

· He’s protected me from job offers that would have taken me away from my mission.

· And He’s fought for me even when I didn’t know that He was doing so. 


Lesson #2: Look for God’s Provision 

God had to teach the Israelites how to rely on Him.

Prior to the Exodus, the Israelites relied on the Egyptians for food and shelter. That’s how Joseph’s brothers wound up in Egypt in the first place, they were starving and Egypt had food. And for 430 years, Egypt provided.

God had to re-teach them the lessons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—He was their sole provider. Provision came via manna in the morning and quail at night.

Personally, I’m struggling with this lesson.

I went from making six-figures a year to making just enough money to put gas in my tank. But the Lord is showing me, just how much trust I had in that job. He’s teaching me to:

· trust in Him

· walk by faith

· and to continue working…even when I don’t see the results.

It’s been a humbling experience. But not once have I been hungry. And every single month, I’ve made money as a professional writer—even if it was only pocket change.

Lesson #3: Look for God’s Guidance

From the moment the Israelites exited Egypt, God was their guide. He showed up as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. They were never alone.

Neither are you and I.

Looking for His guidance is one of the places I’ve grown. Time and again, He’s closed one door and opened another. Just recently, my novel got rejected by a fancy New York publisher. So decided to go the self-publishing route. A few days later, a local printer wrote me and said they’d print 5,000 copies. For free.

Only God could do that. And I’m following Him, no matter where He leads me.

Reflection question: What lessons is God teaching you as you follow Him in faith? 

~*~
Author bio:
M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research and write about what makes relationships thrive or die. 

She interviewed 10 Christian, Black men to get their thoughts on relationships and wrote a free guide based on their advice. Simone is the oldest of eight kids and married to her husband, Morris–an only child. 

Say "howdy" to her at: 
My Family Fantastic (blog)
Twitter: @msimoneboyd
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myfamilyfantastic/
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Join Denise Hunter for ‘The Convenient Groom’ Pre-Premiere Facebook Party

convenient groom - fb event 

Exciting news for fans of Denise Hunter's stories: Her book The Convenient Groom is making its silver screen premiere as a Hallmark Channel Original Movie! Join Denise and other readers on Facebook on June 16th for a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that's 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Denise will be chatting about the book, answering your questions about the book-to-movie process, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways too: a $100 Amazon gift card and 25 signed copies of Denise's newest book, The Goodbye Bride!

The movie releases two days after the author chat party on Saturday, June 18th, 9 EDT/8 CDT. Click here for details and to find out more about the movie.

Get your copy of The Convenient Groom so you're ready for a fun book discussion. You can order your copy and find out more about the book here.

Hope to see you on June 16 for Denise's The Convenient Groom Pre-Premiere Facebook Party!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Words of Faith: Ada's story about God's guidance and love

God's Love Directed My Path
A Words of Faith story by Ada Brownell

Golden leaves littered the church lawn on October 26, 1953, my 16th birthday.

Mama, some of my four sisters, and the pastor’s wife waited in the nursery while my sister-in-law, Elinora Nicholson, played wedding songs on the piano.

Through the nursery window I could see the men lining up. They were joined by two ministers—my brother, Everette, and our pastor, Brother Paul Clapper.

Six little girls in frilly dresses tied with satin ribbon stood ready to begin, and my little nephew, Dean Miracle, the ring bearer, handsome and wearing a boutonniere.

At the signal, the flower girls Yvonne Miracle and Linda Brownell, dropped rose petals in the middle aisle. Then two junior bridesmaids, Darla Kay Brownell, and friend Berna Sue Richter. Six adult attendants, all relatives, walked down the aisle. Lois Maybon, my best friend, was maid of honor.

Preschoolers, twins, Lavonne and Yvonne Brownell, carried my train.

I wore the most beautiful wedding dress I’ve ever seen, made by my sister in law, Mildred Nicholson. It’s been modeled in church bridal shows, although my photographer didn’t know what to do with the train and full-length veil.

What a send-off into adult life for the youngest of eight children in our family. As a child, a freckled-faced redhead who dressed in flower-sack clothes, I didn’t make much splash in the world. But then, I lightened the freckles with a special cream when I got a job cleaning houses and motel rooms—and caught the eye of a handsome guy, L. C. Brownell, who already worked as a telegraph operator for the railroad.

All the girls at church chased him, but for some reason he made up his mind he wanted me.

Months later I knew I’d fallen in love, but I thought I’d get over it. My sister, Erma, had been engaged five times, but L.C. finally convinced me to get married.

I grew up knowing Jesus loved me and had a plan for my life. So L.C. and I began an adventure together following Jesus and loving each other.

But my need for supernatural faith kicked in, too. I had no recipe books except leaflets from Pillsbury. My first cake recipe came off the back of the Hershey cocoa box. My chocolate creation fell. I prayed for patience, stuck a saucer upside-down under it, and topped it with a fudgy frosting made with the help of Pillsbury. My husband thought it was wonderful.

God later answered my prayer for help because I learned to made adjustments for high altitude with cakes.

I needed faith, too, for my husband, who had a ruptured stomach ulcer and still suffered pain. He had several serious episodes with bleeding then had surgery that solved the problem.

We moved often and God directed our paths. We made friends, ministered to many, and they blessed us.

I had been youth president in my home church in Fruita, Colo. I was youth leader in Minturn, Colo. Taught youth in Leadville, Pueblo and Arvada. Started a Sunday school in Thompson, Utah, and there began newspaper work and learned more about writing.

We lived in dilapidated houses, sometimes with no running water or bathroom. We lived in a railroad depot, a railroad car, and a tar paper shack my uncle said he could build for about $50. Then God answered prayer and gave us a beautiful almost new large mobile home.

Faith was important every day. We were happy, loved each other, and when five children came along, love was multiplied. They accepted Jesus and followed Him, some into ministry. The Lord’s love dwelt in our oldest daughter Carolyn. She sang and praised Him only hours before she lost her battle with cancer.

God’s love comforted our family when she died, and faith made us confident we’ll see her in heaven.

God’s love never fails, and faith makes that love personal as we take Hebrews 11 seriously and believe God exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him.

His love and our faith bound us securely together all 62 years we’ve been married.

~*~
Author bio: 
Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. 

She also is a veteran youth Christian education teacher. After moving to Missouri in her retirement, she continues to write books, freelance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and blogs with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. 

She is the author of six books. Ada is a member of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. 

She and her husband have five children, one who passed away, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her historical romance, The Lady Fugitive, is a 2015 finalist for the Clash of the Titles Laurel Award.
~*~
Connect with Ada:
Amazon Author page - http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
"Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement" (blog),  http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Interview with Kristy Cambron, author of The Ringmaster’s Wife

Welcome my new writer friend Kristy Cambron to the blog today! She's here to talk about her new novel, The Ringmaster's Wife. 


Kristy agreed to host a book giveaway contest where YOU have the chance to WIN a copy of her novel! Exciting, isn't it?

Enjoy my interview with Kristy! 

*Words from Alexis are in bold, words from Kristy are not in bold.

~*~
Alexis: Welcome to my blog, Kristy! Thanks for agreeing to an interview about your new novel!

Kristy: Thanks for having me as a guest today, Alexis. I’m glad to be here!

What were the unique challenges of writing this historical novel?

The Ringmaster’s Wife was my first opportunity to explore writing a work of semi-biographical fiction and that certainly posed a challenge or two. I had to consider the depth of research that would be required to ensure we got the story right. Up to this point, I’ve only ever given a voice to fictional characters. I may have had true historical figures referenced in a novel, but they did not have a unique voice, motivation or character profile. So it was new for me to weave fictionalized scenes into Mable Ringling’s life– a real-life character whose story has already been written by our human history. The research was fascinating, though, and the chance to stretch as a writer was simply too much to pass up.

Who are your main characters and what makes them want to, as you say in your book’s summary, “chase a new life”?


The two pivotal characters in this book come from completely different worlds, but they meet in the middle of their prospective journeys and help one another along the way. Our semi-biographical characters is Mable (Burton) Ringling– who rose from humble beginnings to become the real-life circus queen and wife of John Ringling, of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. And our fictional main character is Lady Rosamund Easling– the privileged daughter of an English earl, whose wealth and prestige couldn’t make her happy. Though they started out in very different places in life, both women were the same in that they showed incredible bravery to step out, to risk everything and choose to live a life they’d dreamed of. There’s always risk with trailblazing; these women made me see that it’s possible to live a life that may seem unscripted to us, but has been wholly planned by God.

You’ve set Rosamund’s story in the Roaring Twenties. Why did you choose to write about that time era?

The Roaring Twenties really was a remarkable time in history. On the hinges of the Great War and the Spanish Flu epidemic that swept the world in its aftermath, those living in this time had to endure unspeakable loss, but also had to navigate the optimism that flooded the culture with vast societal change, advancements in science and technology, and the upheaval of many from a rural life to living more consumer-centric, urban ones. When you add the vibrancy of the circus, the fashion and art– even the music– into the mix, you get a story setting that is incredibly rich. I loved every moment of the research and the opportunity to see characters triumph over difficult circumstances permeating a post-war world.

What is about the Ringlings that makes Rosamund choose to join their nomadic lifestyle?

That’s a great question, because I don’t know that Rosamund actually chose the circus life; I think it chose her. She was already a bareback rider at heart– that’s true. But the connection Rosamund shared with her late brother, and the last gift he ever gave her (her beloved horse, IngĂ©nue), is really the catalyst for her journey. It was love that propelled her forward, and the lack of love in an arranged marriage that nudged her onto the steamship that eventually carried her to America, and a home on a circus train. But once there in the midst of the performance world that was already a part of her heart, I think it would have been very difficult for Rosamund to turn back and live the life she’d fled. Adventure is part of who she is, and I happen to love that she embraced it fully.

What was the most rewarding part of writing this book?

There’s no question – it was the research.

I came to greatly respect Mable Ringling as a person, and then fell in love with the character she became. And it was the onsite research at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL that really helped me understand the legacy the Ringling and Burton families left for future generations. Spending a research days at the Ca’d’ Zan mansion (“House of John” in Venetian dialect) really made the story come to life. Everywhere the characters go in this book– from the Gatsby-inspired parties at the outdoor ballroom, to the piano-playing in The Court, and the quiet moments Rosamund and Colin share in the 5th story Belvedere Tower – every step they took was also offered to me. I’ll never forget the generosity of the Ringling staff, and the Ringling-North family descendants who shared so much information with me. It was a researcher’s dream.

What do you want readers to remember most about The Ringmaster’s Wife?

I think I’d want every reader to walk away from this book feeling really entertained. (I mean, it is a story of the circus set in the Jazz Age!) But I’d also like for readers to get to know Mable Ringling as a real person– not just a figure in the history books. I’d love for every person to be inspired to look beyond the scripted in their own lives, and to follow the calling God’s placed on their hearts with a relentless chase – especially when risk is involved. Because the truth of it is, we’ll never have regrets with our own life story if we’re following Jesus with everything we have.

Thanks for the interview, Kristy! Would you like to share any closing thoughts?

I’m very grateful for my publishing family, who truly made this book a reality. But I’m also grateful to all of YOU – reader friends who have had such a pivotal role in making my own author dreams come true. Thanks for helping me to be brave (and dream a little), even when the path isn’t clearly cut. This book is proof that good things come when we step out and follow God’s lead!

~*~
Author Bio:
Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews' Best Books of 2014 and RT Reviewers' Choice Awards Best of 2014 lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel.

Her second novel, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews Best of 2015 list, and received a nomination for RT Reviewers' Choice Awards Best Inspirational Book of 2015. 

Kristy's third historical novel, THE RINGMASTER'S WIFE, was named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10 and will release from HarperCollins in June, 2016.

Kristy is a Speaker and Design Manager at TheGROVEstory.com, and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

Connect with Kristy:

Facebook: Kristy Cambron | Twitter: @KCambronAuthor | Instagram: kristycambron

Pinterest: KCambronAuthor | Web: KristyCambron.com | TheGROVEstory.com 

~*~
Win a copy of Kristy's book by entering the book giveaway contest via the Rafflecopter widget below:

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Words of Faith: Pastor Dave Arnold teaches how to use faith as action

Act Faith
A Words of Faith story by Dave Arnold

“Luke,” I say to my five-year-old, “can you please pick up your toys?”

“Nah,” he responds, “I don’t feel like it.”

This is common dialogue in my family. My kids often say to my wife and me, “I don’t feel like it.” And truth be told, I say it often too (many times within my own head).

The truth is, we often go by our feelings, don’t we? We don’t feel like taking out the trash, changing a soiled diaper, walking the dog, or even going to work. But as adults, we learn to force ourselves to do these things.

Why? 
Because if we go by our feelings, we’re in trouble.

The same principle is true when it comes to faith. If we’re honest, we don’t feel faith often.

This was a hard pill for me to swallow when I first gave my life to Christ at age seventeen. After my conversion, I felt so alive, so filled… and I thought this feeling would last forever. I remember facing each day with such confidence and joy. My heart was truly changed.

But after a few months, the “honeymoon” stage of my faith changed. The feelings weren’t the same and it seemed harder to spend time in God’s Word or in prayer. Temptations I thought were long gone started to creep back in. “What is going on?” I asked myself. “I thought I was saved.”

Is this not the struggle of faith?
As I matured, I read in Scripture a principle that changed my perspective. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV).

For whatever reason, God continually reminds me of this verse. And I think the reason is because I so easily am tempted to rely on sight and on what is temporal. Yet, throughout Scripture, God’s people are called to live by faith and for that which is unseen.

The question is this: What do we do when we don’t feel faith, when we feel spiritually cold and indifferent to God and spiritual things? We act faith.

When I lived in Chicago, the Lord led me to work with a non-for-profit agency as a Case Manager. I loved the job and I could visibly see the difference it made in people’s lives. But I didn’t start out that way.

I’ll never forget my first week. The Case Manger I replaced only did a one-day training with me. And as he shared about all the details of the job – including how to enter data into the computer software program – I felt completely overwhelmed. There were times I would just look at him and smile and nod…but I had no idea what he was talking about.

So what did I do? I faked it. You’ve heard the phrase, "fake it until you make it"? Well, that’s what I did. And you know what? After a few months, I got it. I understood my job. But it was most certainly a process.

I think it’s the same with our faith. We don’t understand why things happen this way or that; we don’t know why we struggle or doubt of feel alone. But if we learn to act faith by trusting God, one day we will “get it.” It’s that “aha” moment where we say, “Okay, no I see why I had to go through that or felt this way…”.

The great Scottish preacher of the 19th-century, Alexander Whyte, said this in a letter to a friend about what to do when you feel faithless:

“Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Act faith if you do not feel it… Though cold and faithless at first, love and faith will come. Do not wait for a surge of feeling, think of Him at once… Many times I feel so cold and dead that I might doubt if I had ever come to Him at all; but I go about my work notwithstanding, looking in His direction, and my heart fills by and by with His love to me… It is simple–keep looking; He will take care of the seeing.”

So, dear reader, keep looking and let Him take care of the seeing. Keep "acting" faith and learn continually what it means to walk by faith, not by sight.

~*~
Author bio: 


Dave is married to Angie. They have two children, Luke and Angelina, and live in Michigan. Dave has worked as a pastor for a number of years and was also involved in social work and community development. Dave is currently an author, speaker, blogger, and recently started adjunct teaching at a university. Dave is passionate about teaching the Bible and empowering people to be all that God has created them to be. You can learn more at his website www.davearnoldspeaks.com

~*~
Connect with Dave:
Twitter - https://twitter.com/davejarnold16/

Monday, May 30, 2016

Someone Like You: Book review and blog tour

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour for Victoria Bylin's May 2016 release, Someone Like You! Here's the cover for Bylin's book:


Isn't it a beautiful book cover? Made me want to read it as soon as I saw it! 

But Bylin's new book is more than just a pretty cover, it contains a solid, sweet and riveting read! Not only is the read worthwhile, but Litfuse Publicity Group is hosting a giveaway contest where YOU can WIN a FREE copy of Someone Like You! Visit the official link for the giveaway here. The contest ENDS on May 31. The winners will be announced on June 1 on the Litfuse blog. See the link for details. 

Meanwhile, enjoy my review of Bylin's book! 

~*~
Someone Like You
Written by Victoria Bylin
Book review by Alexis A. Goring, founder of "God is Love" blog
Rating: Excellent! 5 stars!

I loved this book, Someone Like You, written by Victoria Bylin!

The story centers on Julia Dare, a woman who’s learned life lessons the hard way, and her college sweetheart Zeke Monroe.

When Julia is sent to Caliente Springs on business, she stops Zeke’s heart (not literally). Seeing Julia again is like a walk down Memory Lane for him and he finds feelings that he’d locked away breaking through to the surface.

But time, along with trials, has changed both Julia and Zeke. Julia has a son with her ex-beau Hunter, who is a world-class player and someone who she does not want in her life. Zeke’s had a fall from grace and still struggles with the effects of his bad decisions. The reader realizes from the start that if Julia and Zeke are going to rekindle their romance and work as a couple, they have to overcome their inner and outer struggles.

The author takes the reader by the hand at the start of this story then lets them run wild with the characters and enjoy the journey through the end. She writes in a way that you feel like you’re watching a romantic drama on the big screen. The A-story (main focus) is about Zeke and Julia but there’s also a B-story (subplot) that focuses on Julia’s Mom, a widow who finds love again.

The main and subplots are written with great skill and care. The author makes her character’s life and backstory realistic and addresses issues that happen in this modern day world. It’s clean fiction but it’s very real too. The characters wrestle with issues like purity, innocence lost, regret, hope, heartbreak and second-time-around romance.

It truly is an enjoyable read worth every ounce of a five-star rating! Bravo, Bylin, for a book that’s memorable and beautiful!


*Litfuse Publicity Group provided Alexis A. Goring with a complimentary copy of Someone Like You in exchange for an honest review.