News Release: Pastor Flees Arrest

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SPEAKING THE TRUTH BECOMES ILLEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES?

A PASTOR ON THE RUN FOR HIS FREEDOM FIGHTS FOR THE RIGHT TO PREACH THE TRUTH.

For immediate release: From the creative pen of David Mathews comes a gritty, action-packed
suspense novel, begging the impossible question: what if freedom of speech is lost in
the United States? Fugitive of Faith (Ambassador International, July 27, 2021, $16.99) upsets
the comfortable stasis that so many American Christians find themselves in and creates a suspenseful universe in which the state tries to dictate what pastors can and cannot preach. Fugitive of Faith proclaims the tale of what happens when truth becomes illegal and Bible-teaching Christians must run for their freedom or risk imprisonment.

About the Book
Pastor Pete Holloway is an ordinary Bible-believing pastor, Iraqi war vet, husband, and father in San Francisco, California. His world is upended when he is called to the local police precinct to answer to charges of disseminating hate speech per the Hate Speech Reparation and Elimination Act recently voted into law by the state of California. Pastor Pete soon realizes that he must make a choice: remain home and be arrested or abandon his family and church and begin the life of a fugitive, searching for freedom. He chooses the latter, and the man of God becomes the man on the run. Fugitive of Faith is far more than a dystopian “what if ” novel. It is an insightful, necessary soul search of the ordinary American Christian. As Holloway searches out legal recourse to help him regain his freedom, he begins to realize the dark layers of his own sins. “Even if we think we can only do a little, we don’t have the option of doing nothing.” Fugitive of Faith reminds its readers how precious freedom is; how rare truth is; and that each human being, no matter how outwardly righteous, hides his own sin deep within his heart. This thrilling novel challenges the preconceptions many hold dear, while taking its readers on a wild foray through California’s legal system. Christians around the world will be challenged and molded by this political thriller set in the infamous state of California.

About the Author


David Mathews was born in the small town of Friend, Nebraska, a community of 1100
people once listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not for having the world’s smallest police
station—a tiny tool shed previously used by highway construction crews. He grew up
in small towns in Kansas and Indiana before settling in Indianapolis after college. David
describes himself as a “big dreamer with an over-active imagination.” Now living in
Ohio, David and his wife, Donna, have six children between them, along with a son-in-
law, daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, and two Boston terriers. He enjoys home
remodeling, woodworking, bicycling, camping, and loves being a grandfather. David also
never grows tired of watching Andy Griffith reruns.
To connect with the author or request a review copy of Fugitive of Faith, please contact
publicity director Susanna Maurer at media@emeraldhouse.com.

 

Fugitive of Faith News Release 

The Father’s Love

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A Letter from the Publisher

The month of June is one of excitement! For many of us, we welcome the coming summer months in anticipation of upcoming vacations, retreats, and some much-needed rest. I believe we are looking forward to summer even more so this year than in previous years after so many dark months. It is during the beginning of our R&R that we have the opportunity to celebrate those in our lives who have stepped up to the plate to fill the role of Father Figure. Whether they be a father by blood or a father by choice, they serve equal importance and give ample love and advice. For those who do not have an earthly father to celebrate this year, let us not forget that we all have a Heavenly Father who will never let us down, who will never leave us nor forsake us, who is always there for us, and who loves us more than any human father ever could.

 

Daniel Burkhart’s Hopes for His Readers

Daniel Burkhart illustrates our Heavenly Father’s love and forgiveness so vividly in his book, Prodigal. He tells the story of his own life and how he turned away from his Christian faith in order to pursue a lifestyle that he thought would be more fulfilling only to discover that without Christ in his life, it was empty.

I believe many of us can either relate to Daniel from our own experiences or from watching someone we love go through this. His story, found within the pages of Prodigal, serves not only as a message of caution, but also as a message of hope and forgiveness. Redemption is for all people. We can always find rest within the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father.

Daniel tells readers that the goal in writing this book…

“Is that the reader can see how easy bad decisions happen, how we justify them with our reasoning, and how even though people may look like they are having a great time, many people have an empty, hollow feeling living deep within them.

I also want readers to take away from this story the love and forgiveness we have in our Heavenly Father. No matter who you are or what your background is, God loves you and wants you to be part of His family. Once we are part of His family, we need to look at our relationship with Christ as a father-to-child relationship. This means we can serve the Lord out of love for Him, not out of a sense of obedience to your Master as a servant.

The change in this dynamic is key for all Christians. I serve my Father because of my love for Him; I serve my boss due to a sense of fear of losing my job. My Father forgives me no matter what I have done; my boss will fire me if I do not do what he says. My Father yearns for a stronger, richer relationship and wants me to be successful, to have peace, and to have joy. My boss desires only for me to serve his purpose, my success in life is not his main concern for me. Obedience is his main concern for me.

God has always and will always be the same, we just need to see Him more clearly. I hope [this book] inspires you to have a deeper relationship with the Lord. No matter what your past is, God can give you a bright future.”

 

The Prodigal Son

“The parable, or story, of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 is one most people hear as a child. The story begins with a rich man who had two sons: the oldest son was faithful to his father and would stay busy working in the fields tending to the crops, while his youngest son was curious of what the world would be like to explore and what adventures he had yet to experience. The father told his sons that when they were older, he would give them their inheritance. His younger son, wanting to experience more of the world, came to his father and asked for his portion immediately instead of waiting. The father loved both of his sons very much and wanted them to be happy, so he gave the younger son his portion as the son had wished.

The younger son began his journey into life recklessly squandering his money on the new friends he had made and the sinful lifestyle he had acquired. He quickly lost all his riches and money and soon he was left with only the clothes he was wearing. All his friends disappeared once his money was gone. In order to live, he began to work for a farmer and took care of the swine. He was famished from hunger, even eating the slop for the pigs. He sat in the mud, miserable form the lifestyle and choices he had made. He thought that it would be better to be a servant in his father’s house than to eat the slop with these beasts. He thought that if he went back to his father and begged for forgiveness, his father would grant him this wish.

The younger son embarked on the long journey back to his family. He smelled of pigs and his clothes were dirty and tattered. The rich man looked out from his fields and saw someone coming toward his house. When the father realized it was his prodigal son, he ran to meet him. The younger son begged his father for forgiveness and asked him if he could be a servant for his father. The son was willing to live in the servants’ quarters and not be considered part of his family anymore. The father, hearing this, replied, “My son who was once lost is now found. He was once dead but is now alive.”

The father had his servants take the younger son and bathe him. They clothed him in the finest apparel and prepared a feast to celebrate the return of the prodigal son.”

 

Forgiveness for the Sons: The Tender Embrace of the Father

Through Daniel’s own journey of rebellion (much like the prodigal son in the Bible), God, his Heavenly Father, showed him what true life, love, and forgiveness really are. In his own words he says…

“In the story of the prodigal son, the most disappointing character in the story was not the prodigal son, but the older brother. The older brother was faithful to his father and worked in the fields. When he saw that his father gave the fatted calf to his younger brother upon arrival after years of rebellion, he was upset and frustrated instead of overwhelmed with joy. The older son did not know how to receive grace freely and became upset when his brother received it so easily. The older son failed to realize that the only qualification for him to receive his inheritance was to simply be a child of the rich man.

I had felt the pain of both sons. I had walked away from the comfort and security of my Father, and when I returned to the Lord, I did not feel worthy of receiving my inheritance which was rightfully mine – His peace. Once I remembered that I was a child of God and part of God’s family, I saw myself differently.

I lost my desire to live in this world without living fully in the will of my Father. I now had freedom to live in peace through Christ. This prodigal son shared the same struggles as both of the brothers in the parable and came back to the tender embrace of his Father. I truly felt that it was well with my soul.”

 

Extending and Accepting Forgiveness: The Father’s Love

It is easy to be swept up in the cares and sinful desires of this world. It is easy to hold onto grudges and never forgive. But this is like us drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The only person that it hurts is us. If we are to live like Christ, then we have to forgive and love in the same way He has forgiven and loved us.

However, before we can ever extend this forgiveness, we have to accept it, just like Daniel did in his own life. We have to accept that we are children of God. Our Heavenly Father will always be waiting to receive us with outstretched arms and no condemnation.

So, on this Father’s Day, whether we have an earthly father or only our Heavenly Father, let us be thankful for them and make sure they know how much we appreciate them in our daily lives. And to every father out there, Happy Father’s Day.

“Whoever hears my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 14:21

“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. For I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my directive.”
Proverbs 4:1–2

To read the previous letter from our publisher, click here!

For the Dads

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Source: iStock

These books are for the dads! We want to wish you a happy, happy Father’s Day! Read below to find a range of books to suit every dad. To those who don’t have an earthly father to celebrate this year, or who have broken relationships with their earthly fathers, our hearts break with you. This Father’s Day let us not forget our Father in Heaven who is the most perfect and the most loving!

 

If I Were a Puzzle by Kenneth Good, Illustrated by Anne-Marie Finn

If I Were a Puzzle by Kenneth Good is the perfect choice for the dads with little ones! Follow along with Sophie and her dad on their puzzling journey as Sophie poses the question, “Daddy, what if you were a puzzle?”

 

Armorbearers: The Revolutionary Choices of Servant-leadership by Gerald Watford

Armorbearers by Gerald Watford is for the dads who are servant-leaders at heart! Former marine Gerald Watford encourages readers to be helpful, supportive, and strengthening to those around them. Armorbearers is the ideal book to encourage the dad with a heart for servant-leadership!

 

 

 

 

Biblical Leadership: Becoming a Different Kind of Leader by Ken Collier and Matt Williams

Biblical Leadership by Ken Collier and Matt Williams is for the dads looking for a sincere approach to biblical leadership. Matt Williams teaches his readers about what they can give back rather than what they can gain from positions of power. Biblical Leadership is a great choice for dads who are daring enough to lead differently!

 

 

 

 

Christian Growth from A to Z: A Practical Discipleship Manual for Both New & Growing Christians by Doug Lowery

Christian Growth from A to Z by Doug Lowery is essential for the dads looking to mature in their faith. Doug Lowery teaches that salvation is only the beginning of one’s journey with Christ and, using the alphabet, Lowery provides a resource to well equip his readers in their faith journey. Grow and mature in the knowledge of Christ with Christian Growth from A to Z!

 

 

 

Walking in the Word: A Family Journey From Genesis to Revelation by Carolyn Wells

Walking in the Word by Carolyn Wells is for the dads who are looking for a devotional their entire family can enjoy! Carolyn Wells provides families with a guide that helps them read through the entire Bible together. Walking in the Word is a must for dads wanting to nourish not only their own faith, but their whole family’s faith as well.

 

 

 

 

You’re the Husband: A Blueprint for Leading in Marriage by Jeremy Howard

You’re the Husband by Jeremy Howard is for the married dad who longs to nourish his marriage! Jeremy Howard provides men with a road map to aid them in their marriage. You’re the Husband is an outstanding choice for dads wanting to learn more about God’s design for marriage!

 

 

 

 

Theology from the Spring: Reflections of the Creator Cast in Nature by Jacob A. Taggart

Theology from the Spring by Jacob A. Taggart is for the dads who love both theology and the outdoors! Jacob A. Taggart uses his love for the outdoors to point his readers back to the One Who created everything. Theology from the Spring encourages a deep admiration for the natural world and its Creator!

 

 

 

 

Called To Series by John Crosby

The Called To Series by John Crosby is for the dads who are workplace leaders, ministry leaders, pastors, or coaches and are looking for their new favorite weekly devotional! The Called To Series guides its readers through every day of the year with the challenge to align their lives and leadership with God’s Word.

 

 

Transformed Thinking: A Defense of the Christian Worldview, King James Version by Dr. Tom Wheeler

Transformed Thinking by Dr. Tom Wheeler is for the dads who are looking for solid and honest ways to defend the Christian worldview! Dr. Tom Wheeler lays out the fundamental beliefs of Christianity in Transformed Thinking and provides sound arguments to support his beliefs. Pick up a copy of Transformed Thinking to get solid answers for your faith!

 

 

 

 

Social Justice Goes to Church: The New Left in Modern American Evangelicalism by Jon Harris

Social Justice Goes to Church by Jon Harris is for the dads looking to understand the world today. Jon Harris digs into history to explore why so many evangelicals have started supporting left-leaning political causes. For the dads curious about the current political climate, this book’s for you!

 

 

 

 

Nuggets of Truth: A Bible Student’s Devotional and A Bible Teacher’s Resource Handbook by Dr. John Mannion

Nuggets of Truth by Dr. John Mannion is for the dads who are eager to learn more about the Bible. Dr. John Mannion shares nuggets of truth with his readers that are meant to teach and inspire their personal studies. Nuggets of Truth will take your devotional time to the next level!

 

 

 

Wish your dad and the father figures in your life Happy Father’s Day by recommending or buying them any of these books! Not sure what to get them? Share this post with them and let them decide!

Happy Father’s Day and happy reading!

Memorial Day Reading List

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Ambassador International Remembers

 

Source: iStock

On Memorial Day, America honors the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Military. Below you will find books written by military spouses and by military members who have faithfully served America.

 

The Warrior’s Bride by Carrie Daws

The Warrior’s Bride is a book written by military wives Kathy Barnett and Carrie Daws. In this book, Barnett and Dawes give biblical strategies for helping other military wives thrive based off their own personal experiences and what God has spoken to their hearts.

 

A New Home for Allie: Carrie Daws, Joanie Bruce, Joanie Bruce: 9781620207994: Amazon.com: Books

A New Home for Allie by Carrie Daws, illustrated by Joanie Bruce

A New Home for Allie is a heart-warming children’s story written by military wife Carrie Daws and illustrated by Joanie Bruce. Allie’s story mimics what it’s like for military family kids to have to move around as Allie has to move from Kenya to Somalia. This is the perfect choice for any military family!

 

Repurposed Faith by Rosie WilliamsRepurposed Faith: Breathing New Life Into Your Quiet Time: Williams, Rosie: 9781620205587: Amazon.com: Books

Repurposed Faith is an inspirational book written by military spouse Rosie Williams. Repurposed Faith is designed to reignite the fire in your heart for Christ and his Word. If you are looking to reignite this fire once again, then this is the book for you!

 

 

 

 

For Christ and Country: A Biography of Brigadier General Gustavus Loomis: Lawson, Kenneth E.: 9781935507475: Amazon.com: BooksFor Christ and Country: A Biography of Brigadier General Gustavus Loomis by Kenneth E. Lawson

For Christ and Country is a biography about General Gustavus Loomis written by army chaplain Kenneth E. Lawson. Lawson writes of General Loomis’ unwavering faith and heart to serve his country. General Loomis was a man who was eager to speak about Jesus to anyone who would listen!

 

 

 

A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel
by Lester L. StephensonA Biblicist View of Law and Gospel: Lester L. Stephenson: 9781620201565: Amazon.com: Books

A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel is written by retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Lester L. Stephenson. Stephenson argues for an in-depth interpretation of the law and stresses the importance of the Old Testament while also arguing for how the testaments work together.

 

 

 

 

Armorbearers: The Revolutionary Choices of Servant-Leadership: Watford, Gerald: 9781620202999: Amazon.com: BooksArmorbearers: The Revolutionary View of Servant Leadership by Gerald Watford

Armorbearers, using scripture as its guide, dives deep into what it means to be a servant leader. Armorbearers author Gerald Watford knows exactly what it means to be a leader; he’s been a Marine, pastor, State Trooper, and teacher. Read as Watford encourages his readers to be servant-hearted leaders!

 

 

 

Miracle Man: A Bullet That Ignited a Purpose-Filled Life
by Brett Parks

Miracle Man is written by Brett Parks about his own real-life miracle. In 2012, Navy airman Brett Parks was shot as he ran to aid to someone being mugged. Read about Parks’ near-death experience and how God showed up during his time of need.

 

 

Persuaded: The Story of Nicodemus, A Novel - Kindle edition by Harder, David. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.Final Grains of Sand - Kindle edition by Harder, David. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Persuaded and Final Grains of Sand by David Harder

Persuaded and Final Grains of Sand are both written by David Harder who served in the United States. Navy. Persuaded is a biblical fiction novel following the life of Nicodemus and his encounters with Yeshua. Read along as Nicodemus realizes the joy and power in the Good News!

Final Grains of Sand is a fiction book about how a man named Jim leaves behind his legacy after getting a cancer diagnosis at 60 years old. This novel will help you realize the value of your life and how much your words and actions can touch the hearts of others.

 

Evocatus by Burke SpeedEvocatus: A Novel: Speed, Burke: 9781620207307: Amazon.com: Books

Evocatus is a fiction book written by Burke Speed, a retired Colonel and command pilot who served in the United States Air Force. Speed writes about the story of Jamie, a young veteran who is called again to a new type of duty and faced with the call to fight again.

 

Every day and especially on Memorial Day, we are so grateful for all those who have served America so well!

From the Publisher’s Desk: A Month to Remember

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Honoring the Past, Present, and Future

A Letter from the Publisher

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May is a month of celebration. We take a day to celebrate women of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life as we show the love our Mothers deserve. We then transition to the end of the month to remember and honor all military personnel who have died while performing their military duties in the United States Armed Forces on Memorial Day. Then, as May ends and we head into June, many students are completing their studies for the year and moving into the summer break. I feel that each of these celebrations deserves to be not only mentioned but also highlighted with a work of literature. And so, this month I have decided to choose various titles for each celebration.

 

Mothers work so hard each and every day supporting, caring for, and raising their children to the best of their ability. One mother, in particular, has gone above the call of duty and has risen above many hardships and obstacles that have sought to bring her down. Author Vanna Nguyen has recently published her novel, The Life She Once Knew, which chronicles the deeply spiritual and emotionally powerful journey of her own escape from Vietnam and her daughters fight for survival after a brutal attack outside of a library which led to a traumatic brain injury.

Vanna shares her story about being a mother to her girls and how her journey of motherhood changed so drastically. She went from being the average, American, working mom to becoming (as she says in her own words), the “fierce defender of my daughter’s quality of life. After she was brutally attacked one night, Queena suffered a severe traumatic brain injury causing her to need continual care. Decades earlier, I had survived my own trauma, escaping to America to raise my family. I worked hard to make a home for my girls that was safe and secure. Before the attack, the daily routine of our family life felt normal – rhythmic. I focused my time and energy on my business in order to support my two girls. As a single mother, my desire was to set my two daughters on a healthy path in life and protect them from danger. I encouraged them to be responsible, independent girls. As they grew, I felt as though my hopes and expectations for them – which I’d focused on since their births – were coming to fruition. My daughters had become young adults. Ordinary life felt fabulous.”

This is the ultimate desire for most mothers, to protect their children and see them grow up into young, independent, and strong adults. For Vanna, this wonderful course of life for her and both of her daughters changed forever the night Queena was attacked. This was a devastating night that created many obstacles Vanna and her family had to overcome. For any mothers or families striving to make it through hardship, Vanna offers the following advice from one mother to another, “Through the past decade, my family has learned many lessons. One of which is to focus on making the best of each day rather than allowing fear to guide our thoughts about the present or the future. With God so close to us in our heartache, we learned that the impossible is truly possible. To other people who may be traveling with me on a similar path, I humbly offer the following words of wisdom: To parents: I can’t help but think that if Queena’s attacker had experienced understanding and love in his own life, this tragedy could have been avoided. Listen to your children, not just with your ears but with your hearts. Tell them they are loved and wanted and that there is a special place for them. If your child has a friend who is not receiving this at home, show them the same love. Show love to everyone, even the ones who are difficult to love. We must all reach for the fruit that hangs on our collective tree of victory.”

What an encouragement for mothers to continue on in their work of loving and caring for their children. Even if you are not a mother, you can learn from Vanna’s words and be a mother figure by showing love to someone in your life who may be struggling.

 

As we celebrate our mothers this month, offering encouragement, we also celebrate and honor those who have served our country giving the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure we continue to have our freedom. In Nuggets of Truth by Dr. John Mannion, we see that we can have peace each day as we spend time studying God’s Word. Although we may experience pain, suffering, and the sorrow that accompanies the loss of loved ones, we do not have to mourn as those with no hope.

In Nuggets of Truth, Dr. Mannion explores the Bible on a deeper level in a day-to-day format. This work examines scriptures and how we can apply them in our daily lives. On Memorial Day it is important for us to look back and appreciate the sacrifice so many gave in the service of our nation and give honor as one nation… to be at peace. Our religious freedom is one of the greatest freedoms we can appreciate as we celebrate the lives of those who have died. “The people of God are described metaphorically as ‘God’s household’ (Eph. 2:19). It is ‘household’ (singular) and not ‘households’ (plural). Division can only exist amid plurality. You cannot divide ‘one.’ There must be at least two tribes for ‘tribalism’ (division, discrimination, and prejudice) to exist. One tribe cannot discriminate against itself!

 

In Ephesians 2:14, Paul writes about making ‘both groups one’ by breaking ‘down the barrier of the dividing wall.’ In the early church, they needed to realize that Christ came to break down the wall between them. We, too, must allow Christ to break down any walls that divide us. Those walls might include denominational walls, racial walls, ethnic walls, and social class walls. These walls, and any other ‘tribal barriers’ that stand as walls, must be broken.” Dr. Mannion is addressing Christians in this passage; however, I believe we can apply this in our everyday life as a nation as well. As we move into Memorial Day, we should strive to remember that just as the church is to be united as one so we should also seek to be united as a nation being thankful and honoring the sacrifice given for our freedoms.

 

After giving so much love, support, encouragement, honor, etc. many students look forward to the opportunity to take some time off from studying, take some time for themselves to unwind, and move into their summer break. A good book can be the best escape from everyday life and can offer the ultimate adventure. D. K. Doulos offers a thrilling ride in his latest novel, WoE is Us. It follows the story of Lyrian Wallace. She “was only ten years old when the Malevolence struck on October 10, 2056. She thought the next decade had numbed her to the grief, the death, the bots, and the daily struggle for survival. She lost her parents when they became Sleepers, but like everyone else, she had pieced together a new family. Lyrian was almost content when the Alliance began taking them… The world always took things away from her. She could only live for today and never dared to hope for any heaven. But when her circumstances change, Lyrian must choose how she might live for both this life and the next.”  WoE is Us offers an exciting look at what could be with many adventures.

 

However, if Science Fiction is not your cup of tea, Jasmine Fischer paints an entirely different picture in her novel, The Sword in His Hand. Jasmine decided, while writing her literary work, that she wanted it to be written as “a testimony of [her] own faith journey and would be written with the primary purpose of glorifying God.” The Sword in His Hand is “the result of that firm conviction.” Her hope is that “you can see this humble story as part of a much greater one: a Story which has been and is being lovingly and skillfully authored since well before we were breathed into existence, and by an Author with far finer penmanship than mine.” Her story follows the lives of Torsten and El: two individuals from vastly different worlds. Yet, they may have more in common than they think.

“For hundreds of years, strange things have been washing up on the shores of Darcentaria. But when a young foreign woman named El is found unconscious on the beach amidst the burning wreckage of a strange metal craft, the villagers of Odessa are immediately suspicious—is she an agent of the Dalriadan Empire, their cruel oppressors for as long as they can remember? Or does she come from the Outside, the vast and legendary lands beyond their borders from which no man or woman alive has ever returned?

Torsten Eiselher, a talented young swordsman, has spent the last nine years of his life wrongfully imprisoned by his uncle, the Empire’s ruler. Betrayed and deceived at every turn, Torsten has survived by keeping a firm grip on his sword—and by staying well away from anything to do with the Outside. But when his young sister is murdered, Torsten finds himself irrevocably drawn to El despite her Outsider heritage—and he begins to question everything he has been told about her world.

Intrigued by the existence of a powerful and dangerously advanced world within his reach, the Empire’s ruler, Jurien Arminius, launches a hunt for El and the two Outsiders that arrived with her—the ones who could help him win his war against Torsten and the rebellion that threatens to topple his Empire.

Suddenly, Torsten is forced to choose between defeating his long-term enemy or saving the woman he has come to love . . .”

 

Whether you are looking for an escape into a different world or encouragement from day to day, these works of literature have a unique way of changing our perspective of our current circumstances and helping us look outside of ourselves. As we continue to celebrate our mothers, as we honor the memory of those who have given their lives by living united, and as we look towards the upcoming summer with excitement and determination, let us strive to remember that the piece of truth which unites these titles is the message of love. Let us strive to live a life of love for others.

 

“Jesus replied: `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 22:37-39 

 

 

Treasures in Heaven: Earth is Not Home

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A devotional by JJ Gutierrez

{Source}

 

The cabinet.

I sat quietly and stared at the glass cabinet that set on the back wall of my dining room. This cabinet housed a special treasure of mine. A treasured I inherited nearly thirteen years ago from my grandmother. A treasure that beheld heartfelt memories and I was sure the safest place for it was on the shelf, behind the glass where no one could accidentally break it. This treasure, much like a chest filled with gold, diamonds, and colorful gems, came in many vibrant hues too. Some with beautifully painted elaborate flowers; others with a simple but elegant design. My favorite one was part of a set…six small teacups and one teapot. On the front of each cup was a swan peacefully resting in the water. Grandma used to fill my little cup with tea, ice water, or on occasion, she would surprise me with soda pop. Many days were spent at her oak kitchen table giggling, chatting, and maybe even shedding a tear or two while we sipped from her antique collection of teacups.

The memories.
As I pondered those precious memories I continued starring at the cabinet. I thought about the tea party I was hosting. It was a celebration with my mother-daughter tween bible study group and I wanted the afternoon to be extra special. Building a strong mother-daughter bond is especially important to me because I have three daughters of my own and I didn’t have a deep connection with my mother. My heart’s desire is that every little girl would know and feel the love and support of her mom–that she is important and worth spending time with–that she is a gift from God and a blessing. Sharing my treasured teacups with them would mean all those things and more.

The loss.
However, since grandma went to heaven these cups have never left their home in the glass cabinet. Occasionally I take them out to clean off the dust and I’ve packed them up a few times during a move to a new house, but mostly they just sit lifelessly. No new memories of laughter, conversation, or tears. The thought of pulling my treasure out of the cabinet felt scary, but the more I stared at them the more they begged to be used. I wondered how I would feel if one slipped off the table to its fatal ending. Would I mourn the loss of grandma again or would I shed tears of something I could never get back? It was going to take courage to put this precious possession on the table for the mother-daughter tea party.

The realization.
The day came for the gathering. I decorated the table with a burlap table cloth, floral place settings, and all the necessities for a tea party — plates, spoons, tea bags, and of course, sweet treats. I glanced one again at the cabinet where my treasures rested and considered what my grandmother would want me to do. Would she want them kept safe in the cabinet or would she want me to share the teacups with these precious girls and their moms? The answer to that question was easy and without hesitation, I picked them up one by one, washed them off, and set them carefully at each place setting.

The table
The table was perfect, and when the girls and their moms arrived we sat around the table sipping tea, laughing, sharing, and connecting. As I surveyed the room it was then I realized I had mistaken what the treasure was all these years. My grandmother’s teacups weren’t the gold coins in the treasure chest. The treasure was the person holding the teacup, the conversation that was taking place, and the gift of time that was being given to each other as we slowly sipped tea. I was taken back by emotion and it reminded me `of the Bible verse: “Don’t store up your treasure here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your heart is,
there your treasure will be.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NLT.)

The timeline
I’d wasted over thirteen years trying to keep my teacups safe because I thought they were the treasure. But the true treasure is not found in earthly, perishable things; my grandmother’s teacups will not stand the test of time nor pass from this life into eternity. My heart was misplaced and I was focused on the physical cups. I was missing out on the true treasure my grandmother had given me: her time. That day I learned those brewing flavorful tea leaves, adding sugar and honey, stirring, and sipping with my bible study group was a method to facilitating the ever-lasting treasure of building relationships. There is no measurement great enough to adequately size up the value of strengthening the mother-daughter bond. Each sweet little girl and her mom — they are the eternal treasures who are loved dearly by God Himself, and I am filled with joy that my grandmother’s teacups could participate in such a life-giving day. Letting go and having the courage to share my grandmother’s antique teacup collection revealed that the treasure my grandmother left me was so much more than pretty cups in a cabinet! The legacy she left me was that of sharing, caring, and loving — treasures that can never be stolen away, broken, or destroyed.

What treasure have you kept tucked away because you’re afraid to use it? Will you have the courage to pull it out today? There might be a greater, eternal treasure awaiting you…will you have the courage to find out?

 

Many Blessings,


JJ Gutierrez
Author, Speaker & Ministry Leader
Chickening IN-from FEAR to Courageous FAITH
www.jjgutierrezauthor.com
IG and FB @jjgutierrezauthor

2021 Indie Book Awards WINNER – Judy DuCharme

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We have a winner!
While it is a high honor, it is not a surprising one to those of us at Ambassador International.
Check out Judy DuCharme’s books on Amazon, Christianbook.com, Barnes & Noble, or your local library!
Celebrate!
In honor of this award, each one of Judy’s books is on sale for $4.99 or less in the Kindle Store!
To learn more about this talented author, mother, grandmother, and Door County native, watch this fun author interview with Judy and Ambassador International’s own Susanna Maurer, as they discuss motherhood, writing, and finding your creative passion.
Success and parenthood.
Judy’s success is a reminder to parents everywhere to never give up their hopes, dreams, and passions, even if they must put them aside for a season. While Judy attributes her success to God and a supportive family, her creativity and dedication to letting a story germinate have allowed her to become the award-winning author she is today.
Read more about this incredible, award-winning author on her website, and discover which one of her books is right for you!

Heaven’s Music: A Mother’s Musings

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Heaven’s Music

by Judy DuCharme

 

My second child, a boy, had just been born. He would be Christopher Lee and we couldn’t be happier. I was still a little groggy from the C-section as my husband, our pediatrician, and my surgeon all came in to see me. As they took my hand, I got nervous.  Christopher had been born with Down Syndrome. As tears and shock took over, I asked, “Can he go home with us?”

Yes, he would go home with us, but the concerns of having a special needs child were new territory. How did this happen? Why? What would the future hold? The glorious joy of a new child slipped away to be covered with apprehension. Friends and family came to see us.  It was all a blur. People from church came to pray for Christopher – I loved that. I loved my son, my baby.

The second morning in the hospital I awoke with the awareness that a song was coursing through my being. The song woke me up . . . in more ways than one. I heard in full melody, “Awake my soul and sing of Him who died for me . . .”  (from the hymn ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns’) It was loud within me. I knew in that moment that fear could not be my controller. I had to put my trust in God for Christopher and for me. I had to praise Him for what He would do in my son.

Chris is now 40. He works part-time but is a full-time participant in life. He’s healthy, a good worker, a fair communicator, an excellent swimmer, has a good sense of humor, and is a consummate Green Bay Packer fan. Most of all though, he is a praiser. In all his ways, he acknowledges God and has a song of praise to go with every situation. He owns more worship CDs than most people and knows the song and the artist.

And still, I remember when times are great and when times are a challenge to awake my soul and sing of Him who died for me. And I am thankful for that constant reminder.

The Woman Behind the Words

Discover more about Judy and her award-winning books here. A Door County native, Judy divides her time between Door County and sunny Florida. When she isn’t crafting tales in her head, she is spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Judy’s author interview can be found on Ambassador International’s YouTube page. 

 

A Mother’s Day Book Gift-Guide

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This May, in honor of Mother’s Day and the great moms in the world, Ambassador International would like to highlight books written for mothers with its Mother’s Day Gift Guide! The perfect Mother’s Day gift for a mom in your life, and a gift that keeps on giving. 

The High Calling of Motherhood (Book and study guide): written for the mom who seeks so much more.

Why Did You Choose Me: a book for the adoptive or foster mom to share with the children of her heart.

Time Out for Tired Moms: a book for the exhausted mom, in need of her own time out and rejuvenation.

The Inconceivable Truth: a book for the woman struggling with the heartbreak of infertility.

The Life She Once Knew: a book for the mother struggling against impossible odds and searching for faith.

52 Conversations to Have With Your Teen: a book for the mother looking to reconnect and grow in her relationship with her teenage children.

Chickening In: a book for the mother searching for a guide to quenching anxiety, fear, and hopelessness, and turning her gaze towards God.

Chronic Love: for the mother struggling to parent and love her children in the midst of chronic illness.

Enough of Me: a study for mothers looking to win in the tug of war between an Instagram-perfect life and the truth of the Bible.

The past year, the world has relied heavily on the capabilities of mothers everywhere, as many women balanced it all, all while striving to still grow in their faith and relationships. This year, give Mom the gift of a good book, a cup of coffee, and a quiet space to enjoy it.

Happy Mother’s Day from Ambassador International.