Enthusiastic about Faith: Wrestling with God

Not long ago, I shared that I was a Bible hoarder. If you missed that post, you can read it here. But, just as I suspected, now I’m reading scripture with fresh eyes.

You all probably remember the story of how Jacob stole his twin brother’s blessing and birthright? Then, when Esau threatened to kill him, Jacob fled to live with his uncle for over two decades while he worked off the wages for two brides. When God instructed Jacob to venture back to his homeland, the land God had promised to give him, his brother came to meet with 400 men. Naturally Jacob was terrified. I’m not sure I’d have worked up the courage to get that far. What about you?

Jacob prayed and split his family into groups, sending the servants loaded with gifts for Esau well ahead of him and his precious wives and children. As always, the fact that Jacob spent the night wrestling with God made me pause. Was this a real wrestling match or an all night prayer meeting, wrestling with fear and guilt over what he’d done to his brother? Whatever, Jacob left that morning with a limp. And all for what? Because he refused to surrender God’s blessing. Ironic, isn’t it? The very thing that sparked his rapid departure in the first place…stealing his brother’s blessing.

Jacob expected a battle, but his brother greeted him with a kiss. Surprise, surprise.

But isn’t that always the case where God is concerned? He divided the Red Sea, fed thousands with a little boy’s lunch, called a man from the grave, and yet somehow I forget how mighty God is, that He makes miracles from my messes, and that He is more than able to restore broken relationships.

If only I’d ask…

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. ~1 John 5:14-15

My takeaway from Jacob’s experience…

Obedience rewards. Although Jacob must have quaked in his sandals when God instructed him to go back to his homeland, he obeyed. The reward was a restored relationship with his twin, but he also became Israel, a founder of nations and kings.

Persistent prayer pays off.  Frightened, Jacob prayed for God’s protection and recalled God’s promise that He’d make his “descendants like the sand of the sea.” (Gen 32:12 NIV) And then again when he wrestled with God all night, persevering until God blessed him.

Don’t make hasty decisions. Jacob remained where he was for the night to pray and regroup.

Expect favor. Our God is bigger and mightier than any problem I might face, and when I ask Him for help, His response is to bless.

Oh, and my old Bible? I moved it to my desk. All those highlights and notes make for a fabulous research reference. 🙂

Crazy about Writing: Why Pure Amore? by Dora Hiers

So you’re browsing the bookstore and a gorgeous cover screams at you to pick it up. You don’t recognize the author’s name, but intrigued by the back cover blurb, you buy it and hustle home. Settling back in your recliner with a steaming cup of tea, you dig into the pages, quickly becoming immersed in the plot and enjoying where the story’s taking you…until you find yourself peering through the bedroom door.

What do you do? Do you keep reading or slam the cover down on the book? Do you read more books by that author or publisher? And what do you do with the book? Hide it from your kids? Donate it to the library? Toss it in the recycling bin?
Pelican Book Group recently launched a new imprint, Pure Amore. Pure…as in undefiled, wholesome. As in romances you can trust won’t propel you through the bedroom door. Books you can feel safe leaving out on the table in plain sight, without fear that your preteen might skim the pages.
Topping out at 45k words, these petite gems feature heroes and heroines between 21-33 years of age, one or both sexually pure, and Christians from page one. No preaching, no conversion scenes, no controversy, no judgment. Just two flawed characters trying to hold tight to ideals the world no longer values.
I’m thrilled that two of my books, When Love Triumphs and When Hope Rises are included in this line. How could I resist the opportunity to create stories with hunky heroes who just might need a little shove from a feisty heroine to overcome their fears?
Take Tanner Random, from When Love Triumphs, for example. After years of being a Navy SEAL, he’s back in Promise Lake to care for his abandoned niece. He hopes Winter will recognize that he’s not the same guy she rejected years ago, that he buried his old ways along with his best SEAL bud. But even if she does, he has his niece to care for now…and an alcoholic father who rarely leaves his chair or strays far from a bottle of whiskey. Does the same gene course through his blood?
Or Tate Malone, a guidance counselor in When Hope Rises. Growing up, Tate lugged buckets of water home from a nearby park for bathing and cooking, and studied by candlelight. His parents had moving down to an art, knowing the exact number of rent payments they could skip before being evicted. Then, just before his junior year, they moved again…without telling him. He gave up dating after his last girlfriend called him a freak for refusing to be intimate. When Shelby seeks his help for a student, he’s forced to confront his insecurity…would she abandon him, too?
We each have fears and flaws, experiences and struggles, hopes and dreams. We bring all of that with us into our relationships. We love, we laugh, we argue, we fall short…in every way.
Sure. We mess up. But that’s not the end of the story. The end is so much better, sweeter. There’s…Grace. Forgiveness. Restoration. Hope. Love. And perfect lovecovers it all. That’s why I write, and that’s what I hope readers will take away from all my stories.
Pure Amore…available by subscription, a book delivered to your mailbox or inbox every month for an entire year.
It’s your turn. Do you prefer romances where the bedroom door is closed?
Why or why not?

Blurb for When Love Triumphs:

Police Officer Winter Evan and Navy SEAL Tanner Random are wrong for each other. Winter fears the water. Tanner skims through seas for a living. So four years ago, Winter convinced herself she’d be better off not worrying about his months at sea and his increased cajoling for physical intimacy.
But when she walked away, she lost a giant chunk of her heart.
Now Tanner’s back in town to care for his abandoned niece. No longer a SEAL, he’s sticking to the safety of the North Carolina mountains as a paramedic. Should Winter risk losing her heart all over again? Will God help them build what started years ago into something solid and secure? When love triumphs…

Blurb for When Hope Rises:

Art teacher Shelby Coltman transforms junk into treasure and longs for a place to showcase her creations. She’s thrilled when her friend volunteers to room with her. Shelby can finally buy a storefront. Unfortunately, Kennedi’s brother can’t seem to let go.
Abandoned as a teenager, guidance counselor Tate Malone has become surrogate and over-protective father to his sister. Life is great until Shelby Coltman wheedles his impressionable sister into sharing an apartment. Raised in wealth, the beautiful Shelby could never understand poverty or rejection, and Tate doesn’t appreciate her uprooting his sister.
When Shelby hands over her savings to a homeless student, will God obliterate Tate’s fears and deliver all of Shelby’s dreams…when hope rises?

Excited about Reading ~ Just One Kiss by Wendy Davy


The Cover Story~

After acting on a dare and kissing the hottest guy at Granbury High, Molly Parker was left with a broken heart and a legacy she couldn’t live down; Dustin McKinley left town the very next day, taking her hopes and dreams along with him. A decade later…they meet again.

Molly assures herself she won’t fall for Dustin’s charms this time, yet with his good looks and dimpled smile, guarding her heart proves to be more of a challenge than she ever expected.

When Dustin inherits his grandmother’s farmhouse he returns to Granbury intending to sell the property. However, he must first evict the tenant occupying the garage apartment—the woman he walked away from years ago and has never been able to forget.

Dustin assures himself he’s doing what must be done, but when he reunites with Molly his attraction to her rekindles, jeopardizing his carefully constructed plans.

My takeaway~
Just One Kiss was all it took for Dustin McKinley to bolt for New York, leaving Molly Parker embarrassed about accepting the dare that sent him running. When another man swindles her savings, she’s over men and dating, content to grow flowers over relationships. That is until Dustin returns, and both are confronted with feelings that never faded. A few hurdles stand in their way, though, an eviction notice, the demands of Dustin’s job, and Carter Hutchins, the guy who plans to seduce Molly.

With a twenty-something hero and heroine who both value purity, Just One Kiss is sweet and soft, the kind of book that leaves you with an “ahhh” at the last page.

“I want to be loyal to my future marriage. I believe my body is a gift I should save for my husband.” ~Molly Parker

I especially enjoyed the parallel woven into the story involving Lakota, a homeless Labrador Retriever who the whole town cares for, with Dustin.

“She just has to believe she’s found the right place to be.” ~ Molly Parker on Lakota, the town’s stray dog 

 If you’re looking for a pleasant read to curl up with for a few hours on a rainy Saturday, you can’t go wrong with Just One Kiss. 

~ Dora, Fiction Faith and Foodies Blog

Disclaimer: I purchased Just One Kiss. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.