Monday, May 27, 2013

What Have We Done?

When asked, “What religion and/or denomination are you?” I would usually reply “Christian and/or Independent Protestant.” Over the years we have attended a slew of churches: Independent, Baptist, Alliance, Pentecostal, Methodist… you get the picture. Where we felt God lead, we followed. Almost four years ago, for the fun of it, my family and I visited a Messianic Synagogue a couple times and had a blast. Our weekends were pretty jam-packed and we were members of a Baptist church at the time, so we didn’t go back.

About a year and a half ago we left that Baptist church and have been on the lookout for another place to worship. Twice we thought we found what we were looking for but after six months or so we went our separate ways. In our town, churches are slim pickin’s. There are the mega churches, the wanna-be mega churches and maybe five teeny-tiny ones.

Where to go, we asked ourselves. Then we remembered the Messianic Synagogue that we visited a while ago. We had to rearrange our schedules but decided to try it again. It was a little bit different from the previous time; they met in the basement instead of the sanctuary (a Methodist church lends their building to them) and they have a different Rabstor (Rabbi/Pastor) but we liked it. The Shofar is blown. Men and woman both wear the Tallit (Jewish prayer shawl). Blessings are given to the children. Messianic songs are sung and prayers are said first in Hebrew, then in English.

My family and I- we’re not Jewish. We speculate we may have Jewish heritage, but none of that has been proven. We are very much Gentile, if you catch my drift. Yet, I have always been drawn to Judaism and Jewish history. At first I only read about the religion for a novel I was writing, but now it fascinates me. I always thought that if I didn’t believe in Jesus, I would convert to Judaism.

So, I guess this Messianic Synagogue gives me the best of both worlds. Jesus is the center of it all and it is Jewish. I hope to post more about our adventures in regards to this new way of worshiping.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Strange Addiction

My hands tremor, my eyes bulge and are bloodshot. I stagger about, desperate for another fix. I scrounge through all of my stashes, become irritable because they are gone and I lash out at those I love most. I must bide my time before I can go get my drug of choice and I begin to convulse as I go through withdrawal. My eyes cross and I grit my teeth. Foam puffs out of my mouth. People ask if I have rabies.

I must endure this… just a little longer.

Yes, it’s true. Even we Christians fall prey to temptations and get wrapped up in dirty, foul sins. For years I lived in denial and refused to admit that I had a problem. I would make promises, vows and sacred oaths that I would never, ever do it again. I could go a couple weeks without it but inevitably I would break down. It would begin with snitching here and there and escalade to full-blown consumption.

Ah, I am again at peace. Yes, I indulged. I can’t deny it; the warm fuzzy feeling I get chases away all evidence of my previous agitations. As a Christian, I must be open and honest about my shortcomings. Please, do not judge me. We all have crosses that we must bear.

Now is the moment of truth. Here is MY STRANGE ADDITICTION.

Pray for me, oh, please pray for me!

Friday, May 10, 2013

“I Believe in Healing,” by Cecil Murphey, Twila Belk

Cecil Murphey | Atlanta, GA
Veteran author Cecil Murphey has written or co-written more than 135 books, including the bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He's the author ofMaking Sense When Life Doesn't and Knowing God, Knowing Myself. Murphey is a recipient of the Gold Medallion Award, two-time recipient of the Silver Angel Award and Retailer's Choice Award, and the inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and comfort to countless readers around the world. (

Twila Belk | Davenport, IA
Twila Belk, also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, is a writer and speaker who works full time with bestselling author Cecil Murphey. She co-authored (with Murphey) Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregiversand Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware. (

Book Description:
When a loved one is injured or ill, what do Christians do? They pray, expecting God to intervene with a miracle of healing. They pray not only because the Bible says to do so, but also because God has shown Himself faithful to heal throughout history and even today. I Believe in Healing is a one-of-a-kind collection of true stories that demonstrate God’s healing power. Readers will find dozens of biblical, historical and present-day accounts of physical and emotional healings, written in Cecil Murphey’s heart-warming, uplifting style that made 90 Minutes in Heaven a New York Times bestseller. Anyone who needs a touch from God for themselves or a loved one will find encouragement and inspiration in these pages.

My Thoughts:
I am a bit biased about this book because I have a story published in it, entitled “The Healing Season.” Even if I hadn’t contributed to it, I would still promote it. Not only are modern day healings recorded, healings from the Dark Ages and in through the 19th century are also included. Alyssa Barlow (of BarlowGirl), Oral Roberts, Don Piper, St. Francis of Assisi… are just a handful of healings documented in this book. Remember, science only goes so far, then comes God.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Life Update

Well, it’s been a month since I have updated on my life. The month-long posts dedicated to the Holocaust were pretty successful, I think. All of those stories of survivors, victims, rescuers and resistors remind me of what got me interested in the first place. No matter where I go or what I do, the subject of the Holocaust isn’t far behind me. I can’t explain why, but it my magnificent obsession.

It has been a full year since my Dad has passed away. At times it feels like it happened just yesterday and at other times it feels like it has been over a decade. Sometimes the pain is so deep and the sadness so great that I don’t have the words to express my grief. Or the tears. I am going through a dry spell when it comes to crying. I can only muddle through and place my hope in God that someday times will be better. In many ways it is getting easier. We’ve gotten through all of the firsts and we are making plans. So that’s good.

My sister discovered that she has a gluten allergy. For the last few years she’s had issues with her digestion. Last year she had her gall bladder removed and expected that after a couple months to feel better. In many ways she only got worse. A few weeks ago, after a bad reaction to a meal, the three of us prayed and I did some snooping around on the internet. A half hour or so later, we concluded that she was gluten-intolerant. Now that she has detoxed from gluten, she has started to feel better. 

I am slowly and carefully querying the agents for WIP #2. I sent out a barrage of queries for WIP #1, up to ten a day at times. This time, however, I have limited myself to six queries a week. One agent (that I had high hopes for) rejected it sight unseen. One Christian agent (rather her assistant) said it wouldn’t fly in the Christian market because the heroine is deceitful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across Christian novels with a deceitful hero or heroine. She did say that the tone was good. Meanwhile, keeping myself occupied with WIP #3. It’s difficult to pace myself when it comes to a project that I am especially psyched about. I just want to dive in, head first, swim around and lose myself in it completely. I had my sister read a draft of it and she liked it and gave many helpful suggestions for it. If all goes according to plan (in all likelihood, it won’t because life never goes according to plan) perhaps I can query the agents about it in the fall.