A Little Love Can Go a Long Way: Excerpts from ‘Jonah’s Song’


Valentina’s aquamarine eyes popped wide open. She sat bolt upright, her heart beating erratically, as she looked around her at her bedroom, realization dawning on her. She let out a gusty sigh. “Oh! … I knew it was too good to be true!” She sighed once more. She’d been dreaming … again … about Professor Jonah McDaniels … again!

She fell back against her pillows once more, running her hands through her long, loosely curled hair. As she felt it flow between her fingers, she recalled the scene from her dream where Jonah had buried his hand in her hair. She closed her eyes, wanting to relive the whole dream and hold onto it as long as possible.

Jonah had been standing a couple feet away from her, his conductor’s baton in his hand, his eyes burning with his feelings. Finally, he laid down the baton closed the gap between them and took her, somewhat roughly, into his arms.

Valentina swallowed, trying to get back the breath his sudden embrace had stolen. Her heart beat wildly as his eyes moved to her lips. Without conscious thought, she glanced down to his mouth, his full, sculptured lips – one of the first two things she had noticed about him the day she’d met him – the other being his deep violet eyes, so unusual in a man, especially one with his Hispanic coloring.

The exhilarating scent of his cologne sent her senses whirling, and the warmth of his breath as he brought his face close to hers was so sweet she couldn’t resist closing her eyes. Her lips were parted slightly, her breath almost suspended, and as his mouth reached hers, his lips were bold and strong as they molded hers to his own. Everything in her melted as she gave herself up to this kiss she’d wanted for so long, but had never dared hope for.

He deepened the kiss, and she clung to him. When he finally pulled back for a moment, she uttered his name, once, breathlessly. “Jonah.”

“Hey, Vallie!” That shout came from Katey, one of the two girls she shared the apartment with, and it was coupled with a pounding on Valentina’s bedroom door. So much for wallowing in her dream. “You’d better get a move on if you don’t want to be late for rehearsal. You know what Dr. McDaniels will say if you walk in late.”

“Oh, no!” Vallie had forgotten about the string ensemble’s rehearsal this morning. Just the thing she didn’t need: facing Dr. McDaniels right after that dream. “Listen, Lord,” she prayed, although the whine in her voice made the words sound more like a complaint. “You know I can’t seem to get over these feelings for Dr. McDaniels. And you also know he’s way out of my league. It’s hopeless! But I keep having these dreams. Can’t You just take these feelings away?” Another pounding on her door brought her prayer to an end.

She groaned as she threw back the covers and slid her feet to the floor. Well, at least having the dusky skin that was part of her African-American heritage would help hide her blushes when she saw the professor. … Now, if she could just avoid getting so nervous that she tripped over something or dropped her violin.

She stood in front of her mirror in her pajamas. It was time for the lecture again. She looked at her reflection sternly, and pointed her finger at the mirror. “This is just your junior year, Valentina Rosswell. You still have three months left of this year and your whole senior year to go. And next year is going to be full of performances … a good many of them with Dr. Jonah McDaniels conducting. Do you want to end up making a total fool of yourself? … Now, you go out there and act like the musician that you are! You treat this Dr. McDaniels like any other stuffy, old college professor.”

Suddenly she was picturing him dressed in a baggy sweater, the lower part of his face covered with a beard, his hair gray and in total disarray. She shook her head and sighed loudly. Even like that he looked good enough to melt her bones.


Excerpt from Chapter Three

On the morning of the twenty-ninth, Vallie, Kana, Grandma Nora, and Kana’s mom, who had arrived from Atlanta, all trooped down to the church to begin decorating for the wedding.  An hour later, Kana, her hands full, realized she’d forgotten a box in the trunk of her car and asked Vallie to run out to the car for it. Vallie snatched up her short coat and walked out of the sanctuary into the hall.

Just as she got about halfway to the church door, Jonah McDaniels pushed it open from the outside and walked in, advancing in long strides.  Vallie froze.  It was incredible!  He was even more handsome than he had been seven years ago.  The finely sculptured features could easily have been those of a professional model.  As he closed the distance between them, she saw that his once black hair was now liberally streaked with gray, but that only made his looks more dramatic.  His figure was still that of a superb athlete, and his eyes, still intense and beautifully violet as ever, now widened perceptibly and lit up in surprise.  Then they almost immediately narrowed in concentration, as if he were trying to figure out where he had seen her before … or perhaps why he was seeing her here and now.

In actual fact, he had recognized her immediately … or thought he had, but then wondered if his eyes were playing tricks on him.  After all these years, the last place he would have imagined seeing Valentina Rosswell again was in the hallway of his brother’s church in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  After the immediate sense of surprise, his first reaction was that of having had the breath knocked out of him momentarily.  She had been a lovely girl in college, but now she was quite beautiful, and her eyes were still capable of captivating anyone looking into them.

She seemed as stunned as he, and finally he shook is head a little and smiled at her, stepping even closer.  “It is Valentina Rosswell, isn’t it?”

“That’s right,” Vallie replied, feeling as if she had virtually no breath with which to speak.

He extended his hand to her now, and she did likewise, without thinking about her action.  When he took her hand in his, Valentina felt the shock of his touch all through her body.  Heat suffused her, and she knew if she hadn’t been so dark skinned, her face would undoubtedly have been red.  She still couldn’t speak.

“How delightful to see you again, but a little surprising that it should be here of all places.  I gather you know my brother, Cameron?”

“Well, yes.”  Vallie was relieved to find that she had enough breath to actually say words.  “We’ve only recently become acquainted.  He’s the pastor of my dearest friend, who moved down here this past year, and we’re planning her wedding here at the church.”

“Ahhh … Cameron said something about a wedding this week.  The couple changed their date to accommodate our special celebration with Cameron, I think he said.  That was certainly very kind of them.”

Vallie nodded her head.  “They’re very thoughtful people.  And … I think it’s wonderful that your family are all going to so much trouble to celebrate with your brother.  I understand from Kana, my friend, that you’re spread out in several different cities.”

“True, but a little planning and a lot of determination can pull off most anything that one deems important enough, don’t you think?”

“You’re probably right,” Valentina said, smiling at him again, unaware of the radiance that glowed on her face.

“Well, well …” Jonah said pensively, letting his eyes drift unashamedly over Valentina.  The look wasn’t brazen or embarrassing, but it was all encompassing and held such an element of interest that Vallie almost felt as if she were being inspected.  “You’ve matured into quite a beautiful woman, as I’m sure you’ve been told often.”  Vallie’s eyes widened in surprise at the unexpected compliment, but she didn’t say anything, and Jonah added, “I’ve always been amazed at your eyes when I see you, Valentina.  They are without a doubt the most intriguing and beautiful eyes I think I’ve ever seen.”

“Th … thank you,” she managed to stammer.

Jonah heard himself say the words, but couldn’t believe that he had done so.  Had he taken leave of his senses?  He hadn’t seen this woman in years, and when he had seen her last, she had been a young student of his.  Normally, he kept much tighter control of his tongue than this.  He tried to redirect the conversation.

“Well … we never know what surprises await us just around a corner, do we?”

Valentina felt that she needed to at least tell him that she had been forewarned about his coming.  Cameron would surely tell his brother about the conversation from two days ago, so she didn’t want to act like she was hiding the fact.  But even though she had been warned, she hadn’t been at all prepared for this experience.

Finally, she was able to say something else.  “Well, actually, I had a little more warning than you,” she said, still smiling at him.  “I was intrigued by the name when I met your brother, and I asked if there were any chance he might be related to you in some way, but I was totally surprised when he told me the relationship.   During that conversation, he mentioned that you and the rest of his family were coming to celebrate his birthday.”

“I see; so you weren’t really surprised.”

“Well … to be honest … I … I was anyway … I mean … I didn’t know I would feel … I mean …”  Vallie almost panicked.   She had almost told him exactly how she had felt when she saw him walk through that door.  Be careful, girl, she told herself.  Think before you speak.  “Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t realize that I’d run right into you so unexpectedly, even though I knew you were supposed to be in the area.”

He smiled at her again, a knowing smile, as if he had surmised exactly what she had left unsaid.


Excerpt From Chapter Eleven

Jonah shook his head, sighing again in what was obviously exasperation.  He looked straight at his brother.  “Cam … I’m forty-two years old.  … And I’ve lived most of those forty-two years in a structure of self-imposed, rigid discipline.  I don’t have a gregarious bone in my body.”  He chuckled slightly, but there was a grimness in the sound of it. “I’m a stuffy music instructor who’s been described by his students more than once … and rightfully so … as being uncompromising and dictatorial.  And, I might add, I was also described by my former fiancée as being far too set in my ways and serious to be any fun.”

He turned and looked back out the window, not saying anything for a few moments.  When he finally spoke again, his voice was husky.   “I’m full of passion, but the only way I know to let it out is through my music.”  He shook his head again.  “I’m not what she needs.”

Cameron’s heart went out to his brother.  He knew Jonah believed every word he was saying, but he also knew that he was wrong.  Jonah was a reserved and controlled person, but he did have powerful beliefs and feelings, and they were what made him the special person that he was.  He didn’t express himself as openly as a less disciplined person would, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t express everything inside of him when the time and the need were right.

“I think you’re wrong to decide that all by yourself,” he said now.

“What do you mean?” Jonah asked, turning to look at him again.

“I mean I believe Vallie ought to have a chance to tell you how she feels about it all instead of you making all the decisions for both of you.”

“I don’t want to put her on the spot by forcing her to make those decisions … and the choices that might follow.”

Cameron chuckled.  “Boy, I didn’t give Suzanne a choice!  … Well, I guess I did give her a little time to decide what she thought she wanted, but when she started taking too long about it, and then hinted that she might be deciding something I couldn’t live with, I just bulldozed my way in and presented my case boldly.”

“But you knew you were what she needed.”

“Only because I knew she loved me, and that she needed the love I could give her.”

“But those are things I don’t know about Valentina.”

“Are you sure?”  Cameron paused, looking at his brother, who walked back to his chair, but only leaned on the back of it.  “I think Vallie loves you, and personally, I think your love is exactly what she needs … and wants.”

“Then why don’t I feel that way about it too?”

“Because you’re letting your head rule instead of your heart.  You know, God uses our hearts to lead us into His will much more often that He does our heads, Jonah.”

Jonah stood there with his elbows resting on the back of the chair, looking at his hands clasped in front of him.  “It’s interesting you should say that.  A few nights ago, when I was really wrestling with all this, I picked up my Bible and just opened to wherever, and the first passage I read was from Proverbs three.  The fifth verse says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

“That’s it, Jonah.  You’ve been leaning heavily on your own reasoning about this thing and not on your heart at all from what I can see.  You’ve served God faithfully all of your life.  Surely you can trust that He has a strong enough hold on you by now to lead you where He wants you. And to keep you from taking wrong turns. If something – the same something – keeps showing up strongly and consistently in your heart, and it’s something that doesn’t go against God’s Word, then it’s most likely the Lord Who planted it in your heart in the first place.” …

Jonah sat down, and Cameron continued. “Those two characteristics you see as negative may, in fact, be the most positive things you have to offer, because they may be the very things that Valentina needs most in a husband.  You need to at least give the Lord … and Valentina … the opportunity to put in their two cents worth, rather than just deciding everything in your own finite mind.”

Jonah grinned at his brother’s bluntness, but then he sighed and leaned his head back against the chair, closing his eyes.  After several minutes, he spoke softly.  “I composed a song to her, did I tell you?”

“No.  When was this?”

“A couple of weeks ago.  I was so close to drowning in all that I was feeling for her … and wanting from her…  that I just picked up the violin and began to play it out.  After I’d played it several times, I decided I needed to get it written down so I wouldn’t lose it.”  He laughed lightly.  “As if I could lose it. … It‘s as much a part of me as my breath.”

Cameron looked at his brother, whose eyes were still closed.  His heart swelled with pride in this older brother who was able to create such beauty with his gifts.  How like Jonah to release the love he felt in the creation of a beautiful piece of music that millions of people could one day share and enjoy.

“Have you played it for her?” he asked now.

Jonah opened his eyes and looked at Cameron.  “No, I haven’t.  … And I don’t think I ever intended to.”

“Then you’re an idiot.”

Jonah’s eyes widened.  His brother had never spoken to him that way before, and he wasn’t sure what to make of it.  “You sound pretty convinced.”

“I am.”


Excerpt From Chapter Thirteen

As she walked through the airport entrance, Valentina spotted Roger Parks, one of the flying instructors who had known Jonah for several years, and whom she had also come to know and like. She had started to wave to him, but realized that he was hurrying toward her, a serious look on his face, and her smile began to fade. Something was wrong.  “Miss Rosswell,” Roger said now as he reached her side. “I was watching for you.”

“Watching for me?  How did you know I’d be here?  Did Jonah tell you he was flying in today?”

“No, not me personally, but, of course, the airport had a record of his expected arrival. But … I’m afraid I have some unhappy news about that.”

Valentina grabbed his arm, her eyes wide, as she struggled not to give in to fear. “Has something happened to Jonah?”

“I’m afraid it may have … at least to his plane. It apparently went down somewhere in the area between Nashville and Knoxville. At least that’s the area he was in when he broadcast the emergency report. We don’t know yet about Jonah himself. I’m so sorry.”

Valentina closed her eyes as a wave of dizziness swept over her.

“Here,” Roger spoke as he took her arm and began guiding her across the main entrance to one of the offices.  “Let me take you into the office, and we’ll explain everything we know.  As I started to tell you, we tried to notify you earlier, since you’re down on the papers Jonah has on file as the person to contact in case of an emergency. But since we couldn’t reach you, we contacted his brother, who was also listed.  He’s the one who told us you should be here at almost any time, and he said to tell you that he and his wife are on their way here now.”

Vallie sat down in the chair he indicated, still in a daze.  He spoke quietly to a young lady who left and returned almost immediately with a hot cup of coffee.  “Try to drink a little of this if you can, Miss Rosswell, and I’ll tell you everything we know.  If you want to talk to some of the higher ranking people here, they’re ready to talk to you, but they thought that since Jonah and I are friends, you might rather hear about all of it from me.”

“Yes,” Vallie said, sipping the coffee and feeling that at least some degree of life was flowing back into her.  “Yes, please, Roger.  I appreciate your taking the time to talk with me.”  At that moment, the office door opened and a tall, middle-aged man in a business suit stood to the side and allowed Cameron and Suzanne to enter ahead of him. Vallie jumped up and threw herself into Cameron’s arms. She didn’t cry. She wanted to. It would have given her some release, but she couldn’t. She just trembled throughout her whole body, and held onto Cameron as tightly as she could.  Suzanne reached out and put her hand on her back, rubbing it lightly in an attempt to provide at least a little comfort.  Her other arm was around her own husband’s waist, holding him, trying to provide the support she knew he needed, even as he tried to comfort Vallie.

He pulled back from Vallie enough to look at her.  He gently brushed the hair from her face and looked right into her eyes.  “We are going to trust the Lord, Vallie.  He has always been faithful to take care of us, and we’re going to believe that He’s still doing that.”  Vallie nodded and smiled weakly at him to let him know that she was in agreement.  Then she reached out and took Suzanne’s hand, squeezing it, and finally pulling away from Cameron, she hugged Suzanne too.

“There’s room for all of you to sit down if you’d like,” Roger said now.  “Miss Rosswell, this gentleman is Mr. Randall, the airport director,” he added introducing the man who had escorted the McDaniels into the office.  The director reached out to take Vallie’s hand.

“I’m very sorry to meet you under these circumstances, Miss Rosswell, but I assure you that we are doing everything we can to find out every detail about the accident and Dr. McDaniels’ condition.”

Vallie looked at Cameron.  “Do you know what’s happened?”

“Yes, Mr. Randall filled us in as he was bringing us to meet with you, dear.”

Just then the door opened and a clerk handed Mr. Randall a note. He read it quickly and then turned back to the group seated before him. “Well, some good news, at least. The rescue team has made it to the crash site, and they report that Dr. McDaniels is unconscious, but that he is definitely alive.”

At those words, Vallie dropped her head into her hands and wept openly. Cameron sucked in a sob and wiped at his eyes, and Suzanne, who also had tears streaming down her cheeks just leaned over and took Vallie into her arms.

“I’m sorry that’s all we know right now,” Mr. Randall continued, “but at least it’s something to hold onto.”

“Yes,” Cameron said, his voice husky.  “It certainly is.  And we intend to do just that.”

Mr. Randall told them he was having more hot coffee sent in, and although he had to return to his office to take care of another problem, he would contact them the very moment he had any more information.  Roger said he would sit with them while they waited, so they began their vigil, binding together first in a fervent prayer of thanksgiving for Jonah’s life and then in a petition for God’s further intervention.

In a little less than an hour, Mr. Randall was back with a new report.  “Well, the emergency team is on their way with Dr. McDaniels to the hospital at Knoxville.  The most information I could get about his condition is sketchy.  They are considering him critically injured, since there is apparently a head would involved, and they are pretty sure of some broken ribs as well … I’m sure you want to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Is there any way that we can assist you at all?”

Cameron stood up and shook Mr. Randall’s hand. “No, thank you. You’ve all been very kind, and I think we’ll be fine to drive ourselves to the hospital.”

“I wish we could have done more, Pastor McDaniels. But I’m a Christian myself, and I’ll be praying for your brother.”

“Thank you.  We’ll take all the prayers we can get right now.”  He then turned to shake Roger’s hand, and Valentina offered her hand to Mr. Randall, thanking him in her turn. She hugged Roger briefly. “Thank you so much for taking the time to make this as easy on us as possible I know Jonah will be grateful to you.”

He patted her hand.  “I’ll be praying too, Miss Rosswell.  You keep me up to date on his condition, you hear?”

Vallie nodded her head, still wiping an occasional tear from her cheek. “I will,” she said as she turned to follow Cameron and Suzanne out of the room.


Well, love is where you find it, and you’ll find the whole story at the Amazon Kindle Store — on sale through Christmas for $1.99.


Running With Jesus


Whom do you run with?  Is that terminology familiar to you? In some circles the term “running with” refers to spending one’s time frequently interacting with certain people — identifying with them — people who have similar interests and goals — the people we consider our best friends and buddies.

Sometimes the people we choose to “run with” make a huge difference in what we do with our lives, what advantages or disadvantages we fall heir to, and what other people think of us. Most people try to “run with” individuals or groups that make them feel comfortable, but occasionally someone gets courageous enough to “run with” another person because he presents a lifestyle that is challenging, exciting, or dangerous.

Personally, I like the company I “run with.” The head guy is Jesus Christ, and I’ve found that “running with” Him is  comfortable, but it is also challenging and exciting at the same time. Here’s just a small example of what life is like in that world:

Running with Jesus means giving instructions to trees and mountains and having them obey immediately.

Running with Jesus means always having plenty to eat, because we can multiply loaves and fishes any time.

Running with Jesus means always having enough money to pay my taxes or any other obligation because if there’s no money handy, I can always go fishing and get some.

Running with Jesus means telling angry storms to shut up and be quiet.

Running with Jesus means walking on the water.

Running with Jesus means telling the devil and his demons what bus to take and what stop to get off at.

Running with Jesus means loving people, feeding them when they’re hungry, and healing their hurting bodies.

Running with Jesus means forgiving others every time they mess up and giving them another chance.

Running with Jesus means praying constantly.

Running with Jesus means experiencing total peace and rest no matter what the circumstances.

Running with Jesus means having the Creator of the whole universe as my Father and knowing I am accepted and loved beyond words for eternity.

If you’re not already “running with” Jesus, why don’t you leave whatever group you are “running with” and join us. You’ll never be sorry.




‘Everything’s Jake’ Now Available on Amazon: $0.99 Through November

EVERYTHING'S HALF COVER RESIZEDIt’s just a little love story. But, then again, it’s a whole lot more than a love story. It’s about finding out who you really are and learning to like that person – and discovering that liking who you are opens the door for the best relationships with other people. It’s about family – and friends who are just like family. It’s about letting God’s way of loving take control of your heart.

Meet Mariah Jacoby. She’s happiest working under the hood of a car, but she’s convinced that grimy hands and greasy smudges on her face aren’t exactly what guys are looking for in a girlfriend. Unfortunately, though, she’s having trouble holding down a job in any other field, despite college degrees and an upbeat personality. Desperate to change her unemployed status, she finally admits it’s time to face the fact that she’s really a “grease monkey” at heart, but dare she hope there’s a guy in her future who’s dreaming of a girl who smells like engine oil?

Buy it here  — and purchase an extra as a gift for someone you love:




New Bloggers on the Block!

MAN@COMP3 - sepiaWell, this past week, I finished up one of my “Blogging Made Easy” classes, and three of my students from that class are strong Christians who want to use their sites to share their faith and the encouragement of the Gospel. So I thought perhaps many of my followers here at “Hangin’ Out With God’ might like to get to know them.

You’ll find links to their sites below. I hope you’ll hop over and visit them and give them a warm WordPress welcome.

Random Ritings — hosted by Wes Henson

Herron’s Hope — hosted by Anne Herron

Word Up — hosted by Debra Hawkins



Children of Light

“God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5). “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)

If we are the children of God (1John 3:1), and our Father is the “Father of Light,” then we must be “children of light.” And if He is so full of light that there is no variation or shadow in Him, then we, too, should be free of any shadows or darkness. How can we be so? By continually keeping ourselves in His light. As we focus fully on Him and His light, we are drawn into it more and more completely, and His light itself fills us more and more thoroughly, until we are like Him, and it can be said of us: “They are children of light, and in them there is no darkness at all.”


( I originally posted this article about a year and a half ago, but the truth of it intruded on my thoughts again today, and I thought it deserved a second airing.)


The Most Important Novel I Ever Wrote — Now Available For E-Readers

REPAIRED COVER FOR FB FINAL - smallerSometimes people ask me which of the nine novels I’ve written so far is my favorite. And I have to answer that I feel like a parent with nine children, in that I can honestly say all of them are my favorites. They were born out of me. They are literally part of me. Every single one of them carries something of me out into the world and into the heart of every person who picks it up and reads it. And not one of them can supersede the others in my own heart.

Each one, of course has it’s own special strengths — as far as I’m concerned. (Of course, there are probably a few people out there who don’t think any of them have “strengths,” because, let’s face it: no one ever writes a book that everybody will like. It’s just a fact of life.  But not to worry: we don’t write for those people. A true writer writes for himself first — and secondly for all those people who will find great pleasure in reading his work.)

So back to my point: each book has its own set of strengths. When I look at the list of titles, I’m reminded of certain people who received help or encouragement or a good laugh when they read certain stories from that list. And I see each novel as offering its own specific gift to the readers.

However, sometimes we find ourselves writing a story that carries so much more potential for touching and changing lives than the average book does. Somehow, we just know that one particular story has an extra special gift to give the readers, and when we’ve finally written the words “The End,” we sit back and say, “Wow, this is an important book.”

That sense of importance — of special significance — came to me when I finished Repaired By Love, the third book in The Smoky Mountain Series. I truly believe this book is the most important book I’ve ever written. The reason is simple: This story has so much to say about the way of salvation and a joyous relationship with the Lord that it could easily be the only tool necessary to lead someone to make a decision to turn his heart over to Jesus Christ. I make that statement, not because I’m the author, but because I sincerely believe that the Lord Himself orchestrated that book to accomplish just that purpose.

Of course, I pray and believe the Lord to lead me in writing what He wants written in every inspirational novel I create. And the main focus in all of those novels is to help people come to know the Lord better and see that He wants to be involved in our everyday lives — helping, guiding, healing, and protecting us. I hope I’ve been faithful to Him in every book I’ve turned out. But in this one particular book, I sense a special anointing from Him to touch hearts that have never  yet opened up to Him at all. I am still in awe of how the Lord led certain people into my life and then used them to plant the seeds of so many of the characters in this book — and how He carried me along with the plot that I didn’t even have a plan for in the beginning.

When I wrote Repaired By Love, back in 2004, I said to a number of people: “If I could have written only one book in my whole life, this is the book I would want to have written.” Eleven years later — and having written five other novels since then — I still feel the same.

I hope my readers will be blessed by it as much as I have been.

Readers can find the digital Repaired By Love at the Kindle Store at a special price for the next two weeks. From today through October 16th, the novel will be on sale for only $1.99.  After that date it goes back to the same price as all the other books in the series ( 3.99).

To read an excerpt from Chapter One click HERE.

(And don’t forget, if you don’t have an e-reader, Amazon has a free app you can download in just a few minutes that will let you read all e-books right on your own computer. Just follow the link to the book page, and you’ll see the notification about the free Kindle App.)



Prayers That Please God

MAN AND WOMAN PRAYINGOver the years, as a minister of the Gospel and teacher of God’s Word, I have spent countless hours studying prayer, formulating lessons on prayer, and — of course — praying. I have an entire curriculum on the subject that I use when I conduct Prayer Schools  throughout the year.  So, needless to say, I could write for hours and hours on the subject. But today I don’t want to write for hours. I want to share just one very important truth.  So here goes:

We pray for all kinds of reasons: worship, fellowship with the Lord, asking for blessings, asking for help, interceding for others. And the Lord is glad to hear from us and welcomes us as the dear children that we are. But there is one kind of prayer that pleases Him more than any others. One kind of prayer that thrills His own heart and, at the same time, opens the channel wide for His answer to get through to us. What kind of prayer always pleases the Father?

When we pray His Word, our prayers are a delight to His heart. No matter what the subject of our prayer is, when we pray the Word, we are praying in faith, because it’s His Word that has taught us His promises.  The Word tells us in Hebrews 11: 6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. So if we would please Him with our prayers, they must be prayers of faith. Not only that, but Jesus made it clear in Mark 11:22-24 — as well as multiple other scripture passages — that if we would get our prayers answered, they must be prayed in faith. Then in James, chapter one, the Lord reminds us again that if we would receive anything from the Lord, we must ask in faith — nothing wavering — and in chapter five of that same book, He says specifically that it is the “prayer of faith” that will get the sick well and get their sins forgiven.

So the prayers that please God the most are the prayers that He can answer — in other words, the prayers of faith. And He tells us clearly in Roman 10:17 that faith comes only one way — by the Word of God. No problem, no trial, and no crying/whining/begging will bring faith into our spirits. Only the Word can create faith. Why? Because only the Word shows  us the reality of those things the Lord wants to do for us. The Word tells us there is such a thing as a born again experience, and we believe it. The Word tell us that we have healing provided by the stripes of Jesus, and we believe it. The Word tells us that God puts angels around us for protection, and we believe it. The Word tells us that God will contend for our lost children, and we believe it.

The only thing we can have solid faith for is something we have God’s Word on. If we try to pray for something we don’t have God’ Word on, then we are praying without faith. We must have a Word in order to have the faith that Word creates. So the prayer in which we go before God and  present His own Word to Him, in confidence that He means what He says, are the prayers that we pray in true faith. And it is those prayers that thrill God’s heart. It’s His delight to fulfill His own Word, and it’s an even greater delight when His children honor Him by learning what His Word says and believing it enough to bring it to Him in full expectation of its fulfillment.

So let’s spend more and more and more time in His Word — until we know for sure what He has to say about every circumstance of life. Then we can take that precious Word to Him in prayers that thrill His heart — and that have a guaranteed answer.




The Day I Forgot To Hate — short story by Ted Pavloff

The following story was written many years ago by my father, who was a very talented and prolific writer in several different genres. But this particular story is one that he wrote drawing on his personal experiences during combat in the South Pacific Theater during World War II.  The details of the events and characters are fictitious, but the truths that undergird the story are very real and can be life-changing when we allow them to rule our lives. 


SOLDIERS WITHOUT COPTERWe had sought out this particular clearing many times before (a queer, growth-free patch, isolated in the midst of solid jungle) to comfortably relax with a cigarette and sort out the results of the current trek.

We were a confident trio, and perhaps our gutsy attitude was justified to a certain degree. Encounters with Japanese patrols and snipers were anything but strange adventure, and the fingers of our hands were not ample to count the number of enemy soldiers we had personally annihilated.

The venomous hatred we shared for the Japanese forged us into a natural combination, and we relished every opportunity to satisfy that bitterness by destroying the enemy. We had come to consider the killing of Japs as a sort of game … a release that made the discomforts of war worthwhile.

The usual mixed sounds of the jungle surrounded us this humid morning as we stretched out on the damp turf. There was little reason to suspect approaching danger, and, carelessly, we dismissed the possibility.

Then it happened. They swept out of the jungle from every side and bayonets were pressing against our stomachs before we could touch our weapons. At first I thought it was a nightmare, and it seemed minutes passed before my mind cleared to the realization that I lay at the mercy of the enemy. I should have been terribly frightened, but whatever measure of fear I might have possessed was totally eclipsed by hate, and I could not detect it.

Desperately I wanted to fight back, but there was small profit in inviting certain death. I ordered my companions to lie motionless and hoped the next few moments would bring the break we would need.

I surveyed the Jap soldiers coldly. They were a poorly clad, hungry looking group and, to my eyes, ripe for the sword. The officer in command was extremely youthful looking and clearly the smallest in stature, but his appearance was deceiving.

His orders poured forth with powerful authority, every word emphasized with vigorous motions of his head and arms. The soldiers reacted instantly, and while three bayonets pinned us in a prone position, the remaining troopers hurriedly appropriated the K-rations in our packs.

Then, with a gesture I considered a mocking insult, the young officer tossed several pieces of Japanese currency at my feet, and turned to rejoin his men. It was at this instant he spotted one of his soldiers who had backed off a few paces, raised his rifle, and carefully aimed at my head. With the agility and speed characteristic of the Japs, the officer threw himself at the would-be killer and dropped him heavily to the ground. The hapless offender suffered several solid lashes across his face before he was finally permitted to join his comrades in a hasty retreat from the clearing.

Obviously pleased over the successful display of his prowess, the officer bowed courteously and smiled, then saluted a farewell.

I did not share his satisfaction. The knowledge that my life had been spared for some inconceivable reason was lost in a hatred that made my stomach ache. Vengefully, I hoped for a future meeting … over the sights of my rifle.

During the week that followed we were spared the relentless torture of night patrol, and the day treks were relatively uneventful. Frequently, and often at unexpected moments, I found myself stabbed by spasms of anger that stemmed from the humiliation of having been successfully snared by the enemy. Even though I had not been harmed physically, I stubbornly refused to be grateful. I was furious that I had been captured at all and vowed revenge upon every Jap I could maneuver into firing range.

Revenge was uppermost in my mind that bright afternoon as we trudged through the jungle on a routine patrol. We were advancing in a widely dispersed position, intent upon sweeping as much terrain as possible with a minimum of commotion.

I was advancing slowly in an oblique path toward a peculiar rise of solid rock, when the figure appeared unexpectedly …. I froze. It was a Jap …. Momentarily, I was mystified over his apparent lack of concern about concealing himself, and also the fact that he was unarmed. He was stripped to the waist and the beads of perspiration on his bronze flesh glistened in the bright streaks of sunlight leaking through the heavy foliage. I crouched low as he stepped to a narrow ledge of the rock and looked about him.

Then it hit me like a blockbuster – it was the youthful officer who had captured and humiliated me in the clearing! Ahhh … finally, I thought, we meet again. I gloated silently and promptly began mental preparations to repay a debt I thought to be long overdue. I studied the situation carefully …. I wanted a clean aim. So with unconscious movements of my body, I urged him toward the near edge of the rock.

As if responding to a spoken command, he leaped from the perch and approached a mound of rock directly in my line of vision, then hastily removed a cluster of loose branches and brush from a small hollow in the base of the mound.

I lined up for the kill. I held my breath. Then just as my finger was closing securely around the trigger, my eyes suddenly spotted the crude wooden cross that had been secured in that hollowed out area.

I peered down the long rifle barrel in confused amazement as he dropped to his knees. HisExif JPEG right hand raised to his forehead, moved down to his chest, then to his left shoulder, and across to his right – the Sign of The Cross! My hands grew numb and my arms trembled uncontrollably.

I’m not sure exactly how long the moment lasted. But slowly … surely … as surely as I had taken aim at what would have been a sure target, I felt myself lowering that same rifle and letting it slip from my grip. Without any conscious thought, I bowed my head.

I couldn’t account for my reaction. But a miracle had taken place. My fervent, persistent, burning desire to kill the enemy had melted away.

Within a few seconds I relived every detail of the incident in the clearing, when he and his men had captured us, and suddenly the realization hit me: The Jap officer’s actions in preventing my murder and leaving the money were not prompted by secondary motives. This man was a Christian. Painfully, I contrasted these truths with the hatred that fed my incessant drive to destroy the enemy anywhere I found him, and under any circumstances. Tearfully, I surrendered to my shame.

I cannot be certain of the length of time I remained in a state of remorseful meditation, but when I finally raised my eyes, the Cross was again carefully camouflaged, and the officer had vanished. I lingered only a short while. Then I set out to join Willmet and Conte … strangely happy and refreshed … having been set free from the terrible, unbearable burden of hate.

The End


On Sale for $.99 — Novel # 1, Smoky Mountain Series


SET FREE COVER - GREEN BKRD # 1Set Free To Love, the first novel in my  Smoky Mountain Series is currently on sale atAmazon’s Kindle store for just $.99.   The regular price of $3.99 has been suspended for the next 7 days.

Book two in the series, Cameron’s Rib, is now available on Amazon, and book number three,Repaired By Love, will be available next week. Book number four, Jonah’s Song, should go digital in October, and book five, This Fire In My Heart, is still a bit of a mystery because it isn’t completely finished yet.

Amazon will run the sale on Set Free To Love until midnight September 16th, U.S. Pacific Time. I hope several of you take advantage of the special price to check out the series and get to know all the wonderful people who populate the other books as well.

Just follow the link to read more about the story and learn a little about how the series was birthed.

I also want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you readers who have read books 1 and 2.  I’m so thrilled that you were blessed by them.



Hurray! ‘Quiver’ Is On Sale Now: $.99

QUIVER FULL COVER - GOLDA Quiver Full of Arrows, one of my most recent inspirational digital novels is now on sale for only $.99.

The sale lasts for 72 hours —
All day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

If you’re looking for a wholesome story with captivating characters that will melt your heart —  if you’re looking for a story that reminds you God cares about and has solutions for our everyday problems in our everyday lives — if you’re looking for a story that has a slightly surprising, but well-deserved happy ending — then this is the book for you.

On Tuesday, the price increases to $1.99 — which is still a pretty good deal.

Then on Friday, the book goes back to it’s regular price of $2.99

You can read a description of the story and get more information by visiting the book’s page at Amazon’s Kindle Store.

And if you don’t have a Kindle or an iPad or iPhone, you can download a free app from Amazon that will let you use your desktop or laptop as an e-reader.




I’ve never touched a star;
Never tried to reach that far.
Perhaps my goals are all too short, too frail.

My dreams are all mundane:
Never seeking wealth or fame,
Nor for great contributions to be hailed.

But when all’s said and done,
I’ve loved folks – one by one –
And in the end, it’s Love that will prevail.