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WAITING

“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” (Isaiah 40:31 Amplified Bible)

The above scripture is one of my all-time favorites. I’m sure I’ve written about this verse, or some aspect of this verse, many times. I always like to refer to the Bible versions that use the word “hope” instead of the word “wait.” When I’m writing or talking about this verse, I always say that “hope” is an acronym for:

H   eart
O   f
P   eace [and]
E   xpectation

I am, however, beginning to like the word “wait.” Generally speaking, I think we avoid that word. In this instant age in which we live, we don’t want to wait for anything. At least, I don’t. I have so many things written in my planner and on my “to do” list and in my Blackberry, I don’t have time to wait for anything. But that is not how God wants me and you to live. He’s called us to a life of obedience and service—not a life of being so busy that I “meet myself coming as I’m going.”

Last Sunday, the Youth/Young Adult Choir at the church where I work, led the congregation in worship. This group of young people is absolutely on fire for God. It is evident in their faces and in their music. They sang a beautiful song called “I Don’t Mind Waiting.” The director of the choir had taken the words of “I Don’t Mind Waiting” by Juanita Bynum and “Bow Down” by Bishop Paul Morton and combined the two songs. Although the words were simple, the song was powerful and worshipful. So worshipful that I could almost smell the fragrance of worship as it ascended to the heavens.

I Don’t Mind Waiting

I don’t mind waiting,

I don’t mind waiting,

I don’t mind waiting on the Lord,

I don’t mind waiting,

I don’t mind waiting,

I don’t mind waiting on the Lord,

Bow down and worship Him

Worship Him

Oh, worship Him.

Bow down and worship Him

Enter in

Oh, Enter in.

This is holy ground

This is Holy Ground

So come and bow down.

Abba Father, Help us to wait upon You and to not mind waiting. There is so much You desire to teach us and show us as we wait for Your answers. Give us ears to hear, a mind to comprehend and a heart to receive. We don’t mind waiting on You, Lord. Amen.

Selah.

© Edwina Cowgill 2011

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Book Review: ANOTHER DAWN

I am delighted to welcome Kathryn Cushman as my guest today. Kathryn has just published her fifth novel, Another Dawn from Bethany House. My review follows the questions.

Welcome, Kathryn!

Thanks, Edwina. It is good to be here.

1. Tell us about Another Dawn.
Another Dawn is the story of Grace Graham, a woman who tends to run when things get hard. She returns to her hometown to help her estranged father recover from surgery and, soon after arrival, her unvaccinated four-year-old son is ground-zero for a measles outbreak. Several infants, including Grace’s niece, develop severe complications. As Grace begins to come to terms with how her decisions have affected others, she must choose whether to run, or stand strong and help in any way she can.

2. How did you develop the initial story idea for Another Dawn?
My editor sent me the link to a radio story about a measles outbreak in San Diego. I’ve always found the controversy over vaccinations intriguing, so this really piqued my interest.

3. Your books tend to take an issue and show both sides. Did you have any issues that made it more difficult for you with Another Dawn?
The vaccination debate is always a tricky one. Since I spent a decade as a pharmacist, I tend to put more trust in the CDC and their recommendations than perhaps many people do. Also, when my daughter was on put on a medication that suppressed her immune system, it became much more personal, because her health depended on people around her being healthy (commonly referred to as “herd immunity”). But then, during my research, I’d go to a website or read a book by the mother of an autistic child—a child who seemed perfectly healthy before vaccinations—and it would make me pause. There are thousands of these stories. So, for me, it is still not a black and white issue.

4. Did the book involve special research?
I did a lot of research about vaccines and the studies about whether they cause autism. Also, I spent some time talking via email with parents of autistic children.

5. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into Another Dawn?
The setting is a fictionalized version of my hometown, Lawrenceburg, TN. “Shoal Creek” (my fictional town name) has many Lawrenceburg characteristics: the Square Forty Restaurant, Rick’s BBQ, the Lady Wildcats, and using the WiFi at Krystal, among other things.

6. What is your goal in writing?
My goal is to follow God’s leading and write the story I’m given to the best of my abilities. My hope is that it becomes an interesting novel that will cause people to stop and think about something in a new way.

7. What are you currently working on?
My new project is about a family that agrees to live “Almost Amish” as part of a semi-reality TV show.

8. Name three things most people would not know about you.
1) I never read my books after they are printed. I always want to change something when I read through my work, and when it is too late to make changes I can’t bear to look at it.
2) I’m pretty bad at all things domestic (but I really wish I was better!).
3) I was a pharmacist for 10 years before I “retired” to be a stay-home mom.

Thank you, Kathryn, for spending time with us today. I’ve enjoyed having you!

Thank you, Edwina!

My Review of Another Dawn

As children, my sister and I took all our vaccinations. No questions asked. When our children were little, they received all their vaccinations. No questions asked. We didn’t know any better. Since reading Another Dawn I realize there is a serious health risk for children who take vaccinations. It has been shown that the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine can cause autism in some children. With the wealth of information about this subject found in Another Dawn, it is apparent Author Kathryn Cushman researched for many hours in preparation for writing this book. But this is not a book just about vaccines and resulting illnesses. This book is about forgiveness and second chances.

Here is the blurb from the back cover:

“When life gets complicated, Grace Graham runs. She’s left romantic relationships, friendships and even her family after the death of her mother. But now her sister, Jana, is giving her one last chance: Come home and help care for their father—whom Grace still blames for her mother’s death—or never show her face in Shoal Creek, Tennessee, again.

With her son, Dylan, in tow, Grace returns home from California. But is she returning for the right reasons? And when costly decisions from her past suddenly put her son’s life and the lives of other children in town at risk, will she have the strength to stand strong and await Another Dawn?”

There was such spiritual and emotional growth in Grace, it was fascinating to watch. “Complex” doesn’t begin to describe Grace’s relationships with her father, her sister, her fiancé…well, all of her relationships. But in the end, forgiveness between Grace and the people in her life leads to healing.

And I can’t overlook Grace’s son, Dylan. What a precocious, sweet and intelligent four-year-old! You will want to “bring him home with you.”

This book is a “must-read.” You will be informed and you will enjoy the story. If you know of anyone whose child has autism that may have been caused by vaccinations, please see that they get a copy of this book. It is definitely a “must-read” for them.

Another Dawn will hit the bookstores on Tuesday, February 1.

Bethany House graciously gave me a copy of Another Dawn for the purpose of this review.

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Review of Digitalis

Hold on to your hats – and your seats! “Digitalis,” Book Two in author Ronie Kendig’s Discarded Heroes series, takes off on the first page and never slows down until the final sentence, which tempts you with the possibility of seeing more of the Discarded Heroes Series.

“Digitalis” is destined to be a number one best seller. Ms. Kendig has done an exceptional job in weaving all of the various threads together to make this a great story. From the gorgeous countryside of Virginia to Saudi Arabia to Jordan to unnamed points in the Middle East, every location added to the intrigue of the story.

The suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time you’re reading this book. In fact, this book is very hard to put down. With the crazy schedule I have right now, I still read this book in three days.

And then…there’s the hero, Colton Neely. He is a U. S. Marine. Need I say more? Drop-dead gorgeous, strong, determined, handsome, growing in his faith, great dad to his four-year-old daughter, good looking. By the way, did I mention that Colton is really good looking? But all those good looks cover up a secret that Colton finds hard to reveal to Piper Blum, the heroine.

Piper is a beautiful woman with a smile that stops Colton in his tracks. She, too, has a secret. A secret of national importance that could destroy the tenuous relationship with Colton and more important could destroy a nation.

Conflict. Danger. Intrigue. Love. Suspense. It all adds up to make “Digitalis” a best-seller hit!

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An Absolute Winner

JoAnn Durgin has an absolute winner in her first published novel, “Awakening.”

This book has it all: characters you will love, and perhaps identify with, remarkable setting, and a plot that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end and leaves you wanting to read more about Lexa and Sam.

Lexa Clarke signs up for a TeamWork Missions summer assignment, dreaming of adventure in a far away, exotic country. However, she’s sent to San Antonio where TeamWork Director Sam Lewis is not sure what to think of or what to do with his newest volunteer.

From the back cover:

“A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. For Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke, it proves a combustible combination.

During their weeks together in the TeamWork camp, Sam and Lexa learn the power of forgiveness and healing. Enduring a chain of incidents which challenge their faith, trust and growing relationship, they look to the Lord for guidance as together they discover a love greater than either could ever imagine.”

Ms. Durgin has done a marvelous job of communicating the principle of forgiveness—and from forgiveness—healing in “Awakening.” It is a vital point many people need to hear and this book is a wonderful way for that message to be delivered to them.

But the book is not condemning or preachy. Rather it is full of love with some very humorous scenes and intrigue thrown in for good measure.

You will want to purchase this book for your library. It is a book that you will read over and over again.

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BOOK REVIEW: "Second Chance Courtship"

Obviously, from the name of this book, the main characters are going to have a second chance at love. In order to make this happen, forgiveness must be extended to each other for transgressions committed against each other years before the present day of the book. The main characters in this book, Kara and

Trey, are down-to-earth, real people that may remind you of yourself or someone you know. The small town of Canyon Springs, “where everybody knows your name” and your business, reminded me of the small town where I grew up.

The most important message of this book is God is a God of second chances. Third, fourth, tenth, fiftieth chance. No matter the transgression, He forgives and gives us another chance. Glynna Kaye, author of “Second Chance Courtship” has done a masterful job of weaving this message throughout the book without being “preachy.”

“Second Chance Courtship” is published by Steeple Hill Books, the inspirational line of Harlequin, and is being released today. I was fortunate enough to win a copy – had I not, this book would definitely be on my “to buy” list. I encourage you to buy a copy. You will thoroughly enjoy reading “Second Chance Courtship.

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Guest Blogger: Bishop David Epps

It is a privilege to have my priest, Bishop David Epps, as my guest today. Bishop Epps writes a weekly article for several local newspapers. Below is the article for this week, reprinted with his permission.

LEGAL YET IMMORAL
Bishop David Epps

Two weeks ago, six people were killed and 14 wounded in what has been called the “Tucson Tragedy.” One year ago, 200,000 people were killed and 1.5 million remain homeless as a result of a devastating earthquake in the nation of Haiti. One decade ago, some 3,000 people were killed in Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington, D. C. on September 11. One generation ago, in January of 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the killing of children in the womb was legal. Since that time, in the United States alone, the death toll is 52,000,000 boys and girls who were destroyed without ever having seen the light of day.

We often make the grave error of believing that if something is legal, then it must be moral and right. At one time in this nation it was legal for one human being to own another. Slavery was legal and many believed it to be right. No one believes this was moral and right today. It may have been legal but it was immoral.

At one time in this nation, husbands could beat, mistreat, and rape their wives without fear of legal consequences. No one believes this was moral and right today. It may have been legal but it was immoral.
At one time in this nation, children could be exploited and abused almost without restriction. In fact, if one desired to protect children, laws protecting the abuse of animals had to be invoked because there were no such laws protecting children. No one believes this was moral and right today. It may have been legal but it was immoral.

There is nothing moral or right about the destruction of any innocent life but multiply this by 52 million and the results are horrific beyond comprehension. Americans have killed nearly six times more unborn children than Hitler and the Nazis killed Jews during World War II. The United States, since the first shots of the revolution were fired, has been involved in 30 wars, including the various Indian wars, the Boxer Rebellion , the Barbary Wars, as well as more modern conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, El Salvador, and the major wars of which we are all familiar.

The total number of U.S. military personnel killed during the entire history of the United States from 1775 through 2010 is 1,317,588. Tragic as that is, it pales in comparison to the number of American pre-born intentional deaths. There have been approximately 50 times more children killed since 1973 than the number of soldiers killed during the entire history of the Republic.

But even that is not the full story. I was born in 1951. From me came three children. From them were born 11 more children, my grandchildren. That means that in three generations there have been produced, so far, 15 people. Had I been aborted, it would have meant, not just one death, but the elimination of 15 people who are alive today. If only 10 people are given to a family in three generations, that means that not just 52,000,000 lives have been ended but, rather, a staggering 520 million! Over half a billion people do not or will not exist over the course of three generations thanks to an act that is legal. But moral? Right? Not by a long shot.

In the days to come—at some point—I have a dream and a fervent hope that abortion will join slavery, wife rape, and child abuse on the trash heap of acts that used to be legal but were so morally wretched and ethically repugnant that society could no longer bear them. Not everything legal is moral or right.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org) He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.

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"Divine Appointments" – Book Review

Divine Appointments, is a delightful book to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon while you sip on a cup of tea or hot cocoa.

Charlene Ann Baumbich has written a story, set in modern-day Chicago, with characters who become real to the reader from the very first page.

This is a book about faith, friendships and second chances. Second chances at relationships. Second chances with God.

Pick up a copy and put on the tea kettle. You’re in for a treat.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

I have a copy of this book to give away. Leave a comment, with your email address to participate in the drawing. Open to U. S. Residents only. Drawing will be held Monday, January 24.