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text 2020-06-30 04:00
Chemicals and Christians Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book:  Chemicals and Christians

Author: Martha McLaughlin

Genre: Non-fiction

Release Date: January 31, 2020

“Just because you’re set apart doesn’t mean you’re set aside.”

Martha McLaughlin and her husband served as international missionaries for 10 years, ministering in a variety of ways, including helping to identify unreached people groups. When her physical breakdown forced them to return to the USA, she feared it was the end of her missionary journey. But instead, God told her, “Just because you’re set apart doesn’t mean you’re set aside.”

Today Martha feels called to try to help a different kind of unreached people group: the isolated sufferers of toxic illness, a growing but largely invisible population. Yet, like the canaries once used in coal mines to detect poisonous gases, they are a wake-up call to the effects of the thousands of chemicals used daily in our modern society.

Expertly researched and written, Chemicals and Christians: Compassion and Caution is loaded with valuable information and biblical counsel for hope and avoiding harm in our increasingly chemicalized environment. It provides steps for biblical health management, offers practical resources, and shows Christians ways to help.


Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author


A professional writer since 2006 with a BS and an MEd, Martha has had more than 500 articles published. Alongside her husband, she served as a missionary in South America from the late ‘80s through the late ‘90s. A widow with two young adult sons, Martha lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and enjoys outdoor activities.


More from Martha

 

When people talk about taking the road less traveled, the implication is generally that there was a choice involved. I’ve made choices at times to wander down lonely trails, such as deciding to become a missionary and move to a country in crisis. Water and electricity were rationed, grocery store shelves were empty, a cholera epidemic raged, the president disbanded congress, inflation hit 10,000 percent, and active terrorist bombing shook our house on a regular basis. Most mission organizations and all non-essential embassy personnel left the country and those of us who chose to stay found ourselves on a very sparsely populated path.

At other times in my life I’ve ended up on roads less traveled not by any decision of my own, but by circumstances beyond my control. During my decade of missionary service, my health steadily declined and I was forced to return to the States to look for help. It wasn’t easy to find, but I eventually learned that Lyme disease, mold exposure, and the chemical onslaughts of a third-world megacity had overwhelmed my detoxification system. I discovered I could climb out of bed and function if I avoided anything that would make my full metaphorical barrel of toxins overflow. I also discovered that was much easier to do in theory than in practice because of the overabundance of untested and unregulated chemicals in common, everyday products.

My health condition introduced me to a world of chemically sensitive people, all of us living isolated lives, unable to safely access most medical care, shopping, schools, and churches. I’d been deeply saddened at having to leave the mission field and wondered why God had removed my ability to serve, but not the sense of call I felt. I gradually began to understand that I still had a calling, but to a different population. I felt God asking me to speak for people who are generally unseen and unheard. I want the Christian church to not only see us, but to find ways to open their doors and provide the spiritual nourishment and connection we so desperately need.

As I was discovering the needs of the chemically sensitive population, I was also learning how quickly it’s growing and how easy it is for anyone to join. I began to understand the connection between everyday chemical exposures and common mental and physical health conditions and symptoms. So the other side of my call is to warn healthy people, or those who haven’t yet connected their chemical exposures and health complaints, that it’s wise to be careful – that being a good steward of the physical body doesn’t just mean getting eating, sleeping, exercise, and relaxation right, but that avoiding toxins is a huge piece of the puzzle.

I’m not someone who always had a burning desire to write a book. I wrote it because I had something to say and a conviction that God wanted me to say it. I want healthy people to stay that way, and I want chemically ill people to be seen, heard, and reached with God’s love. My deep desire is for Chemicals and Christians to help save people from unnecessary suffering.
 
 

Author Interview

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?  

                                                                                

I grew up in a family that valued words. Both of my grandmothers were college English professors and my father was a pastor who consistently preached beautiful, lyrical sermons. I started writing poetry almost as soon as I could hold a pencil. I still have a copy of a poem/prayer I wrote as a young child in which I thanked God for sleet. I needed a rhyme for “people that we meet.” 

 

I studied English in college and grad school, but unlike most of my fellow students I never had any desire to write a book. I did enjoy writing poetry and essays, and after I married, my husband and I wrote music together.

 

When my health forced us to return to the States after serving as missionaries, I needed something I could do from home. I began writing Continuing Education Unit courses, and then online articles. I was comfortable keeping my writing projects short and still had no inclination at all to write a book. Bit by bit, however, I began to realize I had something to say and to become convinced God wanted me to say it. Choosing to write a book felt a lot like choosing to become a missionary: less of a self-directed decision and more of a saying, “OK, God.” 

 

 

Who was/is your biggest inspiration?

 

I’m deeply inspired by many of the chemically ill Christians I’ve met on my health journey. Their suffering is very real, but they hold tightly to their faith and encourage me with their examples of Christlike character in the midst of very challenging circumstances. I’m also inspired by the healthy friends and family members who support those of us with chemical illness, especially the spouses who take their “in sickness and in health” vows seriously.

 

 

Describe your book in five words.

 

Be careful with common products.

 

 

Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

 

I write outside on my patio as much as I can. There’s a lot of wildlife in my neighborhood, so sometimes deer or rabbits will join me, and I almost always have a chorus of birds to listen to. I’m outside now, and I have a butterfly and hawk in view.

 

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

I don’t listen to many audiobooks, but whether to purchase a book in traditional or ebook format is a question I constantly debate with myself. There are certainly pros and cons to each, and they seem evenly enough balanced that I generally end up making purchase decisions based on price. When price isn’t a consideration, I often find myself buying print versions of nonfiction books and choosing the ebook format for novels.

 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 

The most helpful advice I got and would pass on was from a fellow author who counseled me to keep my book title clear and simple. She told me that sales from one of her books were lagging, but took off again when she simply changed the title to something plain and straightforward. By the time I talked to her I had already experimented with three or four titles, all of which were attempts to be clever or artsy, but none of which clearly communicated what the book was about. I often download Kindle books when they’re offered for free and don’t get around to reading them for a while. Thinking about the frustration I sometimes feel at seeing titles in my list that give no clue to the books’ contents convinced me she was right. Readers may not know exactly what Chemicals and Christians is going to be about, but they can at least guess that it’s not going to be about flowers and Buddhists.



Blog Stops

 

Inklings and notions, June 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 23

Vicky Sluiter, June 24 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 26

My Devotional Thoughts, June 27 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, June 28

Splashes of Joy, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 30 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, July 1

Lots of Helpers, July 2

Artistic Nobody, July 3 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 3

Godly Book Reviews, July 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 5

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Martha is giving away the grand prize of a $30 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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text 2020-06-30 04:00
Miracles for Veterans Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Miracles for Veterans

Author: Joan Hunter

Genre:  Non-fiction, Christian Living

Release Date: May 15, 2020

Military veterans experience stress and trauma that civilians cannot even begin to imagine. No matter what branch they were in, whether they saw combat or not, their service left an indelible mark on their bodies, hearts, and minds, souls and spirits. Even those who have not suffered external injuries can be affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, anger, and other issues. They need healing on multiple levels.

Joan Hunter tackles all of the problems that veterans face in her new book, Miracles for Veterans. She covers some of the root causes; the positive aspects of service, such as growth and maturity, as well as the negative effects, including physical, emotional, and spiritual injury; and the consequences of service on general and cellular memory. Joan offers guidance to those ministering to veterans, healing prayers, and insights on prevention.

Among the testimonials included in Joan’s book is that of Auston O’Neill, 71, who travels throughout the United States to play “Taps” on his bugle for any deceased veteran whose family requests it as a member of Bugles Across America.

Auston is battling terminal cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes, but his faith is strong. “You know, I believe in God for my healing,” he says. “I’m getting stronger as the days go by. I’m not getting weaker.”

Joan notes God is limitless and His Word is true. He is ever ready to heal us if we only will believe.

Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 


Joan Hunter is a compassionate minister, dynamic teacher, accomplished author, and anointed healing evangelist who has devoted her life to carry a message of hope, deliverance, and healing to the nations. As founder and president of Joan Hunter Ministries, Hearts 4 Him, and 4 Corners Foundation, and pres­ident of Hunter Ministries, Joan has a vision to equip believers to take the healing power of God “beyond the four walls of the church to the four corners of the earth.” Joan’s genuine approach and candid delivery enables her to connect intimately with people from all walks of life. Some describe her as “Carol Burnett with the anointing of Jesus.”

Joan ministers the gospel with manifestations of supernat­ural signs and wonders in healing schools, miracle services, con­ferences, churches, and revival centers around the world. She is sensitive to the move of the Spirit and speaks prophetically to the local body and into the individual lives of those in attendance. Joan’s genuine approach and candid delivery enable her to connect intimately with people from all educational, social, and cultural backgrounds.

At the tender age of twelve, Joan committed her life to Christ and began faithfully serving in ministry alongside her parents, Charles and Frances Hunter, as they traveled around the globe conducting Healing Explosions and Healing Schools until their deaths. Prior to branching out into her own international healing ministry, Joan also co-pastored a church for eighteen years.

Joan brings a powerful ministry to a world characterized by brokenness and pain. Having emerged victorious through tragic circumstances, impossible obstacles, and immeasurable devasta­tion, Joan is able to share a message of hope and restoration to the brokenhearted, deliverance and freedom to the bound, and heal­ing and wholeness to the diseased. Joan’s life is one of uncompro­mising dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as she exhibits a sincere desire to see the body of Christ live in freedom, happiness, wholeness, and financial wellness.

Joan has ministered in countries all over the world and has been featured on Sid Roth’s It’s SupernaturalMy New Day with Drs. Bob and Audrey Meisner, Everlasting Love with Patricia King, and on Marilyn Hickey’s Today with Marilyn and Sarah. Joan hosts a powerful and exciting show of her own, Miracles Happen! Joan’s television appearances have been broadcast around the world on World Harvest Network, Inspiration Network, Daystar, Faith TV, Cornerstone TV, The Church Channel, Total Christian Television, Christian Television Network, Watchmen Broadcasting, and God TV.

She is a noted author whose books include Love Again, Live AgainHealing the Whole Man HandbookHealing the HeartPower to HealSupernatural ProvisionFreedom Beyond Comprehension; and Miracle Maintenance.

Joan and her husband, Kelley, live northwest of Houston, Texas. Together, they have four daughters, four sons, three sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren.


More from Joan

 

God has a plan for your life. Your previous experiences are meant to prepare you for the next chapter of your life. Whether the stress was positive or negative, God can use you! He will use all of you for His pur-pose. He will turn all negative stressful and traumatic experiences into some-thing good.

Please have an open heart and mind as you continue. Some stories in this book may make you cry while others will make you smile. All of this information will prepare you to walk in total victory and help others to do the same. God is always faithful and He hears your heart’s cry. Open your arms to your Father’s love right now and let that love heal you—body, mind, spirit, emotions, and finances.

Believe this is the day for your breakthrough, your victory. Everyone has bad days. Some have bad months, but there is SONshine coming for every-one. Just like a new recruit has to go through basic training or boot camp in order to advance in rank and responsibility, everyone has to do the same in God’s military. Learn the offensive thrust that carries you to the frontlines and through the enemy’s defenses.

Get prepared. Stay prepared. Don’t run away or get trampled on. Don’t be left behind.
Our motto is PUSH: Pray Until Something Happens!

Be on the offensive and go after God. He is the Commander in Chief of these end-time armed forces!
 

Blog Stops

 

Inklings and notions, June 17

Artistic Nobody, June 18 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 19

Vicky Sluiter, June 20 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, June 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 22 (Spotlight)

For Him and My Family, June 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 24 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, June 25

My Devotional Thoughts, June 26 (Spotlight)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 27

Through the Fire Blogs, June 28 (Spotlight)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 30 (Spotlight)

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Joan is giving away the grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-06-15 04:00
God Did Not Do This to Me Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  God Did Not Do This To Me

Author: Lisa Stringer

Genre:  RELIGION / Christian Living/ Personal Growth

Release Date: May 4, 2020

Lisa and Doug Stringer were ministering in Massachusetts in March 2015 when a lump in Doug’s throat started to bother him. “I don’t feel well,” he told his wife. “The lump I felt in my throat a few days ago feels larger.” When they were able to see a doctor, they were horrified to learn that Doug had Stage 4 large B-cell lymphoma that was 80 percent aggressive.

Doug spent the rest of the day sitting in his car, alone in prayer. Finally, he called Lisa to tell her that he was on his way home and he wanted a family meeting and communion. Emotionally exhausted and noses still running from crying, Lisa, her mom, and Ashley gathered in the family room as Doug told them about his time with God.

“God did not do this to me—and if He did not do this to me, then it doesn’t belong to me!” he told them emphatically. It was just what they need to hear.

God Did Not Do This to Me is Lisa’s story of the family’s trials and triumphs through a cancer diagnosis. Putting on the armor of God, Doug was determined to turn his battle with cancer into an intercession for the country, even joking that the chemotherapy treatments made him resemble a bald eagle.

By the end of the year, Doug’s cancer was in remission.

“We know that the Great Physician heard the numerous prayers of our friends and spiritual family from all over the world, and blessed us all with a testimony of His healing power,” Lisa says. “We are forever changed through this experience. He has expanded my heart of compassion, taught me to pour out more grace, to be an even bigger giver, and to appreciate the little things all the more.”


Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 



Lisa Stringer is the wife of Doug Stringer, the founder and president of Somebody Cares America/International, a network of organizations impacting their communities through unified grassroots efforts.

Lisa worked in the secular radio and music entertainment industry for seventeen years, becoming the first female program director of a top-40 station in a major market in the United States. Later, she became the vice president of programming and promotions of a radio group. Lisa has received numerous awards, including gold and platinum records for her contribution to the success of many highly recognizable recording artists and entertainers.

She homeschooled her daughter, Ashley, who is now enrolled in dual programs at a local community college and working on the release of her second EP.

Lisa travels with Doug as they minister to many around the globe, ranging from those of the persecuted church to those suffering in the aftermath of human tragedy, such as the Haitian earthquake, the tsunami in Japan, and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Lisa enjoys opportunities where she has been able to interpret for her husband as they minister throughout Central and South America. She and her husband are also regular guests on various television programs that air throughout the world.

Lisa has a heart for the less fortunate, widows, and orphans. She has served on various boards and has traveled to over thirty-four nations.

The Stringers live in the greater Houston area.


More from Lisa

 

Doug continued to listen to whatever the doctor was telling him. I could tell something wasn’t right because Doug’s countenance had changed. It was obvious he was not receiving good news. Whatever it was, at no time did I ever imagine it to be cancer. Doug would not look at me; his eyes were locked in a forward gaze. That alone had my heart beating a tad faster.

I then heard him say, “How bad is it?” Oh, my goodness, was my heart beating right out of my chest! How bad is it? How bad is what? This can’t be bad! I was not expecting bad! Then I heard the heart-wrenching, horrible “c” word come out of my husband’s mouth. He still had his eyes fixed forward. That in itself was painful, not because he wasn’t acknowledging me, but because he was hurting and I knew that if we made eye contact, one or both of us would break down at this point.

We had been on an emotional roller coaster and we were about to take a drop from one of the scariest peaks on one of the worst rides people can experience. I was struggling with everything in me to not allow tears to stream down my face. After all, I was still only hearing one side of the conversation. I recall Doug getting choked up and his voice cracking as he fought back the natural reaction to bad news. He then asked, “What kind of cancer is it?” My heart stopped. I felt like I had been shot and life was moving in slow motion. I could feel every nerve in my body. A deep pain set in…
 
 

My Review

 

A plethora of books have been written about cancer and illness from a Christian perspective, from how-to manuals to memoirs and everything in between. I will be the first to admit that, as someone with chronic illnesses, I am wary of which ones I pick up to read. I want to read something that is Biblically sound and life-giving, not assigning blame or promising cures, and that inspires and uplifts. If you have been through or are going through any kind of significant illness, you do not need depressing reading material. Of course the first Book to turn to should always be your Bible, because it doesn’t get any more hopeful than that, and nothing can ever exceed God’s Word! With that as our foundation, when we read other books, we can discern what lines up with Scripture and what does not.

When I began reading “God Did Not Do This to Me”, author Lisa Stringer’s story engaged me immediately. Rather than a mere factual account of her husband Doug’s journey through B-cell lymphoma, she presents an engaging story that details how their family turned a life-threatening diagnosis into a life-fulfilling opportunity for continued ministry. Her honesty about some of their difficult moments is refreshing in demonstrating that even the strongest in the faith still need God’s strength, which is “made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Doug’s revelation about the eagle in chapter 7 enhanced my understanding of the beloved Isaiah 40:31 with knowledge I had not known about eagles themselves. Also, the pillows of peace, a widespread ministry created from a single gift, shows how much can be achieved with a vision for sharing the love of Christ. And I had to smile while reading the story about the Rocky statue and running the steps to it, although my favorite part of this whole testimony is how Doug and Lisa continue to minister to as many as possible during their own trials.

We may never know the “why” behind the things we go through, but we can rest in the knowledge that God is always good, and that untold blessings lie ahead if we remain faithful to Him. As Lisa says near the end of her story, “Never take for granted what you are going through, good or bad. Allow it to be turned for the good because God has a greater story that comes out of your place of need. No matter what unexpected detours you encounter, God wants us to keep our focus on where we’re going, not what we are going through.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away the grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-06-11 06:00
Women of the Bible Speak Out Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Women of the Bible Speak Out

Author: Marlo Schalesky

Genre:  RELIGION/Christian Living/Women’s Interests

Release Date: June 2, 2020

With the recent headlines about gender-based abuse, power, harassment, and assault, it seems as if everyone is searching for answers. Marlo Schalesky provides a biblical response to the tough questions raised by these issues. She explores the stories of twenty women in Scripture, including Eve, Sarah, and Bathsheba—women who were betrayed, abused, endangered, blamed, and shamed. As she leads us in studying the biblical text, she draws our eye to God’s responses to these women and their situations:  Eve: The Way It Was Supposed to Be
 
Sarai: Betrayed
Hagar: – Used
Lot’s Daughters & A Levite’s Concubine: Abused
Two Tamars: Rejected
Hannah: Devalued
Abigail: Endangered
Bathsheba: Sexualized
Esther: Dominated
Mary & Martha: Oppressed
A Samaritan Woman: Shamed
A Sinful Woman: Scorned
A Woman Caught in Adultery: Blamed
Women at the Tomb: Disbelieved
 
She points out a way to healing, wholeness, and freedom. In the midst of today’s #MeToo conversations, this book will give new voice to the remarkable women of Scripture—and new hope to many, many women today.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 



Marlo Schalesky is the founder and president of Wonder Wood Ranch, a California charitable organization that brings hope through horses to hurting kids. She’s had over one thousand articles published in various Christian magazines, is a regular columnist for Power for Living, and is an award-winning author of twelve books. Schalesky has a master’s in theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She lives with her husband and six children in a log home on California’s central coast.




 

 

More from Marlo

 

1) Why did you write this book?

When I was first asked to consider writing a book about women in the Bible who experienced abuse, oppression, gender-based bias and discrimination, sexualization, and more, I didn’t know how their stories would intersect with mine and the experiences of women today. I thought I would find only horror, but beyond that I found a surprising hope; a God who is always seeking to redeem, to heal, and to make right where mankind has broken and betrayed.

This book is for others like me, for women who have been hurt, whose wounds sometimes seem too deep to heal. I wrote it for those who know that while justice is necessary, it is not enough. We need to see God. We need Him to see us. We need an experience with the God of Scripture whose fierce love is the only thing that can heal those hurts that lie deep within.

2) What do you hope your readers will take away from reading your book?

I hope they experience a renewed hope. And a deeper understanding of the God who loves them. I want readers to know that God sees them, and He sees what they’ve suffered, and He does not look away. He does not make excuses.
After reading Women of the Bible Speak Out, I hope readers will see that instead of winking at the repression of women, the Bible exposes it. And the Bible reveals a God who not only shares in our suffering but seeks to redeem it.


My Review

 

Engaging and heartfelt, this nonfiction collection examines fourteen stories from the Bible about women who were misused, abused, mistreated, betrayed, and abandoned. As unpalatable as that may sound, “Women of the Bible Speak Out” by Marlo Schalesky, herself a survivor, addresses the heartache but focuses on the hope that we have in Christ. No matter what we have gone through or what we are now going through, the Lord alone is our Rock and our hope eternal. As Schalesky herself notes in the introduction to her book, “Healing is not found in the arms of accusation. It’s found in a God who sees, loves, and redeems.”

“Women of the Bible Speak Out” is unique and informative, yet it reads like a personal account rather than a nonfiction reference book. I think that it could even be used as a devotional because its setup is conducive to such. Each chapter features one or two women from the Bible, with a one-word description of how she was mistreated, the Bible chapter or chapters in which her story appears, a Bible verse, a brief general summary of the abuse voiced, a contemporary example or application, the woman telling her story in the first-person, discussion, a segment entitled Who is God When, and a quotation. I think that this is a great format for either personal or group study, and when the Biblical woman’s story is presented through her own voice, Schalesky uses words taken from Scripture as well as what she terms “biblical imagination.” This makes the stories more real for readers, especially any who might have trouble connecting with the Bible.

This book’s release coincides with so much chaos and the destruction of Christian values at an increasing pace in a secular culture that has little regard, it seems, for human life, so the timing is perfect because now more than ever before we need to be reading and studying God’s Word. “Women of the Bible Speak Out” offers glorious hope in the midst of life’s trials, providing a fresh perspective on the stories that many will recognize immediately but perhaps have not dug deeper yet. One thing that stood out to me in the first chapter about Eve, that I have always somehow overlooked, is that God banished Adam and Eve from Eden out of mercy so that they would not eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in their broken, sinful state. I also appreciated that Schalesky treated each story with the gravitas it deserved, and that she was not afraid to address the horrors of the situations while also placing them within the context of ordinary customs at that time.

Despite the differences in time periods and cultures, one thing will always remain the same: God’s love for us. We will all face circumstances that we don’t want, and we may never know why something happens, but remember that God did not spare His Son, and Jesus was crucified and rose again to take away our sins and to prepare a place for us. We must never give up or give in to the lies that the enemy tries to plant within us, “Because when you feel the most helpless, when all your options seem gone, when you’ve been used and cast aside, it is often at that very moment that God is working not just to save you, but to liberate you—to set you truly and fully free. Because you are his beloved.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Blog Stops

 

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 10

Spoken from the Heart, June 10

For the Love of Literature, June 11

deb’s Book Review, June 11

Emily Yager, June 12

Older & Smarter, June 12

Book of Ruth Ann, June 13

A Reader’s Brain, June 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 15

Rebecca Tews, June 15

Texas Book-aholic, June 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 16

Godly Book Reviews, June 17

Writing from the Heart Land, June 17

Inklings and notions, June 18

Holly Jo Morris, June 18

For Him and My Family, June 19

Lighthouse Academy Blog, June 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Just the Write Escape, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

Hallie Reads, June 21

Splashes of Joy, June 22

Artistic Nobody, June 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Marlo is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book plus a $10 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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text 2020-04-30 07:03
Hope Lies Ahead Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Hope Lies Ahead

Author: James & Geoffrey Banks

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, Christian living, family and relationships

Release Date: April, 2020

No prodigal is beyond the reach of God
 
 Every inch of my body was in pain and my skin was crawling. I couldn’t think straight or even form coherent sentences . . . How did I end up like this? –Geoffrey Banks
 
Geoff’s situation seemed hopeless: a heroin addict going through a nightmarish detox on the floor of an overpopulated jail cell. He had made a mess of his life.

His parents felt their son slipping away. They loved him so much and felt so powerless. And so they prayed—through the hurt, the questions, the frustrations. And through it all, God walked with them.
 
Hope Lies Ahead shares Geoff’s prodigal journey and James’s perspective as his father. Each man writes his own story and candidly addresses the spiritual and practical challenges families with prodigals face. As someone who loves a prodigal, you’ll know you are not alone and that there is hope!



Click HERE to get your copy
 

About the Authors

 

 
Dr. James Banks is the author of Prayers for Prodigals, Prayers for Your Children, Praying the Prayers of the Bible, Praying Together, and Praying with Jesus. Through books, blog posts, and magazine articles, he regularly encourages people to pray. Dr. Banks has been a pastor and church planter for more than twenty-five years and lives with his wife, Cari, in Durham, North Carolina. They have two adult children.
 
 
 
 
Geoffrey Banks serves as the high school coordinator at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. He loves reaching students where they are and helping them walk with God. He is an avid surfer and skater. Geoffrey struggled with heroin addiction throughout his teens and early twenties before coming to know Jesus and having his life radically change. Now he is host of the podcast Too Many Christians, which explores beliefs in the pursuit of ultimate truth.
 

 

More from Geoffrey and Dr. Banks

 

From James

My son, Geoff, and I chose to tell our story in Hope Lies Ahead because we believe it’s what God would have us do. So many families suffer in silence when their loved ones go down prodigal paths, and we want them to know they are not alone. God truly offers hope when it seems like none can be found.

Geoff and I could only write this book because of God’s kindness to us. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal, “My son was lost and now is found,” and I’m still celebrating. Geoff is so much more than his past sins and mistakes. He is a new creation, made stronger in the broken places by God’s amazing love. Today God uses him to reach people in ways that would not have been possible had he not been down such difficult roads. God wastes nothing—redemption is a precious, priceless thing.

God never gives up on us. He goes to lengths that defy reason to save us and love us back to Himself. Even when our children make choices that break our hearts, God doesn’t abandon them. He loves our prodigals even more than we do.

Jesus is still “a friend of sinners.” No one is beyond God’s reach. When answers to prayer are long in coming, He Himself is the best answer. In the rough and raw places where we feel numb or even nothing at all, God is able to meet us with help and healing as we cast our cares on Him.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep loving, keep praying, and keep the lines of communication open. God can empower us in love beyond what we think is possible, and give us the wisdom and direction we need to face each day.


From Geoff

Substance abuse is so prevalent in our world right now. There is no specific socioeconomic class, community, or age that struggles with it, it is everywhere. With that being the reality, there is a lot of negative stories out there. All over the news you hear of overdoses, arrests, and other things related to this topic going on. My heart behind writing Hope Lies Ahead is that people will find some hope in the midst of an incredibly difficult time.

It is an up close and personal book for both my father and I, and that is on purpose. We looked at both of our failings, our strengths, and where we could have done things differently. For us it was an honest dialogue about what our journey through substance abuse as a family was like and how we came out on the other side. I hope that it can be the start of an honest dialogue for a lot of other families as well that will point everyone involved toward our one hope—Jesus.

As you read through Hope Lies Ahead, you will see a little bit of yourself in both of us. At times I am pretty hard on my father for some of the things that he did. The thing that I want to remind the reader of is that even when he made mistakes, it was done out of love. He wasn’t the religious Bible thumper I sometimes make him out to be but rather was driven by a deep love for his kids that sometimes got expressed in the wrong way. I think that his perspective is so unique because now he recognizes those moments for what they are and is able to help other people not fall in those same traps. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my parents, and this experience ended up sharpening both of us.

Based on what we learned going through this experience, I would say to a parent of a prodigal  above all else, maintain relationship. Let them know you love them even when they make huge mistakes. Let them know that if they ever want help you are right there waiting. Make sure they are aware of their options as far as treatment goes and when the opportunity arises to get them there, jump on it. Do it immediately. Don’t wait.

I think we often find ourselves wanting to preach. Addiction can be an infuriating disease to experience, whether you are the one who is addicted or a family member is. In the midst of that anger and frustration, we need to be reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Your war isn’t with that person, it is with the sin that is dominating their life. Don’t exchange your relationship with them for an off handed comment or a sermon about their behavior. It isn’t worth it.

My prayer is that people reading this book will be encouraged in their situation and that they turn first to Jesus. I believe that ultimate redemption looks like Jesus on the cross. It is when something meant for evil gets turned around and used for good. There are many stories of people going through addiction and then using their experience to help others out of it. There is nothing more beautiful than a giant struggle becoming an incredible strength.
 
 

Author Interview

 

 

When/how did you decide to become a writer?

 

I have been fascinated with stories since a very young age. Whether it was video games, movies, or books, I always had my mind wrapped up in some sort of story. In school I flourished in creative writing and literature classes. I am not sure it was ever a conscious decision, it was just something I’ve always been drawn to, so when the opportunity arose to put my own story on paper it was an easy choice. I am fortunate to have a father who is an accomplished author that helped pave the way for me.



Which author has most influenced your own writing?

 

I am a huge Flannery O’Connor fan. The depth of her characters is incredible and she does an amazing job of keeping everything morally grey. Just when you think one person is the “good guy” she flips it around and you are left unsure. That is so similar to the real word, so when I was writing this book, I kept that in mind and tried to show the good sides and the bad sides of everyone. There are no heros or villians. Just people.



What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 

I have a full time job outside of my writing so most of my writing takes place at strange times. I am a night owl and often don’t sleep well so I found that my best writing was done at 2:00 am when my mind was racing with thoughts and ideas. Outside of that, I try to squeeze it in the mornings on the weekend. I am not much for scheduling and just try to get it when I can.

 


Do you have a favorite or special place to write?

 

My front porch. I live in Wilmington, NC and we have a pretty mild climate 75% of the time. I love sitting in a chair on my front porch on a sunny day and writing there. Something about being able to hear the birds, cars, and general sounds of life just seems to keep me focused. The tan I get is just a bonus.

 


What are your hobbies?

 

I am a total hobby guy! I have so many it is hard to list. I am totally a jack of all trades and an ace of none. My main things that I do most consistently are surfing, skateboarding, and mountain biking. Honorable mentions would be hiking and spearfishing. I love getting outside in nature and taking advantage of what the world has to offer. There is something about it that is just so freeing.

 

Blog Stops

 

Texas Book-aholic, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

Andrea Christenson, April 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 27

For Him and My Family, April 28

Genesis 5020, April 29

For the Love of Literature, April 30 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 1

A Baker’s Perspective, May 2 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, May 3

Simple Harvest Reads, May 4 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Through the Fire Blogs, May 6

Artistic Nobody, May 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate their tour, James and Geoffrey are giving away the grand prize package of Hope Lies Ahead, Prayers For Prodigals and $10 Amazon Gift Card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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