Pursuing Peace by Robert Jones


If you are looking for advice on how to handle difficult people, you won't find it here. Neither is this a book full of a magic formula in handling conflict with a person who won't reconcile. However, this is an excellent study book for a Bible study group, or even self study in the biblical way to handle conflict. It is all about tending to that plank in your own eye.

I disagree that all conflict is sin. All conflict is not sin, as the author seems to suggest. A Christian can only behave for himself or herself, and God does not hold us responsible for the hard hearts of others. But, the step by steps in this book are excellent to dealing with others offenses toward you, and how to decide on a heart attitude change by keeping God at the center of the conflict regardless of whether the other person wants to reconcile or not.

Jones puts the responsibility right where it belongs upon the Christian who is having conflict. The gist I get is that we are to recognize it truly is not about horizontal relationships, but about our vertical relationship with God. If we are right with Him, then He can trust us to act right with others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple to say, but no so simple to do. I guess that is why we need books like this.

If you are a church librarian and reading this, please purchase this for your library. It is a great handbook for a pastor to give church members who are not doing to others as they would be treated. It would be a good church wide study book as just a reminder of how we should act toward each other so that other will recognize Jesus in us.


A Guide to Resolving Relational Conflict
You have conflict in your life—we all do. You encounter it in your home, your workplace, your school, or even your church. All around us tensions exist and disputes persist.
Offered here is a step-by-step process for pursuing peace in ALL your relationships and a tool you can use to help others. This guide is:
  • BIBLICAL — relies on the absolute authority, sufficiency, and life-giving power of God’s Spirit-breathed Word
  • CHRIST-CENTERED — depends on the forgiving and empowering grace of Jesus
  • PRACTICAL — provides concrete action steps, case examples, discussion questions, and suggested language to handle specific situations
  • PROVEN — offers tried and true methods from a pastor, professor, counselor, and certified Christian conciliator who has led couples, churches, and Christian schools to make peace for nearly thirty years
Packed with wisdom and practical techniques, here is a manageable book on reconciliation that will send you on your way to pursuing peace while helping others to do the same.

Published by Crossway Publishing, Wheaton, IL.


 Robert D. Jones (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as a biblical counseling professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a certified biblical counselor, a Christian conciliator, an adjunct instructor, and a church reconciliation trainer with Peacemaker Ministries. Jones is the author of Uprooting Anger and has written numerous ministry booklets and articles.

A Rabbi Looks At The Last Days by Jonathan Bernis


I was disappointed in this book for I was looking for some deep insights from the Jewish point of view. However, Rabbi Bernis' insights were completely in line with what I have learned from other Messianic Jewish rabbis and in line with my own understanding of Scripture.

It seems the main thrust of the book is pointed at Jews to explain why all the attacks upon them, and to explain that the powerful United States won't be in power when the Tribulation starts. Any one who has studied eschatology knows that. Satan has a twisted notion that somehow he will win this battle, but regardless he is out to destroy God's chosen people. That is the gist.

I do recommend this book for anyone who would like some insight into understanding how Jerusalem actually is the center of the world, and why Jews have been persecuted to death down through eons. I recommend it to those who would like a skimming read on the end times.

This book is not a deep study book, and Bernis doesn't give a lot of scholarly proof, therefore you might have to do some digging to get that, which would be a good study in itself.

It gets 2 stars out of five.


Jonathan Bernis is the president and CEO of Jewish Voice Ministries International and the author of A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days. Bernis, who grew up in a traditional Jewish family, serves on the boards of several organizations that minister in Israel; he holds dual U.S./Israeli citizenship. His weekly television show, Jewish Voice with Jonathan Bernis, is broadcast throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, and other countries in Europe and Asia. Jonathan lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and daughter.


Swept Away by Mary Connealy

I really liked this first in a series. It does have quite a bit of violence in it, but then what good Western doesn't?

Rosie... ah, Ruthy actually, is in the middle of a very hard life with a family that "charitably" took her in after her folks died. The son has designs upon her and doesn't want to wait to be married, and the parents are delighted to have a built in slave. Ruthy does all the chores without complaining except to ask God if this is the kind of life He has planned for her. Then she and the whole wagon train is swept away in a flash flood. She is saved by the handsome Luke. Sparks begin to fly in Texas.

The story gets better from there. Except for some repetitions.

I can see exactly where the other novels will go after this one, too. Not that it is such a bad thing, it is just that anticipation isn't there either.

Connealy is almost genius at developing characters. You can almost believe Ruthy and Luke are your best friends. Story line is really good except she has a habit of repeating storyline elements. She has a way of repeating storyline elements. Did I mention she repeats storyline over and over?

You can forgive her because of her vibrant characters. But, I take exception to being thought so stupid that I must be reminded so often about things and they aren't all that interesting sometimes. I give this novel 3 out of 5 stars because of this fact. 
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Swept Away
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
Mary Connealy


When a cowboy focused on revenge encounters a woman determined to distract him, there's going to be trouble in Texas!

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won't let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can't just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she's going to have to go with him.

But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Swept Away, go HERE.


Advice -- a bit about advice, or reviews from Randy Ingermanson

Organization: Meta Advice
This month, a little advice on how to deal with advice.

Over the years, you're going to hear every possible kind of advice on your writing:

"Your pace is too slow. It puts me to sleep."

"Your pace is too fast. I can't catch my breath."

"Your main character is a wimp. Make him more manly."

Courtesy of David Castillo at

"Your main character is too macho. Rein him in."

"You have too much dialogue and not enough action."

"You have too much action and not enough interior monologue."

"You have too much interior monologue and not enough dialogue."

At a certain point, you're going to throw up your hands and ask whom you can trust. Not all of this advice can be right.

When people critique your work, they always filter it through their own set of likes and dislikes.

Those may or may not be the likes and dislikes of your target reader. If you know for sure that your target reader is going to like the way you've written it, then ignore advice that tells you to change it to something your target reader won't like.

But what if you don't really know whether your target reader would agree with the advice you're getting?

In that case, you are the final authority. It's your book. You get to decide.

If the pace feels right to you, but people are telling you it's too fast, then you don't have to slow it down for them.

If you like your main character, but people tell you he's a wimp, then you don't have to change him.

If you like your dialogue the way it is, but people tell you it's too much, then you don't have to cut back for them.

I'm not saying you should always ignore advice.

I'm saying the opposite.

When you get advice, try it on for size. Think about how it'll change your fiction. Will it make your novel a better or worse experience for your target reader? Will it make YOU like your fiction better?

If the advice will improve your fiction, then run with it.

But if you don't like what the advice will do to your book, walk on by.

It's your book. You get to decide what advice you'll allow to mold it.

Choose the advice that makes you proud of your work. Ignore the advice that doesn't.

It's that simple. It's just not easy.


Craft: Naked Dialogue

"What's naked dialogue?"

"It's dialogue without any action, description, interior monologue, or interior emotion."

"Can you do that?"

"In short stretches."

"Why would you do that? It sounds stupid."

"If the main conflict is in the dialogue, then adding anything else takes the edge off the conflict."

"I don't believe that could work. Give me three examples where you'd use it."

"Courtroom scenes. Interrogations. Um ... can't think of a third example."

"Maybe a Socratic dialogue?"

"Oh, right."

"So you can actually make this work without even one tag to tell me who's talking?"

"If it works, it works."

"What if it doesn't work?"

"Then add in the minimum amount of other stuff necessary to make it work."

"I suppose you'd call that bikini dialogue then?"

"You're stretching the metaphor too far."

"And you somehow imagine this kind of dialogue works?"

"I know it."

"Could you do a whole scene that way?"

"Orson Scott Card did several scenes that way in ENDER'S GAME."

"How did the reader know who was talking?"

"Readers are smart."

"Don't be ridiculous. Don't readers have to see at least one tag so they know the names of the speakers?"

"Not unless they need to know the names."

"But you'd have to limit it to two people, right? You couldn't possibly do this with three people, could you?"

"Hey guys! Whatcha talking about so violent-like over in the corner? Gretchen, are you practicing your interrogation skills on poor Grendel?"

"Get lost, Goober. I'm just trying to get the bare facts."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! I get the message. I'm not wanted, so I'm outta here. Give her heck, Grendel."

"So what was your question again? Something about three people?"

"Never mind, I figured it out."

"Any more questions?"

"Well, naked dialogue sounds difficult. Is it worth it?"

"You have to decide that after it's all written. You can always throw the scene away if you don't like it."

"Have you ever tried it? In your own scene?"

"Just once."


"Just now."

"Oh, man, are you going meta on me? Mixing planes of existential reality again? You are so weird!"

"Admit it, Gretchen, you love me."

"That's it. We're finished and I'm leaving."

"It ain't over till I say it's over."

"You can't keep me here against my--"

"It's over."


This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
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