Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Restoring the Stolen - Martin Wiles


The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.” Joel 2:25 NLT

The unsealed envelope lay in my teacher’s mailbox, begging to be opened.

The week that school started back carried more drama than I cared to relive. The events began early Sunday morning when my daughter’s house was hit by bullets from a drive-by shooting. Luckily, she nor my grandsons were injured.

Later the same day, after going by the school to put a few things in my classroom, I pulled up to the gas station for a little fuel. After swiping my debit card and entering my PIN number, the screen returned to the opening message. A trip inside, I thought. As I waited in line, I noticed motioning for me to return to the car. I did. My wife had our bank account pulled up on her phone. The balance? Zero.

I suppose the crook soon found out they had hacked the wrong account. Spending $82 dollars doesn’t take long—and it only took them three transactions. But it was more painful for us. I needed gas, and we needed a few staples and groceries to get us by until payday.

Mom offered to buy me a few dollars’ worth of gas, along with milk, sugar, and pop tarts. The next day at our first In-Service meeting, I shared our recent dilemmas. Fellow teachers and staff members offered their prayers and support.

Later that day, after most of the meetings were over, I checked my mailbox and found the unsealed envelope. Inside was $82 dollars in cash. No note. No explanation. No name. Of course, that’s what we do around our school. We replenish what the enemy attempts to steal—just as God, through Joel, told Israel He would do for them if they turned from their disobedient behavior.

In my case, I hadn’t been disobedient, but God works even when the hard times aren’t a result of known sin. He loves to put us in situations where we have no way out so we can develop complete trust in His sovereign care. I had no idea whom to thank, so I just thanked the entire school—and, of course, God.

God’s hands aren’t tied by the enemy’s work. He is more than able to defeat anything Satan throws our way. And when we respond correctly, He’ll teach us to depend on Him even more—especially when we have seemed to have reached the end of our ropes.

Trust that God will restore what the enemy attempts to steal.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that no matter how strong the enemy’s tactics are that Yours are stronger still.



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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Author Interview with Megan Kinney



Today, Love Lines from God welcomes author, Megan Kinney.

Welcome, Megan, Tell us when you decided to become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?

I’ve always loved to write, but my earliest memory of it was in the second grade when I wrote a story about a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day. I wrote my first book sixteen years ago when I was pregnant with my first child.  

Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from? 

Most of my ideas come from hearing about a circumstance and imagining what it would be like to be that person. For instance, with my debut novel, Dakota Peace, I was at a funeral for a fallen police officer. The dispatcher who had taken the call when the officer died called the officer’s number over the radio for the last time and told the officer to rest in peace because they had it from there. I couldn’t get that moment out of my head, and the story of a dispatcher with burnout was born.

Why do you write what you do?

I write women’s fiction because those are the characters I have the most connection to. 

What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing? 

The hardest part of the creative process for me is finding a conflict that motivates the characters to change and that will continue through the whole book. I usually create the character’s personalities and their struggles pretty easily, but sometimes the plot gives me problems or people who know more about that issue shoot holes in my plot. My husband is a state trooper, and he did that several times in Dakota Peace. But the book is better because he made me rethink the plot.


If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future? 

I’m Christian writing in the general market, so I struggled with how to help the characters grow without giving God the credit. 

If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your books?

The hardest thing about writing Dakota Peace was working through many of the mistakes first-time authors make. I had a lot of back story that had to be edited out, and I needed to be more consistent in the struggles my characters were trying to overcome. Cutting some great scenes that did not move the story forward was hard, but I see how the finished product is far better than the original. It usually takes me a year to write and edit a book. 

Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.

I’m just starting my journey through the writing business, so my frustrations were more from my own ignorance of the process. Learning to market, especially online when I didn’t have much of a platform to begin with, was tough. I could have used some more instruction from the beginning, but I’ve found some amazing people who have guided me through it. Finding a publishing company that wanted to take a chance on a first-time author was difficult as well. 

On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?

I love when the words flow and a scene comes together, especially when it’s unexpected even to me. And I love it when I get positive feedback on my work. 

What are you reading now, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?

My favorite genre to read is historical fiction because I love to step back into a different time period. I just finished On Wings of Devotion by Roseanna M. White. It’s about a nurse and a code breaker/pilot during WWI. I love reading Elizabeth Camden, Melanie Dickerson, Jody Hedlund, and Jen Turan’s historical novels. 

Can you give readers the buy link for your book? 

https://shoplpc.com/dakota-peace
https://www.amazon.com/Dakota-Peace-Megan-Kinney/dp/1645262553

And can you provide your social media links so readers can follow you?

Facebook
Instagram


A foster mom and policeman’s wife, Megan Kinney combines her experiences and love of writing in her debut novel. When she’s not behind a book or computer, she’s enjoying the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and four daughters. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Throwback Tuesday on Monday - When Suffering Comes - Martin Wiles

When Suffering Comes

The brother’s hugged before one entered surgery. Little did they know what lay ahead.

Two brothers, Chad and Ryan Arnold. One with a healthy liver, the other with incurable liver disease. But love won out. In Denver, Colorado, Ryan…age 34…the brother with the healthy liver, was donating a part of his liver to his brother who needed it to live. The surgery was complicated and dangerous. Everything seemed to go well, but complications set in. Within four days, the brother with the healthy liver had died while the sick brother survived. Read more...

Tweetable: Where do you turn in times of suffering? 

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Love Works Everything Out - Martin Wiles



Series: Love Unchained

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

“My house has been shot.”

The early morning text from my daughter was not how I wanted to begin my day of worship. I wanted details, and they came too slowly by text. But my daughter is a Millennial, and that’s how she communicates best.

Over the course of the next half hour, my wife and I pieced together what had happened. Our daughter lives in a less-than-desirable section of town. Since moving into her new house, several shootings have occurred either in her neighborhood or in the nearby apartment complex. This case was a drive-by and was aimed at one of our daughter’s neighbor’s children.

As the car sped by the young man who walked down the street, three shots rang out. He dropped and rolled, but one bullet struck my daughter’s house and two her neighbor’s house. Fortunately, no one in either house was harmed. The one bullet which pierced our daughter’s house plowed through wall after wall until it finally stopped in the back bedroom after having passed through our two grandsons’ bedrooms and their bathroom. Luckily, one of them slept on the couch, and the other slept in the bed with his mom.

The bullets that struck her neighbor’s house entered low and could have easily struck and killed anyone standing or sitting. The mom happened to be lying in bed. The bullet which entered our daughter’s house went in high near the roof, and continued that way as it made its path through the house.

As believers in God’s sovereignty, we believe God protected our daughter and grandchildren. Had it not turned out as it did, we would not have stopped believing in God’s sovereignty or love. Paul says God takes everything, good and bad, and works it all together for good in His children’s lives.

How God will use this for good in my daughter’s life remains to be seen. Perhaps she’ll move to a safer area. Maybe she’ll install a security system. Maybe she’ll draw closer to God or use this as an illustration of God’s protection when talking to someone going through a similar experience.

Whatever God does with the “bad” things in our lives, they’ll be good when He gets through with them. Our part is simply to trust and obey and to leave the consequences to Him.

Trust all events in your life to God, and watch what He does.

Prayer: Father, we give our lives—and everything in them—over to Your providential care.



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Friday, February 14, 2020

Flashback Friday - A Simple Yes Will Do - Martin Wiles

A Simple Yes Will Do

While growing up, "Little House on the Prairie," was one of my favorite television shows. One touching characteristic of the series was how the town’s inhabitants trusted each other. After all, it was through teamwork and trust that the town had materialized on the Midwest farmlands. Farmers normally had no funds to buy seed and other items needed to plant their fields. But not to worry. Charles Ingles—like any other farmer, could saunter into Oleson’s Mercantile and walk away with seed and any other needed items to plant his fields. Mr. Oleson simply gave farmers the materials based on their promises to pay him when the crops came in and were sold. No paperwork to sign. No binding contracts. Just a simple promise to pay, perhaps accompanied by a handshake. Good track records and reputations led to mountains of reliance. Read more...

Tweetable: How good is your credit? 


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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Author Interview with Maria Henriksen


Today, Love Lines from God welcomes author, Maria Henriksen. 

Maria, tell us when you decided to become a writer. In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?

I have always liked writing. In fact, I wrote and illustrated books and comic strips as early as third grade. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I seriously entertained the notion of becoming a novelist. At that time, I decided it was important to read as much as possible. From there, I figured out what type of genre I wanted to write.

Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from?

Honestly, the ideas just pop into my head. I use actual experiences as a springboard and then from there the real creativity flows.

Why do you write what you do?

I write what I like reading. Since I frequently worked in a high school, I had access to young adult novels. Something about being around teenagers and reading about them always interested me. I’m also a sucker for a little romance, and I was disappointed when romance never ensued in the books I read. Also, most of the books I encountered were not Christian, and as a believer, I craved that spiritual component. It wasn’t until I sat down to write Not Again that I combined all the elements I enjoyed reading into one novel.

What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?

Honestly, once I start writing, I don’t have many issues. In that sense, I suppose the hardest thing is finding the time to write. I really need to schedule it in my day and make it a priority or it doesn’t happen.

If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future?

As a Christian writer, I feel the challenges we face are embracing the differences in how we share the gospel. Since my target audience is the youth, I intentionally created intense scenes and kept the plot moving to keep the interest of readers who expect instant gratification. Teens today are exposed to so much in terms of graphic violence, pre-marital sex, and otherworldly sins that should not be swept under the rug. Ignoring the existence of sin will not put an end to it. It is our responsibility, as Christian writers, to offer alternatives. Not Again addresses these sins in a relatable way and provides practical and spiritual methods to combat them.

If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your books?

The biggest challenge I faced in writing my novel was deciding where to end it and what to add and delete. My original manuscript extended the time period into college, and I didn’t realize the length of my novel. I had no idea how many words a typical young adult novel consisted of. It wasn’t until after I wrote it that I decided to shorten the time frame of the novel by restricting it to high school years and to make the remainder of the original the beginning of the sequel. That required adding an epilogue along with other chapters to enhance the character development which lays the groundwork for the sequel. It took me a few months to write the original manuscript. The actual finished product took well over a year.

Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.

Finding professional people of integrity who provide valuable services is the biggest frustration I have encountered. I have worked with several people who demonstrated their inexperience, incompetence, or lack of work ethic, yet asked for more money than the agreed upon contract amount. I had to start over and find new people to perform certain services or learn how to do it myself.

Dealing with the outcome of people who have publicly slammed my work has been gut-wrenching, too, but it has opened my eyes to the realization that my novel is not for everyone—as I originally thought. As published authors, we are artists who put our work out there, making ourselves vulnerable to criticism. Some authors choose not to read their reviews for that reason. An author friend said, “Opinions, everyone has them.”

Finally, promoting my book is an ongoing frustration. If I don’t constantly promote it, I risk losing what I have built. Not only is it costly to get the word out, but it is also challenging to crack the many codes for effective advertising. Bottom line, it takes time, money, and energy to promote a book. That’s time, money, and energy taken away from writing the next masterpiece.

On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?

I find it rewarding to create something out of nothing. Putting words on the screen that evoke intentional reactions like crying or laughing is satisfying. Healing hearts one page at a time is rewarding. Having someone accept Jesus as a result of reading Not Again is the biggest gift imaginable.

What are you reading now, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?

I really don’t have any favorite authors, but I plan on reading Knit 2, Purl 2, Kill 2 by Erina Bridget Ring.

Would you give the readers the buy link for your book?


And could you provide your social media links so the readers can connect with you?


Instagram:
 


Goodreads: 

Bookbub: 


New subscribers to my blog/newsletter also receive a FREE relaxation-audio download. Go to the bottom sections of my website to sign up for a free subscription. https://www.mariathenriksen.com

Maria T. Henriksen is a newly published author of Not Again. Not Again is a young adult edgy Christian romance novel. Since she was a child, Maria has dreamed of becoming a published novelist and plans on writing the sequel to Not Again.

Maria wears many hats. She is a wife to a doting husband and a mother to boy/girl teenage twins, as well as a substitute teacher of all grade levels and disciplines. In addition to writing, subbing, and rearing her amazing twins, Maria can be found running on trails or the track to stay fit. Her son is the inspiration for her running and she loves it so much that running is incorporated in her book.

Maria considers writing her ministry. As a guest blogger, Maria writes devotions and featured articles relating to the writing and publishing world. She also hosts her own blog and is a featured guest speaker on podcasts.

Maria also helps aspiring and fellow authors by showcasing them and their writing on her blog and in her Facebook group, Maria’s Muses: Inspirational, Christian, and Close-to-the-Heart Readers.


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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Love Knows No Separation - Martin Wiles


Series: Love Unchained

Indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 NLT

Miles and money separate me from it.

Lying in bed one morning, I pondered over what my mother had told me a few days prior. My first cousin and his family had bought my aunt’s house after she died, remodeled it, and moved in. Now they were dissatisfied. It appears the old home place would be sold to strangers.

Which is what happened to my grandparents’ home just next door. When my grandmother died, Mom and her sister sold the house and one acre of land to strangers. I wondered why one of them didn’t buy it … or why one of the grandchildren didn’t. I now hear the owners plan to sell the house again.

Now it appears that what once connected me to my relatives will be disrupted … on two accounts. If I had the money, I’d purchase both houses and the accompanying land—just to preserve the memories, not because I want to live in the area. But it would make a good vacation spot.

Miles separate me from the old home places, and money keeps me from purchasing them. Funny the things that can detach us from things—or people—we want.

Paul said detachment can’t happen in our relationship with God. Once we connect with Him through faith in Christ, nothing can separate us from the love He gives us. Separations may be a real part of our physical existence, but my spiritual connection is safe and secure. Trials will come and go, but God never will. People, friendships, and family will come and go, but God will remain. I’ll accumulate possessions and watch them deteriorate, but God will stay.

God’s love in my life also makes it possible for me to live in harmony with others, thereby cementing my connection to them. Clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14). When I recognize what God has done for me, a sinner, I’ll have an easier time getting along with others. The irritations that arise in relationships won’t be so irritating because I’ll realize I’m not perfect either. I’ll look for common ground in relationships rather than stirring up strife.

Many love relationships are severed when love isn’t present anymore, but we don’t have to worry about God walking away from us. His love is everlasting.

Take comfort in knowing God will love you eternally.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that Your love for us never ends. Help us extend Your love to others.



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