Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What are You Willing to Do to Gain the World?

For the average person, the political season brings up a whole host of emotions, mostly negative. We view politics as a necessary evil imposed on our lives for a time, and then wave a sigh of relief when it’s over. This sentiment is understood. But what do we do with it?

Most of us despise the rhetoric, the slanderous accusations and the all-pervasive malicious mentality of even some of our closest friends and family. Friendships are won and lost by which side of the aisle we sit on. For this reason, we steer away from conversations that might require us to state our convictions. Be the peacemaker, don’t rock the boat, right? After all, in a little while, all this negativism will go away, and it will be back to business as usual without anyone finding out what is really on our minds and hearts. Phew—saved by our silence! 

Or are we? When all is said and done, do we really gain anything, cowing to political correctness, by denying and burying what and who we are? 

In Mark 8:36, Jesus speaks to the crowd. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Later in the passage, Jesus has some strong words for Christian men and women who live in silence before the world. 

In her conference on being Set Apart, respected Christian speaker and Life Coach, Kathy Cordell, talks about living our lives in the tension of grace and truth in a culture that can often be hostile to Christians. But how do we live in that tension of grace and truth during a season when we are pulled apart, sometimes by polar opposite beliefs?

Perhaps the answer lies in understanding that what we believe about our world is not a political issue but a moral one. Jesus did not come to take political sides. He made that very clear. He came, because God so loved the world. The Jewish people of his day saw him as a political figure to save them from Rome, but Jesus said he came to save their souls. Because he would not accept the role they tried to force on him, one by one the people abandoned him to die on a cross.  

In another way, we recognize that we have a lot in common with our non-believing friends. The Bible is very clear on this, too. We have all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is none righteous (Isaiah 64:6).  In that we would judge our neighbors, we also condemn ourselves. All are guilty of sin. Therefore Jesus is not my political guru, he is the Savior of my soul. He came to die and rise again on the cross to save me from sin’s curse on my soul.

We also understand that we do not live in a perfect world, but we do live in a democracy where there are many competing perspectives about how to resolve complicated issues. Not everyone will agree with our point of view. But do not "repay evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people (1 Thes. 5:15). 

Still, if we truly believe Jesus is the Savior of our souls, then what we believe about God’s saving grace in our lives should affect our conscience, and if our conscience, then also our convictions, and if our convictions, then also our political views. To say nothing is complicit with a belief system that does not share what we believe about the world and should convict us of being duplicitous about what we believe and who we are. 

How then do Christians live in the tension of grace and truth during the political season? We recognize that God’s love covers a multitude of sins—all our sins. It’s not our place to be arrogant or boastful. We grapple with complicated issues in a reasoned manner, respecting our fellow citizens and also recognizing some things are beyond our scope to resolve easily. Yet we cannot stay silent on those things in which we have been convicted or we may find that we have exchanged the world for our souls. It's not just a political issue, it's an eternal one. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

An Interview with Love Inspired Author Jane Choate

Today I'm happy to introduce you to my writing colleague and friend Jane M. Choate. Jane is a prolific writer, including short stories, children's stories, a contributing author to a number of magazines and her series of Christian romantic suspense books written for Love Inspired Suspense. 

Jane dreamed of writing from the time she was a small child when she entertained friends with outlandish stories, complete with happy endings. Writing for Love Inspired Suspense is a dream come true. Jane is the proud mother of five children, seven grandchildren, and the staff to one cat who believes she is of royal descent.

Today, Jane talks about her newest book in her Love Inspired Suspense series, The Littlest Witness, released January 1, 2016.

1. What is the genre of your book? How did you choose the genre? My genre is Christian romantic suspense.  I don’t know if I chose it or if it chose me.  It seemed to “fit.”

2. How is your protagonist the same/different from you? My heroine is devoted to her brother. In that respect, she is the same as me as I am devoted to my family. She is far different from me, though, in that she is a former Secret Service agent, can strip down a weapon in under a minute, and knows several different ways to disable (or kill) an opponent!  

3. Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect? The biggie here, of course, is that I’ve had a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) taken out against me.  (In my defense, this was entirely justified!)  For a mild-mannered Mormon mother/grandmother, this may be unexpected. Other things: I love action adventure movies and told my family that I want the theme from DELTA FORCE played at my funeral.

4. What secret about the book will enhance our knowledge about you or the book? The book deals with, among other things, betrayal. Loyalty is a large part of my makeup, so using betrayal as part of the book caused me to tap into my deepest feelings.

5. What made you want to be a writer in the first place? I have always loved telling stories. I used to make up stories for friends when I was in school. Writing is a natural extension of that.


When Delta Force soldier Caleb Judd’s brother and sister-in-law are murdered, the killers turn their attention to his orphaned nephew. Caleb’s new mission: protect little Tommy—who hasn’t said a word since witnessing his parents’ deaths—and figure out who’s targeting his family. He needs help, and security expert Shelley Rabb is perfect for the job. But Caleb’s used to calling the shots, not taking orders, even when they come from a beautiful former Secret Service Agent.


Jane M. Choate's books can be found on and wherever Love Inspired books are sold.