Can We Learn Anything From Fiction?


I was in the bookstore, standing in the fiction section with a friend, when an acquaintance bumped into me. She was taking back a few things she’d gotten for Christmas.

The subject of the Kindle and ebooks came up when she made this comment, “Um, I don’t read fiction. I like books that I can learn something from.”

My throat closed up; my eyes nearly popped out of my head and my friend grabbed the back of my shirt as she cleared her throat to remind me we were in a Christian bookstore and I needed to remember, Jesus lived in me.  

I’m kidding. I didn’t come unglued. I simply smiled and thought, she’s really missing out. That isn’t the first time I’ve heard a remark about someone not reading fiction because it was a waste of time. It didn’t challenge, grow, or move them. Maybe they aren’t reading the right fiction! Maybe they’re uninformed or dare I say, even closed minded. I can’t say for sure. I’m not talking about people who simply do not like fiction. I’m talking about people who don’t read it because they feel it isn’t worth their time. There’s nothing there.

During the holidays, when approached by a family member, I was given the grand gift of this question, “Are you sure that’s what you want to write?”

“Yah know…I’m not. In fact, I think after a zillion hours of hunching over a computer, crying, kicking, screaming, praying, pleading, and agonizing I’d rather write for the fortune cookie company. I’d really be helping people then! Thanks for guiding me to clarity.”(Why yes, yes that is my sarcasm dripping onto your screen.)

No, I didn’t say that and I have nothing against the fortune cookie writers. Maybe they cry, kick, and agonize over exactly what to predict and which cookie is just right for each declaration of prosperity. Who am I to judge? BUT…

I think, especially when reading Inspirational fiction, that there is much to learn. Some fiction that is not “inspirational” can have great teachings as well, but I’m focusing on Christian fiction. I think it can do things for a group of readers that amazing scholars like Packer, Tozer, Piper, etc… can’t do. A baby Christian just out of a lifestyle of sexual promiscuity isn’t going to read a scholar like them, but she might read a book like Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. She would see a painted picture of who God is and how much He loves her in a way that can be much more effective than a non-fiction book could. 

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I love non-fiction. I read the above authors. And I’m also NOT saying that fiction is only for baby Christians. It’s good for every follower of Christ no matter where they are in their walk. (and even the unsaved!) I think there is deep spiritual meat in many fictional works. God loves to reach people through words! I believe He’s an Author Himself! There is something powerful about words and how they’re used. Power of life and death…hmmm…where did I read that? (I’m joking. I really do know where that’s found and it isn’t a fortune cookie.)

Karen Kingsbury writes Life changing fiction. Michelle Sutton writes Healing Hearts- Fiction making an impact on real lives. Nancy Rue writes healing fiction. I write romantic suspense…overflowing with hope. And there are many more inspirational authors writing to minister and bring out Biblical truths to readers, praying it will speak into their lives and lead them to Jesus or into a closer walk with Him.

How do you feel about fiction? Is there a fictional work that has spoken into your life in a way that nothing else has?

Must Read Monday (on Tues): Lucifer’s Flood

“Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 lies an untold story of war in the heavens…”

A book that still stays fresh in my mind. Lucifer’s Flood was a book I happened upon at the bookstore before going to the beach on vacation in 2008.

Linda Rios Brook states up front that the book is purely fiction, but it’s based on the “what if” question that many of us authors ask before writing a story.

What if Lucifer’s Fall came between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2– known as The Gap Theory?

 I love how Linda weaved real biblical truths and scripture into her fictional story. It was a glorious picture of redemption through the eyes of an unlikely protagonist. A demon.

Many times we hear, “That was a page turner.” “I couldn’t put it down.” Those statements  hold truth in Linda’s book! I highlighted several passages, something I’ve never done in fiction before.  Linda’s take on the fall of Lucifer, the creation, and the plan of redemption is not only a beautiful picture, but a powerful reminder that we belong to God and His love for us is truly amazing.

Linda Rios Brook

While Linda’s book raises some interesting theological questions, it doesn’t hinder a wonderfully entertaining story. Her humor is delightful, her writing passionate, and her imagination–vivid. Many times, she gave me chills and I had to simply stop and meditate on His beauty and relentless love, through tears of gratefulness.

 She has three more books following this one in her Demon Diaries series. The Deliverer, The King and The Redeemer (May 2011). I’m waiting on the last one! I’ve read them all so far. While they are all good, Lucifer’s Flood is my personal favorite!

Whether you believe the Gap Theory, or not, or have no idea even what it is–doesn’t matter. This book has stuck with me long after other fictional tales have become dim memories.

I recommend it highly! Here’s a teaser.

“Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 lies an untold story of war in the heavens. Hear a chronicle of cosmic rebellion and its devastating aftermath from the perspective of a fallen angel! Dreading his coming judgment, one former servant of heaven recounts his wavering conviction—-and how he realized too late his mistake in siding with Lucifer.”

Feel free to drop back by and tell me how you felt after reading it!

Show Your Hand

Silly Bands…seriously…they are silly!

“For the last time, stop shooting that silly band at me!”

Those were my strained words as I sat in “my chair” thinking up a blog for after Christmas. My six year old son, Myles “Mayhem” stood across the living room shooting one of his BILLION silly bands at me.

He’d shoot. I’d twitch my right eye and flinch. Ignore him. Shoot. Twitch. Flinch. Ignore.
Finally, I’d had enough! “Myles, shoot that snowflake in the other direction and I mean it!”
He obediently (odd, yes) turned and shot a few times. I engrossed myself in preparing the blog (one to appear at a later time!) when I was jerked up from my writing to hear his outburst of sobs.

“What in the world is wrong with you?”

He blubbered and babbled in a way that only a mother could understand. My interpretation was, he’d shot the silly band behind our TV. It was gone. Lost. Forever. Those were his words. Melodramatic? A tad. Did he come by it honest? A tad.

I took a deep breath and stayed calm (odd, yes) then these words came out of my mouth without any thought. “Myles, instead of crying, why didn’t you just ask me to help you? Did you not think I could?”

“N-n-no.” Hiccup. Crocodile tears. Hiccup.


“I don’t know! It’s gone. Forever.”

“Well, guess what? I can do things you can’t. I can reach behind that TV. All you had to do was ask. Now, stop crying.” I went over to the TV, stretched behind there and with the tips of my fingers grabbed his ridiculous silly band.


And that’s when the Lord used my own words and spoke to my heart. “I can do things you can’t. I can reach behind what’s blocking you and take out what you’re reaching for. Now stop crying.”

“And the LORD said to Moses, “Has the LORD’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.” Numbers 11:23

Truth be told, as touched and comforted as I was to hear Him, it probably won’t be long before I’m feeling all may be lost, before I’m reaching with my tiny arm that can’t go very far and before I’m boo-hooing again, (I’m but dust) and no doubt, He’ll lovingly give me another reminder to keep going and show me how strong He is. But for now…I’m recharged, calm, and ready for another round.

For those of you out there, who have been promised that your book will be in print to minister to others or whatever your dream is will be fulfilled–don’t give up. Stop crying in disbelief and keep knocking. Be persistent. Be still while you wait. Hope. Keep dreaming. Keep writing or whatever it is you need to do to press on toward what God’s shown you. And in the wait, let’s encourage and remind each other that He’s going to do what He says He’s going to!


 Do you believe God can do what He says He can? Has it been so long, you wonder if He even spoke a promise to you or breathed a dream inside you?

Anyone out there have a testimony of God’s miraculous hand reaching into the impossible and pulling out the possible!?

Be blessed and I hope you all had a very Merry CHRISTmas!


                                                               “If I tattle-tell, I’ll die till I’m dead!”

One of my favorite lines in the Disney Classic, Robin Hood. Every now and then, I find myself whistling Alan O’ Dale’s song or quoting a line.

A scene that speaks to me, is when the children are shooting arrows and one lands in Prince John’s court where Maid Marian and Cluckie (her maid) are playing Bad Minton.

Skippy tries to be brave going into the enemy’s camp, but when he’s spotted he melts. His little furry lips quiver and his knees knock together in fright.


It’s only when Marian reminds him of who he looks like–his hero, Robin Hood, that he stands straighter and becomes bold. Fear–gone.  

I think sometimes, we can be an awful lot like Skippy. We’re ready to fight the enemy–go right into his camp and as the song says, “take back what he stole from me.” But once we get inside, we lose sight of our hero. Fear gets ahold of us and brings us to our knees! Cancer. Failed marriages. Sick children. Lost jobs. Lost homes. Unsaved loved ones inches from rock bottom. They become our focus and we need a reminder that we have a Servant Hero, that loves us. Who’s bigger than any sickness, situation, or slip up. Who never leaves us or forsakes us.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”
Ephesians 5:1

We need reminded of whose likeness we possess.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

We need reminded of what we’ve been transformed into.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

He’s greater than your worst nightmare. Stronger than any storm. Stand firm. Fight the good fight. Take a breath. Take your arrows of faith, aim. Shoot. Pierce the darkness that surrounds you. You’re not doing it alone! Remember who you belong to! Be confident. He has you!

Ooodalalee Ooodalalee golly what a day! Have a great weekend!

Urban Translation Thursday: Christmas Theme

Christmas Buzz:

A feeling common during the month of December. It is the need to buy many overpriced gifts for your family, normally on a credit card. The buyer feels no feelings of regret for the rest of the month, as he/she feels they are being a good person. The buzz is always followed by the New Year’s hangover, when the credit card bill comes in and the buyer goes on about how much money they have spent.

Christmas Graduate:

a student (usually university or college) who drops out at Christmastime when they go back home to visit their parents. Often caused by homesickness, academic failure, unpopularity, or a significant other living back at home.
Christmas Grief:
The sadness you feel inside of yourself for not getting what you wanted after you’ve opened your presents.

Christmas king:

Someone who always gets what they want on Christmas. No matter how outrageous their wish list is, every year, they will receive every single item. Christmas kings will brag to you about their Christmas list weeks, even months in advance. Upon receiving every gift they could ever possibly want, they will again brag about their great Christmas.

Know one of these folks or experienced any of these feelings? Okay, give it a go! Use the words in the craziest sentence possible! Be creative!

The Usual Suspect


My favorite Christmas toy: Age 2

I walked back into the scene to collect prints. I ran them through my heart’s database. I found the Usual Suspect.

I’ve been asked, “Have you always wanted to be a writer?”

My answer? Yes, but I didn’t know it. In 2004 I woke up in the night after dreaming about a story. No, I wasn’t in a meadow and no he didn’t sparkle!

I wrote my first novel. Sent it off-got a rejection. Gave up. I was too busy anyway( yeah right, rejection stung!)But the pull to write never left.

In 2008, the burning desire sparked and I set out writing my second novel. One that came from a heart to minister. To glorify God and to write what He gave me. Unlike the story in 2004.

A Bible study I was doing asked the question, “What’s your passion? Reflect back and see how God sparked it. You’ll know what you are meant to do.” I sat there that early morning, before the sun was allowed to shine–sipping my coffee and I let the Lord take me to the early scenes of my life. 

He took me as far back as age 2. My favorite toy. A typewriter. I remember playing with that thing for years! 

noo nee noo nee noo

In my kindergarten days, I remember stopping whatever I was doing to watch my favorite segment of Sesame Street. Yep, this was the one! That crazy typewriter putting together words!

I loved books. I loved listening to stories. One of my greatest memories comes from my great-grandmother telling me about Nancy and the Grandfather clock. I wish I would have written it down. I’ve forgotten some of the details.


In middle school, my mom brought home a typewriter. I don’t know if it belonged to someone in my family or why she brought it home, but I staked my claim on it(not that anyone else set their eyes on it). I spent hours pretending I was a famous journalist. I’d weave stories around why I was sitting at that typewriter!

In junior high, I would sit at the lunch tables, telling stories to my friends– about them and the boys they liked…how they ended up together, the conflict along the way. It was there on those white faux wooden benches I spun my first tales of romance. Junior high romance. What did I discover? I loved to tell a love story with love and mystery!

Commodore 64…Have I just dated myself!?

During the summer before I started highschool, when other girls were doing girly things, I found a floppy disk with a teach yourself how to type with two hands game. My brother thought I was an idiot, but he generally thought that anyway. In a day, I learned how to type with two hands and without looking. It came easily! It’s also, in my opinion,  the reason Ms. Nussbaum hated me Sophomore year. I already knew how to type, so I gave her a hard time. Who me? (this is me doing my villian laugh)

All the young years of my life, I thought I might want to be an actress. I made up stories and acted them out in my room. They always had mystery and romance involved. Now, I realize it wasn’t the acting that sparked my interest, it was the story behind it.

I sat in that chair, while God took me down memory lane–showing me His plan, woven into the day to day activities of my life and I cried. I cried at the fact He actually planned something for me. He planned something good. Something I love to do. Something I sure don’t deserve. (oh but for grace!) I wept because He’d been there and I didn’t even realize it.

“Commit your works to the Lord
and your thoughts
will be established.”
Proverbs 16:3

As my tiny hands mashed the keys of that plastic typewriter, I believe He was grinning and nodding–knowing someday, in His time, He was going to replace that tiny toy for a laptop. He was going to fulfill all His purpose. He would accomplish what He began when I was knit in my mother’s womb.

I cried… because His fingerprints could be lifted off every area of my life.

“Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them,they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40:5

Have you taken time to look back and lift the prints of God from the scenes in your life? What have you found? How did you know what it was you were meant to do?

Gifts For a Child: A fictional tale based on Biblical truth

Have you ever wondered what it may have been like for our Savior as He grew from an infant into a Man?  I’ve always dreamed about what it was like for Him long ago, on a starry night, when three Wise Men came for a visit…
The star was shining bright in the East as the three men traveled in expectation to see the young child– the King of all Kings.  They had been traveling for a long time and being very careful, for Herod the great earthly king desired to see this young babe slaughtered, unable to grow and usurp his throne.
They came upon the place the bright star shined down on; it was quiet throughout the sleepy town of Bethlehem.  A soft knocking was heard throughout the modest home of Joseph and Mary.  They both looked at each other and then at their darling toddler who played quietly in the floor at their feet.
Hesitantly, Joseph opened the door to see three extravagant men descending from their camels. “May we come in,” the man standing in the middle asked. “We’ve come to worship the Child.” The other men nodded as they craned their necks to see inside the home, to simply get a first glimpse.
As Joseph opened the door for the men to enter, they saw the young child sitting on His mother, Mary’s lap.  He was as precious as they had anticipated.  His raven locks covered His head like soft feathers and his rosy cheeks glowed with delight in seeing visitors.  His eyes, that matched his hair, were round and wide with wonder and shy curiousity as the men reverently entered. 
Mary put her Son down and stood as the men of wisdom came before her.  The toddler clutched his mother’s tunic with His tiny chubby hands and peered at the men from behind her.  She smiled gently and spoke softly, “Come, Yeshua, you have guests. It’s okay.”  She coaxed her Child to let go of her, He was but barely two.
The men knelt down and continued to stare in awe at the small Child.  Their lips trembled, and their eyes sparkled with wonder.  The same man who had asked to come in the home spoke worshipfully. “We’ve brought You gifts, look!”  Each man opened up their box before the little King and chuckled as the small baby boy clapped His hands with excitement.  The boxes alone were stunning;His eyes flickered with joy. 
“Go ahead, Yeshua, see Your gifts.” 
The baby Lord toddled closer to the men, looking each of them in the eyes, their hands began to shake as if he was looking right into their hearts.   The larger man of the three took from his box a crystal bottle, expensive and exquisite.  He carefully took the lid from it and motioned for the tiny Boy to come.  “This is frankincense.  Can You say frankincense?”  Yeshua looked at him and only smiled, showing all eight of His perfect little new teeth. 
 “Smell it! It smells good.”  He held the bottle of oil out for the Messiah.  He leaned in and instead of sucking in through His nose, He blew out, like all little ones do when learning to smell. 
The room’s silence was broken in laughter and the King looked about and squealed with delight.  “He enjoys being the center of attention.  You’ve just made His day.” Mary shook her head and chuckled at her Firstborn. 
He turned His attention to the smallest man, the quietest of the three. He toddled over to Him, His balance still unsteady from only learning to walk, and looked into his box.  It shone with brilliance.  “Gold, Child. This is for You.”
Yeshua looked at the gold, touched it, and then looked at the man with earnest eyes.  “Pretty,” He said as He touched the man’s hand, and a tear rolled down his cheek. The Child moved closer to the man and tried to reach out to touch it. 
Mary noticed the confusion on his face and picked her Son up.  “I’m sorry.  He saw you cry and He wanted to kiss you.  He’s a very tenderhearted Child.”  She looked at her Babe and kissed His nose. “Beloved, not everyone wants a kiss. The Baby puckered his mouth and a few silent tears streamed down His face.  It was as if the rejection had broken His little Baby heart. 
“Wait, I would love nothing more. It’s just, His touch…I can’t explain it.  I felt—something…”
She sighed with overwhelming love for her Child, “He has that effect on all of us. Just a touch.”
  She sat Him down and He hurriedly yet awkwardly ran to the man.  He touched his face and kissed him on the cheek.  The wise man tousled His hair and wiped another tear away.
After He delighted in His last present, the men stood to leave.  “We appreciate you bringing our Son these gifts.  May your travels home be blessed and safe.”  Joseph held the door as the men started to file out.
“Wait!” Mary called out after them.  She picked up her Son and brought Him to the door.  Though He was the Son of God, she still had a responsibility to teach Him. “Yeshua, what do you tell the nice men for bringing you presents?”
He clapped His hands and wiggled in her arms.  He was overjoyed at the gifts His new friends had brought Him.  He blinked a few times and stretched His hands out to His sides, showing them just how much He loved them and their gifts—identical to the way He would stretch His hands out to show His love for the world, as He hung on the cross– a man yet fully God.
“Thank you.” 
Mary nodded with approval at her Son for being polite.  They waved the men good bye and gave their own thanks to God the Father for supplying them with all their needs, in most unexpected ways. 
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
He’s not a baby anymore, but He still desires to touch you. He still desires to be the center of attention. He still delights in the gifts you bring Him.  The greatest gift you can give Him this season is yourself.  May your holidays be Christ filled.
*a fictional story written from biblical truth

The Monday Must Read: Almost Forever

“Unearthing a lost memory may cause her to lose everything she holds dear… but could it also set her free?”
Deborah Raney delivers in the first book in her Hanover Falls series! She can tell a story in a way that makes you forget you’re reading.

I could feel Bryn’s thoughts and feelings, smell what she was smelling and I may have even shivered when she was out in the snow!

Not only was it a great read, but it carried a deep message of forgiveness and hope. Not everyone likes fiction, and that’s okay…but I do! It’s why I write it!

Fiction can carry powerful truths like that of nonfiction books to an audience who may never read Tozer, Piper, Bridges, and other great biblical scholars.

Deborah Raney did just that!

The romance was the kind that makes you sigh, and cringe when the conflict arises. It was deep and meaningful as well as entertaining and lovely. You won’t put it down!

Deborah Raney

A Must Read Book! 
any local bookstore
Here’s a description:
“Bryn Hennesey, a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, was there the night the shelter burned to the ground and five heroic firefighters died at the scene. Among them was her husband, Adam. Like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret.…

Garrett Edmonds’s wife, Molly, was the only female firefighter to perish in the blaze. As her husband, it was his job to protect the woman he loved.… How can he go on in the face of such unbearable loss and guilt?

And what started the fire that destroyed the dreams and futures of so many? Investigators are stumped. But someone knows the answer…. “

Amazing & Unfathomable Part 3

The Way of a Ship on the High Seas

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand; the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock,
       the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.”

 Proverbs 30:18-19

The question is what is so amazing about a ship on the high seas and why does Agur (the author of this passage) use the word “high” seas and not just “the sea”?  Obviously, there is something more…

Let’s look at the definition of “high seas” first. 

High seas is defined as open; unenclosed waters of any sea or ocean.

A ship in Agur’s time would be made simply out of wood.  It would be built to get where it needed to go only.  Now days when we think of a ship we think of something wonderful and grand with lots of decks and luxury galore, but not in the Old Testament days. 

Even the Egyptians in all of their technology at the time couldn’t create a ship that was beautiful and built simply for luxury…no, ships were made common.

They were built for a destination. They were made to be efficient.

I think Agur was alluding to faith. What does faith have to do with a ship in the ocean? Let’s imagine for a moment!

Let’s go back and look at the Mayflower, a ship that set sail for a new life. A new beginning.

The Mayflower sailed on the high seas (unenclosed water) for two months and many things happened on that voyage.  According to historical documents and journals, the first part of that voyage was smooth, maybe because they could see the land. That might’ve brought some comfort for awhile, but then the wind and the weather changed and huge storms began to overwhelm the passengers; it caused leaks in the ships which in turn caused many of them to become cold and damp. 

In fact, during one storm, the main beam cracked and some of the passengers and crew wondered if the ship was strong enough to make it, but the ship’s Master and the carpenter who built the ship knew that the it was capable of making the journey regardless of the damages inflicted.

Again, what does all this have to do with faith?

We’ve been built like a common ship, with a destination. But it takes getting out on the high seas to arrive where we’ve been built to go.  Those open waters can be frightening. We lose all human security when we lose sight of the land, but II Corinthians 5:7 says, we live by faith not by sight!  We don’t need the false security, we’ve been given one navigation tool…the Word of God!  When we keep that open allowing it to give us our coordinates we don’t need anything else!

Will storms come?  Will we be tossed and bumped around?  Will we be crushed, hard pressed, and struck down? 

Sure…but the Master and the Carpenter who built us know they’ve done an excellent job and that we are strong enough to make it all the way. We’ve been equipped with everything we need.  We’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4: 8-10
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

When we turn our eyes to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith we can endure any storm, any tossing of the open waters!  If He’s the Author then He wrote it, if He’s the Finisher then we aren’t left to float around with nowhere to go, it means He brings what He wrote for us to pass! Beginning and End! Alpha and Omega! 

Oh yes, you have a destination, your course has been set!  He’s built you for a purpose! He’s carved you out of common wood to do uncommon things!  His thoughts to you are countless! He longs to lead you out past the land that keeps you dry and take away everything that holds your attention other than Him!

The waters are open; unenclosed but not uncharted! No, He’s been there before…all the waters we cross, all the storms we encounter, He’s experienced it and defeated it all on the cross!

By faith let Him lead you where He wants you to go. Stop looking at what you cannot see and look to Him Who has seen it all before! Sail the mighty waters by faith made possible through Jesus Christ! It’s Amazing and Unfathomable.