Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: Hagar Meets an Angel



Scripture: Genesis 16:7-16

Even though Abram had been promised a son, his wife Sarai bore him no child. So they decided to help God out and Sarai gave her maid, Hagar, to Abram. Hagar, of course, got pregnant, starting a feud between the two women. This resulted in Sarai treating Hagar harshly. So Hagar ran away to the wilderness where she encountered an angel of God.

Observations: Genesis, whose very title means “beginning,” is a book of firsts. The first person, the first temptation, the first sin, the first promise of a Savior…and that is in just the first three chapters of the book! Genesis 16 continues this theme and contains several firsts of its own:

  • The first use of angel in the Torah. Cherubim are mentioned back in Genesis 3:24, set there to guard the Tree of Life. Genesis 6 references “the sons of God,” another possible allusion to angelic beings. But not until here is the term angel actually used.
  • The first recorded encounter between a human and an angel. Even the two uses of angel in Job (4:18 and 33:23) are passing references to these supernatural beings. This is the first time we see clear and precise interaction between a human and one of God’s messengers (the literal definition of both the Greek and Hebrew terms used for angel).
  • The first encounter between God and a “Gentile” in the Torah. Although there is not yet a Jew-Gentile division yet, since the nation of Israel does not exist, other nations and countries have developed since the Flood. With that development, a division is already forming between the “godly” line that will eventually lead to the Jews (and ultimately to the Messiah) and those on the outside. In fact, Scripture makes a point of emphasizing that Hagar is an Egyptian: She’s not of the line that would produce the promised people and possibly not even a believer in the God Abram and Sarai served.

Significance: As this is the first clearly recorded angel encounter, it probably shouldn’t surprise that this passage provides us several clues about the supernatural.

First, we realize that not all we now call “angels” are angels in Scripture. We tend to use the term to refer to any supernatural being who isn’t God. But in Scripture, the word for angel was simply “messenger” and could refer to a human (in which case it’s usually translated messenger), to a non-human being (what we call angels), or even to God in the form of a theophany (Christ appearing in human form on Earth before His incarnation). On the other side, there are mentioned other supernatural beings who aren’t messengers—the cherubim and seraphim, for example. This reveals that different roles and different “races,” if not “species,” exist for what we call angels. Moreover, this shows that God has many ways of communicating with humans as well—through other people, supernatural beings, and even directly Himself.

We also see in this passage that one of the main roles of a true angel is that of messenger. Their job is to interact directly with people and speak to them. That message may be short or long. It may include commands, instructions, promises, encouragement, prophesy, and (as we will see later) warnings. Often these messages, like here, are very specific, quirked for a specific person facing a very specific set of circumstances, usually with some immediate application. This specificity implies that the completion of the Bible would not nullify the work of a messenger angel, which in turn implies that they are still necessary and active today.

But I think what impressed me the most about this passage was to whom God sent this first messenger: a female, Egyptian slave who might not even believe in Him. That is about as low as you can get, especially in a Jew’s eyes. Yet Hagar gets the distinction of having this first recorded encounter with a messenger from the LORD and possibly the first post-Eden theophany as well (implied by the use of “I” in verse 10).*

This tells us that the supernatural is not reserved for the elite. You do not have to be a certain gender. You do not have to belong to a certain race. You don’t have to possess a certain social ranking. Any of us may experience the supernatural. Any of us may encounter God. So the question becomes less “can we encounter the supernatural” and more “how will we respond when we encounter it?” Will we recoil…doubt…rebel? Or respond with obedience like Hagar, realizing God sees us and our circumstances no matter how difficult?


*(While God frequently talked with other people before this point, only twice is He said to make an visible appearance—once speaking out of the whirlwind with Job [Job 38:1, 40:6] and once He “appeared” to Abram in an unspecified form [Genesis 12:7]. Neither imply a human-like form that is consistent with the known theophanies.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: A Covenant with Abram


Scripture: Genesis 15

After Abram left Egypt, he ended up parting ways with his nephew, Lot. Then Lot was captured during a war. Abram gathered the 318 trained men in his household and rescued Lot. Shortly thereafter, God once more approached Abram.

Observations: “Do not fear.” These are the words we so often associate with the appearance of angels and the interactions with God, probably because it does occur frequently later in the Scriptures.

But interestingly, this is the first time such a statement begins an interaction with the supernatural. So why does it appear here? Abram doesn’t act particularly afraid of God, neither bowing down nor falling on his face. Instead, he speaks rather boldly and directly to God: “What will You give me?” And it’s not like Abram hasn’t interacted with God before; he has heard directly from God three previous times (Genesis 12:1-3, 12:7, and 13:14-17), none of which are prefaced by a “don’t fear.”

Rather, Abram’s fear seems to have less to do with God and more with his circumstances. He just ticked off some pretty powerful people in Canaan with the rescue of Lot. Moreover, if Lot wasn’t safe, despite living near a walled city to which he could flee for protection, how much more vulnerable was Abram, living in tents and allied with no one? So it seems logical to assume that this command to not fear refers to the fear of circumstances and people, rather than of God, especially when God immediately follows the command with the reassurance that He was Abram’s shield of protection.

But the conversation doesn’t end there. God then proceeds to promise that Abram would have a son, which would eventually lead to numberless descendents. Now remember, Abram is between 75 and 86 years old at this time, and Sarai his wife isn’t much younger—between 65 and 76 years. God know all this, and still He promises the outrageous: Abram would have a son. Obviously this would take a miracle—an act of the supernatural—to fulfill.

Finally, after some additional promises and predictions about the future, these words are sealed with an act of the supernatural. From nowhere a torch and a firepot/portable oven appeared, and seemingly without aid, these inanimate objects moved between the pieces of meat Abram had presented to God! Does anyone beside me hear the theme from The Twilight Zone playing in the background? Yet the Bible does not lie. This really did happen, proving once again that truth is indeed stranger than fiction…

Significance: So what does this fourth encounter between God and Abram reveal to us about the supernatural?

First, the supernatural can defy “reality.” Things appearing out of nowhere, objects moving on their own—it does sound like something out of fiction, doesn’t it? In fact, if someone would try to say this happened now, we would be quick to scoff it off as an overactive imagination, to claim some logical explanation, and to wonder if the person was hallucinating. As a result, in our efforts to appear intelligent and sophisticated, how often has our “wisdom” blinded us to what both God and Satan are doing right in front of us? For Scripture tells us that not only could this happen, but also that it has happened…which means it could happen again and probably has happened again.

Second, God’s promised require supernatural fulfillment. God is adamant that when He acts, He alone gets the glory. So it only makes sense that when He promises to do something, it will be so big, so implausible, so utterly impossible that its fulfillment can come from Him alone. That way we can’t take the glory for ourselves or attribute it to anything else. Therefore, if we plan to claim the promises of God in our lives, it would follow that we should then expect the supernatural, in one of its many forms, to also follow. Otherwise, we might make the same mistake as Abram and try to fulfill God’s promises through human means—with dire consequences (see Genesis 16 and beyond).

Third, sometimes the natural is more terrifying than the supernatural. We often think an encounter with the supernatural, whether of God or of Satan, would be paralyzing. And sometimes, as we’ll see later, it can be. But this passage reveals that this is not always the case. Especially when a person has had regular encounters with the supernatural, as Abram did, the unknowns of our everyday and the worries about the future can produce the greater fear. At times like these, the cure for such fear is simple (though not always easy): focus on the greater, beyond-nature God we serve.  

Thursday, June 7, 2018

New Christian Fiction - June 2018

Want to know more? Further descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.  

Contemporary Romance:

The Sleuth’s Miscalculation by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Librarian Nancy Daley loves a good mystery and enjoys moonlighting as a consultant for the sheriff’s department. When license plates go missing in Tipton County, she’s on the case. But she’s been partnered with the new deputy, Carter Malone, and he’s not interested in her help. When the minor case they are working morphs into something more, things quickly go from harmless to scary. Can they solve the mystery before it’s too late, and more importantly, what will they do about their growing attraction? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe -- Hiring Amanda “AJ” McAlester as his assistant at the Big Heart Ranch isn’t foreman Travis Maxwell’s first choice—but his sisters insist she’s perfect for the job. And AJ’s determined to prove she’s just as qualified as any man. But with money on the line, AJ and her innovative ideas could put him at risk of losing everything…including his heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Enduring Love by Toni Shiloh -- Belle Peterson is hiding a secret. Seeking sanctuary in the small town of Maple Run, she’s intent on starting her life over—one she hopes honors Christ. The plan was going great until an undeniable attraction to Micah Campbell has her wondering if she’s changed at all. Can love really conquer all or will Belle’s past be too much for Micah to handle? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)


General Contemporary:

A Firm Place to Stand by Lori Altebaumer -- Out of options, Maribel takes a safe enough seeming job, but soon finds herself in the middle of a murder, a search for a missing girl, and a race to find a lost treasure. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Kuwaiti Seeker by Jim Carroll -- A young Kuwaiti Muslim searches for truth in Islam, but God finds him anyway. (General Contemporary, Crosslink Publishing)


General Historical:

Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett -- Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region's wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty. After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he's faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling? As Clark opens Olivia's eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park's story as its vistas--a revelation that may bring her charade to an end. (General Historical from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])


Historical Romance:

Orphan Train Sweetheart by Mollie Campbell -- Spring Hill is the orphan train’s last stop—a final chance for Simon McKay to find homes for his young charges. When his fellow placing agent quits, Simon enlists help from the frontier town’s pretty schoolteacher. Cecilia Holbrook is as intriguing as she is independent, yet Simon’s devotion to his mission will soon call him back to New York. Long overshadowed by her flirtatious sister, Cecilia is done with waiting for a man to choose her. She’s already fighting the school board to keep her position. Now she’s struggling not to lose her heart to Simon. Could their shared concern for the children show them how to follow a new dream, together? (Historical Romance Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Love Restored by Kelly Goshorn -- She was nothing like the woman he'd envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she'd ever dreamed of-until a promise from his past threatened their future. (Historical Romance from Pelican Book Group)

The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman -- In 1792, Quinn O’Shea leaves Ireland for Natchez, Mississippi, ready to force his oldest brother to reclaim the role of family guardian so Quinn can be free to pursue his own adventures. While aboard ship, a run-in with tenacious yet kind Kiera Young and her two Irish sisters lands him in the role of reluctant savior. Upon arriving in the colonies, Kiera realizes her intended groom never existed and a far more sinister deal has been negotiated for her and her sisters. Quinn offers to escort his charges safely to Breeze Hill Plantation and his brother’s care, fully intending to seek his freedom elsewhere. But the longer he remains, the greater his feelings toward Kiera grow and the more he comes to realize true freedom might be found in sacrifice. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter -- When Katherine "Kit" FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she's forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. Graham, intent on finding his friend's missing sister, is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she's telling. After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different, but long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. As much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn't worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer -- Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes--one bright blue, the other dark brown--Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. She’s made a safe haven with Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers. Seeking justice against the gambler who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father's death. Instead, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach's sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Romantic Suspense:

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley -- It's Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn't sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators--one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken--she's forced to reevaluate. When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four? (Romantic Suspense from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Vast and Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter -- After losing his closest friends and now his girlfriend to the ravages of war, Caden Wallis arrives on the Outer Banks for one final mission--to thank the woman who sent him a quilt while he was recuperating at Walter Reed Army Hospital. McKenna Dockery knows about loss. She juggles the family business, her ailing father, and an aging grandmother. Much to Caden's surprise, she--not some elderly lady--is the quilter. The quilt was something she'd begun for her future husband but shipped to the military hospital after the tragic death of her fiancé. When a man is found snared in a net and murdered on McKenna's property, she and Caden must work together to bring the killer to justice. (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Ransom of the Heart by Susan Page Davis -- Police Captain Harvey Larson’s exhausting day takes a big detour when a teenaged girl approaches him at the diner, announcing that she is his daughter. When Harvey is on his way home from work a few hours later, his sister-in-law Abby calls him. She went to meet her husband for a dinner date and found a dead man on the floor at his place of business, and Peter has vanished. Harvey calls in his detectives and turns his car around. It’s going to be a long night, too. Once again, Harvey depends on his wits, his faith, and his squad, the Priority Unit, to solve a tough case and carry out Maine Justice. (Romantic Suspense from Tea Tin Press)


Speculative:

Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams -- Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged. Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army—singers who can shake the earth and master the sea—and monsters rampage across the land. As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer. (Speculative High Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: The Protection of Sarai



 Scripture: Genesis 12:10-20

After Abram left his home and began his wanderings in Canaan, a famine occurred and Abram went to Egypt. Out of fear, he portrayed his wife, Sarai, as his sister, and Pharaoh took her into his house. As a result, God struck Pharaoh’s household with a plague until Pharaoh restored Sarai to Abram.

Observations: While the supernatural is basically confined to one verse in this passage (v. 17), that doesn’t make it any less important.

First, we see the supernatural as protection. Abram’s instructions to Sarai revealed that he was acting very much out of self-interest rather than protection of his wife, as he should have. This placed Sarai in a precariously compromising situation. So God intervened on Sarai’s behalf.

Second, we see the dual nature of God’s intervention. Abram lied about his relationship with Sarai. Sarai, under the instructions of Abram, did the same. God could have easily let them reap the consequences. But being a gracious God, He didn’t and intervened. But what an intervention it was for those who threatened His people’s well-being! Plagues weren’t known for being easy to deal with; they tend to be horrific, devastating, and closely tied to death. So yes, God graciously intervened on Abram and Sarai’s behalf—at great cost to Pharaoh and his household.

Third, we see the supernatural timing of natural occurrences. While plagues are frequently tied to God’s judgment in Scripture, sickness, plague, and death weren’t uncommon in the ancient world. What marks this plague as from God is its timing: its onset coincided with Pharaoh taking Sarai into his home.

Significance: While God can and does use the supernatural as judgment and punishment, He also uses it for the protection of His people. Indeed, if He didn’t, we would have perished long ago.

That said, God’s protection doesn’t eliminate trouble from our lives. Abram still had to deal with a famine. Sarai still dealt with the scary situation of being taken by Pharaoh and not knowing what would happen next. God could have intervened sooner and prevented either of those things from occurring. He didn’t. He waited to intervene until it was absolutely necessary and He alone would be given credit for the rescue.

So while we can rest in knowing God is our protector, we can’t expect Him to rescue us supernaturally from every problem we face. He wants us to learn how to trust Him and correctly preserve through trials, not to presume He will supernaturally bypass them all.

Moreover, just because God acts supernaturally for our protection doesn’t mean the experience will be all tulips and butterflies. As I already indicated, plagues are nasty…painful…destructive…shot through with death. That couldn’t have been a pleasant scene for Sarai to witness—not to mention she probably was worried about contracting the plague herself—and it was even less pleasant for those who experienced it.

Yes, God can and does protect. But God’s supernatural intervention in the natural realm can come with a pricy or painful cost, and the rescue can be nearly as painful as the circumstances from which we are being saved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: The Call of Abram


Scripture: Genesis 12:1-4

This week we return to Genesis and begin the story of Abraham (called here Abram). Several generations have now passed since the Flood. Babel has come and gone, resulting in the confusion of the languages and the scattering of the people across the face of the earth. Out of this, God now picks a single man to start the plan of redemption, which would reach its pinnacle in the person of Jesus Christ.

Observations: At first glance, this semi-familiar passage may not look particularly supernatural. There are no healings or plagues of judgment, no strange phenomenon or violations of natural law. God simply talks to Abram, tells him to leave his home, and as a result, be greatly blessed. No big deal, right?

Such dismissive words only show our complacency and desensitization to the supernatural, especially within the pages of Scripture. We have read the words “God said” or “the LORD spoke” so often that we fail to absorb the unnaturalness of such things. Consider: how often has God spoken to you in such a clear and precise manner that you could record the exact words He used on paper?

Now I understand that Abram had no Bible. He was dependent on such direct communication. But that doesn’t mean it was any less startling or supernatural. After all, God, the supernatural Creator of all things, just communicated directly to a man. Besides, if God is a supernatural Being, wouldn’t His speaking be considered an act of the supernatural?

And what was so urgent, so earth-shattering, that God would need to invade the natural world? He asked Abram to leave his home and follow Him to an unknown destination, promising to greatly bless him if he did. Leave, follow, be blessed. As strange as those instructions seem, neither do they seem particularly world-changing—not like God’s warning of impending destruction to Noah, only a few chapters earlier. Still God condescended to speak to Abram.

Perhaps just as amazing, Abram went. There is no record of fear or terror over God speaking to him, no arguments or doubts expressed over the instructions. Now obviously the Bible doesn’t record every single detail. So these things may have still occurred. But because the Bible doesn’t hide or gloss over the warts of its people, such things, if they occurred at all, must have been fleeting for the Bible to not record it. Rather, Abram heard from God and reacted as if this were the most normal thing in the world, picking up his whole household and heading into the unknown.

Significance: In reading this passage and studying it, several questions are brought to mind.

First, how often do we fail to see the supernatural in our lives due to our own dullness? That is, the supernatural actually is present in our lives, but we don’t notice it because it occurs so often, even regularly, much like manna with the Israelites. So are we truly not experiencing the supernatural today—or are we merely dismissing it and explaining it away as something “normal”?

Second, how often do we fail to hear God because we overlook His concern over the specific details of our lives? While we have the rest of Scripture to understand the far-reaching implications of God’s words to Abram, Abram did not have that advantage. To him, God just asked him to move, trusting that God would provide the final location. Would you attribute any great history-changing significance to such a request—that you quit your job and pack up your belongings in preparation for a move to who-knows-where? And believing no significance to such instructions, would you truly expect God to bother providing such in the first place? So since we think the details don’t matter or we attribute no significance to the specifics of our lives, may it be that we don’t hear from God, not because He is silent, but because we don’t really expect to hear Him?

Finally, how would we react if God spoke to us? With doubt that it was God or uncertainty that you heard right? In fear of the unknown? Resistant to the instructions? It would be nice to believe that we would obey in trust like Abram…yet how do we respond to what God has already spoken clearly within the Scriptures? If we do not obey that, why do we think we would respond differently to a direct communication from God?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: Job Responds


Scripture:  Job 40:1-5, 42:1-6

As requested, God has made His appearance and challenged Job. These two passages record Job’s responses to that encounter.

Observations: Isn’t God amazing? Not only does He appear before Job, but also He pauses in the middle of His rebuttal in order to give Job what he wanted—a chance to air his complaints before the Almighty. God didn’t have to do that. He could have plowed ahead. He could have said, in essence, “I am God and you are not; therefore what you think or say doesn’t matter.” But God didn’t do that. In His grace and mercy, He stopped, providing Job a chance to respond.

And what a response it is! Nothing at all like what Job had planned to say, according to his earlier monologues. He has now encountered the Ultimate of the supernatural, that is God, and that meeting has left its mark.

But interestingly what we see in Job, despite some of his bold and even audacious claims earlier in the book, is not fear. God did not terrorize him into submission, but through intense questioning, provided Job a new awareness of His greatness—and Job’s comparative smallness. The result? Job reacts not in dread or panic or fright, but with the head-bowing humility that cedes to God the place of Lord, Master, and King, and with a repentant heart that fully acknowledges his own impotence.

Significance: How should we react to the supernatural? So often we overlook that simple question, focusing instead on what makes something supernatural or on what role it plays in our lives today. Those questions are needed and should be explored, yet understanding how to respond to the supernatural is just as important.

Because we often don’t respond to the supernatural correctly. We dismiss it as our imaginations or some kind of illusion.  We explain it away as an anomaly, a natural phenomenon, or a strange coincidence. We fear it as something we can’t understand or control and try to ignore that it exists at all.

Now depending on what type of supernatural we encounter, our response should vary some. Obviously facing head-on the demonic requires a slightly different response than crossing paths with God’s power. But Job models for us three great attitudes that should dominate our reactions, no matter the situation or scenario: humility, submission, and repentance.

For God is God, and we are not. So when we encounter God and His work, it should bring us to our knees before Him. It should reminds us of our smallness and His greatness. And upon seeing Who He is and who we are in comparison, how can we not realize that we entitled to nothing? And being entitled to nothing, I find myself bankrupt, with no option but to throw myself wholly upon God’s mercy. Since I am wholly at His mercy, I ought to be wholly subject to Him as well. Whatever He says I should do; whatever He desire I ought to submit to. This, then makes me aware of all the ways I’ve failed to do and submit, resulting in the repentance of wrong done.

Moreover, this humility and submission applies not only to encountering God. It should also mark us when we encounter the demonic and the dark supernatural, as it guards us against fear of such. For yes, humility acknowledges we are helpless and weak in of ourselves, which can make the demonic seem terrifying indeed. But humility doesn’t stop with that acknowledgement. It also causes me to throw myself upon the loving mercy of my mighty God. It is Him I submit to. Not to fear or that which causes fear. As a result, I can face the greatest forces of Hell fearlessly because I am no longer dependent on my helpless weak self, but upon the mighty, omnipotent, sovereign Lord of the Universe, Whom no one—not even Satan himself—can withstand.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

New Christian Fiction - May 2018

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
 
Children’s:


Feebs to the Rescue by Kathy J. Perry -- Feebs the kitten is new to the farm. She’s a long way from the farmhouse and doesn’t know her way home in the dark. Her new friend, Ollie the dog, needs help. Can she find the courage to lead a night rescue? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)

Nibbler and Captain Make Peace by Kathy J. Perry -- Nibbler the beaver works hard to keep his lodge and dam perfectly patched. A river otter knocks a hole in his great work. Now he’s so angry, he could almost spit nails. Can he learn how to handle his anger? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)

Rascal’s Trip by Kathy J. Perry -- Rascal the raccoon is sorry he ignored the warning signs He’s surprised by a whirlwind and he’s taken for the ride of his life. Now it’s up to the Bandana Buddies to help him learn the importance of thinking ahead. Can he stay out of trouble long enough to get back home? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)


Contemporary Romance:


Solo Tu: Only You by Narelle Atkins -- Can two high-school teachers, a girl from Tuscany and a boy from Australia, risk everything for love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck -- According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious--serious science, that is. But science can't always account for life's anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge. Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie's friends book her as a speaker on a "New Year, New You" cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she's qualified to teach others about happiness when she can't muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can't ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart. (Contemporary Romance, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hometown Reunion by Lisa Carter -- Widowed former Green Beret Jaxon Pruitt comes home to face his toughest battle: reconnecting with his toddler son. He also makes an unwitting enemy of childhood friend Darcy Parks when he takes over the kayak shop Darcy hoped to buy! For little Brody’s sake, she’ll stay until summer’s end. But could a growing connection turn their temporary truce into an unexpected forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston -- When her best friend Savilla dies, Laura steps in to help Allen raise his infant daughter. She soon finds herself coping with the jealousy of her boyfriend Rudy, and her own growing attraction to Allen. Have Laura and Allen been brought together to console and support one another…or is there an even deeper purpose they must fulfill? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Cowboys of Summer by Mary Connealy, Tina Radcliffe, Lorna Seilstad, Sherri Shackelford, Cheryl St. John, and Missy Tippens -- Six of Christian fiction's most beloved authors join forces to bring you a collection of humorous, romantic and heartfelt novellas set against the sultry heat of summer. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Bella Notte by Heather Gray -- As a photographer who works primarily with fashion, Piero Carter is used to having his pick of beautiful women who want to be seen by his side. Felicity von Wolff is a makeup artist whose job takes her around the world. That's all the adventure she craves. She has little use for Piero the Playboy. But when Felicity peeks over the wall she's built to protect herself, she discovers there's more to the people around her than she ever realized. What will it take for Piero and Felicity to stop hiding from life and open their eyes to the rich beauty God has in store for them? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter -- Regardless of what any blood test says, Brady Collins will go to any lengths to keep his son. Even pretend his friend Hope is his fiancée. Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has finally been offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams. As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Finding Love on Bainbridge Island Washington by Annette M. Irby -- A “broken” therapist with PTSD finds a fresh start at her family’s beach cabin, but when her parents hire her ex-boyfriend to finalize repairs on the place, they’re forced back into close proximity. He’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

And Cowboy Makes Three by Deb Kastner -- Coming home with a baby and no wedding ring was just what everyone in Cowboy Country expected from bad girl Angelica Carmichael. But she’ll brave their scorn to fulfill Granny Frances’s dying wishes, even if it means ranching with Rowdy Masterson...her jilted ex-groom. Rowdy’s still bitter but this new, softer Angelica—paired with a precious baby—might be too lovable to resist! (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Falling for You by Becky Wade -- A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin — then suffered the consequences when their relationship fell apart. Now that a decades-old mystery has brought them together again, they'll have to confront their past and the feelings they still harbor for one another. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:


Long Way Home by Brenda S. Anderson -- Stuck on a six-day road trip with the man who once bullied her, can Lauren Bauman learn that love keeps no record of wrongs? (General Contemporary, Independently Published {ACFW QIP Author})

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli -- The Hidden Side is about a family that is torn apart by the unspeakable actions of one of its members and how a woman from the past helps them to heal. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)

Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt -- It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—until her middle sister Jillian’s engagement pulls the family back together to plan the festivities. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Tyndale House)

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West -- Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love. But soon, Savannah is given a challenge that she can’t run away from. Forgiving the unforgiveable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all. (General Contemporary from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


General Historical:


Faithful by Carol Ashby -- When a foolish choice lands one man in a fight for his life, unlikely friendships are born, love blossoms, and broken relationships are restored as his best friend’s faith and courage guide the quest to rescue him. (General Historical from Cerrillo Press)


Historical Romance:


All for Love by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano -- Three of Christian historical fiction's beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. Mary Connealy's "The Boden Birthright" journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden's determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer's pretty daughter. Kristi Ann Hunter's "A Lady of Esteem" follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Jen Turano's "At Your Request" tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Perfect Bride by Debbie Lynne Costello -- Avice Touchet has always dreamed of marrying for love and that love would be her best friend, Philip Greslet. She’s waited five years for him to see her as the woman she’s become but when a visiting lord arrives with secrets that could put her father in prison, Avice must consider a sacrificial marriage. Philip Greslet has worked his whole life for one thing—to be a castellan—and now it is finally in his grasp. But when Avice rebuffs his new lord’s attentions, Philip must convince his best friend to marry the lord against his heart’s inclination to have her as his own. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)

Backcountry Brides Collection by Angela Couch, Debra E. Marvin, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, and Pegg Thomas -- Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry. Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Rebecca’s Song by Dawn Kinzer -- A small-town teacher who lost hope of having her own family, and a big-city railroad detective driven to capture his sister's killer, must do what's best for three young orphans who need them both. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Love’s Silver Lining by Julie Lessman -- A soft-hearted suffragist incurs the wrath of a bull-headed bachelor when she reforms his favorite girl at the Ponderosa Saloon. (Historical Romance (Western), Independently Published)

Redeeming Light by Annette O'Hare -- While Sarah weathers the deadly storm inside the lighthouse, her prayers are for Frederick, caught in the midst of the tempest. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe -- Elmer Smith didn't need a man when she competed in the Cherokee Strip Land Run and she sure as shootin' doesn’t need one to keep her land either. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


Romantic Suspense:


No Safe Place by H. L. Wegley -- A young man returning from the far country trying to regain his honor, and a young woman with a heart broken by her parents' rejection because of her newfound faith, each have what the other needs, but will the assassin who put them on his hit list allow them enough time to discover what they have in each other? (Romantic Suspense from Trinity Press International)


Speculative:


No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens -- As far as David Galloway knows, he can’t die. He wonders where he fits in the world, in God’s plan for the past and the future. He believes himself to be the only person on earth who hasn’t aged in over a century. He’s wrong about that. (Speculative from Barbour Publishing)


Young Adult:


Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett -- Left at her grandma's house in Hawaii after a family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to fly home to Boston and stop her father before he does anything drastic. (Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)