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Monthly Archives: April 2012

  • Chosen by God

    Posted on April 22, 2012 by Family Christian

    Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him. Psalm 4:3

     

    God chooses His children for Himself. Our relationship with our Lord is all about Him. It is all about His desires, His pleasures, His vision, His goals, and His will. When we came to God we came empty handed, clinging only to the cross of Christ. So in our surrender to our Savior, we emptied ourselves and received Jesus. We went from self-sufficient to God-dependent. We went from flesh patterns to spiritual habits.

    We went from ungodly to godly. We went from an impersonal relationship with a distant God to an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, up close and personal. God chose us for Himself. Now in our engagement with eternity, we want what God wants. Our passions have been changed from the temporal to the eternal. We get excited over what excites God.

    Furthermore, He wants us to know and not forget these basic tenets of Christianity. He knows we need to know. He knows that we need to know because we forget and revert back to beliefs that rival God’s ownership of our lives. Because He owns us, He owns everything about us. You may be struggling with traveling overseas for the sake of His cause. But Jesus’s commands are clear that we are to go into all the world and make disciples.

    You may be too busy to build a relationship with your neighbors. But our sensitive Savior implores us to love them. Our words may say one thing, but our behavior brands us. What can we do today to set ourselves apart as His? Our distinctive may be to reflect a patient attitude, a caring comment, or sinless anger toward hypocrisy. We are at His disposal to carry out His desires. This is His expectation.

    Moreover, God offers a clear channel of communication for His children. He hears when we call to Him. Prayer is not passive for our heavenly Father. He is interested in our intense circumstances and our heartfelt fears. Because we are His, He listens to and answers our prayers. It is not always the answer we expect it to be. He defines His will for us as much with his answers of “no” as He does with His answers of “yes.”

    Our prayers are a response to the love, respect, dependency, and trust we have in our heavenly Father. Because we are His, we come to Him often, as does a child in a healthy relationship with his or her parent. We have no need to fear, for our heavenly Father is near. He is near to listen and to love. He is near to forgive and heal. He is a prayer away.

    The more we constantly converse with Christ, we will surely speak all the more boldly to men. Prayer is a purging and a preparation. It is God’s platform to launch us into fields that are ripe for harvest. It is a preparation for engagement in the lives of people. Prayer fills us with love so we can be emptied of love. God chooses us, and what He chooses He makes holy. We are godly because we are God’s. It is holiness that makes us fit to live with holy God forever. Without holiness we cannot see our Savior (Hebrews 12:14). Boldness follows seeing Jesus. Because He was poured out, we are sold out.

    Taken from Reading #3 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Our words may say one thing, but our behavior is what brands us. #behavior


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Remain Faithful

    Posted on April 21, 2012 by Family Christian

    “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

     

    Faithfulness tends to be practiced by the few. However, for all committed followers of Christ, the clarion call is to remain faithful. He is the object of your adoration and your obedience, and He deserves and desires your faithfulness. It should be easier to remain faithful when the object of your faithfulness is as pure as the driven snow.

    There is nothing about Jesus that doesn’t elicit faithfulness. His fairness invites faithfulness; His grace and generosity generate faithfulness; His love longs for faithfulness; His holiness inspires faithfulness; His compassion creates faithfulness; His forgiveness foretells faithfulness; His judgment motivates faithfulness; His life models faithfulness. Jesus remained faithful to the very end and, in Him, so can you.
       
    Is there anything about Jesus that keeps you from remaining faithful? Who else can you go to for eternal life (John 6:68)? Faithfulness to Jesus is par for the Christian life. He is the standard by which you live. Even under the onslaught of illness, you remain faithful. As circumstances around you crumble, you remain faithful. When people mistreat and misunderstand you, you remain faithful.

    If you lose your job, you remain faithful. When a close friend lets you down and rejects you, you still remain faithful to Jesus. Faithfulness to Jesus is the chorus of Christian living. Moreover, His faithfulness to you is the measure of your capacity to remain faithful. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit’s power in your life provides you with the capability to remain faithful.
       
    Remaining faithful to people is a natural byproduct of remaining faithful to Jesus. People can be disappointing and downright disturbing. But your faithfulness may be the very thing that draws them to Jesus. Certainly, your remaining faithful will give them pause to reflect on your radical love and forgiveness. Faithfulness reminds people of truth. Paul said, “I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus…” (1 Corinthians 4:17).

    Therefore, make it a goal to remain faithful to an “undeserving” relative or friend. This becomes a magnet attracting them to God, and not a detour to the devil. You may need to dissolve a working partnership, but you can still salvage the relationship. You can remain faithful even when the other party doesn’t. Let your faithfulness, not your feelings, be the gauge for your giving, your service, your forgiveness, and your love. Above all else, remain faithful to Jesus, for He is the Faithful One.

    Taken from April 19th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Remaining faithful to people is a natural byproduct of remaining faithful to Jesus. #faithful


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Spirit-Filled Leaders Love

    Posted on April 20, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.” Acts 6:3

     

    Leaders, full of the Spirit of God, represent the Lord well in how they serve others. A leader led by the Lord loves well. They look beyond what a person can do for them, and seek to understand what they can do for their colleagues. Love asks what motivates others to feel appreciated. Is it time off, a kind word, an unexpected bonus, or just knowing they are cared about? A spirit-filled servant of the Lord loves well, as a boss under God’s authority. 

    Furthermore, we may find ourselves in a position of responsibility to choose leaders at our church, in our community or for civic duties. This process of wisely qualifying a leader cannot become a popularity contest concerning charisma, charm, and who communicates the best. We are wise to prayerfully select those who serve for the pleasure of the customers or the constituents. Look for leaders who lovingly look out for others first.

    “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

    How are you doing as a leader who loves well? Yes, creating job opportunities is a good first step, but what about creating a culture of love? Not a workplace of mediocrity, but one of loving accountability. Team members are not made to believe in Jesus, but everyone is expected to behave like Jesus. As a leader do you model treating everyone with dignity? Janitors and Junior Associates alike receive your same respectful response.

    So, how do you remain consistent in leading a Spirit-filled life? It is a daily surrender to your Savior Jesus and death to self. You are a leaky vessel that needs the Lord’s infusion of grace to fill you back up to the brim. Yesterday’s filling cannot compensate for today’s empty feeling. Engage your faith in humble confession for the Spirit’s fullness and He will fill you to overflowing. Like a sprinkler refreshes grass, the Spirit waters your soul, so seek His fullness. Spirit-filled leaders love in the power of the Lord’s love.

    “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” John 6:63

    Prayer: Lord whom are you calling me to love and serve in Your name?

    Related Readings: Job 32:18; Ezekiel 37:1; Luke 10:21; Acts 11:24

    Post/Tweet this today: Yesterday’s filling cannot compensate for today’s empty feeling. #Spirit #filled


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Eternal Examination

    Posted on April 19, 2012 by Family Christian

    “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21

     

    There is an eternal eye that watches our every move. Almighty God is not exhausted from examination, because He knows we need the accountability of His watchful eye. We do better when we know Deity is watching. This is why you train your children to be accountable to God, so when they move out and move on, they fear God, and they are motivated to love and obey Him. You can’t follow your teenagers and young adult children around but the Lord does. 

    This is how the Holy Spirit is able to check a woman’s conscience, or prick a man’s pride. Every good or bad deed is in full view of your Heavenly Father for your benefit. He sees what a situation will bring, and seeks to guide you in the right direction. This is why prayer is imperative to gain God’s perspective. An eternally examined life is a gateway to knowing God. Live your life ever mindful you are under your Master’s microscope of concern, and you are freed by faith in Him.

    “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

    God’s accountability is not bondage, but freedom. You live within God’s guidelines, but with tremendous freedom and creativity on the playing field of Providence. It’s those who stray into sin who are snared by its seduction. There are no secrets with your Savior.  Every action will be weighed and brought into judgment.

    Therefore, come clean with Christ in confession, and claim a clear conscious. Do not let pride keep you from pronouncing your blind spots to friends who will lovingly yet boldly bring them to your attention. There is no such thing as an unexamined life, as the Lord is looking. Behave in a way that makes Him smile, as He gazes on your life with humble holiness. Indeed, the Lord looks on for your blessing and benefit.

    “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13, NASB

    Prayer: Which of my blind spots do I need to invite a friend to ask me about with regularity?

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 22:25; Job 31:4-9; Psalm 139:1-12; Revelation 2:18-23

    Post/Tweet this today: An eternally examined life is a gateway to knowing God. #examined #life


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Source of Grief

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by Family Christian

    “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 26:34-35

     

    Sometimes a child becomes a source of grief because they choose to marry someone who does not meet their parent’s approval. In fact, the more the mom and dad express their disapproval the more adamant the child becomes in dismissing his parent’s wishes. When relational equity is overdrawn the opportunity to influence another vanishes for a season. This season of distress and disagreement can permanently scar a family. 

    So, someone has to be mature in the face of immaturity. Even when we are insulted and rejected by an impetuous young adult with our same last name, we are obligated by God’s grace to rise above demanding our own way. Disowning (real or perceived) is not an option for a family full of love and forgiveness. Yes, rejection is painful—in the same way the Holy Spirit grieves over our unwise choices, so we grieve over our foolish child.

    “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” Hebrews 12:16-17

    Furthermore, here is a tender word of wisdom to adult children: honor your parents by asking their concerns over the person you love, whom you may desire to marry. Yes, you have the power to fill their hearts with joy by including them in your prayerful process, or you can drive a dagger into their hearts by rejecting their advice, just to spite them. Marriage is your decision under God and under the authority of your father and mother. Grief generated out of youthful foolishness is a relational plague to people bound by blood.

    Lastly, look to your own heart and consider how you may have hurt your parents or wounded your son or daughter. Be intentional in building conversational bridges by seeking to understand and value their interests. Pray more and judge less, lest love gets lost in the confusing equation of shame plus blame. Forgiveness is the fuel that reignites a family’s love for one another. Humble yourself first and watch the grace of God work wonders!

    “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15

    Prayer: How can I honor my parents in my decision-making process? How can I relationally invest in my adult child?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:34; Isaiah 63:10; Romans 9:13; Hebrews 11:20

    Post/Tweet this today: When relational equity is overdrawn the opportunity to influence another vanishes. #invest #relationally


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Midlife Crisis

    Posted on April 17, 2012 by Family Christian

    “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love”. Proverbs 5:18-19

     

    A midlife crisis means you are most likely discontent. Your may be discontent with your wife, your work, and your car. However, the Bible is very clear about being content with what or who God has blessed you with, especially your spouse. His desire is for you to want what you have, and not obsess over what you don’t have. Remember the bride of your youth, and celebrate her coming out party.
     
    Perhaps you married her because she was cute, cuddly, cared about you, and she loved Christ. Those are compelling characteristics that hopefully have grown over the years. Be joyful in Jesus, and grateful to God that He has given you a woman who walks with Him, and wants to be with you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth, as she keeps you young and yearning for Yahweh.

    “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11
    Moreover, be captivated by the love of your wife. Her capacity and willingness to love you will grow, as you consistently and unconditionally love her. What wife will not embrace her husband, who serves her like His Savior Jesus serves? Love and respect creates love and respect, as it is a Christ-like cycle. Be captivated by the love of your wife, knowing she was given to you by God. You chose her, so be pleased with your choice; in His providence He pronounced you “husband and wife”.

    Lastly, a wife captivates her husband with her kind character, and attractive looks. You wooed the husband of your youth by your sweet spirit, your delightful smell, and your inviting beauty. Be very intentional to make your love interesting to your man who may easily get bored in the bedroom. Let the distractions of life, and the activities of raising children rank second to your captivating love for each other. The “grass is greener” is the will of God, which means remaining faithful to one another.
     
    “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5b

    Prayer: How can I love my wife in a way that brings alive her captivating love?

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 4:5; Ecclesiastes 9:9; I Corinthians 7:2; Ephesians 5:28

    Post/Tweet this today: Men and women miss a mid-life crisis when they find the Lord and each other.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Spiritual Labor

    Posted on April 16, 2012 by Family Christian

    "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

     

    What is spiritual labor? It is work done with the Lord and for the Lord. It is a new mother rocking her baby, while she prays God's blessing over her little one. It is a blue-collar laborer, who, in Jesus name, is diligent in his or her duties. They are punctual when others are late and they are eager to work more, when others look for ways to work less. Spiritual labor sets high standards of service for the Lord. 

    Spiritual labor is an executive, a manager or administrative assistant who will not compromise their character to make more cash. Their word is their bond and their behavior points other people to Jesus. We are spiritual laborers when we do our work first and foremost for our heavenly Father. We stand firm in faith-motivated work and when we wake up every day grateful to represent Jesus in our job.

    "We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3

    This describes your public spiritual labor, but you are also called to be consistent in your private spiritual labor. Your personal empowerment by the Holy Spirit gives you courage for Christ and gumption for God. Your quieted soul quietly influences your noisy world. You go deep with Jesus in prayer and He expands your influence at home, in your community, and at your workplace.

    Indeed, your spiritual labor is laborious. Thus, as you perspire for the Lord, pray to persevere through rejection and do not be surprised if your integrity irritates others. You continue to toil in trust, even when results are not immediately evident. Your higher calling from Christ fuels your service for Him. Let nothing move you from moving forward with God. Your spiritual labor in the Lord is not in vain, as it brings joy and satisfaction to you, Him, and friends!

    "This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things." 1 Timothy 4:9-11

    Prayer: Lord, by Your grace, I pray I will stand firm in my spiritual service for You and others.

    Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 3:8; Philippians 1:21-23; 2:15-17; Revelation 14:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Your quieted soul quietly influences your noisy world. #spiritual #labor


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Peace of Mind

    Posted on April 15, 2012 by Family Christian

    I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Psalm 3:5-6

     

    Peace of mind comes from our Master, Jesus. He is the master of putting our mind at ease with His eternal perspective. It is trust in Him that gives us tranquil thoughts. Without His peace we worry and fret. A peace-less mind is paralyzed by the thought of everything going awry. What can go wrong will go wrong because the odds are stacked against us. Without the peace of Christ we find ourselves with an overwhelming sense of dread, even despair. However, His peace transcends our tentative trust. It bolsters our belief in God. Our Savior extends a sweet sense of peace. In Christ we have peace of mind like a bee in a hive or a dove in the ark. His helmet of salvation protects our peaceful thoughts. 

    Jesus is not stingy with His peace. He gives it liberally and lovingly (John 14:27). Beware of the fleeting peace the world offers. It is a very cheap substitute. The world’s peace is circumstantial; His peace transcends circumstances. The world’s peace is temporal; His peace is eternal. The world’s peace leads you to escape from God and reality; His peace leads you to engage with both. The world’s peace produces a limited perspective; His peace results in a robust and real view of life. The world’s peace leaves a residue of guilt and bondage; His peace leaves you forgiven and free. The world’s
    peace cannot remove fear; His peace overcomes fear with hope. The world’s peace is based on feelings; His peace is grounded in faith. Therefore, the man or woman of wisdom receives His peace.

    Once you apply the peace of Christ, you have peace of mind. Peace of mind gives you a platform for living purposively. Because you live purposively and peacefully you garner influence with others. People are attracted to the peaceful. They want to learn how to find and apply peace to their life circumstances. Your friends or family may not acknowledge it, but your peace is proof of God’s existence. Peace is a powerful apologetic for the Almighty. Only Christ can explain your calm during a crisis. Because you lean on Him, others want to lean on you. You are a lean-to for your Lord. So use prayerfully this platform of peace for ministry. People will line up for peace of mind.

    Lastly, use your peace of mind as a gauge for God’s will. If you have peace, proceed. But if you lack peace, heed. God’s peace is a green light to go forward. The absence of His peace is a red light to refrain. Therefore be sensitive to the Spirit’s peaceful prodding to go or stay. Either way, you are OK as long as the Lord’s peace is preeminent. Peace gives you a state of mind that thinks clearly and wisely. Peace positions you for right thinking. Do not impulsively barrel ahead without peace of mind. Emotions can play tricks on our trust and good sense.

    Therefore, check your feelings with faith. Slow down and make sure you have a peace about moving forward. Stand up to the pressure of people. They do not have to live with your decision; you do. Peace is God’s protection from unwise choices. His peace is a prescription for success. So slow down and pray. Pray for the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace reveals His will. Peace of mind does not fear, but hopes in Him.

    Taken from Reading #2 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: If you have peace, proceed. If you lack peace, heed. #peace


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Pure Joy

    Posted on April 14, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  James 1:2-3

     

    Pure joy is the position and privilege of the person who follows Jesus Christ. Ironically, Jesus-generated joy is discovered and developed in the face of trials. Trials are designed to bring out God’s best and, consequently, your best as well. You’re going through your current trial by fire so that your faith can become more sincere and real during adversity’s affliction. This is your time to experience God’s faithfulness, for His joy and contentment are calming. The presence of Christ gives you reassurance and peace. He is the joy-giver, while Satan is the joy-killer. 

    Therefore, you can smile, because your smile, while enduring a trial, is the result of pure joy. It’s pure joy because God can be trusted. It’s pure joy because your faith is real and robust and Christ is faithful. It’s pure joy because you will persevere by faith. Indeed, untested faith is a naïve faith. Until your faith has been refined through various trials, it will remain immature and judgmental. You can understand others’ perspectives and respect them more when you have been broken over your own inadequacies and sins. Trials slow you down enough to allow you to look into the mirror and ask what needs to change. How can you lead and serve your family and friends during this time of unprecedented turmoil and tentativeness? Pure joy comes as a result of your faith changing and growing.

    God is your agent of change. The work of God in and through your life produces pure joy. Change can be painful, but God administers pure joy at the point of your pain. It is the result of the Holy Spirit’s fullness: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52). Therefore, learn how to accept the pure joy of the Lord. It is available for you to receive. Do not see your present predicament as a setback. Instead, see your current condition as an opportunity—an opportunity to engage more deeply and more fully with your heavenly Father. Sometimes, it takes trials and tests to slow you down enough to look into the joyful face of Jesus. He is the personification of pure joy.

    Jesus understood pure joy because He was focused on following the will of His Father (John 17:4). His heart was full of joy because He knew He was about His Father’s business. Yes, His heart broke at times but He suffered out of joyful obedience (Hebrews 12:2). In the middle of His most adverse circumstance, Jesus still cried out to His heavenly Father. His intimacy with the Father was strengthened during difficulty. No person or circumstance, not even the devil, kept Him from pure joy.

    Invite the pure joy of God to reign over your anxious heart as well. You can smile and place your refined faith in Him. He is building your faith capacity for the long run. The Bible says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Pure joy does not depend on good circumstances; it thrives during trials and tribulations. Unleash the pure joy that already lives within, for He is faithful. Above all, promote pure joy and persevere in its promise.

    Taken from April 20th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Untested faith is naïve faith. #mature #faith


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Fiction writer – True Believer

    Posted on April 13, 2012 by John van der Veen

    Take a heaping dose of the ability to twist a tale of intrigue and suspense, infuse it with the Gospel and cram it into one sweet, petite frame. That’s Terri Blackstock: part Novel-Writing-Powerhouse, all Dedicated Believer. Terri’s no stranger to the realities of living out authentic faith in a fallen world, but she’s learned the art of drawing on her own experiences to connect real people with a real Jesus. We chatted with her recently about all-things-Terri.

     

    Family Christian: From your bio we know that you grew up in a Christian home and eventually started writing romance novels. How did you get into that genre, and what eventually led to your transition into suspense?

     

    Terri Blackstock: I became a Christian at age 14 and walked with Christ through my teen years. But when I was in my early 20s I started writing and was really trying to break into the publishing market. At the time, the market was really opening up for romance novels. I told myself going in that I would not write anything that would hurt my Christian conscience – I would write clean love stories. But what happened was that those stories didn’t sell. So eventually in order to sell, I compromised and began writing wrote more and more stuff I had said I would never write. Finally over 13 years and (I think) 32 titles, I came to a place where I was spiritually bankrupt. I was very miserable and almost hoping that the publisher wouldn’t buy my next book (laughs) because I just felt this void. I knew that I wasn’t walking with Christ because what I was doing was pulling me away from Him and pulling other people away because I was creating stumbling blocks for them. I came to a place when I started praying about that and over a number of weeks and months I just felt very convicted to give this up. There was one day when I got down on my knees, repented of what I was writing and asked God to help me to never write anything else that didn’t glorify Him. So from that moment on I have been writing books with a Christian message and, I believe, using my gifts the way God intended me to use them in the first place.

     

    FC: So did you walk away from romance at that point?

     

    Terri: I did. I had some outstanding contracts I had to buy back – but that was a problem because I didn’t have the money at the time to pay the publishers back, but it turned out that they owed me more than I owed them, so it all worked out beautifully! It was almost like the moment that I made the decision and told God that I was going to surrender this last aspect of my life to Him, it’s as if He took me by the hand and led me the rest of the way, because doors started opening up into the Christian market. At that time I didn’t know anything about the Christian market, but what I did know was that I was tired of writing romance. I just wanted a clean break from that, so I didn’t want to write Christian romance. I was reading mostly suspense novels at the time so I thought, why don’t I try to write suspense and just see if the Christian readers like it? And they did. So Zondervan gave me a four book contract before I knew it and I’ve been writing for them ever since.

     

    FC: So you wrote over 30 romance novels, wow. How many Christian novels have you written?

     

    Terri: I think I’ve written about 40. I’m [somewhere] over 70 – sometimes I lose count because I have taken some of those earlier books and rewritten them, so I never know whether to count them a second time or not. I did extensive rewriting on those. Any of the books that you see from me that are romance novels; those are usually rewritten from my earlier days, but the suspense novels are all since I came to the Christian market.

     

    FC: What a wonderful story. We’re wondering if you could talk a little about your book, Intervention, as it was particularly close to you. And were there any other books that were especially personal to you?

     

    Terri: Well, the thing about Intervention is that it’s really about a mother who is trying to save her daughter from drugs. And that came out of my life because I have a daughter who has been struggling for years with drug addiction. When we got to a place where she felt that it was fine for me to write about it, I did. That was SO personal because I poured a lot of my experiences into that book and into the rest of that series… Vicious Cycle is the second book and Downfall, the 3rd book will be out March 6th I believe. I really think that there’s a little of me in every one of my books, because what I find happening when I’m writing is that I will come up with a plot and a story line and then God will do something in my life during the writing of that book, or He’ll deal with me in some way that I learn something and then I think that maybe I’m supposed to pass that on to my readers. Almost every book has that sort of event happen. I can’t say it’s always pleasant but sometimes I just really believe that God is working in a certain way in my life, so I wind up incorporating all that it into the plot. Then I know that the Holy Spirit uses [it] because I hear from readers that those books touch them in a personal way. So it’s not just me being smart enough to do that, it’s the Holy Spirit using what I give Him, multiplying it and making it into something He can use.

     

    FC: Have you ever felt the need or had an opportunity to move outside of the book realm and share your testimony in a speaking venue?

     

    Terri: I have done some speaking about it but she is still struggling – she has her ups and downs like any person with addiction. Until I know that we have had this in our rear view for many years I just don’t think I would want to go on a speaking circuit. Ya know, my dream is to do that with her someday – to have her give her testimony would really give hope to families. But at this point we’re just not far enough out of it to be able to do that and I don’t want that kind of thing to wind up being her destruction – so I have been very protective about that. I do speak about it sometimes. It was a very hard thing to write about, it drags up all those memories. It was fiction, but very much of what is in the book really happened in our lives. So it’s a painful thing to write and talk about.

     

    FC: Of course and it’s good that you’re sensitive to what she needs first and foremost. Switching gears a little, your suspense books certainly have the ability to pull people in. Have you ever been so caught up in one of your own stories that you felt frightened? Did you ever scare yourself?

     

    Terri: (laughs) Yes that does happen. Ya know, I think one of the reasons I love writing suspense is because I am so easily frightened, and my mind always goes to the worst possible thing (laughs). Like, if I’m letting the cat out I’m thinking someone could grab the door – I’m always on alert for that kinda thing. When I was writing my book Predator, I was just learning social networking and I was alarmed at the number of people who were dumping so much personal information onto their Facebook and Twitter pages. So I wrote a book that would deliberately scare them to death and understand how dangerous this is. But I do have to say it scared me too (laughs), so I did make changes to the way I was posting things and pictures – the kinds of things that would give more information than I wanted to.

     

    When I really decided to write [the book], I had been working in prison ministry for many years. And one of the girls from jail got out and posted on my Facebook wall how to reach her, what her number was, where she was living. And I just almost had a heart attack. Of all of the people who are so vulnerable – someone who just got out of jail. I quickly deleted it and sent her a message to please be careful and then I thought, ya know I’m just going to have to write a book about this (laughs), because that is really my way of communicating with people. When I’m passionate about something I’m able to convey it in a story and people really seem to get it. I did get lots of mail from people telling me that they’ve changed their habits. So hopefully it will save some lives.

     

    FC: So are your family members fans of your books?

     

    Terri: Well, my husband is one of those people that loves to read non-fiction, but when he reads fiction he falls asleep (laughs), so he only ‘reads’ my books through audio. That’s a good medium for him and he enjoys them that way. Two of my three kids don’t read anything I write (laughs), but one of them does so, ya know, what can you do? I think they grew up watching me do it and it’s kinda like knowing how the sausage is made. You just don’t have an appetite for it when you saw it all your life! (laughs)

     

    FC: That’s a great – and painfully true – analogy. Haha. So what do you do when you want a break from writing?

    Terri: Well, I am very active at church – I teach a precept class, Kay Arthur courses. I love that – I’ve been involved in that for years. I also lead a support group for parents of prodigals, so I’m busy at church a couple nights a week. I [also] love home decorating. When I have time and want to do something different it’s usually something related to my house or watching something on TV related to decorating, so I guess that would be my hobby.

     

    FC: So you’re a Martha Stewart junkie?

    Terri: Well, I like to watch what she does, but I’m not really that organized. I can’t pull it off myself, but I like to watch other people do it.

     

    FC: So do you read?

    Terri: I do read. It depends on what I’m writing at the time. When I’m writing a book I usually try not to read fiction because it interferes with my voice. I find myself writing the way that the other author is writing, so I mostly just read when I travel. But I love Christian fiction and I have favorites that I like to read. While I’m writing a book I’m usually reading non-fiction and doing research for that book.

     

    FC: Do you want to recommend any authors you like?

     

    Terri: Yeah! In the suspense genre for the Christian market, I love Brandilyn Collins, James Scott Bell, Bill Myers, Colleen Coble, authors like that. In women’s fiction I love writers like Robin Lee Hatcher, Tamera Alexander, Angela Hunt, Mindy Clark – just a ton of them. You can find anything in the Christian market today that you can find in the general market. If you like science fiction you can find that in the Christian stores. We’ve come a long way in the last 15 or 16 years that I’ve been in this market.

     

    FC: For sure. Alright, really hard question next… Is it pumpkin spice latte or peppermint mocha that you most go for this time of year?

     

    Terri: Ya know what, neither one! I am a tea drinker. So I would probably go with an English breakfast tea or a hot chocolate, but I am not a coffee drinker. Anything that even tastes of coffee I am not interested in.

     

    FC: Would you consider yourself to be a Southern belle?

    Terri: Yeah definitely. Anyone who knows me I think would say that.

     

    FC: There’s a lot of people in this building who are huge fans of Terri Blackstock. You could probably come out with your own version of the Yellow Pages and I’m sure people would be ecstatic over it. You do a fantastic job and we’re excited about what you’re doing. Is there anything else you wanted to say before we let you go today?

     

    Terri: I just want to thank Family. They were really instrumental in getting me started. We had a big promotion with my first novel and we sent postcards from the character to the Family employees, and then we surprised them later with the manuscript. They created a lot of word of mouth buzz which really helped me because I was coming from a different market and had been using a pseudonym. Family really helped me get the word out.

     

    FC: Thanks Terri! We’re so happy to know that and grateful to have been a part.

     

    *Congratulations to Terri for earning a spot on the Library Journal’s Top Ten Best Books List of 2011 for Shadow in Serenity. What a great honor for a great author!


    This post was posted in Books, Interviews and was tagged with Terri Blackstock, Fiction

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