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A Hairy Ordeal

It started with a simple idea. It always starts out as simple. Until you actually do it. Sometimes, you’re lucky and everything works out the way you saw it in your mind. Other times, it’s like watching your favorite ceramic mug fall off the counter, and you’re too far away to catch it. You simply have to watch it hit the floor and smash into pieces.

This bit of drama brought to you by the midlife crisis my hair seems to be having. My simple idea? Get a pixie haircut. “It will be fun,” they said. “It will look great on you,” they said.

My favorite mug lay shattered on the ground in a bazillion pieces.

I know I’m being dramatic, but that’s kind of how I felt for at least three solid minutes.  As a side note, I mean no disrespect or chiding to the woman who cuts my hair. I think she did a most excellent job, and nailed the picture I gave her to base the cut on. So after I stared dejectedly in the mirror for a couple of minutes, I gave myself a pep talk that hair grows, and it would all be okay in three to six months. Three to six months. That’s a long time. I needed a new plan, and a new plan is exactly what I came up with. I waited almost eight excruciating weeks for it to grow out a bit, and then I decided I was going to color it all. Platinum white. It would look spectacular. It would look so spectacular, I would no longer notice how much more I look like my brother. I would just be enamored by my cool hair color.

I made that appointment for Thursday. It was going to be fantastic. I could feel it. I’m not exactly sure what chemicals are used to lighten hair, but I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of hydrochloric acid and sulfur acid. Maybe a touch of gasoline. My scalp was on fire. But as my daughter used to say when she was in high school, “Beauty for pain.” I guess she was right.

After two rounds of the acid-like treatment, we learned the hard way that my hair is stubborn, and doesn’t like to lighten. So instead of the platinum white picture of perfection, I now had Ronald McDonald yellow hair with some white highlights.

I needed another plan.

I acquired something called a purple mask, which is a thick, purple cream you put into shampooed hair. You let it sit on your hair for five to ten minutes and then rinse it out. It’s supposed to tame the brassy/yellow color and restore it to platinum white. I packed it with the things I was taking to the boat this weekend, and headed to Door County. This morning, after my shower, I used the purple people eater cream, as directed, and busied myself for approximately seven and a half minutes. During which time, one of the marina dockhands stopped by with a question.

[look askance]

A few minutes after that embarrassing moment, Siri kindly told me it was time to rinse it out. I did so with optimism, and then ran to the mirror. I wanted to say abracadabra, presto change-o, but there were other words that made it out first. Now, instead of yellow hair with white highlights, I had yellow hair with purple highlights. No pictures this weekend, please.

One of the things I appreciate about God, besides His sense of humor, is His ability to show Himself in all the things around us. Hair is no exception. Here’s the moral of this story.

Sometimes, you just need to let your hair grow. Things happen in life that aren’t always pleasant, and we can’t fast forward our way through them. Sometimes, we just need to be patient within our present circumstances, while God is growing the things we are praying for. Trying to interfere and speed up the natural process can make the situation worse than before. And using purple people eater cream may only make you want to hide more. I should know.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

Trust in God’s plan, and be patient. Just let your hair grow. 

Be blessed,
C.K.

Count the Cost

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28

When counting the cost of something, that may be our time, money, conveniences, etc. To live a life for Christ demands the sum of these. It’s all our material possessions, emotional comforts and physical well-being tossed onto the proverbial table. In our Scripture above, His analogy of building a tower is simple – Christ is not demanding anything of us. He simply instructs us to take inventory of what a life of service and discipleship will require, to ensure we can finish the job.

Imagine a road. Imagine its long and winding path, sheltered and encased by the branches of majestic trees, whose roots are deep with life. You are ready. Your eye is on the finish. With each step along the narrow path you’re drawn more forward by the longing in your spirit for the Greatness you know lies ahead at your destination. Along the way, you pick up weary travelers, lifeless in spirit. You tell them of this Greatness – that which can breathe life into them again, heal their wounds and satisfy any hunger. More and more follow. You assure them, where you’re going, there is plenty of room for all (John 14:2).

The journey is long and the bottoms of your shoes become worn. The night falls steadily, along with the hope that sparked your first steps. Your pace ceases as you find yourself staring dejectedly at the unexpected mountain before you. There is no way around this mountain. Only over it. To take such a journey of strength will require a lightened load and the use of your hands for climbing. This means abandoning all your possessions for the sake of the climb. Disillusionment creeps in as you are taunted by your own ill-preparedness. Fear tells you to turn around. In that moment, you’re faced with a choice that will impact not only your own life, but the lives of so many others.

In your weakness and fear, you turn. When you do, you are face to face with all the weary travelers who are following you, uncertain of why you stopped. As you pass through the sea of searching faces, your actions of retreat make words unnecessary. The travelers who were once filled with hope are now standing in silence, gazing back and forth between their retreating leader and the mountain before them. The cloaks of dejectedness and disillusionment are passed through the crowd as the vision of Greatness you spoke of fades with every step backwards you take. For many, hurt turns to anger and bitterness for leading them so far for nothing. They leave the path, never to return (2 Peter 2:21). Others ridicule you. For others, they continue to follow you, turning back to the place that took the life within them and made them weary in the first place.

But there is one. There is one who remains staring at the mountain. He takes his time to think about the journey and all it will require. When weighed against the reward of the Greatness that waits on the other side, there is no hesitation in his spirit (Isaiah 6:8). He gathers those who are still found motionless in the confusion and calls out to those who have already turned around to see if any will follow with him. They leave any unnecessary thing and, together, begin the climb.

Which one will you be?

Be blessed,
C.K.

What’s Next You Ask?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what I’m working on next. I’m happy to throw out a few teasers for those of you interested. There are two books I’m working on…

The first is a very special non-fiction project. I’m not ready yet to say more about what this is, but as soon as I am, you’ll be the first to know! It’s going to be, well, out there. Let’s just say, I’m already predicting it will be the most difficult book I will ever have the privilege to write.

Robert Downey Jr.
Photo: projectfandom.com

The other is my second fiction thriller, What Lies in Wait. It will be a psychological thriller and, in the spirit of the twists I love, I’m going for a last chapter gasp in this one. You may even meet up with a character or two from Stolen. Another teaser? Ok, why not. One of the main characters, a work from home Psychiatrist, is being modeled after our very own Robert Downey Jr. One might say I have a small dream of him playing this role in the movie someday. I’m targeting to have this book out Fall 2019.

Be blessed,
C.K.

This entry was posted on July 3, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements categories.

Going Beyond

The Bible tells us we are to imitate Christ in all things. What about giving? I’m not talking about money. We are called to do that too, but the kind of giving I’m talking about today is the giving of ourselves to others.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

It can be really hard to die to self. We are born with a sin nature, and therefore we’re wired to think about ourselves first. Yesterday I went to the grocery store. I had a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in, so I was in go mode. You know, that mode where your brain becomes a human scoreboard and winning means checking off all the boxes on your list. I typically perform exceedingly well in this mode. I’m focused. I have a plan. A good plan. I have things in my cart I didn’t even plan on getting and I’m still slightly ahead of schedule. There’s the checkout. And there’s a lane with the light on with no one in it. And it says, “We bag.” Jackpot.

Sometimes life throws elderly women at us.

I was making a quick bee line to the open lane when I saw her. She was coming from the opposite direction, and looking at the same open lane. My lane. And her cart was loaded.

Even though she was closer to it than I was, a quick round of mathematics told me I could easily make it there before she did. Train A is moving north at 4mph, at a distance of 30 feet from destination, while Train B is moving south at 2mph, at a distance of 15 feet and closing. If Train A increases speed to 5mph… you get the idea, and have now been made privy to the scarier parts of my thought processes.

I’m embarrassed to say I authorized Train A to increase speed. I was right. I did beat her to the lane, but there was no victory lap, for it was clear what I had done. I knew it. She knew it. The cashier knew it. The kid sitting in the cart one lane over, picking his nose, knew it. There was no relief. Only guilt and conviction. My cart got lighter as I unloaded it, but my heart got a lot heavier. 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20

Was that ridiculous and immature display of selfishness a good example of me doing immeasurably more? Definitely not. Not only was I selfish, but I was impatient too. We could probably throw a little bit of disrespect in there for good measure. It wasn’t even worth it because of how it made me feel. Selfishness never rewards as well as thoughtfulness.

You want to know what else bothered my heart after the fact? In addition to that just being plain rude, I found myself wondering if my doing what I did made her feel bad about herself. Did my actions cause her to feel slower than she should be or older than she wanted to be? I couldn’t help but wonder just what my actions caused her to feel. With a little patience, a smile, and a compliment, I could have made that moment feel very different for both of us.

We have opportunities all around us every single day to go above and beyond for people. My blog last week was about nature being a silent witness to the existence of God. So are our actions. As Christ followers, we are called to a higher level. Let an elderly person get in line in front of you. You could even help them lift something heavy out of their cart and onto the conveyer belt. There are a million little ways to go above and beyond if you’re looking.

This isn’t just for strangers. A great place to start is with the people we know and love. For example, how often do you go above and beyond for your spouse? Give them more than they ask for? My throw down for you today is to pray for an opportunity to do more for someone than they expect. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be as simple as helping a vertically challenged person (like me) get something off a high shelf, or paying for a stranger’s cup of coffee.

Let your actions be a silent witness. Do more. Be more. Why? Because Jesus was our example first.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Silent Witness

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words, to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun…. it rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. Psalm 19:1-4, 6

In my quiet time, God brought me to this Psalm above. I drank in the words above like a warm beverage that illuminated me from my head to my toes. It was a tender reminder that His glory surrounds our every moment. There isn’t a direction we can take without the blessing of His handiwork and the assurance that His very hands are ever upon us.

I used to wonder about the verse that says all people would have an opportunity to know God. How could this be? Surely, there could be an exception. What about an isolated tribe of people high in the mountains of the Talamanca Range? Or what about people in the rain forests of the Congo? I believe this verse gives us insight into a witness not of flesh and blood, but of earth and sky. 

God calls His believers to be witnesses for Jesus. He calls us to spread the Gospel and the love of Christ to everyone around us. We are an important part of that Gospel plan, but He also leaves an obvious mark all around us that can speak without words. Nature is a universal proclamation of God’s existence! To let your gaze fall on such a wonder of creation is to undeniably see the existence of a higher power. This stunning complexity bares a constant witness to God’s supreme knowledge and power. In the Scripture above, God says there is no speech or language where the voice of His Heavens and sky are not heard. Whether high in the mountains or down in the Congo, His creation gives testament to those who will have eyes to see and ears to hear. We only need to exhaust ourselves trying to count the stars in the heavens to know that Someone much more powerful than us had to have placed them there to count.

I love the verses about the sun and the picture He paints of it making its circuit over us. The sun is often used as a representation of God’s glory. Just as the sun rises on one end and sets in the other, covering every creature with its heat, so the glory of the Lord fills the expanse of the skies and all the earth, leaving every creature to feel the very presence of their Creator. Even now, I pause to close my eyes and think about some of the most beautiful things God has allowed my eyes to be graced with – everything from majestic volcanoes to the simple yet profound beauty of colored leaves dancing on the ground. My heart expands whenever I drink in these sites. They are like a personal love letter to me from Him.

What impacts me the most is a thought my heart returns to again and again. True artists create what’s inside of them. As a writer, I can tell you I only write what exists in my heart. Realizing that, when I look at the beauty of all God has created, my heart falls in love with Him because I know that what I’m seeing is merely a reflection of what’s on the inside of Him – of who He is. I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, and it makes me smile to know that God is the ultimate romantic, and that He longs to woo us close to Him with every beautiful thing around us.

The beauty of nature is mysterious and comforting. It’s a witness that never sleeps, and whether by sun or moon, displays its ever-changing shapes of beauty reflective of God’s own. With every breeze that brushes your sweet cheeks and every rain drop that wets your adorable head, He is making Himself real to you and asking you to see. Will you take a moment to gaze upon Him? In doing so, you’ll build your faith in His absolute power and grow your love for Him for His absolute beauty.

Speaking of beauty, one of God’s finest masterpieces is you. Everything He creates is beautiful, and you are no exception.

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You. Nehemiah 9:6

Be blessed,
C.K.

This entry was posted on June 22, 2019 and belongs to the Faith categories.

The Waiting Room Released Today!

The Waiting Room is now available for purchase on Amazon
Available in Paperback and eBook

If you’re in need of a miracle, interceding for a loved one, or believing in God to move a mountain, getting on your knees is the easy part. The hard part is waiting. Not seeing the answers we long for can leave us feeling depressed and even doubtful. We begin fixing our eyes on the world around us, rather than the One who made the world.

Whether it’s been a day or a decade, don’t lose hope. You serve a mighty God, capable of doing immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Join me as we dive into God’s Word for insights and reassurance during your wait. He has a plan for your life, and His timing is always perfect.

This entry was posted on June 18, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements, Books categories.

Labor Pains

The following is taken from my new book, The Waiting Roomavailable for pre-order on Amazon. The book releases on June 18th.

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:20-21

Jesus is comforting His disciples in this passage. They’ve just learned they’ll soon be without Him, and they’re completely dismayed at the thought. Jesus is helping them understand the glory in His death, and the necessary pain required to birth a joy that is everlasting. You can apply these words as a healing balm to your own suffering heart while experiencing a time of waiting.

There are times when God chooses to deliver us out of a trial or bring an answer very quickly. Can I get an amen? However, there are times God will require us to walk what feels like a very long road. This requires a lot of trust in Him but, let me assure you, God doesn’t do anything haphazardly. Stop with me for a moment and think about the fact that every day of your life was written in God’s book before one of them came into being (Psalm 139:16). Really digest that concept. Powerful stuff, right? I don’t know about you, but my mind gets completely blown when I really try to process the forethought God has on every day of every one of our lives. Our God is a planner, and there is order to everything He does. You can be confident in His forethought of your present situation, and the steps required to bring it to fruition. This brings us to the heart of our time together today.

Within our journey, a crucial developmental process is taking place. Just as a baby in the womb, if we force it out too soon, there are complications, and often, death. The development of a baby in utero is a stunning process. When we recognize the great mysteries and profound complexity of this process, God can use this to teach us an important lesson about waiting for His deliverance. The gestational period of a baby is very exact, and things develop in a very specific and important order. When God speaks something to your heart, He’s doing so with the knowledge of what’s to come, and exactly how it is to come about. What He requires of you is trust, patience, and obedience. Regardless of moments of fear or disobedience, God ultimately knows what it will take to bring what He has spoken to pass. He knows what He’s doing. It may be painful, but I’ve learned the more painful it becomes, the closer you usually are to your answer.

When I was seven months pregnant with my daughter, I was taking the required Lamaze class, in which they help to prepare you physically and mentally for the painful birthing process ahead. The instructor was demonstrating with a plastic baby and skeletal representation of a woman’s hips and pelvic bones, how the baby descends and is birthed. All eyes were riveted on the instructor as she placed the baby inside the skeleton and began moving it downward, laughing as the baby got stuck midway through the pelvis. This required her to jam her hand down on it to free it from its position. Nervous laughter turned into several nauseatingly green faces. Other than learning the final stages of dilation are termed “the hurricane hour” for very painful reasons, I don’t think I remembered a single word she said after that. My mind was fixated on the terrifying reality this baby had to come out, and it was going to hurt – a lot.

Sometimes we panic when faced with a trial we know is going to hurt. With childbirth, it’s a bit easier to come to the realization that we have to go through it in order to receive that bundle of joy into our arms. In life’s journeys, it’s not always easy to continue walking, because we may not be able to see the joy that lies ahead of us in a tangible form. However, if God promised a blessing, we can be certain it’s there in the heavenly realm and waiting for His perfect timing – and looking exactly as He knows is best. It comes down to a question of who you believe God is. It comes down to whether or not you’re going to choose to believe what He spoke to your heart. If God is asking you to walk a difficult path, you can trust it’s for a very good reason – one He will reveal to you in His timing.

For those of us who have had the honor of birthing a baby, we remember the joy of being told we were pregnant – or for those of us on our journeys, the moment God spoke a promise to our hearts. For nine long months, or whatever the length of your journey, we watch our bodies change and our hearts grow deep with love for a child or a promise we have not yet seen. We spend hours, days, or even years in immeasurable pain and discomfort, until that moment – that beautiful, life-breathing moment – when we are looking our promise in the face. The pain subsides, and all that’s left is a battle scar full of stories of triumph.

Just as every day in the womb is a time of growth for new life, as you walk through a time of fiery trial, you can rest assured every step you take is a necessary detail in the growth of your character and the maturing of your faith. I pray you will never lose heart and give up.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:16-17

Be blessed,
C.K.

First Things First

The following is taken from my new book, The Waiting Roomavailable for pre-order on Amazon. The book releases on June 18th.

Being on your knees and sending your prayers up to the Father of the heavenly lights is the most important thing you can be doing. But let’s be real. It’s hard. Especially when it’s for people or situations near and dear to our hearts. I know firsthand how it feels to be praying fervently for something and watching it unfold in the complete opposite direction. Not only is that crushing to see, but it threatens to deflate our faith like air from a blown tire. When those things happen, you’ve got to decide to see with spiritual eyes rather than earthly eyes. You have to get out your patch kit, plug the hole that’s leaking faith, and keep moving forward. That means you keep getting on your knees and resolve to keep bringing your requests to God, despite what your earthly circumstances are telling you.

I know I just made that sound easy, but I also know the reality that it can be a daily struggle. The writings in this book were born out of some of my personal struggles, so I want to take a moment to appreciate and acknowledge wherever you’re at.

So, how do we move past these emotions? This first step is all about reminding our hearts of some very important things that give us the right perspective while we’re in the waiting room. Let’s look at a few of those.

There is an Order to Things

God’s vantage point is well beyond ours. If you see the trees, He sees the planet. If you see the planet, He sees the galaxies. There isn’t anything that escapes His view, and there is no element of anything that exists – past, present, or future – that He doesn’t consider. God operates in an entirely different dimension than we do. In His world, there is no dimension of time or space. It’s all fluid and He sees beyond the boundaries in which we tend to think.

You and I may have trouble grasping all of that, and although we may feel uncomfortable, God is perfectly comfortable and supernaturally capable. Because of all He sees and knows, He is uniquely and solely qualified to set the order of things that will maximize the glory for His Kingdom. He knows what you need and when you need it. He knows what every person needs and when they need it. All of those things fit together like one, glorious cosmic puzzle, and He drew the picture of that puzzle long before you or I even existed. Trust if God is asking you to wait just a little bit longer, He has a very good reason, and He will give you everything you need to be comfortable and at peace during your wait.

He’s a Heart God

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the promise we’re looking to receive. It becomes our single focus, and obtaining it is the culmination of what we call victory. We have to consider that God’s definition of victory might be a little different than ours. What I’m about to say isn’t always what we want to hear, but the sooner we grasp it, the sooner (I believe) we can stop wandering around in the desert, like the Israelites did for forty years (Exodus).

The wait is not always about what we’re getting, but what God is doing in us and who we’re becoming while we’re waiting.

God is much more concerned with who you are than what you have.

Don’t get me wrong – the things you want could very well be God-given promises having great significance for the Kingdom. But I don’t think it’s worth as much to God if you are lost in it along the way. God tells us He works all things for the good of those who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). You might be praying for physical healing and miss the opportunity for spiritual or emotional healing along your journey. Think about it this way – if God heals your physical body, you sure would have a great testimony to share the power of Christ with others. But if you’re an emotional mess inside as a result of the wait, how powerful will that testimony be for the Kingdom?

Consider this. The promise God wants to bless you with may not rest in what you receive at the end of your wait, but what happens inside of you during it.

* End of Excerpt *

Be blessed,
C.K.

eBook Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the following individuals for winning a FREE Stolen eBook from Amazon Kindle! Check your email for the winning gift promotion links.

Marsha Russell from Florida
Kelly Haworth from Wisconsin

Thanks again for all who participated! Stay tuned for more giveaways!

This entry was posted on June 5, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements categories.

Surrender

The following is taken from my new book, The Waiting Room, available for pre-order on Amazon. Only eBook is available for pre-order, but both eBook and paperback will be available for purchase when the book releases on June 18th.


“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.’” Matthew 16:24-45

I imagine the title alone may have sent waves of discomfort through you. It sure did to me for a number of years. As Christians, we like to sing about surrender, but walking that talk is a lot harder than it sounds on Sunday morning. If we look to Merriam-Webster to help us define surrender, we find the following:

“a: to yield to the power, control, or possession of another or b:to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another.”

When we surrender to God, we’re giving Him authority to exercise His sovereign judgment in our lives. To clarify, this isn’t God overruling our ability to have free will. It’s us giving to God what we think is best, in return for what He knows is best.

If you have kids, particularly teenagers, then you’re well aware of a thing I like to call the “Omni Effect.” The Omni Effect is the result of a child turning the age at which they know the answer to every question ever asked. They no longer need the wisdom of their parents because they’re smarter and far wiser in the ways of the world, despite experiencing only a fraction of what their parents have. They know what’s best, so they feel they should be able to do what they like. They believe the world has changed so dramatically, that we, as parents, couldn’t possibly be smart enough to guide and educate them.

Are you parents out there rolling your eyes yet? I thought so. This is a pretty easy concept for us to grasp, right? What if we applied this to our all-knowing God? News flash: we are those kids. We’re the ones who have experienced only a fraction of what God has. I don’t think we could even call it a fraction. That would be far too generous. He knows all because He created all. The Bible tells us every day was written before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). He’s the only One able to provide perfect guidance in perfect timing.

Perhaps the greatest testimony of surrender happens when we, amidst the charge of the enemy, lay down our shield, get on our knees, and lift our hands. It’s not a white flag we hold, but the offering of our will to God, whatever the outcome may be. To give yourself wholly and completely to the will of God, without regard to your own personal desires, is the epitome of surrender.

It’s also terrifying.

Why is it so scary? Why is there fear in surrender? We fall into the trap of fear when one of two things happen. The first is we believe the lies of the enemy. Satan doesn’t want you to be close to God. In fact, he wants nothing but misery and death for you (John 10:10). He’s going to whisper lies into your ear about why what God wants for you isn’t going to make you happy. He’s going to stir confusion and doubt. There’s a way to combat that. Fall on the Word. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Search the Scriptures on what God has to say about your situation and who He created you to be.

The second reason we fall into fear is because we don’t know, or choose not to rely on, the character of our God. Do you know Him well enough to know He loves you beyond measure (Ephesians 3:17-19); that He, Himself is love (1 John 4:8)? Do you trust His heart enough to know He longs to bless you and give you every good thing (Psalm 37:4, Matthew 7:9-11)? It’s impossible for God to lie and it’s impossible for God to do anything outside the character of goodness. For these reasons, you can trust Him completely.

It’s a spiritual truth that you can never out-give God. If God’s asking you to give Him something, don’t place such a high value on it and cling to it for fear of losing the joy or security you think it brings. When you surrender it to God, you’ll find He returns something of even greater value. As I’ve often told my daughter, doing what’s asked of us isn’t the extent of obedience. God desires our right attitudes as well. The attitude of surrender should be one of prostration in the presence of an all-knowing God, comforted in the assurance that He knows what you don’t. He’ll only ask of you what He knows will ultimately lead to both your blessing and His glory. In keeping with our spiritual truth, God will never ask you for something and then return something less than you gave to Him.

Surrendering doesn’t make you weak. It’s what you do when you are weak, so God can be your strength. However difficult this may be for you, take your treasure – your money, time, job, relationship, food, home, hobbies, whatever He’s asking for – and lay it at His feet. He’ll return what you never thought possible, including freedom. Don’t be bound in slavery to the things you refuse to let go of out of fear. It’s keeping you from a greater blessing and a beautiful display of His Glory.

“Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Be blessed,
C.K.

Stolen Book Review

A book reviewer reached out and asked if she could do a review on Stolen, as she found the premise interesting. Of course, I said yes. Her review was posted today, and all I can say is, wow. I was brought to tears over how accurately she captured my heart for this message – really, for all the novels I intend to write. I truly appreciate the time Robin Prater invested, and how beautifully she captured the underlying essence of Stolen. Don’t worry – there are no spoilers.

Click Here to Read Robin Prater’s Review of Stolen

This entry was posted on May 29, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements, Books categories.

Forget the Former Things

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

We all have expectations and desires for our tomorrows, but we sometimes allow our yesterdays to get in the way. No matter what your current situation in life, I pray this leaves you excited about the great things our God has waiting for you, as well as a changed perspective about where you’ve been. I’m excited to look with you in Isaiah, where we’ll learn about the amazing power of transformation available to us, and how God encourages us to keep our eye on the prize.

Visualize a wasteland. Webster defines this as “an ugly often devastated or barely inhabitable place or area.” Imagine what would happen if a stream of fresh, clean water is planted right in the middle of that wasteland. Over time, the ground around it begins to absorb the water. As the water spreads farther into the ground, it’s the catalyst for new life. Slowly, the seeds that once fell on hard and dry soil now have soft dirt to cultivate in. In a matter of time, what was once ugly and barren is full of lush, green life. When you choose to call God the Lord of your life, you are choosing life itself. You are allowing His living water to be deposited into the deepest part of you.

Let’s look to a common scientific principle – water was meant to flow. As you read His Word and spend time with Him, increasing your understanding of who God is and His will for you, that repository of water begins to flow, not only into every part of you but, into the lives of those around you. That water changes you. It changes your heart and transforms your mind (Romans 12:2). Transforming your mind and heart will transform your life. 

What prevents us from embracing the change and walking in transformation? Often times, it’s because we’re too busy dwelling on our past. You know the phrase, “the best predictor of the future is the past.” There’s usually no shortage of people reminding us of our mistakes and shortcomings. After hearing these messages enough times, we begin to believe the limitations others set for us.

God takes a different approach on things. He’s telling us to forget the former things. One of the amazing gifts afforded to us through our relationship with Christ is the ability to wipe our slates clean. If you’re in doubt, look at Paul’s story (Acts 9), and the amazing works he was able to do for Christ afterthe years he spent murdering Christians. I sometimes wonder what self-deprecating thoughts Paul had to overcome after his own transformation. How many times did he have to tell himself God was bigger than his murderous rampage of the brothers that were now his?

I’m not saying it’s easy to forget our past, but we must reconcile the misgiving that our failures make us unworthy. Sweet One, our being human makes us unworthy, but the power of Christ’s death and resurrection created a way for us to forget the former things and set ourselves on a new path.

Don’t let Satan use your past as a means to limit your future.

Understand our mistakes only serve to glorify the One who can make all things new (Romans 8:28-30). I believe this glory comes in two forms. The first is simple – Jesus saves. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done – there isn’t anything the cross didn’t overcome. When Jesus hung on that cross, bloody and beaten, he bore the pain and shame of every sin ever committed and yet to be committed. Nothing was forgotten. No one was forgotten.

The second form of glory is more subjective, but equally valuable – your story. Think of survivor stories and how individuals use those to inspire and motivate others. In our Christian walks, it’s vital for us to relate to others in a way that makes faith real and even tangible. We do this through sharing our stories and triumphs of overcoming sin and hardship. People need to know and believe we’ve walked in their shoes before they will trust what we say to them.

Being real about who we were before Christ transformed us, and the ways we fall on our face amidst our Christian walks today, serves to fortify the hope available for those who choose to believe.

Dwelling on your past will lead you back to a drought. Don’t forget the lessons in them, but don’t let your past limit your future. We serve an amazing God – able to do immeasurably more than we could possibly ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). If God believes you can, shouldn’t you?

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31, 37-39

Be blessed,
C.K.

Small Beginnings

“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” Zechariah 4:10

“What?”

After only a few sips of my morning coffee, that’s what I uttered out loud after reading the Scripture passage above. This is a good example of the types of verses that are easy to gloss over. We read it, but we’re not quite sure what we just read, so we shrug our shoulders and keep going. I’ll admit, that’s exactly what I did. Everything I had to do yesterday was already piling up in my mind, and it just seemed like too much of an inconvenience to stop and dig in. It was much easier to just keep reading and check the box on my quiet time for the day.

But God is good, and He knows what we need, when we need it. Every to-do item that ran around in my brain had a companion thought… “small things” … “capstone” … “hand of Zerubbabel.” Both curiosity and conviction got the better of me. I closed my to-do app, read the Scripture in context, and then opened my concordance and commentary apps. Boy, I’m sure glad I did.

First, a question. Do you ever find yourself looking around at small beginnings, and despising that they are small?

Second, a quick history lesson to set the stage. Stick with me. It will be worth it.

There was a great temple built in Jerusalem under King Solomon’s reign (1 Kings 6), which was destroyed about fifty years later by the Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar, when they overtook the city. The Judean people were exiled for the next 30 years, until King Cyrus conquered the Babylonians, and permitted the Judean people to come back and rebuild their temple.

Zerubbabel was one of the first Jews to return. He was appointed Governor of Judah, and immediately began the rebuild. It took him two years to lay the foundation, and had to deal with opposition and false accusations, which caused leadership to pull their support. There it sat, for seventeen years. Nothing. Enter stage right a couple of prophets sent to encourage, and four years later the temple rebuild was finally complete.

You’d think twenty-three years of work would get you a gigantic sphinx with Zerubbabel’s head carved into it. Not so much. It was recorded to be much less grand in stature than its predecessor, Solomon’s temple. Author’s commentary: It was smaller. Laughably smaller. Is laughably a word?

Okay, here’s my insight. 

It didn’t really matter if it was smaller than the first temple, because it was significant in a completely different way. It signified the rebirth of life and freedom for the Jews after experiencing a devastating exile. Here’s something more. The first temple was built under forced labor. This one was built by the people and for the people – the same people who vowed to maintain it because they were passionate about it. What I found equally interesting is, although this temple was smaller, it became more central to the Judean people as a point of their history than Solomon’s temple was. After what they had experienced, they knew what this temple represented.

So, why do we care about all this? Take a deep breath with me, and realize this is the story of many of our lives.

Whether it’s your faith, your finances, a relationship, a job, or a dream… maybe you had something you thought was really great – either in idea or action. Then life happened, sending you off course, and leaving you feeling lost. You had to deal with opposition – whether it happened to you or because of you. Maybe for a year. Maybe for twenty-three years. Maybe it felt like a full-on exile.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are now. God is calling you out of that exile to rebuild. And if you’re already trying to rebuild and there’s opposition, just keep laying one stone at a time. Use the things you learned and the ways you grew as the mortar for each of those stones.

When you do start laying stones, don’t look around discouraged and despise small beginnings. They are the foundation for what can lead to something of even greater significance than what you had before.

Our beginning Scripture says not to despise the day of small things, and that the eyes of the Lord will rejoice when they see the capstone in Zerubbabel’s hand. A capstone is any of the stones making up the top layer of the wall. God has a plan for your life. Every plan starts out small, but if you keep laying one stone at a time, before you know it, you’ll be holding a capstone. And heaven will be rejoicing with you. It will be worth every step of your journey.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Stolen Press Release

I’m excited to share the formal press release that went out this morning on the release of Stolen. The release was sent to:

        – 6000+ National Media Outlets
        – National Industry Magazines
        – Apple News, Google News, and Bing News
        – Wisconsin News Outlets

LINK TO PRESS RELEASE

I’ll be sharing links on all my social media pages, and I’m looking for your help to spread the news! Please use the shareable icons at the top of the press release for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to share it. Let’s get this out there to people who might need the message!

Be blessed,
C.K.

This entry was posted on May 14, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements, Books categories.

Stolen Launch Countdown

To celebrate the launch of my fiction thriller, Stolen, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book every day until it goes live on Tuesday, when it’s available on Amazon. I can’t post anything toward the end of the book, or I’ll give away the twists and the ending, but I hope you enjoy these excerpts as a small taste of what’s to come. Check it out!


Launch Day -1 (Monday): Excerpt from Caroline Klug’s fiction thriller, Stolen

She lay on the floor as he loomed over her. It was amazing to her how many thoughts she had in the short time she was staring death in the face. A flood of memories assaulted her, like waves crashing on the shore. They were momentary flashes of precious times tucked away in her subconscious, programed to emerge upon critical failure.
        How odd, she thought, how the mind works. She wondered how it decided which memories deserved center stage during the final act. Pictures passed through her mind and stopped abruptly on her dad. The last known image of him in her brain. The one from television. The one of him crying. She too, closed her eyes and cried, not wanting to see the final act of her attacker’s rage.

Tomorrow is Launch Day! Click here to go to Amazon
and order your copy now. It will be shipped or delivered electronically tomorrow!

Launch Day -2 (Sunday): Excerpt from Caroline Klug’s fiction thriller, Stolen

The brilliant lights seemed to dance in the background of her memories, as she lay replaying better times in her head. When Star finally opened her eyes again, there were no more brilliant lights. Her prison was dark and quiet. The man was gone. She wondered what time it was, and if it were day or night. She no longer had the shackle on, so she could get up and turn the light on if she wanted. As funny as it sounded in her own mind, a part of her was afraid to turn the light on. She was afraid to get a good look at her prison. And her isolation.
        Star sunk into the mattress. There was really only one spot to comfortably sleep, which was right in the middle where the mattress sunk in to form to a person-like mold. She lay on her back, staring up at the ceiling, feeling grateful that her stomach was settling. It was enough to allow her what felt like one of the first moments of clarity since she’d been in there.
        She lay there thinking. You’re going to get out of here and then what? What’s your plan? Maybe this is your second chance. So what are you going to do with it? I’m going to stay sober. No more drugs. I’ll get a job. A real job. I’ll get a place of my own too. Maybe Lacey and I could get a new place together. Maybe we could even go to school.
        She found herself grinning, thinking of what it would be like for her and Lace to be traipsing across some college campus with backpacks, notebooks, and iced coffees. It would be just like they see on TV. She smiled again, imagining how proud her dad would be of her. She only floated on that idea for a moment before her smile faded, and her heart hurt again. What would he think of her if he knew what she had become? Would he ever feel the same about her? She closed her eyes and tried to push away the intrusive thoughts which filled her now overly crowded mind.

***

Hope. It was all she had. She would either die in this prison, or she would live. A few days ago, she wanted to die. Now, she felt differently. She wanted a chance. She closed her eyes and made a silent promise to herself that she would accept wherever this prison brought her – good or bad. She had to accept the consequences – life or death. But she wanted life.

Launch Day -3 (Saturday): Excerpt from Caroline Klug’s fiction thriller, Stolen

Whether he realized it or not, Teddy was good at flirting. He made an art out of displaying his boyish grins at just the right time. She never used to look at Teddy that way but, once they got to high school, she found herself feeling jealous of the attention he got from the other girls. It made her realize she saw something in him that was more than just a friend. She wanted to tell him, but never found the right time. That’s what she told herself, anyway.
        Headlights caught her attention as the large bus rounded the corner a few blocks down. Seeing the bus in sight made it feel colder, and she bounced up and down trying to warm herself. The sound of the air brakes on the bus silenced the eerie quietness of the morning, and Sarah made the four steps into the bus two, as she escaped from the cold. She looked across the empty seats as she dropped her change into the meter, then selected a seat in the middle. The rest of the stops were empty, so the bus made a straight mile and a half run to the school. She smiled politely at the bus driver and bounced down the steps and onto the pavement. The wind whipped up her skirt once more, and she tightened her grip on her backpack as she ran across the courtyard to the front doors.
        Relieved to reach them, anticipating a rush of warmth, Sarah pulled on the handle only to find it locked. Pressing her forehead against the glass door, she peered inside, hoping for signs of life to open the door. Nothing. No one. Sarah sighed, and decided she would need to run around to the other side of the school and try the side doors. Those were closer to the gym and weight room where they typically practiced, so she was hopeful someone would be there. She reached the doors and gave them a tug, but they were locked too. She grimaced at the thought of having to stand out here for another thirty minutes. Resigned to her wait, she looked around for any kind of shelter.
        There, along the wall of the school she saw a girl. She was sitting inside one of the window wells, so Sarah walked toward her. As she got closer, she thought better of herself, but it was too late. The girl had already seen her and was waving for her to come over. Sarah couldn’t ignore her now, so she continued over. Sarah stood, looking down into the window well at the girl in a skirt and heels. She wasn’t in any school uniform, so Sarah guessed her uniform was, well, professional. She had heard some teachers talking about the prostitution problem happening not far from the school, worried the teenage boys would get enticed by it.
        “Hi!” the girl said with a smile. “You can come in here with me if you want.”
        Sarah looked at her, confused.
        “It’s warm in here. See the vent?” The girl pointed to the air vent by her feet. She made Sarah slightly uncomfortable, but the idea of standing in the cold for any longer made her even more uncomfortable, so she stepped inside and sat on the ground. She was right. The vent was pumping out gloriously warm air. Pleasant goosebumps ran up and down Sarah’s body as she moved her hands and feet closer to the vent. The two girls sat without speaking.
        Sarah tried not to stare in the girl’s direction but couldn’t help noticing her shiny necklace. It was a silver chain with a shiny, silver dolphin. After a few minutes, Sarah asked, “What are you doing in here?”
        “Probably the same thing you’re doing in here. It’s warmer in here than it is out there.”
        Sarah smiled. “Yeah, but I mean, what are you doing out here?” she said, trying to clarify. “Do you go to school here?”
        “I used to, but I dropped out a few years ago. I’d ask you the same thing, but I can see from your cheerleading outfit you go here.”
        “Dance team,” Sarah clarified. “I’m part of the dance team. The cheerleaders are too stuck up.” The girls exchanged a giggle and let the silence resume for a while.
        “Are you a hooker?” Sarah asked, and then regretted her question.
        Still staring down at the vent, the girl replied, “Yes. But we don’t call it that. People call us ladies of the night. Sounds more, well, like it’s something it’s not.”
        Sarah’s cheeks flushed at the girl’s candor, and she immediately tried to change the subject. “I’m a freshman. It’s my first year here.”
        The girl ignored Sarah’s comment and continued. “I don’t do this because I want to. It’s because I have to. It’s not glamorous or nothing, but it’s a way to pay for food and get a place to crash at sometimes.”
        Sarah was now feeling increasingly uncomfortable and was elated to hear one of her teammates yelling to her from an open door. “Come on! Coach is here!”
        Sarah gave the girl an apologetic look and excused herself from the warming well. She trotted quickly to the door, giving one look back at the girl who was watching her run away. Sarah wasn’t sure what she thought of all of that but couldn’t imagine making that kind of choice.

Launch Day -4 (Friday): Excerpt from Caroline Klug’s fiction thriller, Stolen

Star wouldn’t cry. Not now. She had to be strong. She had to press past the hopelessness she felt and try again to fight. Not today, but soon. In order to do that, she had to get past this addiction. Other people went into rehab. She figured this was her rehab. It just wouldn’t come with medication and a therapist. She would have to do this the hard way. It had been at least a week. Maybe longer. How much longer would she really have to feel this way? Star tried to focus on the pain in her ankle as a way to distract herself from the other physical symptoms she was feeling.
        “No,” Star said quietly.
        At this point, Jack was already reaching into the bag for the drugs. He stopped, his hand still in the bag, and looked up.
        “What did you say?” Jack looked surprised.
        Star adjusted her position on the bed, fighting the pain from her ankle and hand, bringing herself to a more upright position.
        “I said no,” Star repeated, a little louder this time. “I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want to need it anymore.”
        Jack dropped whatever was in his hand and pulled his arm slowly from the bag, and stood to an upright position.
        Star sat as tall as she could, while Jack stood looking at her. In those few moments, Star noted a shift in Jack’s face. Almost a softening.
        “I think you’re going to make it,” Jack said with a smile.
        “What do you mean?”
        “You’re not like the other girls. You’re stronger. You’re going to make it. Those other girls just weren’t strong enough. I tried to help them, but they didn’t want to be saved.”
        Star’s mind reeled. “Other girls?”
        Jack ignored her question and returned to the bags on the floor.
        “What happened to the other girls?”

Pre-order your paperback or eBook copy of Stolen today, and it will be shipped or delivered electronically on Tuesday, May 14. Click here to go to Amazon.

Launch Day -5 (Thursday): Excerpt from Caroline Klug’s fiction thriller, Stolen

Part of her wanted to go talk to Teddy. He always knew what to say to make her feel better, but a small part of her resented him for that. His words of hope. She knew he meant well, but hope had eluded her over this last year, and the last thing she wanted to hear was any more religious rhetoric. He would tell her that everything happens for a reason and would make her a better person.
        Sarah snorted angrily and wondered what exactly a better person was, anyway. Better than who? Didn’t we all have our mud? Mud can come in various shades but, at the end of the day, it’s all the same. Sarah drew in a deep breath and tried not to think about the funeral. She tried not to think about walking up to the casket. That cold, dark box containing a dead body on display. She shook her head in disgust at whoever originally thought that would be a good idea.
        The counselor had assured her it was for closure. She assured him she already knew her mom was dead. He didn’t think that was funny, but neither did she.
        She had to stop thinking about it. She couldn’t let that level of pain in. It was too much. It was all too much. The thought that had been circling around in her mind for the last month was coming to rest hard on her now. She stared ahead, lost in thought. With a single tear running down her cheek, she got up, opened the closet door, and pulled out her backpack. She spent the next hour carefully selecting only things she thought she would really need, then sat at her desk to write her dad a note. It felt like an impossible task. What would she say? What could she say?

***

Sarah laid the jersey on top of her backpack and walked over to his window. “Do you ever wonder where you’d be right now if your dad was still alive?”
        The question seemed to catch Teddy by surprise. He stood silently, trying to process the intent of her question. Even though Teddy was a good-sized kid who was often mistaken for being tough and intimidating, he was really quite sensitive when it came to people’s emotions and needs. Sarah understood the sensitivity of her question, and she also knew she was one of the only people who could ask him that without him feeling attacked or offended. Sarah continued to stare out the window, not making any eye contact with him, giving him the space he needed to think.
        “Um…” Teddy stalled. “I… I don’t know. I guess maybe I’d still be here, playing football and stuff.”
        “What about the God stuff?” Sarah said, her back still to him.
        “What’s wrong?” Teddy asked. “You seem off. Are you okay?”
        “I haven’t been okay for a long time now.” Sarah could feel the emotion welling in her throat but pushed it down. “But that doesn’t matter. I was just curious.” She turned to face him. “You’re in such a good place right now. All that bad stuff that happened to you… is the God stuff the reason you’re doing good now, or not?”
        Teddy stood searching her face, looking for anything to help him with his answer.
        “I’m not sure how to answer that but, I guess so. Yeah.”
        Sarah smiled at him, seemingly happy with his answer, but struggling to figure out the mess going on inside of her. She wanted Teddy’s answer to be her answer, but she didn’t think it could be that simple.
        “Seriously, are you okay? What can I do to help you?”
        “I have to go. I just wanted to say hi.” Sarah pushed her way past him toward the door, then stopped and turned to him again. “And Teddy, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate our friendship. You’ve been there for me when no one else was. With you, I could always just be myself. You’re really a great guy, and I’m so glad you’re happy now.” Sarah moved toward him and threw her arms around his shoulders, giving him a tight hug. Then she let go and hurried out the door and down the stairs.
        “Wait!” Teddy called after her. “I feel like something’s wrong. What’s wrong? Talk to me.”
        “Sorry, I have to go. I’m okay. I’m going to be okay.” Sarah couldn’t bring herself to look back. She hurried through the kitchen and out the side door. She made it look like she was heading back to her house, in case he was watching. She assumed he would be. Once she knew she was out of sight, she walked around the other side of her house and headed down the street toward the bus station. She still had Teddy’s jersey in her hand. She pulled it up to her nose and drew in the smell. Tears ran down her cheeks and wet the jersey. The wind picked up, and she shivered as she tightened her coat around her.

Launch Day -6 (Wednesday): Excerpt from Caroline Klug’s fiction thriller, Stolen

Star had no idea if her screams were audible or only locked away in her head. Her vision was blurred from his punch, and she fought to clear her head as she pulled herself up and onto her hands and knees.
        The man grabbed her forcefully by her long, black hair, pulling a chunk out from the roots. With one hand clutching her hair and the other under her arm, he dragged her to the open side door of the van.
        Star kicked her feet and screamed, working desperately to pry his fingers from her hair. When they got to the van, she grabbed the doorframe, trying to resist his push. Fighting to get past the searing pain on her scalp, she struggled to keep her grip as he shoved her inside.
        The back of the van was completely empty and stripped to the metal. Star grabbed on to the front passenger seat, pulling herself up and away from him. As the man reached for her again, she kicked back with all her might, sending her 3-inch stiletto into his upper thigh.
        The man shrieked. Enraged, he grabbed her ankle, pulled her back onto the floor, and delivered another swift punch to the side of her face.
      Star couldn’t open her eyes, but could feel the man tightening something around her wrists and ankles. When he was done securing her, he slammed the door shut, got into the van, and took off.
      The fight for consciousness clouded her sense of reality and regret painted her thoughts – for which particular thing, she wasn’t even sure where to start. Which was the first of her awful decisions that made all the others follow behind, forcing her down this fast-paced highway of remorse? How did this seventeen-year-old Midwest-friendly girl end up a nineteen-year-old prostitute, hooked on heroin? In her altered state, the audacity of it almost made her laugh out loud. It certainly wasn’t funny. It was the kind of laughter you experience when all the other emotions fail you.
        Two years on the streets had taught her how to appear hard on the outside, but that never really caught up on the inside.

***

Star lay on the cold van floor trying to shake off the memories. She wasn’t sure what was more painful – her present circumstances or how she got here. Despite the heroin pulsing through her veins, the pain still made her head throb. She opened her eyes long enough for the blur of the lights going by to nauseate her stomach. Maybe it was better not to fight. She closed her eyes, feeling herself fade into the blackness.
        Star came to again and could no longer feel the motion under her. They had stopped. She opened her eyes to a blurred view of the ceiling, and tried to make sense of where she was. It wasn’t the van. It was dark, and a strong, musty smell filled her nose. As she rolled onto her side, she was quickly reminded of her raw scalp. She lifted her hand to run her fingers tenderly over the wound. She could feel the blood, but it was dried. How long had she been lying there? Star let out a quiet moan as she tried to sit up. Pain shot up her right leg as the sharp edge of the metal clamp around her ankle dug deep into her skin. She reached down and surveyed the cold metal with her hands, feeling chain links extending to the wall beside the bed. Star slid her hands around, feeling a tattered box spring and metal frame beneath her. There was a blanket on the bed and one small pillow. All of it smelled like a damp cellar.
        Her mind felt clearer, but her physical body was struggling to catch up. She tried to come out of her fog, blinking to clear her vision and see through the blackness. As she did, both terror and adrenaline brought her to attention when she realized she wasn’t alone.


Paperback and eBook will be available for purchase on Tuesday, May 14. eBooks are available for pre-order, and are on sale until the launch date. To take advantage of this sale and pre-order your eBook now, go to Amazon.

This entry was posted on May 8, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements, Books categories.

Extreme Home Makeover

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1

Do you remember the old ABC hit show, Extreme Home Makeover? Ty Pennington and his team would travel the nation, rebuilding the homes of people whose lives had been marked with struggle, illness, or the death of their loved ones. The families would be excursioned off for a week while the makeover team demolished what was there and put something incredibly beautiful in its place.

As Christians, we should take inventory of our spiritual houses. When you stand at a central point looking at the walls around you, what do you see? Do you see a clean and beautiful structure or do you see cracked walls and rotting boards? What in your spiritual house needs to be demolished and rebuilt?

What was the pinnacle or turning point in the lives of the families on this show? They either asked for help or someone close to them made a plea on their behalf. Sound familiar? I hope so, because this, my friend, is prayer. Whether you’re crying out to God for help, or someone who loves you is interceding for you, God hears the prayers of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). 

Some of us have developed in our spiritual maturity, and just need God to come in and renovate a few problematic rooms. However, sometimes we have too much damage for mere renovation. Our walls might be crumbling and, just as we can’t pour new wine into old wineskins (Matthew 9:17), God won’t build a new home on top of a foundation that’s damaged. In these situations, we find ourselves surrendered and requiring all the trust we can muster as the walls are brought down around us.

Sweet one, I know all too well how frightening this can be. There was a point in my life when everything seemed to be crumbling down around me. Anything and everything that held significance to me seemed to get ripped away in some fashion. As I mentally and emotionally walked through the rubble, tears streaming over the broken items, it was then God picked me up and held me in His arms. He pulled me far enough away so my focus was no longer on the broken pieces, but on the crew that was waiting in the distance to clear away the rubble and rebuild. What I first thought was demise was, in reality, the hope for something better.

I love to redecorate rooms. I love finding one unique item and patterning everything else around it as a compliment. We all have rooms that need a little redecorating. As you allow God into those rooms, He places His Son Jesus inside as the unique centerpiece. Over time, He develops and adds pieces of your character that compliment your centerpiece. This is a life-long process that should never be stagnant.

If you were having guests over, would you be quick to make sure it’s clean? With your spiritual home, every time you interact with people, you’re inviting them into an open house. If it’s less than what God desires, I’d encourage you to see your cracks as opportunities to grow.

Take heart, for help is on the way! When you surrender your spiritual house to the Almighty Designer, He will come in and transform you room by room, until what’s left is your palace (Hebrews 11:10).

I’ll leave you with one more thought. Why did the families on Extreme Home Makeover trust the crew? They were familiar with the show and had seen the results time and time again. If these families can put their homes into the hands of a crew that existed for only a few years, then certainly, you and I can put our homes in the hands of an infinitely-existing, all-knowing, ever-present God, whose record of victories existed before time began.

Be blessed,
C.K.

The Kicker

“…So Esau despised his birthright.” Genesis 25:34

Do you ever wonder if you’re “called” to do something? Rather than tell you what it feels like, I’m going to ask you, by laying out a series of questions about your desires. Hold out until the end because, with all things, there’s a “kicker.”

To get us in the right frame of mind, the desires I’m referring to are not about things you can get. They’re about things you can give… your God-given gifts and talents. Your gift could be artistic, business oriented, working with your hands in a trade, lending emotional support to hurting people, writing, or as a financial giver. Don’t overthink the answers. Just make a mental note of whatever immediately pops into your mind as you read through these next questions. They’re certainly not all-inclusive, but I hope it’s a start to get you thinking.

Do you have a passion stirring deep inside that you tell yourself is just your own desire, but deep down you know — you can feel — it’s something so much bigger than you? Do you have an almost restless sensation that gives you an unexplainable urge or need to do that thing? And when I say restless, I really mean a Sigourney Weaver alien bursting out of your stomach kind of restless. On that note, does it also scare you? Does it take you beyond your present comfort zone? Do other people reaffirm your gift? When you’re operating in that gift, does it feel easier than you thought, fulfilling, and help seems to come just when you need it? Despite fear, does the idea of not doing it leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled?

Here’s a big one.

Is there an inaudible yet unmistakable voice… something you sense in the deepest recesses of your being that something… Someone… is calling out to you and telling you to cross that comfort line and do what you already know is welling up in you?

I don’t know what’s going through your mind right now, but I hope it’s validation of what you already know to be true. A name for your gift. Your call to action. Your calling.

Writing books and speaking/teaching is my calling. I used to be afraid to say that out loud. I used to let Satan fill my head with lies and fears. “No one will buy your books.” “No one will care what you have to say.” “You don’t have the right degrees.” I’ve dealt with tough negative self-talk over the years, but wasn’t able to get to the other side of it until I learned something very valuable. It’s not about me.

It’s not about you either. It’s about what God can do through us, if we’re willing.

I don’t need to care about who will or won’t buy my books. I just have to write them. I don’t have to worry about what people think of what I teach. I just have to invest time in studying, listening, and writing, and what those words do when they fall on someone’s eyes or ears is up to Him. It’s freeing, really. But you need to choose to give God control. Listening and answering the call are the easy parts. Give God the hard part, which is how people respond to what you offer.

I’m not suggesting answering the call makes the rest of the journey easy or care free. My first book, Stolen, is being published in a little over three weeks. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t feeling vulnerable and nervous putting myself out there like that. But I try to remind myself it’s not about me. It’s about the message, which is in God’s hands now. The same goes for you.

Ok, here’s the kicker. Are you ready?

You can’t take forever to decide to answer the call. God’s Word shows us if we don’t respond, He’ll find someone else who will. In Genesis 25, Esau despised his birthright, so God passed over him and granted it to his younger brother, Jacob. Do you recall all the places in the Bible where it refers to the great lineage of patriarchs “Abraham, Isaac and Esau?” Whoops. That turned into “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Or what about the business of King Saul? Saul had the throne of Israel first, but kept hardening his heart, so God passed over him too, and anointed that quiet shepherd boy we now know as King David. It was from King David’s lineage that Jesus, the Messiah was born. Double ouch for Saul.

The morale of the story is simple. First, don’t ignore the God-given gifts He is speaking to, and burning inside of, your heart. Second, don’t be afraid. Step up and step out. He’ll be there to carry you the whole way. I love the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” Lastly, don’t live a life of regret because you didn’t step up and out, and God passed your call onto someone else who would. You can’t undo that decision, and you have no idea the great plans God has for you, your whole family, and the lives of so many others. Don’t overthink it. Just answer it. I challenge you to take one step forward over the next week. Big step. Small step. It doesn’t matter. Just take a step, and see what God does.

Be blessed,
C.K.

The Witnesses

Slowly, they walked up the hill at Golgotha, trying desperately to function beyond their feelings of dread. Golgotha. It was aptly named. In Aramaic, this was known as “place of the skull.” It was known for death. Breathing deeply with every step forward, they assembled there. Storm clouds formed in the sky and the wind picked up around them. They pulled their cloaks tighter and looked amongst each other nervously as darkness fell across the land. Hours went by. They were watching. Waiting. Wondering what this would mean. Fearing what this would mean. Everyone was silent. Everyone but Him who was laid bare on the tree.

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46

Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with grief. The tremors shot terror through the hearts of those standing witness, and pulsed furiously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split …. When the centurion and those with Him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:51,54

Grief. Confusion. Anger. A complete and total loss of words. For the Apostles, the world as they know it just came crashing down on top of them. The hope they held out seemed like a distant memory and the One they called Master was now a lifeless body hanging before their eyes. Walking away from Golgotha was longer and harder than walking to it. They wondered what all of this was for now. Their mission. Would they even still have one? They wondered if all those things Jesus told them were even real. Nothing made sense anymore. Nothing.

* * *

Swiftly, the angels assembled, ready to bear witness to the most significant moment there ever was and ever would be in the history of both the kingdom of man and of God. Even the very earth was astir, its clouds rolling and wind sweeping, unable to contain its anticipation. They were watching. Waiting. But they were not wondering. They all knew what was to come. It would be hard to watch, but they knew He did it for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). A hush fell over them as every sin that ever was and ever would be committed laid on the shoulders of the One who came to save them. The Hope of all Hopes gave up His last obedient breath…

“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30

Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with the joy of celebration. The tremors pulsed victoriously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.

“Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them …. Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” Hebrews 7:25,27

Joy. Faith. Celebration. Songs of praise and worship. For all of Heaven knew the veil had been torn, no longer separating man from God, but creating a bridge to the Holy of Holies. Hope was now alive. As alive as their Lord and Savior. All the hard work was validated and the prophesy about Jesus fulfilled. It was the new reality for all of mankind. Everything made sense now. Everything.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Stolen Release Date!

I’m thrilled to announce Stolen will be released for publication Tuesday, May 21st.

Pre-ordering will be available, starting on Friday, for eBook format only. So, if you’re an eBook fan, then you’ll be able to order your copy this coming weekend, and Amazon will auto-deliver it to your preferred device as soon as it’s released.

If you prefer paperback, you’ll be able to order through Amazon as well, beginning on May 21st.

Subscribers will receive a notification email this weekend, once pre-ordering is live, and another once it’s published and both eBook and paperback are available for purchase. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to join my mailing list, enter your email address at the bottom of the Home page.

Be Blessed,
Caroline

This entry was posted on April 15, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements categories.

Fear of the Dark

It’s been a long day and your thoughts surrender to the quiet of the evening, and the longing to close your eyes and drift off to sleep. You make your way through the silenced rooms and hallways, closing windows, checking locks, and turning down lights. Satisfied you’re secure, you ascend the stairway, your way lit by a dim light coming from the lamp beside your bed. As you slip into the cool sheets the only thing on your mind is how comfortable your pillow feels beneath your head. You reach over and turn off the lamp. Darkness floods the room unnoticed as your eyes are already long closed.

In an instant you’re startled by an unfamiliar noise, and fatigue is replaced by uneasiness. There’s a strange, almost sudden, feeling that overcomes you. It’s a feeling you haven’t experienced since you were a small child. Fear. You begin the process of rationalizing with yourself all the possible things that could explain the noise you just heard. You wait, silently and tensely. Only quiet. You take a deep breath, laugh to yourself, and return to drifting.

Your whole body is jarred to an alert state as you strain to focus and search the darkness for the cause of this intrusion. You wrestle between the notions of climbing under your bed to dial 9-1-1 or screaming out in confrontation, in the hope they flee back into the shadows they came from. You stand, blindly searching for anything you can swing or throw. In your frenzied search the lamp next to you comes crashing to the floor in a tremendous thunder.

Footsteps ascend the staircase with great speed. There’s no time to call. Terror grips your throat and silences you as you fight to even take a breath. Your heart is pounding so hard you fear you might have a heart attack. Finally, your eyes have focused enough to see a figure at the door of your room. You manage to channel the last bit of courage you have to form the only words that make sense in that moment – “Oh God, help me!” You hear a snapping sound and the room that was once filled with darkness and fear dissipates in an instant, and is flooded with light.

You have no words as you find yourself staring face to face with your husband, who is supposed to be out of town for two more nights.

As kids, we often experience a fear of the darkness. It’s a fear more properly exposed as the unknown. We fear what we can’t see, and our minds create impressions of mean, scary monsters and indescribable creatures or intruders, whose sole purposes are to bring terror to our hearts.

Everything we do in our flesh represents that darkness. We see things with a skewed or darkened perspective. However fictitious this story, it defines something far too real in our everyday lives. When we live in the dark, our physical senses make up the only inputs of our truth and we end up accessing situations based on what we can see, feel or hear in our flesh. It’s impossible for darkness to exist within the light (2 Corinthians 6:14). When we ground ourselves in the knowledge of God, we’re turning on the proverbial flood lamp. We can now see things in a perspective that’s no longer subjective, but truth.

Are you grappling in the dark? Are you giving way to fear of the unknown? Flip the switch and see things for what they really are. How? Get into the Word of God. Learn the life breathing truth that will change your view for the better. God is light (1 John 1:5). Ask Him. Ask God to give you spiritual eyes and enlighten you with His wisdom and knowledge. Ask Him to turn your darkness into light.

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16

Be blessed,
C.K.

Scar Tissue

We all have scars. Some visible. Some not so visible. Webster’s Dictionary defines a scar as “a mark remaining after injured tissue has healed.” I want to look today at a verse in Psalms and share something beautiful that I hope makes you look at your scars differently.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” 

Psalm 147:3

This Psalm paints a comforting picture, but there’s much more here than meets the eye.

The Hebrew word for wounds is abatstsebeth (pronounced ats-tseh’-beth), which translates to “pain, wound, sorrow, affliction, grievance.” Pretty straight forward, right? I think we can all relate. But what I was struck by was the Hebrew word for binds, which is chabash. It means “to bind, wrap around, cover, envelope, enclose.” I hope that gave you the same goose bumps it gave me. When we’re hurting about something, it’s God’s desire to envelope us. He wraps His strong, faithful and able arms around us and provides not only comfort, but a cover of protection. When we allow God into a situation that’s causing us pain, God can so infiltrate our hearts and minds in that matter that He literally envelopes that pain and forms what you might say is scar tissue – He is, in essence, binding the wound.

I don’t believe God intended for scars to have a negative connotation. You see, scars don’t hurt – wounds do. If you have something that’s still painful, that means it hasn’t fully healed.

When I was six, I was attacked by a German Shepard, and ended up with 186 stitches in my face and neck. Most of the wounds healed beautifully, except for a large one extending upward from the right side of my upper lip. I was very insecure about it as a teenager. One day, a boy I had a crush on made fun of it, and I went home crying and felt completely devastated and ugly. I should mention that German Shepard was our dog. He was well trained but, for reasons unknown, snapped at the time of the incident – something I’m quite sure my dad felt beyond horrible about. I share this, because, after I came home that day feeling broken, I’m certain it’s the reason he offered to take me to a cosmetic surgeon to see about getting it removed. This would be an elective procedure and not at all in their budget.

We went to that surgeon for a consultation, and he explained how he would cut out the scar and re-stitch it so it wasn’t nearly as visible. Once I got home, I can still vividly remember sitting on my bed and feeling an immense sense of comfort. I don’t think I realized it was God speaking to me at the time, but after that moment, I went to my dad and said, “Dad, I really appreciate you being willing to do this for me, but this scar is a part of who I am and a part of my story. And if some boy thinks it makes me ugly, then that boy isn’t the right boy for me.” I can’t explain how such mature words came out of me, outside of God binding my wound. Today, I don’t even see that scar anymore, and if I do happen to notice it, I have zero hurt associated with it. To me, it’s as distinctive as my green eyes. It’s just part of what makes up my face.

Scars are merely the evidence of once existing wounds, each with their own, unique story to tell. Your scars are not for you. They are for someone else to touch, to see that you made it through – to encourage them and strengthen them to know that they too can persevere (2 Cor 1:4). So, the next time you find yourself encouraging someone else through a situation that you yourself once passed through, remember to praise God for your scars. They are evidence of His Glory.

Be blessed,
C.K.

*A special thanks to one of my readers for the topic request.

References:
Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Merriam-Webster.com. 2019. https://www.merriam-webster.com(April 2019).

Hebrew translations are taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: New American Standard Bible. 1995. Updated ed. La Habra: Lockman Foundation. http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances/strongs-exhaustive-concordance/.

Stolen Coming Soon

Stolen will be released in May, with Pre-Ordering available in April

Sometimes you feel like you’re on a winding road, and sometimes a runway. These last few weeks have definitely felt like a runway. So many changes illuminating the path, both exciting and terrifying. Those changes haven’t been limited to my day job. They now include my book publication order.

When I first connected with you, I told you I was planning on self-publishing The Waiting Room first and taking some time to pursue an agent for Stolen. But you know what they say – man makes plans and God laughs. That plan has been turned upside down. In my heart of hearts, it was always supposed to be Stolen first, and I guess I needed a gentle reminder of that.

A big part of what brought me to that decision was checking my pride. I’m new to the publishing world, but know enough to know getting signed with an agent and published by one of the big five publishing companies is sexy. It’s someone else validating your existence as an author. Finding an agent who will sign an unknown author is an arduous process at best. It can take months, if not years, with no guarantee of ever being signed. Do I believe God has a plan for me and these books? Yes. Do I believe He can do what He desires if I self-publish first? That’s where my spirit needed a check. 

Sometimes we box God in and tell Him how it needs to look. I believed in order to be successful or be taken seriously as an author, I would need to be signed by an agent. What did God have to say about that? He said that’s a bunch of poppycock. Ok, He didn’t really say that – that’s my paraphrase. But seriously, God is usually rooting for the underdog. The Bible says He uses the weak to confound the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). Well, in the literary world, you can definitely consider me the weak, but with God, all things are possible, right?

You’ll be able to purchase either an eBook or paperback via Amazon, Barnes & Noble or most any major channel you prefer (only eBook will be available during Pre-Order).

Exact dates for both Pre-Orders and Release will be communicated as soon as I have them confirmed, but I’m shooting for just before Memorial Day weekend, so you have something great to read during your days off! I hope you’ll consider checking out the book and supporting the cause.

Note: Once published, it will be available immediately on Amazon, but may take up to 6-8 weeks before it’s available for purchase on B&N and other outlets

Be blessed,
C.K.

This entry was posted on March 30, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements categories.

Book Cover Sneak Peek

As a first-time author, there’s so much I’m learning through this journey. Some things are easy, and some things are not so easy. What keeps me going through the not so easy, are those things that create excitement – being inspired by an idea, being almost finished with a book, and being finished with a book. There’s a new one for me I’m now putting squarely in the middle of that list – seeing my book cover come to life.

For Stolen, since I set my mind last summer to write my first novel, dancing around in the back of my brain has been a picture. It was a very vivid picture. It was more than a concept. In my brain, it was real. I could see it, feel it, and touch it. It wasn’t a maybe this or a maybe that. It was the cover. I could even see the bold, red letters across the top. Being a control freak isn’t easy. It sometimes means giving over creative control to someone better equipped to make the magic happen. But that’s exactly what I did, and all I can say is how incredibly thrilled I am with how graphic artist, Tim Fitzpatrick, was able to take what was burning in my mind and bring it to life in such an amazing and accurate way. I’m thrilled to give you a look at the Stolen book cover – coming soon to an Amazon near you!

I’m equally happy to introduce the cover of The Waiting Room, which started out more as a concept. I gave Tim a run for his money on this one, as I used the best of my graphical non-gifts to sketch out the mirage of shapes, all competing for what would eventually become the final cover below. Although it’s simple, he gets a medal for both patience and translation on this one.

Book covers are important. It will be what people see first. It will be what gives them a feel for what they’re going to read. It will have the power to pull someone in or push them away. With Stolen, I wanted to draw in my thriller peeps and let them know I had something mysterious and exciting to share. For The Waiting Room, I wanted something with a happy, airy, and uplifting feel. This will be the first of a four-book series – they will look similar but have different focus topics. I expect those books to trickle out one-by-one over the next year, with another thriller in the middle somewhere.

For full descriptions of both books, visit the Books page.

I hope you enjoyed getting some insights into how these were developed. If you have comments or reactions, leave them using the comment feature – I’d love to hear what you think!

Be blessed,
C.K.

This entry was posted on March 27, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements categories.

Exponential Impacts

Do you wonder what kind of an impact you’re making? Do you get discouraged when it seems like what’s going on around you might be taking you farther from the goal? When God’s in control, never underestimate the impacts. You may not see them right in front of you, but they are there. Let’s look at an incredible example of this – one that continually blows my mind every time I really think about it.

“…and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.”

Romans 1:10-11

In 60 A.D., Rome was estimated to have more than four million people. In comparison, it would be like taking the city of Green Bay, WI and multiplying that forty times over. It would take fifty Lambeau Field stadiums to hold everyone! Paul had been hearing reports on the faith growing among the people and expressed his longing to visit them. Simply put, he was stoked to walk into this great imperial city and put on his preacher show at the Colosseum. It was the city center amphitheater which dreams were made of. Paul made it to Rome alright. But it wasn’t the colosseum he sat in. It was a prison cell. He landed himself on house arrest as a result of freeing a slave girl from a demon (Acts 16:16-24).

For the next two years, the only people Paul saw were the Roman guard and any visitors allowed to him. Can you imagine the discouragement he must have battled, feeling so far from the goal? Hardly a colosseum of people. But he made the most of his time preaching to his captive audience. He also did something quite extraordinary. During his time in prison, Paul wrote four books of the New Testament – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Now let’s get to the really cool part.

Statistically, the Bible is recorded to be the best selling book of all time, with over five billion Bibles in circulation. Combine this with all of the Bible apps, like YouVersion, that people can download for free. Now add in every person who’s ever listened to a message from one of these four books. I don’t know if I even know how to do the math correctly to come up with that number. All I know is, it’s staggering. That’s as scientific as I’ll get on one cup of coffee.

Paul expected to preach to a colosseum of people in Rome, but God had a much bigger plan in mind. The impact from the writings he did there were completely exponential to what he would have ever imagined, and those numbers grow daily! It’s mind blowing, really. Is Paul sitting in heaven feeling disappointed now? I think not.

If you’re working toward the things God laid on your heart, be confident the impacts will be both exponential and eternal, in His timing. If you expect Him to do immeasurably more (Ephesians 3:20), He’ll never disappoint you.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Sunrise

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23
British Virgin Islands

I’m an early riser. Always have been. Even in college I would sign up for early classes. I’d be up at the crack of dawn, exercise, get ready, and enjoy breakfast, long before I needed to walk to my 8am class. My college roommate, who wasn’t so fond of early mornings, imposed a rule on me. I couldn’t speak to her before 8am. I think she found my morning energy a bit, well, overwhelming. Through the years, I’ve held strong to my early morning routine. It makes me feel as though I’ve made the most of each day. One of the things about morning that never gets old to me is watching the sun rise. I find it spectacular and mysterious all rolled into one. I love the different colors and even the shapes those colors can take on. When I got up to pray this morning, it was still dark. I found myself about to thank God for the sunrise and changed my words to thank Him for the sunrise I knew would be coming soon. In that moment, God took an old concept and let it fall fresh on me.

When was the last time you found yourself wondering if the sun was really going to rise today? Since our earliest memories until this very morning, our sun has been in the sky waiting to say good morning, without fail. This is so meaningful because God shows us who He is in everything He makes (Romans 1:20). The sun that rises over us faithfully every day is a perpetual reminder of the presence of God in and over our lives. I understand it might be difficult at times to know God is there if you can’t see Him in the flesh. Be encouraged because, just like the sun in the sky, God will give you so many signs and wonders if your heart is actively seeking Him. If you don’t believe me, I’d challenge you to make it a priority to start each day on your knees and spend time with Him. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly that giant ball of gas rises up into the sky. As you spend time with Him, you might be surprised how quickly He “shows up.” 

Even the colors of a sunrise have a lesson for us. Sunlight is actually white. As it makes its way through the Earths atmosphere, it passes through gas molecules and drops of water, which cause the sunlight to change direction and scatter. This action is what changes the white light into different colors. Did you know pollution in the air causes those rays of light to scatter even more, making the colors of the sunrise less vibrant to our eyes? You can see the most beautiful sunrises in places like deserts and islands because pollution is minimal, and the light doesn’t scatter as much. I hope you just had the same cause for pause I did. I can’t help but think this is Gods tender way of telling us, the more pollution we have in our lives, the less visible He will be to us. I believe God meets us where we’re at, but I also believe if we continue to choose sin over Him, we will never see the vibrant colors of His love in and around us. If you’re struggling to “see” Him, try removing the things in your life that may be sinful, and I’m confident you’ll be able to have a more concentrated view of His splendor and His presence.

The picture above was taken last month, when Jim and I went on vacation to the British Virgin Islands. We were lucky enough to enjoy this beautiful place from a sailboat we chartered. I can’t tell you how happy it made my heart to get up each and every morning, sit on the bow of the boat, and watch His spectacular show. Even with the mountains in the way, it was still beautiful. Hey, that sounds like another lesson right there. We might have mountains in our view, but His faithfulness will shine through and over them. Let those who have eyes to see, see (Matthew 13:16).

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

Be blessed,
C.K.

Watching in Reverse

Let me start with the punch line. I resigned from my job yesterday. Now, let me back up. Philip Yancey, a well-known American Author penned these words:

“Faith is believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

These words are exciting, but they can also be terrifying. They require us to have faith and imagination over what God will do before we can see it.

God speaks into and over our lives in so many ways. He can speak a promise to you in response to your prayers. He can plant a dream deep inside of you. He can manifest and intensify desires. If you’re listening, He’ll whisper guidance along the way. These whispers will require your obedience and your faith.

Faith isn’t a passive word. It’s anything but. I love the way Yancey describes it above as, “believing in advance.” Sometimes faith is all about praying and expecting. I consider both to be comfortable actions. But sometimes, God requires more of us, and asks us to do something I would call an uncomfortable action. This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say.

Writing has been a passion since my early twenties. I thought I’d write popular business books like, Who Moved My Cheese? In 2001, God interrupted my dream. It was then He spoke to my heart about writing books for Him. This is a long story I’ll go into more detail in a book at some point. For now, let’s just say it was the beginning of a journey that took me 18 years to traverse. Not so unlike my sisters and brothers, the Israelites, in the wilderness (Exodus).

Fast forward, and I’m finally stepping up to the call. Not all of those 18 years were void of His calling on me. I spent years studying and blogging His gifts of insights, some of which I’ve recently turned into my first inspirational book, The Waiting Room, which I’m actively working on self-publishing. I’ve also finished my first fiction thriller, which I’m seeking representation on. God knew it would take me this long to get to a place where my heart, mind, and spirit were ready. What I wasn’t ready for, was the latest whisper. Faith in action. The uncomfortable part. About a month ago, God asked me to leave my job so I could focus 100% on writing full time. My very comfortable, well paying job. A job I was good at. It made no sense from an earthly perspective. However, I know my Father’s voice and, just as wonderful, God blessed me with a husband who is my true partner and believer in this cause. After much prayer, fasting and discussion (and budgeting!) I handed in my resignation yesterday.

To the outsider looking in, this is ridiculous. I have no published book and no agent knocking down my door. What I do have is peace. What I do have is passion to write and share whatever messages He has for me. What I do have is a work ethic God built in me. What I do have, are ears that want to hear and a heart that wants to obey. God never asks you for something and then leaves you hanging. This step we’re taking is a little scary, but I’ve come to learn, the hard way, that we end up in worse situations when we ignore the whispers and take the comfortable path. I’m urging you today, if there’s something God is speaking to your heart about, to get excited about what’s uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable, the more He wants to move in your life and your situation.

Let me balance this with a bit of wisdom. I’m not suggesting you be reckless and take steps that are haphazard and not in alignment with what the Holy Spirit is speaking into your life. God won’t bless what He didn’t set in motion. If you know His Word and you know Him, you will know His voice. If it’s His voice, and you know the promptings align with Scripture and who you know God to be, then, by all means, pursue it with reckless abandon. Now that I’ve taken the steps, words can’t express the joy I feel in doing something for God that others might see as irrational. You see, I know it was God asking and, for that reason, I know Jim and I can have expectant hearts. I can’t wait to see what He does with the time I’m able to commit to Him.

I’m riding high on the thrill of it all right now, but I’m guessing I will experience times when I get scared or doubt because I don’t see what I think I should see in my timing. When that happens, I’m going to do what David did, and think on all the victories God has already brought me through. But that’s not all. I’m also going to fast forward my brain and imagine how it will feel to be able to look back and watch all of this in reverse and see how God orchestrated every moment from the beginning steps to His glorious outcomes.

If God is whispering something to you, I hope this brings encouragement to your heart. Step out in faith to do whatever He’s asking you to do. One day, you’ll be able to watch things in reverse and, what might not have made sense today, will make perfect sense in His timing.

Be blessed,
C.K.

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Book Launch Coming!

Great news! I just finished the final draft of The Waiting Room. It’s an inspirational book that will take you through a 30 day journey of encouragement during your wait. It’s off to the copy editor, and the book cover is in progress with a designer.

I plan on self-publishing this book. I will sell eBooks off my website, along with providing a paperback option through Amazon. Release dates will be provided as I know them.

I’m still pursuing an agent for my novel, Stolen, but this can take some time. This can be especially challenging as an unknown author, so prayers to break through that wall are appreciated.

For full descriptions of each book, please visit my Books page.

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Be blessed,
C.K.

This entry was posted on March 3, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements categories.

New Site Launch!

I’m so excited to share the launch of my new Author site with you. I’m still taking steps toward publication, but I’ll share updates and launch dates as I know them.

I’ve completed my first novel, Stolen, which is a thriller with a twist. I’m very excited about it, and early readers tell me you’ll be excited too!

I’m also working on a devotional, The Waiting Room, designed to encourage and inspire you while you wait on God for those things near to your heart.

Full details on each book are located on the Books page.

Whether it’s through my books, blog or social media, I look forward to the ways I can connect with all of you. I hope you’ll take this journey with me.

Be blessed,
C.K.

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This entry was posted on February 22, 2019 and belongs to the Announcements categories.