A divisive question, potentially

A divisive question

A potentially divisive question was asked of Ravi Zacharias, “How do you respond to non-believers who accuse Christians of being hateful to people who support lifestyles that are not according to the precepts of our faith?”

He broke it down into 3 panels of an answer, and it fascinated me, so I kept watching.

1st panel logical problem. 2nd panel theological problem, 3rd the relational problem

He went on to give another example… and asked the questioner to define the culture we are living in.

The options were…

  1. Theo nomos culture – where the law of God is so embedded in our hearts that we all emotively think in the same category.
  2. Hetero nomos culture (subject to a law or standard external to itself.) Dictated to by the leadership at the top.
  3. Auto nomos culture. Each person dictates their own moral standards
    1. Then he asked another question, “If you disagree with me will you switch to a heteronomous mood and dictate to me what you think I should believe?’

Autonomous cultures run into a conflict when everyone has their own autonomy.

“Nomos, (Greek: “law,” or “custom”,) plural Nomoi, in law, the concept of law in ancient Greek philosophy. https://www.britannica.com/topic/nomos-Greek-philosophy

Put the divisive question in one of those categories

meet the brief, the Bible

Theo nomos would clearly be what the Bible teaches, since Theo is Greek for God so the words mean ‘God law.’

law, a divisive question answered

Hetero nomos would then be according to the law of the land.

Self-isolation, or quarantine is a recent example of the law of the land. https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/rebellious-what-do-you-mean/

Auto nomos would be everyone deciding for themselves.


However, is it hateful if my choice differs from your choice? Not unless I am in a position of power and legislate that your choice is ‘hateful’ because it differs from mine.

God gives us choice, we saw that at the beginning of the Book, and He allowed Adam and Eve to make the wrong one. He did not ‘wipe them out,’ instead, allowing them to live with the consequences of the choice, as do we.

A short talk but it gave me much ‘food for thought.’


You can view the talk on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPYRXop7aPA&fbclid=IwAR3yT-3UQlroqP4bbND0or1GtEYarZlySrv6PU8ERX0m88l_vqIpkHN_tGM

Prayer is not a magic wand

Prayer is not a magic wand

Prayer can be many things, but it is not a magic wand. If it was no one would be sick, there would be no murders, no wars, and none of us would be mourning the death of a loved one. But all these things, and more are happening all around the world.

So what is prayer?

Well, that depends on what you believe, I can only share what I, as a Christian, believe prayer to be, and that is, prayer is communicating with God. It is not all asking for your needs… or wants. Prayer is also listening, and studying the Bible.

After all, the Bible is the word of God.

Types of prayer

Well, there is the kind that, in desperation, someone cries for help.

a desperate prayer

That person might not even know God personally, but in a critical emergency cries out to God. Sometimes that urgent request is answered.

There is also the model prayer that Jesus gave the disciples as an outline. This is the daily prayer we said in school (that’s a long time ago) in Scotland. A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the model prayer… https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/a-look-at-the-lords-prayer/

Some sites say there are four types of prayer, others say seven types, or six types… instead of me ‘reinventing the wheel’ as they say, if you are curious, this site lists some and what they are. https://www.tallahassee.com/story/life/faith/2015/09/11/learning-pray-seven-types-prayer/72100692/

Ever heard of imprecatory prayer?

It is actually praying for bad things to happen to enemies and was prayed by King David, as recorded in Psalms. There is an article on it here…. https://www.gotquestions.org/imprecatory-prayer.html

Kind of contradicts ‘forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,’ though. The article goes on to cover that aspect.

In our day and age

With the Corona virus (Covid-19), the plagues of locusts, the fires, floods, not to mention the riots, the looting, the demonstrations, the anger and the rage where does prayer fit?

Well it doesn’t. At least not with those who respond from a self-centred base line. Guess that now I have angered you. That is not my intention.

When I was much younger there was a song, ‘Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” There are several versions of this on YouTube. Here is one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGoEJyV7Snw

For some reason this song is associated with the Christmas season. Why? I don’t know. Every time we feel anger or hopelessness overwhelm us… is a time to stop, breathe, and pray for peace on earth to begin with me.

When to pray

In an apparently impossible situation

When sad, broken-hearted, lost, alone

If anger washes over us

After the death of a child, a spouse or other significant person

What about when we are happy, joyful, grateful…

Every emotion is an opportunity to communicate with God – our Father in heaven.

Jesus taught that we are to pray to the Father in His (Jesus’) name.

when to pray

And of course, when we are joyful, happy, and grateful.

(The sentence above is a repeat from the previous paragraph. It is important, but often overlooked so I put it in twice <smile>)

From experience, I have learned that a good time to ‘count my blessings’ is when nothing seems to be going well.

Try it next time you feel the world weigh on your shoulders.

May you be blessed with good,


PS My apologies for the ‘missing post’ last Sunday. Health was bad,  and the week went on being bad… Internet down, computer freezing, a dental emergency – but I am still here and still typing away. 

I am grateful for the life I have and the opportunities given to me.

Meet the Brief

Meet the brief, planning

“Meet the brief,” means ‘meet the requirements’ – among other things. Why am I thinking of that? A recent episode of Masterchief Australia saw the departure of one of the favourite competitiors. Her offering was skilled, as had been all that she produced so far in the series, but, you guessed it… it didn’t meet the brief.

It made me think. For those of us who call ourselves Christian, do we ever consider this?

How do we meet the brief?

meet the brief, the Bible

Well, first of all a question. If you describe yourself as a Christian, what does it mean to you? Asking this of yourself might be a way to measure whether or not you are meeting the brief.

And there is a warning… don’t look at the person next to you in Church, our standard should be Christ. There are many scriptures about comparing ourselves to others. You will find some of them here https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Comparing-Ourselves-To-Others/

William Barclay says of 1 Corinthians 13 that there Paul lists fifteen characteristics of Christian love. I remember having to memorize these at Primary School. They meant nothing to me, and the teacher didn’t explain anything. It was just one of those assignments we had to do. However, as an adult, the chapter has a valuable meaning.

William Barclay’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 13 explains…


Christian beliefs aside, we can use the term to evaluate other areas of our lives.

Do I meet the brief in my work?

Some questions:

If I am employed – do I do the best I can, or do I skimp on some of the tasks?

If I am looking for work – do I look at the criteria and honestly answer my capabilities to perform what is required. (The brief.)

I am a volunteer, do I work as if I am being paid?

Do we meet the brief in our marriages?

Most of us start out wanting to please the person we want to share our lives with, but what happens when the trials and the problems come?

What happens when we seem to be pulling against each other?

Go back and look at the ‘brief.’ Individually first, and then together.

My writing

Research is time-consuming, but very addictive. In fact it is like a treasure hunt… for me anyway. When I started the  Apostle John Series  I thought I was going to write one book. Well, the series was five books long, then came the novella series… and because of the deterioration in my health I wrote the help guide, a non-fiction book.

I hope I am meeting the brief in all areas of my life, health permitting.

Walk softly, and evaluate yourself, not others



The Oddest Things Can and Do, Bring Comfort

featured for crucifixion blog, breathless

Whether or not you are a Christian, you have probably heard of crucifixion.

At this time of year, many Christians are thinking of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, while many others think of Easter eggs and bunny rabbits. I will not go into the origin of the latter two here. Instead, I want to share with you how reading the details of what crucifixion was like helped me when my husband was dying over four years ago.

I will explain.

When my husband was told he was in end-stage pulmonary fibroses, it was neither a surprise, nor was it a pleasant diagnosis. This disease is always fatal. The ‘not a surprise’ was because he had been struggling to breathe for many years, while the hospital consultant at the time did not tell us the disease had a name. The ‘not a pleasant diagnosis’ was until then, with a new consultant did we know there was an ‘end-stage.’

High doze humidified oxygen

It was hard to see my husband struggle for each breath, even when he was in hospital receiving 25+ litres per minute oxygen. Then reason I put the + there is because sometimes it needed to go much higher.

The respiratory consultant explained that, in effect, his lungs were smothering him.

A trial at home, with a pair of linked oxygen concentrators, was unsuccessful and he ended up in a hospice, where he died three weeks later.

The connection with the crucifixion.

Let me first assure you that my husband was not crucified, nor did I think what he went through was the same as Christ suffered.

No, the connection was when I read an article that described what happened in a crucifixion.

Quoting from the article –

“Once the victim was fastened to the cross, all his weight was supported by three nails, which would cause pain to shoot throughout the body. The victim’s arms were stretched out in such a way as to cause cramping and paralysis in the chest muscles, making it impossible to breathe unless some of the weight was borne by the feet. In order to take a breath, the victim had to push up with his feet. In addition to enduring excruciating pain caused by the nail in his feet, the victim’s raw back would rub against the rough upright beam of the cross.

After taking a breath and in order to relieve some of the pain in his feet, the victim would begin to slump down again.”

There is a lot more, but it is not ‘easy’ reading. You can find the full article here…

I did not pray for my husband to be healed. I prayed for God to help him. He had endured years of the nightmare of this condition. (He was a great ‘study’ for the respiratory registrars, but never a ‘name’ for the condition given.)

When I read that article – yes, it was emotional – but finally I knew how to pray for my husband.

Crucifixion of Jesus, the Christ

In that costly death of Jesus Christ, one of the many agonies He went through was not being able to breath. Until that time I had never thought of the crucifixion in this way. But it showed me that Christ knew what my husband was going through, He had been through it. This gave me comfort and helped me pray.

I have blogged before about Pulmonary Fibrosis. There is no cure, but there is a lot more support now than there was then.

I also put together a spiral-bound book on Geoff’s Last Journeyings, it was for family and close friends. Actually, I don’t have a copy.

after death from Pulmonary Fibrosis

Recently, I attended the bi-monthly club I belong to, and, because of the time of year, talked about the immense price Christ paid for us.

One other lady had lost her husband to breathing problems, and we talked about the comfort it was to know Christ knew what our husbands had gone through.

The oddest things can, and do, bring comfort.

PS If you want to read more about Pulmonary Fibrosis here is a link…
I see that with current treatments life-expectancy after diagnosis has increased. It is now 3 – 5 years. When my husband was dying it was 2 – 3 years, although he was blessed with longer. (And so was I in having that extra time with him.)

God bless 🙂

This is the last, honestly. Just wanted to mention that if you notice the header section looking odd – that’s because it is.

After a terminal error I had to ask the web-host to reinstall the last backup made by them. This backup was out of date.

Currently I am working in the ‘back-end’ changing things… some of those changes are filtering through and look strange. All will be revealed when everything is connected up.


Christian persecution

In most Western countries we are fairly free of Christian persecution and this is the theme I am writing to, here.

Where did this thought start?

I have been asked many times, “What are your books about?”

Basically, they are about life in the late first century AD – in many ways not so different from today, except for all our modern inventions. So, I decided to look for the dominant theme in each book. I did not plan ‘themes’ when writing– the characters found themselves in situations, much as we experience today.

In Hold the Faith (book 1 in the series) Benjamin, brought up in the faith, discovers he cannot rely on his parents’ faith and decides to seek baptism. Adult baptism was the practice at the time.
(Remember, the Apostle John Series is ‘story-telling’ not evangelizing.)

Persecution in Hold the Faith

Excerpt from Hold the Faith, when Benjamin and some other young men attended a ‘class’ on baptism, they were warned.

“Looking at each young man, all about the same age, he [Joshua] repeated, “Mature decisions. You need to be able to understand the seriousness of the commitment you are asking to make. Could you die for your faith? It is something you must consider. If you are taken by the Romans on suspicion of being a Christian as they call us, and order you to make the offering of incense to the emperor and proclaim him as god what will you do?”

“But we know that is wrong now…” interjected Stephen.

“Yes, I know all of you have been taught well by your families, or you would not be here. The consequences are about to be different for you than they have been for brethren for some years. If you refuse, it is no longer only prison you will face… or if the governor is kind, exile. No, if you refuse when this new governor arrives, you will go from prison to the arena to face lions.” He paused to allow his words to sink in.

Although they did not speak, their thoughts were similar. It was one thing to be chased by a mob and murdered as their relatives had been, or to be run through by the sword of an impatient Roman soldier, but to be imprisoned with weeks or months to think about walking into the arena to face lions…”

Joshua watched them carefully. Satisfied that they were facing possibilities, he suggested that they meditate on that during the coming week and if they wanted to continue, come back for another preparation lesson.”

One reviewer of Hold the Faith wrote,
“I found myself thinking about my own faith in Jesus Christ. What sacrifices would I make? Would I be strong enough in my faith to stand before persecution?”

Along a similar line, another person said,
“It really makes you think deeply about the level of Christian commitment in the tense and troubling times of the first century church and wonder if it would be matched should we ever face similar circumstances.”

Have we Christians ‘gone soft?’ Would we compromise the faith we profess?

 People who ask similar questions to those mentioned in the quotations above are aware of the potential cost of professing the name of Jesus Christ as Savior.

Persecution today

Almost unreported are the many cases of persecution for holding the Christian faith.

Like many other Christians, I was vaguely aware that in some countries Christians are persecuted. When deciding to check it out – I was staggered by the scale of persecution.

Christianity Today reports that there are fifty countries in the world where it is hardest to be Christian. 


Compelling Truth, on the subject of missionaries, reports

“Missionaries face danger, as well, since most places in the world are not welcoming to Christianity. Missionaries can get ignored in Denmark and killed in India. As Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:16-18). Paul testified to the truth of the hardships in Romans 8:36 when he quoted, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

So, I guess, for these people – compromising what they believe is not an option. Not only missionaries but ordinary believers are kidnapped, raped, and/or murdered. Space does not permit me to list all the instances but you will find pages and pages of instances of the cost of Christian beliefs.

As it was at the start of the Christian faith, so it continues. King Solomon was correct when he wrote
‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1: 9

Persecution of Christians is increasing

(But to report on the reasons given would be to target a group, not all of whom agree with what is being done.)

As I discovered writing Hold the Faith, and the other books in the series, Christianity was not called the ‘Way’ for nothing. It truly was a way of life for the believers, persecutions and all.

Is it for us?


The eBook version of Hold the Faith is free on both Amazon and Smashwords.

If you have a Kindle click HERE  to download from Amazon

For other eBook formats, or if you prefer Smashwords, click HERE


Second Chance Love

LOL – No, I am not running a dating agency. ‘Second Chance Love’ is the title of the blog written by this week’s guest author, Sharilee Swaity. Her book is called Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love. 

Welcome Sharilee.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Susan! I am enjoying your first book, so far.

Thank you Sharilee, I hope you keep enjoying it. LOL


Susan Preston, image

Great to have you on my blog…
 Please introduce yourself to my readers.

Sure, first…

Sharilee Swaity, author
Sharilee Swaity

A Little About Me as a Writer and a Teacher

My name is Sharilee Swaity. My background is a certified teacher. I have a Bachelor of Education, with a major in Secondary English Education. My favourite part of teaching High School English was enjoying deep, philosophical discussions about novels with my students.
Although teaching high school was my favourite, I ended up teaching other levels through the years, all the way from Grade Two up to adult education. This last year, I was privileged to be able to take a full year off from and just write. During this year, I managed to finish my first book.

Considering that I was trained in literature, it may seem strange that I ended up writing Christian self-help books but there is a reason behind it. Before writing my book, I was involved in writing several online articles on a site called Hubpages. I found that the articles that seemed to resonate the most were very personal, about relationships and going through difficult times.

This was one of the reasons I chose this genre. This book is very personal but I guess I put my life out there in the interests of helping others. My main goal as a writer it help and encourage people through some of the difficult parts of life. I think it’s because I have been through some pretty tough time in my own life and I want to help others who are hurting, as I was. It is my way of giving back and feel that the LORD helps to give me encouraging words to help those who are hurting.

I also really enjoy researching a topic in-depth and doing interviews. So, my book involved a lot of research into the studies surrounding divorce, bereavement, marriage and stepfamilies. I also interviewed three couples who where in a second marriage and had done well. Their stories are intertwined throughout the book.

My First Book (And Only One So Far)

My book, Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love is for couples whose first marriage ended in either divorce or bereavement.

For most couples, after their marriage ends, they are very reluctant to do so again but in time, they gain the courage to walk down the aisle again.

After they are married, there are several issues that come up that are unique to second marriages. For example, they must be willing to leave the past behind in order to embrace their new life. This is not always an easy or automatic process. My book helps people work through this process.


As well, many in second marriages and stepfamilies feel marginalized, like they are the only ones that have gone through this experience. Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love is designed to help people realize that they are far from alone in this situation, and to encourage people to reach out and find support.

I am a Christian but I did not write this book just for Christians. It is meant to be an outreach for anyone in this situation. I endeavoured to show the Christian principles of love, forgiveness and grace that can help people heal in their marriages. I have references to the Bible in my book, including a chapter on how Jesus forgave those who had hurt him so badly.

Second Marriage and the Believer

As Christians, remarriage can be especially difficult because we appreciate the importance of marriage. We want to have the ideal of “happily ever after.” God uses second marriages, though, as an opportunity to minister. If we are a stepmom, we have an opportunity to minister to our stepchildren through caring for them and praying for them. We are often entering into a broken situation and God can use us to bring healing to those in our new family.

Future Works to Come

Right now, I am working on a workbook to go with the Second Marriage book, which should be out by the end of the month. There is also an audiobook scheduled for the end of September. As well, I am putting together an accompanying journal for those in second marriages. The journal will give readers more room to reflect on the issues talked about in the book. My goal is to have this journal out by the end of October.

About the Author

Sharilee Swaity, author

Sharilee Swaity lives with her husband, Vern, in the boreal forest of Manitoba, Canada, with two cats. Sharilee has a Bachelor of Education and worked as a teacher for ten years. She helps out her church with their social media presence and recently directed their Vacation Bible School program.

Sharilee, it has been a pleasure to host you and share your book. 

Because you have ‘been there- done that’ your book, and coming workbook will be very valuable to those who find themselves in a similar situation. While it is not an ideal situation by any means, because of the past  hurts,  to ‘blunder’ into another relationship without taking the time to evaluate sets us up for failure. We need to deal with the ‘baggage’ we carry with us. Your book will be an excellent step in doing that… dumping the baggage and moving forward.

Thank you for sharing your book, and your life with us.

You can connect with Sharilee…

On Facebook
Sharilee on Facebook

On Twitter

On Pinterest

On Instagram

And for her blog – Second Chance Love –

I trust that you have found this week’s blog encouraging and will join me in thanking Sharilee for her time,  and commitment to helping mend the ‘broken’ – God bless


Christian Regency romance fiction

Christian Regency romance fiction is the next stop on the journey through Christian Historical Fiction.

Please join me in welcoming the  talented author Carolyn Miller to this week’s blog.

Carolyn has agreed to give us an overview of this genre.

Christian Regency author, Carolyn Miller

The Classic Definition

The classic definition of ‘historical romance’ is not one about fiction set in the past that deals with love, but rather, in Walter Scott’s words, “a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents.” Novels (or films) like Rob Roy, Ivanhoe, even Wolf Hall, may be considered historical romances, even though they may not have a strong emphasis on the romantic relationship between the characters.

Nowadays, most of us associate historical romance with a story set in the past (pre-WWII) that focuses on the developing attraction between two main characters, with an emotionally satisfying, optimistic ending. Historical romance genres span time periods from the Ancient World, Medieval and Elizabethan age, through to Colonial US and Western time periods.

Regency romance is a subgenre of historical romance, being defined as novels set between the years 1811-1820, when the Prince Regent, (later George IV) ruled England in place of his ill father. Although Jane Austen’s novels were published in this time period they were set a few years prior, so there are questions as to whether they truly can be considered Regency fiction.

'Vintage blank' image papyrus

Georgette Heyer, a prolific English writer of the 1920s-1960s, modelled her fiction on Jane Austen’s works, and used a great deal of period details to give a sense of authenticity to her works. This included basing plots around real events, such as the Napoleonic Wars, the precise descriptions of clothing and furniture, the use of Regency-era ‘cant’ (slang, such as “all the crack” to describe something very fashionable, or “bluestocking” to describe an academic female) all to aid her readers’ understanding an unfamiliar time period. Her commitment to research was such that she had whole rooms devoted to research materials – this was pre-internet days – and even saw her purchase a letter written by the Duke of Wellington, just so she could emulate his style of address. Not for nothing is she considered to have invented the Regency romance genre, and spawned so many imitators, Barbara Cartland being one.

Other elements often found in Regency fiction

In addition to period details and the romance genre’s expectations of a HEA (happily ever after), there are a number of other elements often found in Regency fiction:

  • References to the ton (British high society, consisting of the aristocracy and fashionably wealthy)  
  • Portrayals of social activities as carriage rides, morning visits (often paid in the afternoon), dinners, plays, operas, assemblies, balls, considered usual for the social season, which occurred between January and June, when Parliament was in session.
  • Mention of sporting activities engaged in by young gentlemen of the period, such as riding, driving, boxing, fencing, hunting, shooting, etc.
  • Social class differences
  • Marriages of convenience: marriage based on love was unlikely for most women, their main concern to acquire a steady and sufficient income for the woman and her family
  • False engagements, and mistaken identity, deliberate or otherwise
  • Mystery or farce elements in the storyline

Traditional Regency romance, with an emphasis on the primary romance plot, usually have very detailed historical details and try to emulate the language of the period – for their notoriously picky readers. J  Regency historical romance is considered slightly different, and may have more modern characterisations, and a degree of sensuality (ie bodice rippers) not in keeping with Regency values.

Christian Regency Romance Fiction

This really took off in the early 2000s with Lori Wick’s ‘English Garden’ series. More contemporary Christian Regency authors (they’re mostly US) include Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, Kristi Ann Hunter – and yours truly, waving the flag for Australasia! J In addition to the usual Regency elements we also see the depiction of the hero and heroine’s faith, with common themes including forgiveness, commitment and social injustice, and the ‘heat’ of secular novels restricted to a chaste touch of the hand or (gasp!) a kiss.

Regency romance has many avid admirers – some of whom may have been persuaded to read by Jane Austen films and a certain Colin Firth. Reading such novels can be a great way to gain a little more understanding about a time in English history that witnessed such things as the Napoleonic Wars, the advent of industrialisation and subsequent social upheaval, adventure and exploration and excess. Couple that with observing the relationship trials – and the fantasy element of grand houses and handsome, titled heroes – and there can be a lot to enjoy and appreciate about Regency romances.

Carolyn’s books…

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has co-pastored a church for ten years, written songs and headed music ministry, and worked as a high school English and Learning and Support teacher.

A long-time lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives.

Carolyn is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Australasian Christian Writers and Omega Christian Writers and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. Her debut Regency novel ‘The Elusive Miss Ellison’ released in February 2017, and her second ‘The Captivating Lady Charlotte’ released in June from Kregel Publications.

Connect with her at www.carolynmillerauthor.com and subscribe to her newsletter.

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