Comes a Horseman

  • "Not for the faint of heart, this is quality writing that deserves a lofty niche within the action/suspense genre. It is well-researched and meticulously detailed, and the characters are fascinating and 'real,' the dialogue clever and altogether human, the plot compelling. What I'm trying to say is, I love it!"Frank Peretti, author of Monster and This Present Darkness

I agree with Frank. Comes a Horseman is adult, thriller fiction and, frankly, it is about time we had some in the Christian realm.

Robert Liparulo is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly. He has sold or optioned three screenplays.

So, "success" is a great word to describe him. The link above will take you to Robert's website and this one will take you to Chapter 1.

I was riveted. The first word pulled me into a dark world that gave me delicious shivers. You can buy the book here. Don't miss this most excellent Christian dip into Thriller territory! Happy reading...

Mixed emotions

I have a purple line. I am verified. It is official and I have a certificate :) That is more exciting than an A.

I truly have mixed emotions about this contest. I put over 50,000 words together and finished a draft of a book about women in church leadership. I am passionate about it and it is very controversial. But...

I have so much work to do to get it to a point where I can write a proposal that I'm not sure it is a good thing or a bad thing to write a book so fast.

I have 2 papers to write to finish my undergrad work for my degree. I don't know that I will be back here as often as I'd like (which had been almost every day). I will try.

My baby girl

My baby girl, all of four years old, looked up at me with a tear-streaked face and whispered, “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

How can you look at a sweet face and get mad? When I took time to look at my girls’ faces, I never could get mad at them.

We had a sunken den which was one of the most dangerous because most people tripped going from the kitchen into the den, no matter how many times we’d warn people the step was there. And there Amanda was, sprawled out on the step with her little knee skinned and a cut on her hand from the ceramic bowl my Mom had made me for my birthday. It was one in a set of four and the last ceramics she’d made. (There is still a rooster in the store room ready to be painted for the past 24 years.) Manda knew how important that bowl was to me because we’d had a discussion about her using it for her chili that night. She so much wanted to put away her plastic baby dishes and be a big girl, eating from bowls just like the rest of us.

Now, as I looked at that precious face, my heart just melted. She was trying not to cry about the cut on her hand because, to her, the more important thing was she’d broken Mommy’s bowl.

I scooped her up and hugged her tightly, wiping her tears and kissing her little hand. Tears stream down my cheeks right now just thinking about it. How trusting God is to put a tiny life under my authority. I could have yelled and screamed putting the bowl above my daughter in importance. Praise God, I did not. Of course, there were times when I did yell and scream. This time, though, I am so thankful that I let her know she was much more important than any old bowl.

If I can be this way with my daughter, how much more God is to His children. How much He desires to scoop us up and let us know how very important we are to Him. How precious we are to Him. So much so, that He paid a huge price for us. With my daughter in my arms, I cannot possibly contemplate giving her up to die for anyone else. Yet, God did…Love so amazing and so divine that it is not understood by humans without His help.

This is what I am thankful for.

I could name hundreds of things that God has given me, but there is nothing so precious as the gift of His Son.

Father, I lift up my thanksgiving to You, with lifted hands and open heart, I pour myself out as a living sacrifice. I pray that You will give a beautiful holy day to all Your children. In Jesus name, Amen.

Isn't He?

Isn’t He beautiful? Beautiful, isn’t He? Prince of Peace, Son of God, isn’t He?

Isn’t He wonderful? Wonderful, isn’t He? Counselor, Almighty God, isn’t He?
Isn't He? Isn't He? Isn't He?
I do not know who wrote these words or I would give credit. Also, I would give credi to the artists, but alas, I do not know them either.

Let's dance

Here's the question...

Do you believe God is bigger than any problem?

I know beyond any doubt that God can be trusted. He has been true and faithful my whole life even when I decided to turn my back on Him. What God says He will do, He will do. Fully 1/4 of the Bible is prophecy and every one of the prophecies have come true so far even to the exact timing. I am quite sure the rest of them will come true in God's good timing.

Paul explains to us that those that wandered in the desert for 40 years all ate of the Spiritual food (manna) and all drank of the Spiritual drink (sweet water from bitter). 1 Cor 10. But these people kept on complaining, kept on trying Him, kept on murmurming, they fornicated and the crown of their sins was that they disbelieved God. Yet... God was with them through it all. He could have so easily breathed Holy fire on them and burned them up. But, He didn't.

Nothing is greater or bigger than God. All things fall in line with Scripture and God most certainly is Who He says He is and will do exactly what He says He will do. When He says He will never leave or forsake us, He means it. I am living proof.

Our God is an awesome God.

The key to realize is that our battles begin and end in the Mind. Our thinking is a powerful tool that can, if we allow him to, be used by Satan. We must ask God to take complete authority over our hearts and our minds. We must redecorate our minds with Jesus and that will take the shackles of bondage off of us so, as that song goes, we can dance!

God is the only safe, consuming passion we have. Our Enemy is seizing technology and is trying to make evil from what God intended for good. The only way to be released from evil is to take down that tacky decor in our mind and replace it with Jesus. The drugs of constant TV and games and internet JUNK must be replaced with things that are holy and things that are pure and things that are godly. Meditate on these things and watch how the addictions of the world have no more power. It is astounding!

So put on that Helmet of Salvation and remove Satan's influence by trusting God...Believe God. Wear the Sword of the Spirit so that the evil thoughts won't find a foot hold. Wear the shoes of the Gospel of Peace and dance with Him. And the Belt of Truth will keep us from tripping over our skirts when we dance. He wants to dance with us. Can you see His hand outstreched? Can you hear His sweet voice asking you to dance? We'll never be a wallflowers, because our Beloved always has His protective arm around us. Turn up the music and let's dance!

Another thing about women...update

Please understand, I started this project at 10 AM this morning. Taking time out for prayer about it around 11:30 AM and then writing the post below which took a few minutes... The bathroom faucets are now in place and there is no dripping water.

Do you hear the Hallelujah Chorus in the background?

Neighbor did not come over to finish it, but My Daughter saved the day. She contorted and scrunched and twisted and used me to hand her things. And it is done. And we are proud.

And now a moment of prayful thanksgiving to God for providing such a wonderful daughter -- who did not lose her cool, amen. Thank You, Lord.

Another thing about women...

You know how sometimes we bite off more than we can chew? We see a project and we just know -- I can DO that. Then we get into it and find out we can't. Women are resourceful and when in an independent mode will tackle just about any job that needs doing, regardless of the size or type...especially, if it has directions.

Men think, "Who needs directions? I can mess this up pefectly all by myself." (The same thought applies to driving; just insert "get lost" in place of "mess". I can say this because both times I was married, it was to men just like this.

Resourceful women will read the map, get out and ask directions, read instructions and do the job. Dependent women will ask, nag and wait for someone else to do the job. I can say this because I was a dependent woman for the first 30 years of my life. My sister was the one to be out with Dad learning all those handiman things. Me... I learned all the cooking and sewing inside things.

Mom's bathroom faucet went kaput.

My sister is not here.

Picture, if you will, a box full of the New Things (faucet, handles, washers, screws, etc.) and the old things stacked up on the side of the sink. That is how I left it just a few moments ago.

I've just been sitting on Mom's bathroom floor taking all the hardware out of the sink because it went kaput. As I was unscrewing all the thingys from the things, I had to ask for God's strength because the thingys were too tight on the things. Well. He not only gave me extra strength, but He helped me to know which way to unscrew. (I have tugged and pulled on a thang the wrong way only making it tighter. Sigh... mechanic, I am not.) Then I get to the point where I can now start assembling the New Things into the holes. Except, this new assemblage came without some parts.

Now, I am one that can follow directions, especially with God's help. But, when it comes to knowing how big something is and without knowing what it is, in order to go buy it at the hardware store, I am at a loss. I do not have a clue what to ask for. The Directions say, "attach to water tubes (not supplied)."

:-o :-x :-? :-(

What kind of water tubes? The New Things we bought do not look at all like the old things that came out of the sink. The old tubes are not flexible. The old tubes are too long and are so tightly in place, carroded (sp?) that they look (and feel) fused in place. I am going to have to ask the neighbor who drives across my yard to come and help, I think. Super Neighbor to the rescue. I love neighbors... even if they do drive across my lawn.

My neighbor will not laugh and jeer at me for having gotten so far and gotten stuck. He loved my Dad and told us the last time we had any problems to please call him. It was a plumbing problem then, too.

Let me give you an idea what a beautiful neighbor he is. This man hates cats. He warned me about a Siamese cat that had just taken to wandering the neighborhood right after we moved in. He wanted to be sure I knew about it and to beware because it wasn't a friendly cat. The cat he was talking about was our cat, Scooter. When Dad was so sick in the hospital, he came over and told us that he'd watch the house for us while we were at the hospital. He said, "I'll do anything you need done!" That was great!

We got to the hospital but forgot to put out food for Scooter. He probably had enough food for a couple of days, but we just forgot about him. Then Cooney called to ask about Dad and again said, "Is there anything I can do to help?"

It must have been the Devil whispering to me, I said, "Would you go feed Scooter?"

"Scooter? Who's that?"

"Our cat."

He not only fed our cat but when Scooter got outside, he chased after him to put him back in the house. I can't help it. That picture is so funny. The little kitty cat feet running just out of reach, then stopping to see what Cooney would do, then running just out of reach. It's a hoot.

The Scream

Do you ever feel like there is something welling up and the only way to get any relief is to Scream?

Today... no, this week... has been like that for me. I bit off that huge bite called NaNoWriMo this month. Add to that, midterms, other tests, papers and not to mention Sunday School lessons, studies, The Partriarchs, Faith in Fiction comments, other people's blogs that are truly intriguing and I don't want to miss a single post and I feel like this person who cannot hold back a scream.

I spent the first part of this week getting all my work done so I could spend today and tomorrow writing. I got caught up on all the posts (I think) and found out some prayer needs which are very serious. My daughter just broke up with her boyfriend and she is very needy just now. Not to mention the emails (which I dearly love). Plus I'm just about caught up on studies but I haven't done two days of studies on The Patriarchs, and I only spent about three hours writing. NOT at all what I had planned.


Now, this is the whole point of this, I came face to face with a calamity in my writing. My short story was based on a true story. My daughter asked about it so I told her the story. "Mom that is heart wrenching. There's a guy at Lifetime that loves doing true stories with heart wrenching twists. This is right up his alley. Write a treatment and I'll see if I can get it to him."

[shocked look]

So here I am writing furiously... doing some copy/paste and getting all the facts together for my NaNoWriMo book on Women in Leadership--A look at what the Bible has to say. (Those of you who followed my little mini-series on Women In Leadership got a little taste of it.) So, I'm fully concentrating on that project and here is this other project which I have had rolling around in the back of my mind for a couple of months and had originally planned to write for NaNo being tantalizingly waved under my nose like a carrot on a stick.


How do I know that my current work in progress (WIP) is actually what God is wanting me to do? Me neither. So I prayed. "God, I just need you to knock me on the head, point me in the direction You'd have me go and do not let me miss it. Please. I only want to please You, God."
This is serious because I've got just over 28,000 words on paper for a 50,000 word draft project. That is a long way down a wrong path which I was positive was the right one.

Then I get an email from a friend about the subject. I get another email from another friend about the same subject. I get another email from another friend. All this within the space of a few minutes of my prayer. I loved what Jules said, 'Dance with the one that brought cha.' How could I possibly ignore such profound wisdom? I agree, I could not. It is great to know that I have another project waiting for me to shape into a Tom-terrific story. It seems that God is lining them up for me.

The greatest thing is that He will keep me on the right path. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path. Just as a deer pants for water, my soul pants for Him and the beautiful part is, He knows that I only want to please Him so it is much easier for me to hear that still small voice when it comes to direction finding decisions. Even if this did not make a lot of sense to you... I have a wonderful sense of peace now, and that makes a lot of sense to me.

P.S. (keening wail) Why didn't someone tell me that one of my all time favorite paintings was stolen in 2004 and has not been recovered yet. It was recovered on May 7th... just 3 months after being stolen in 1994 but this time, no Scream.

Do you have your Rock?

Ages ago, actually last century, I ran across a story about a man and a huge rock. I have no idea who wrote it but God called it to my mind this week. I searched for it but have no idea where it might be, so I'll try to remember it as best I can.

A man had his home in the woods far from civilization. He liked it that way and relished the clear air and exercise he got walking as well as the marvelous peace he had from the bustling city just down the mountain.

One morning he walked outside and saw a huge rock sitting right in the middle of the path he took to work. He put his hands on his hips wondering how it got there and how he was going to get rid of it. The Angel of the Lord appeared beside him and said, "O, Man, God has sent me to tell you that it is His great desire that you push against this rock."

The man was astonished, but he loved the LORD and wanted to please Him, so every morning he pushed and pushed against the rock. He would break for lunch and refresh himself with water, but his main concern was pushing the rock. Day after day, he pushed and pushed, to no avail.

Satan came to visit him one bright afternoon. He settled on top of the rock and watched the man push and push. He heaved a huge sigh, then spoke, "O, Man, I have watched you push and push against this rock, and it goes no where. You have been at this for days and days and nothing has happened. Why don't you quit? Why don't you just give up and walk around the rock? Go back to your routine and forget about this blasted rock. You are getting no where fast."

The Man stepped back from the rock, wiped his brow, then looked up at Satan. "Sir, you have a point. Why am I pushing with no results? I'm wasting my time here pushing against this thing every day when I could be doing something productive. You are right!" With that, he stomped back into his home and slammed the door. While waiting for the water to boil so he could brew a cup of tea, he stared out his window at the rock. There it sat, right in the middle of the path, blocking his view of the mountain side. A useless hunk of stone that God had dropped in his path.

He drank his tea, brooding about the rock.

The Angel of the LORD settled into the chair across from him. "O, Man, why do you sit in here brooding and not pushing the rock? Did God tell you to quit pushing? He gave me no such message, so I know that isn't true."

The man put down his cup and glared at The Angel of the LORD. "I have pushed and pushed against that rock with nothing to show for it. I have not been able to budge it an inch, much less to move it from the pathway. It blocks my view and it is useless."

"Did God tell you to move the rock or to push the rock?"

"To push! But, what was the use of that? It went no where."

"You obeyed, the LORD God Almighty, Man. You pushed for days on end and that was precisely what the LORD told you to do. There is righteousness in that. Look at your legs. The muscles are taut and huge. Your back is strong and straight. Your arms are twice the size they were months ago. You have a finely muscled body that is in shape for your next task. God did not tell you to move the stone. He did not tell you to go around the stone, but to push it. If you had not obeyed, you would not be ready for your next work. Sometimes, God will tell you to do things that make no sense in the short distance between your nose and the rock. But, in the big picture you will see that it makes perfect sense and all things have a purpose according to God's good purposes for all those who love Him."

This week I have understood a lot about God and His lessons...
Beth Moore pointed out in a Friday night session:
Sometimes it is much easier to just soak in the worship experience than to dig into God's word.
Sometimes it is much easier to let God fight our battles than to work with Him to build a warrior.
Sometimes it is much easier to allow fear to hold sway than to boldly go where God would have us.
Sometimes it is much easier to just let God carry us than to let Him teach us to walk with Him.

I must remember that God has many works for me to do and He will never let me go unprepared. It would actually be a lot simpler for me if I would let go and let God, instead of having this white-knuckle grip on the things of the past. I thought I had learned that lesson. Sigh... Paul said that he pressed forward, not looking back because those things can't be changed. We can't change the past, but we can change the future by learning our lessons well, by taking the tests once, rather than taking them over and over. We will continue to take those tests until we've truly learned the lessons God has for us to learn. We may as well get our books and go to school with the mindset of learning; putting bandages on the scraped knees with God's kisses making them better. I just know that God really doesn't care how many times we fail, as long as we keep getting up and coming to school. He knows we'll eventually learn... one day.

Amazing what you find when you clean up

This is from my pastor friend, Alan Smith. I found it in my archives while transfering files to my new laptop computer.

The following are ads from a real-life newspaper (so I've been told) which appeared four days in a row - the last three hopelessly trying to correct the first day's mistake.

MONDAY: For sale: R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M.. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap.

TUESDAY: Notice: We regret having erred in R.D. Jones' ad yesterday. It should have read "One sewing machine for sale cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly, who lives with him after 7 P.M."

WEDNESDAY: Notice: R.D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in the classified ad yesterday. The ad stands correct as follows: "For sale -- R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone
948-0707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him."

THURSDAY: Notice: I, R.D. Jones, have no sewing machine for sale. I smashed it. Don't call 948-0707 as I have had the phone disconnected. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper but she quit!

It's so frustrating when we're misunderstood. It's even more frustrating when people purposefully twist what we're trying to say. The early Christians struggled with this very problem. When they talked about the connection of the Lord's Supper with the body and
blood of Christ, they were called cannibals. When they talked about their "love feasts", others accused them of having orgies. That doesn't seem fair, but Jesus said to expect it.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in
heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
(Matthew 5:10-12).

7 habits of highly effective godly women

I know I was going to talk about Martha and Mary yesterday, but I've been so swamped with school and writing and taking Mom to the doctor (her eyes). But I ran across this wonderful tidbit from Cindy Townsend who is Louisiana's Women's Missions Director at Louisiana Baptist Connvention. I took these notes back on February 8, 2003.

1. Trims away selfishness...Col 3:5,9,10 put to death earthly desires. Take 40 days and trim away the fat of selfishness and put in its place God's Word.
(Lord help Yourself to the Kitchen of my Life... toss the rubbish and let's dine on gourmet meals.)

2. Marinate me in You and Your Word so that I amm not recognized but only You are recognized.

3. Sprinkle every relationnship with Your love. Help me to be devoted to others as You are.

4. Sift through my desires to hold to the things of this world loosely. Lord, just help Yourself to my stuff.

5. Stir my heart to follow You in obedience and also to have faith and trust in You in abundance.
(What comes is joy in the journey. He will make straight my path.)

6. Season my words with wisdom. Ephesians 4:29-30. May only that which is pleasing to You come out of my mouth.
(This is about the 15th time I've heard this lately, ya think God is trying to tell me something?)

7. Serve You, Lord, with glory, for You alone are worthy. My story for Your glory.

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