Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Hope Rises Again

Hope Rises Again

It’s first thing on Saturday morning. The mail arrives: two unpaid bills and an ominous self-addressed envelope.  Yet another rejection letter from a publisher. I turn them over while I make a coffee to calm my desperation.

“Lord, help my finances. Guide me to the right publisher. Amen”

As the hot water hits the coffee and the aroma rises, I recall the verse:

 “May my pray be set before you like incense…” Ps 141 v 2

I imagine the coffee vapour carrying my prayer heavenward into the Father’s hands, and I am comforted.

“Mom, you’ve got mail.” My son waves the letters right in my face. I try, unsuccessfully to hide my grimace. “What’s the point of even opening it? I know what is says.”

“Hey, I’ll do it.” He opens the envelope and reads out:

“Unfortunately, we are unable to publish this time…How manys that now, Mom?”

“Nine. And it’s always the same response. ‘The book is well written but due to an overwhelming number of quality manuscripts we do not currently have the resources to publish yours.’”

“So why not self-publish? Mrs Simon self-published a recipe book online.” Mrs Simon is an elderly neighbour. My son has been helping her use the internet to publish Christian articles and book a holiday online.

I’m ready for the self-publishing question.

“You need time, patience and technical ability to format and upload your book.  I don’t know how to market it online.”

“But FaithWriters have a Christian writing contest to win a Xulon publishing package worth over $4000!”

I rub my eyes and will my brain into action. I may still be half asleep but he seems to be talking a whole different language.

“OK. Please. Slow down and explain for me. What is ‘Zoo-lon?’”

He talks fast and waves his hands around.

“Xulon. It’s the biggest Christian publisher of print-on-demand and digital books. They sell publishing packages that include editing, formatting, cover design, ISBN number, listing with major distributers, marketing…”

“Marketing? They’ll market my book too?!” Now I’m excited too.

“So how do I enter?”

“If you’re a Christian writer you can sign up to become a platinum member of FaithWriters, and this includes loads of benefits, like advertising and selling your e-book. Then you can enter the Christian fiction publishing contest to win a Xulon publishing package later in the year.”

“Wow. OK. So where’s the catch?”

“No catch, honestly! Once you’re a FaithWriters member you get also get a discount on Xulon publishing packages and you can enter the Christian testimony publishing contest.

“I’ll sure have a testimony to write about when my book gets published!”

He reaches into his bag.

“Here, Mrs Simon brought these back from the Holy Land for you.” He hands over a box of incense.

For a moment I catch my breath.

Incense! Not only did God hear my prayer, but he cares for me and is guiding me to the right publisher for my work. How great is our God!

I light an incense stick and explain the answered prayer to my son, who becomes even more excited. And for the first time in months, I feel hope rise again.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Best Christmas Man

It was the last Saturday before Christmas, and the mall was mobbed with last minute shoppers. Amidst the crowd, a boy was looking for someone.

“Where’s the line to see Jesus?”  The lady gave him a startled look, but kept on walking.

Maybe she’s just too busy, thought the boy. Maybe. Or maybe she just didn’t know.

The boy looked up as the PA crackled into life.  A man’s voice started speaking, clear and strong, but no-one else seemed to hear it. He was speaking just to the boy!

Hello! I hear you’re looking for me:

You asked, you found; you looked now you see.

Like shepherds and kings travelling far,

They searched and found me under the star.

Come visit me, don’t wait in line,

I’m here for you, any place, any time.

Be still, imagine, if you can,

That Christmas baby is now the kindest man.

I don’t wear boots or dress in red,

I’m wrapped in light, a crown upon my head.

I have no sleigh or reindeers that prance,

I sit in heaven, when I laugh angels dance.

Dear one, you’re loved, whatever you do,

Your sins forgiven, I paid the price for you.

I made and held you from the start,

Your name’s inscribed upon my heart.

Ask me, I give good gifts all year,

I give life and joy, and take your fear.

Be still, imagine me, if you can.

Your friend, your Saviour: I’m the best Christmas man.

This poem was written in response to the music video “Where’s the line to see Jesus?” by Becky Kelly:

To find out more about Jesus, visit

Monday, 25 November 2013

How God Provides and Why He Loves Providing

How God Provides and Why He Loves Providing

The first time I prayed in faith for God to provide was when I was a teenager. I’d heard of an organisation that sent mission teams to exotic places to do building work in needy communities. I was ready for an adventure with God!

I started fund-raising. After a charity dinner and a raffle I was still £500 short, and only had a week to raise it. I didn’t know anything about christian dogma, but I knew God could do the impossible.

“Dear Lord, if you want me to go on this trip, please provide me with the money, as soon as possible!” I prayed.

In my heart I heard these good bible verses:

“Ask and it will be given to you…For everyone who asks receives.” (NIV Matt 7v7-8)

Later that day, a man who knew my dad gave him an envelope with £500 in for my trip. He also offered to drive me the 100 miles to the preparatory weekend, and back!

“But how did he know I needed exactly £500?” I asked my Dad.

“Well…God probably told him!”

That totally blew my mind. Not only did God care for me, hear and answer my prayers, he also told other people how they could be an answer to my prayer. I was now hooked on praying and wanted to know more about this incredibly generous, involved God.

Before I left on the trip a friend gave me a card with this verse in:

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God of… will guard your hearts and minds.” (NIV Phil 4v6)

I remembered these verses, and they became my strategy of handling being away from home for the first time and discovering another culture. Through them I became more aware of and dependent upon God as a Father, less anxious in general and more joyful when prayers were answered!

Since then I have read, meditated on, breathed in, declared and prayed this inspirational bible verse until it became part of me. It has become one of those quotes to live by.

I have been in need many times, and have seen many answers to prayer. When we gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, God’s provision truly blessed us! We were given a cot, pre-loved toys and baby clothes. My heart was stretching with joy and gratitude.

But the other day, I went to a mom and baby group. The only other mom there was immaculate, she looked like she had walked out of a magazine. I tried not to be intimidated and smiled.

In one glance she dismissed me, and turned away. I hadn’t even noticed the scuffs on the stroller till now.

“How dare she judge me for my appearance!” I told myself.

“Love is the most importance thing.” I consoled myself.

But I kept imagining her in her perfect world, choosing whatever stroller or baby clothes she wanted She had more than enough money, and she had choice. Envy niggled in my heart.

“We’re so grateful you provide for us, Lord. But how does she get such an easy life?”

“Blessed are those who are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV Mat 3v5)

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom.” (NIV Mat 19v24)

Suddenly I realised. The true pearl in my life is my relationship with Father God, which began and is sustained by my dependence upon him.

The rich mom doesn’t need God’s provision, so God may never get a chance to father and care for her.
I felt such sadness in God’s heart for those who don’t think they need him. He loves providing for us because we’re his children, and he is our Daddy. Now, every time I see a rich mom I pray:

“Father, every good and perfect gift is from above (NIV Jam1v17), find a way to reach into this woman’s life and fill her up with your love, so she may meet her Father God.”

May you enjoy an adventure with God as you grow in faith and see many amazing answers to prayer!

You can find other testimonies of God’s amazing provision at

Member # 62789

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Downloadable Books for Dinosaurs

“Mom, can I buy a book for Callum’s birthday? One about Jesus, or dinosaurs?” said my son, Justin.

“Sure honey, we’ll look for one about Jesus first,” I say. We jump into the car and I drive to where our local Christian bookstore is. Or was. There’s a huge red sign in the whitewashed window saying “Closing Down Sale: Over.”

Justin starts to laugh: “have you heard of the internet? You can buy ANYTHING on it. (Whispers) Dinosaur!”

Only 6 years old, and he already thinks he’s smarter than Mom. I hide my smile as we turn around and head home.

An hour later, thanks to Justin, the laptop and Google, we have discovered ebooks., a website that sells Christian books.

Christian ebooks?” I read from the screen. “Umm…”

“Cool! We can download it onto his iPad.”

“IPad? OK. Buying from here supports the development of Christian writers around the world AND we can buy from Amazon at best value prices… Justin?... Justin?”

Justin has disappeared but I read on, relentless.

“I can also sell myChristian ebook through the faithwriters  ebook store… over 600,000 page reads a month, WOW…great value with a platinum membership… I must tell Susan…and…freeebooks!”

I click on Free Reads for Reviews, and I’m downloading the latest Christian Fiction to review when Justin returns.

“Hey, this is Callum’s iPad,” he says. “It’s like a laptop without keys.” He opens the case but struggles to unlock it.

After a few minutes, I take it and unlock it in a second. I smirk. “Guess I’m not the dinosaur anymore!”

He laughs. We find Callum a book about Jesus, and within a minute it’s paid for and downloaded onto his iPad.

“Can’t wait to show Callum the website!” says Justin, running off with the iPad.

“Hey, tell him it’s changing its name to RevelationBooks” I shout after him. But Justin is gone, and I’m on my own. Perfect.

I re-fill my coffee, relax into my armchair and flick to page one. If only everything in life was this easy!