Trials are par for the course

Trials come in relationships

Par for the course… why? If we are trying to live by faith why do we have trials?  

On this subject, I came across a video clip on the site of someone who followed my older blog. It was an interesting song. ‘Before the morning’ (I will link to the clip at the end.)

It begins with questions about why ‘you’ are suffering if there is a loving God Who cares. Questions like this are quite common.

rose garden

Remember the old song “I never promised you a rose garden’? Well God does not promise us a life without pain and trials if we accept the sacrifice His Son made for us.

Trials never end – while we are alive.

As it was in the beginning of our faith…

  • In Hold the Faith, book one of the Apostle John series, Benjamin faced a faith-testing trial. Ours trials are different to those of the fictional characters, but some of ours are ‘faith-testing’ too.
  • In The Light of Truth, book three, I wrote about the trials of a background character who has moved to the foreground. Then someone who left in book two, Grow in Grace, made a re-entry in this third book.
    Here things are moving toward another arrest of the Apostle John.
  • In book four, Keep the Flame, one of my favorite characters dies.
  • Book 5, Hell Shall Not Prevail, completes the series, and it was not the end of trials.

The books are fiction but the trials and challenges are similar to those we face.

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

So why am I talking about these books? Why mention the song? Because, although my book series is fiction, my primary resource book has been the Bible, and in writing this series I have learnt a great deal about why things happen.

Take for example Jesus’ words...

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Many people are told that because Jesus said “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’, that He has done it all for us. Not so.

Trials did not stop with Jesus’ resurrection

Look at the lives of those first disciples… only John survived into old age. The others, according to legend, were all martyred. Also, according to legend, John was put in boiling oil. That does not sound like ‘Jesus did it all’ to me.

And what about these scriptures...

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
James 1:2

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
1Peter 1:6

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

These writers, who were Apostles, make it clear that we will have trials, and as we plod through them, our faith and trust in our Saviour grows.

Have you read this one?

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1: 3, 4

The trust in His Father that Jesus had to exercise must have been enormous, and another scripture says that He learned obedience through the things He suffered. (Heb 5: 8)

Jesus was schemed against all throughout His ministry. He must have been one of the loneliest, most lied about, most misunderstood person who ever lived. Not to mention the most cruelly punished. He was scourged, mocked and crucified.

plotting against Jesus

Our trials

never leave you quote

Although what Jesus and the early Christians went through makes what we go through seem ‘mild’ by comparison, our trials are horrendous to us.

Sometimes all we can do is ask God for help…

and try to recognise the help when it is given.

You might enjoy this song if you are going through a painful trial…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=New8i_eX3x8

Just thinking again,

Susan

Giving thanks

Please welcome my friend John Reiss to the blog this week. 

I will let John explain why he is writing the blog this week.

Well, this is my first blog post in almost 10 years.  Our friend Susan is busy packing for her trip home, and has asked me if I’d like to make a guest appearance.   In light of the time of year, my wife suggested that I write about things to be thankful for.

To begin the list of things to be thankful for…

It’s been great to share our friend’s company as she visited the States.  Susan’s wit and intelligence really encourages us to use our minds for more than just a place to put our hats.  It is a joy to share our thoughts and feelings with someone who, despite our different upbringings, holds many similar views. 

Because my wife does the editing for Susan’s books they share a special bond of friendship that few others can and do.

Thankful for Thanksgiving

This past Thursday we went to my sister’s house for a Thanksgiving dinner.  My younger brother had to work, but my Mom, sisters, and my older sister’s family was there.  All-in-all we had almost 20 people in attendance.  My sister prepared the turkey and we all brought some sort of side-dish. 

The food was delicious and the atmosphere was warm and jovial.  It was a great family get-together and it was great to be able to share this special time of year with our Australian friend.

The youngest family member in attendance drew the picture below.

Hand painting of a turkey

More to be thankful for...

This weekend we traveled to Michigan, where we were visiting a friend from church. 
We loaded up the car and headed off.  It is amazing that in only two hours you can travel to a different world!  We spent the weekend with some great friends whom we hadn’t seen in some time.
We stayed in a hotel, and…

  • Our beds were very comfortable,
  • The room-darkening curtains did an A+ job at keeping the light out! 
  • Seeing the stars at night and the wide-open space
  • The lack of traffic and congestion helped to make it a serene area – and a wonderful respite from Chicago

However, in spite of the city’s problems, I am truthfully very thankful that we live here in the “Windy City.

For most of my life I have lived here on the city’s northwest corner (my favorite), and I am happy that I can have my immediate needs met with a 2-3 block walk to the local CVS or perhaps a hop in the car for a little further drive to the Jewel.

I am happy to have some terrific neighbors and getting to work is only a 15-20 minute drive. 

As Unit Secretary, I work with some wonderful people  in the Labor and Delivery department in a local hospital, and although it was great to be able to have the weekend off, I am looking forward to getting back to work and doing my small part in making the world a better place.

These are a few of the things that I am thankful for, and of course, I am thankful for the opportunity to express my gratitude. 

As I was writing this blog I ran across an online post from Forbes that lists several benefits for being grateful.  The article lists a number of them:

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round

(Please ignore the ad that appears before the article. ‘Continue to Article’ is in the upper right-hand side.)

I hope that when you consider your blessings you’ll have more things to be thankful for than you have fingers and toes!

Thankful and blessed, 
John Reiss

Susan has recently uploaded the fifth and final book in the Apostle John Series – Hell Shall Not Prevail. 
It is available for pre-order from this link…
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/hell-shall-not-prevail/
Scroll down the page to the postage-stamp sized image, and click on it.

Readers’ Favorite Award Ceremony, 2017

The Readers’ Favorite Award Ceremony began, on time, at 7 pm, Saturday 18th of November. The ‘featured image’ shows the stage before the start. Basically, it looks the same as last year… the difference being it says 2017 on this year’s banner whereas (to state the obvious) last year’s banner said 2016

Some of us met on Friday morning at the Readers’ Favorite Booth at the Miami Book Fair.

Readers' Favorite Award Ceremony

It is an awesome feeling to be in a room brimming with talent. There is a buzz in the air as authors, their guest/partner, the Press and the VIPs mingle before the start. It is a time when authors who have been here previously, greet other repeat award-winners.

It is also a time to meet and talk with first-time winners.

Did you see that hilarious Facebook Live Interview by Jo Dibblee?

I met her last year, bought her book – and reviewed it – also in the backseat is Brenda Hammon, first time award winner.

https://www.facebook.com/100001230672256/videos/1645226162195057/

We all have stories...

Not only the ones we write about. There are struggles, there are disappointments and hurts. Conversely there are also joys.

Authors encourage each other, some of us write to each other.

All of us, have a ‘hall of fame’

…People who have helped and encouraged us on the way. Writing a book is a huge investment in time and resources and although the writing part is solitary, it is not done in isolation.

I have a hall of fame – support of many people. Most know who they are… don’t you.

However, with the physical production of the books in the Apostle John Series, there are some team helpers.

There are many others who have encouraged me, supported me and kept in touch with me when I have felt isolated. Although unnamed here, I thank God for each and every one of you.

Readers...

Then there are the folks, most of whom I will never meet… readers! Without you where would any author be?

Whether you read on an electronic device, or prefer to hold a printed book – thank you!

And a special mention to those readers who leave reviews so that other readers know what you think of the book.

So, the Readers’ Favorite Award Ceremony is over for 2017. I attended because of all of you, and your support.

Take a bow – you are special.

Where you will find my books…

Hold the Faith – Readers’ Favorite Award winner. 2016
1st in series. Free in eBook format.
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/series-overview/hold-the-faith/

Scroll down, click Buy on Amazon – and you will find it is free!

Grow in Grace – 2nd in series, not entered for award.
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/series-overview/grow-in-grace/

The Light of Truth – 3rd in series. Award from IAN
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/series-overview/the-light-of-truth/

Keep the Flame – Readers’ Favorite Award winner 2017. 
4th in series
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/series-overview/keep-the-flame/

Hell Shall Not Prevail – 5th and final in series. eBook due for release in December 2017. Print version, next year. Available for pre-order as an eBook.
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/hell-shall-not-prevail/

To save you searching through Amazon’s database all books in the series are linked directly to their page on Amazon.
Preview the book, or buy the book by scrolling down and clicking the appropriate link.

 

 

The official photographs will be available in a couple of weeks. Till then, here is a peep at one of me with Mark, a judge and James, president.

You could be a winner next year...

Click the image above, and start your journey to a Readers’ Favorite Award!

Till next time, take care

Susan

Hell Shall Not Prevail is finished… but

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

As often happens a minor waking in the night, becomes the end of sleeping.

Why?

Because my brain wakes up and clicks into gear.

Hell Shall Not Prevail is finished - but...

at four am it occurred to me there were more stories waiting to be told.

Although Hell Shall Not Prevail is finished, not edited yet, but finished… I could think of three ‘novella’ type stories rising out of this last book in the Apostle John Series.

Therefore, rather than start the new series (on a different subject) just yet, I am thinking of picking up the stories of three of the characters and giving them a life beyond the final book in the Apostle John series.

Although I did not like ALL of the characters… 

  • Each served a purpose
  • Each was necessary
  • I ‘lived in the skin’ of each of them for a while.

 

Hell Shall Not Prevail cover option 1

I know the possibilities of their lives after Hell Shall Not Prevail. 

However, their lives went in different directions and it was not possible to continue this in Hell Shall Not Prevail.

 

Look out for more in the Apostle John series

So, look out for news on these novellas…

  1. Esther’s story – which involves some of the other characters but focuses on her future.
  2. Giannis’ story. Is there hope for him? Will there be a new love?
  3. Naomi. (Cannot say where this goes without it being a ‘spoiler’ for events in Hell Shall Not Prevail.)

All these characters have had a role in the series since book 1 Hold the Faith… but deserve a life after

Must not say anymore for the present.

 

Btw – Did you know the eBook version of Hold the Faith is free on Amazon? 

Use the link on the book page. Scroll down and click the ‘Buy on Amazon link
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/series-overview/hold-the-faith/

Just sharing ….

Susan

P.S

If you want to be first to know about these new novellas, sign up for the VIP Reader’s group

Hell Shall Not Prevail – the end

Apostle John Series book covers with Hell Shall Not Prevail
Hell Shall Not Prevail cover option 1

As members of my VIP Readers group know… one evening last week I wrote, ‘THE END.’ Hell Shall Not Prevail, book 5 in the Apostle John Series is finished.  

Yes, there have been many hiccoughs and delays with this final book in the series. It was supposed to be released sooner than this. However, I needed to do the other books justice. It is a ‘capstone’ on the series.

Now, I have finished going through it, line by line, so that it is the least amount of work for an editor.

Typing ‘THE END’ was a strange, but satisfying feeling.
(I never did find the missing Epilogue, but I believe the one it has now is probably better.)

Each of the other books in the series has finished with… ‘To be continued in…” (Whatever the next book was called.)

This one finished the series!

Sometimes it was ‘odd’ living between two time periods – but it was incredible what I discovered as I researched all I could about their time and culture… so that I could walk in their shoes!

I would not be telling the truth if I said I LIKED every character, but I did come to know them. I had to in order to ‘live in their skins.’

It has hard to describe the feeling when I looked at those words ‘THE END’ on the page.  After five books!

There was a tinge of sadness that my late husband is not here to share the pleasure. I know he would have been delighted – he lived with the first few books.

Other feelings? Mainly there was excitement, joy, satisfaction, all competing for supremacy.… and I found myself wondering if God feels the same way when ‘one of His saints’ reaches the end of life.

Perhaps.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116: 15

It gave me an inkling of what He might feel.

But why?

Why is it ‘precious in His sight’ when his saints die?

And why does he take no pleasure in the death of the wicked?

“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
Ezek 33:11

Perhaps it is because the race is run, and for the ‘saints’ THE END can be ‘stamped’ on a life lived well.

The death of a sinner is a different story.

Just thinking, and delighted that the Apostle John Series has ‘lived well.’

Thank you to all who have supported me through this journey through the lives of the people of the late 1st century AD.

P.S. To those who have asked, yes, another series is coming… a different one. But first, a rest, friends, family – oh, and a book award for Keep the Flame.

Thank you, readers, for your support. Stay tuned.

Tread softly

Susan

If you want to be first to know about what’s happening with my writing, or have the opportunity to review the new books free, Sign up for the VIP Readers’ group.

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