Sunday, December 23, 2012

Emmanuel is Here!

"The Lord is come." This is a strange verb to use, but it means Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is here and will always be with us on earth through his Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior. God came in the form of a man to be crucified, but now He resides as the Holy Spirit in each veritable Christian.

How wonderful to know we, as Christ-followers, each carry a small but epically important light for a dark and dreadful world. The horror of the recent point blank murders of 20 small school children and 8 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, are severe evidence of Satan's dominion over the earth. Satan is fighting his last battles to discourage and dishearten as many Christians as he can. 

But the day is coming when "the trump shall resound", and the Lord will return in all His Glory. Holy terror will fill the hearts of those who never claimed Jesus as Lord. But holy awe and joy will fill the hearts and souls of Christians, those who have waited and prayed, "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Today in church, the pastor said you do not have to hate God in order to be judged and damned to eternal hell--it only takes apathy about Jesus. You simply turn your eyes away from God, disregard all of the Bible's pleas to surrender your life to Christ and you qualify. You can even be profoundly charitable or astoundingly gifted and still go to the depths of hell. "What is man that God should be mindful of him?"

The distillation of faith sequesters this decisive question: Who is Jesus to you, personally?

I believe Jesus Christ, the Son of God, saved me from damnation by taking my sins upon the cross and was the perfect and holy sacrifice, once and for all. No more, no less. If someone in your life can't make this claim today, tell him/her who Jesus is to you. Answer the question of quintessential importance before this person. Tell your story with every spiritual heartbeat within you.

Blessings and Agape this Christmas
Dr. Linda B. Greer

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Deliverer by Kathi Macias

Kathi has a "coup de grace" with her third book, The Deliverer, in the series on the tragedies and means for redemption for victims of modern day sexual slavery. It's great to have Kathi on my blog once again to interview her on this recent book.

This last book in Kathi's series was a great read. I think I finished The Deliverer in about three days. That's unusual for me, but I had to know the ending! As usual, Kathi paints and repaints the characters in their own voices chapter after chapter. Even if you hadn't read the first two books of the series, you could quickly catch on to the background and status of each character.
I liked the time frame of this book as it takes place over much of our holiday season to celebrate Thanksgiving and the birth and delivery of Jesus by Mary. I especially liked the plot in this book because it was more of an internal and spiritual journey for our protagonist, Mara. Her transformation into a believer was a slow and gradual process of surrendering mental territory to God's will and ways. This was so similar to my own new birth in Christ, a long and sometimes painful "delivery".

Kathi, a special and repeat guest on my Spiritual Heartbeats blog, is here to discuss her recent book, The Deliverer. So let's get on with the Q and A's, alright?
1.      How similar was the pace of Mara's conversion to your own experience? Tell us how you came to know Jesus as your Deliverer and Savior.

  • I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but I had sporadic exposure to Christianity via attending with friends now and then when I was little. I even thought I wanted to be a nun at one time (I suppose I was always searching), so I convinced my parents to let me live in a convent for a few months as a teenager. I didn’t last long and was quickly convinced that was not my calling! I was actually 26 and struggling with my personal life/relationships when I somehow (not sure it was a “vision” as such) saw Jesus, walking toward me, carrying His cross. He was bleeding and bent over, stumbling as He walked. I was standing in a crowd, watching him. As He drew closer, I began to weep at the pain and sorrow so evident on His face. Then He was right in front of me. He looked past everyone else and spoke five words that changed my life forever: “I did it for you.” I’d heard that Jesus “died for the sins of the world,” but now it was personal—and radical. I did a 180 and never looked back.

2. In this book, Mara has to go way back to her childhood to fully forgive what happened when she was eight years old. In this scene, there seems to be no protection for her mother from a very abusive husband, Mara's father. Is this normal for the law to turn a blind eye in Mexico to spousal abuse?
  • To some degree, yes, particularly when they live far from the city and try to keep their family secrets” private. It’s very sad, but unfortunately common. 
3. In a subplot, we see some difficulties in adopting and acclimating an older child from a totally different culture. Where did you get the insight for describing this in your novel? How many years does it usually take for a person like this to feel comfortable in a new home and our American culture?
  • I’m not sure if there are any studies or statistics about how long this would take, but the few victims I spoke with said the healing process is extensive and long-term. I would imagine it is even more so for a child who has been so damaged, lost her parents, and then is transported to a foreign culture/country. Despite how loving the family might be, the child has a lot of baggage, and it’s not going to be resolved easily.

 4. Mara struggles with her attraction to Jonathan Flannery. Why is it necessary for her to resolve old issues of bitterness before she can forge a new one with this Christian man?
  • This is imperative because, understandably, this girl also carries untold baggage and is in great need of healing. Without a deeply meaningful experience/conversion and then a reconciliation with the past through forgiveness, it would be impossible for her ever to have a normal relationship. In her mind, men are the enemy, so to be able to trust one is a huge step. Jonathan's character would have to move slowly for this relationship to grow and flourish.

5. In this book there seems to be a liberal dose of words spoken by God to our characters. The literati would describe this as "deus ex machina". Why did you choose this as a method in moving your plot along?
  • I suppose because I strongly believe God still speaks to us today. When Dr. Billy Graham was asked by a prominent TV host if he believed God actually spoke to him, Dr. Graham replied that he believed God speaks to everyone—but few take the time to listen.

6. I would have liked seeing more of Jonathan interacting with the "new" Mara in this book. If you could change one thing about this story, what would it be?
  • I’m not sure I would make any changes. I like to leave stories open-ended, so long as the basic loose ends are tied together, which I believe they are in The Deliverer.

7. Tell us what you'll be working on the next six months, God willing, and what your other activities will be. I certainly would like to meet you some day if you ever make it over to the Southeastern states, my friend.
  • Oh, I do hope to be in your area of the country one day soon! Right now I am just starting book three in a new series for New Hope Publishers. These three novels are contemporary stories about modern-day issues (interracial romance, abortion, people with disabilities), told against the backdrop of a quilt representing the life of a woman of faith and courage who made a difference (i.e., Harriet Tubman, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, Fanny Crosby).

Kathi, thanks for bringing us your take on this book, The Deliverer, and answering my interview questions. For more information on Kathi Macias, her books, and organizations supporting the release and re-entry of sexual slaves into a normal lifestyle, you can go to the following web sites:

International Justice Mission:

Order book link:

Blessings and Agape as you celebrate Christ's Birth and Give Thanks to God,
Dr. Linda B. Greer

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sugar, Sugar! Oh, Honey, Honey!

Most of us remember this good old soul song. But lately it's taking on some new meaning for me. I used to be a sugar savant and sparingly indulged, but currently I can't get enough of it. We're talking major binging, here. One evening this week I ate 5 iced cupcakes! And then I still had room for some real food for dinner.

I wish I could crave God the way I do sugar. After all, craving God would be so much healthier and I wouldn't keep going up a dress size. I'm ashamed of putting my priorities upside down. In fact, sugar is like poison to somebody who has fibromyalgia--like I do. It increases overall pain and I am feeling it!

It's like Paul said when he talked about doing the things he shouldn't, and not doing the very things he should. He was upside down spiritually, just like I get upside down with my own cravings. Gee Willies! My one salvation is craving to sing His praises more than to eat cupcakes. I joined the choir at my church a year ago and it has been such a sweet time to practice and then to help lead the congregation in glorious songs about our God. We've even done a one night revival at a sister church in Gaffney that was so much fun.

Christmas is coming in less than 3 months and we will soon start working on that special music. We can't wait to get our mouths around the new choral tunes. Our choir has grown tremendously in the last year, and we're having trouble squeezing all of us into the loft. (Maybe others have been eating too many cupcakes, too?)

Well, I hope the rest of you are NOT running to get something sweet after hearing about my downfall. Go do...5 leg lifts, 4 sit-ups, 3 jumping jacks, 2 windmills, and drink fruit smothies with few'r calories (to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas").

Pray for my resolve to return to normal and for sugar to be a poor substitute for the real meat of God's word!

Watermelon Frappe
Compliments of
Blessings and A-grape-eh?
Linda B. Greer

Building Character into Our Countrymen and Countrywomen

Another summer has come and nearly gone with the advent of children returning to public, private, and home schools. Our country sits at a tremulous crossroads while the world watches. Elections this November will decide the fate of those very children returning to school and during their adult life times. Will Romney prevail or will Obama stay in his power seat, throttling the democracy out of our constitutions and our Constitution?

Estimates are that many baby boomers with grandchildren in the schools won't survive the loss of Social Security for their retirement over the next decades and if Obamacare isn't revoked, they won't survive after age seventy because of rationed medical care anyway.

Our federal government is so deep in debt to China, if the communists called in their debt, we'd have to deed several states over to them--Alaska, Hawaii, Texas?? Who knows. Every new economic report tries to put a positive spin on unemployment while oil barons keep raising the price of fuel. The greed and corruption in our country and government are deafening.

Some say the young ones of today have been coddled and spoon fed with designer jeans and athletic footwear. The nearest they come to having a real social interaction is Skype, Facebook, and YouTube. They've forgotten who their neighbors are and turn inward into a place called My Space with smart phones and movies or violent games on their handheld droids.

It seems the age of information has become the first stage of great fragmentation. Where is the line between reality and existing for the sole purpose of playing with your newest electronic toys? When was the last time your grandson or kid sister had the grace and gratitude to write you a thank you note for their birthday gifts you mailed for a small fortune?

What will the USA look like in 20 years? Most Christians are murmuring about the End Times and all the obvious signs, but what if the tribulation is meant as much for lukewarm "Christians" as it is for atheists? Will our children stand for Christ in the face of mass persecution? Or will they kneel to a Stalinist One World ruler?

Our victory over bleak circumstances seems to all boil down to character, faith in Christ, and inner peace--those things no man can steal from you. The Bible says in Romans 5:1-5, "Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.". [New International Version]

This week I finished reading Ruta Sepetys' landmark young adult fiction based on fact entitled, Between Shades of Gray. It is a story told through the eyes of a 16 year-old daughter in an affluent family of four. Her younger brother, Jonas, and her two parents were Lithuanians during World War II when Stalin came to rape their country of all intelligentsia and influential people. Lawyers, judges, high commanders in the Lithuanian Armed Forces, academics, newspaper editors, and many millions of others from the Baltic regions of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were quickly deported from a life of happy luxury into a hellish life of starvation, sudden deaths, and a social standing equal to thieves, street women, and beggars.

I read with greatest interest the character traits of those who survived the Siberian gulags. One-third of Lithuania's population alone never returned from Stalin's mass kidnapping and political cleansings. None of this was ever reported to the news media at the time because Russia was our "ally" in crushing Hitler and Mussolini. Even now, Ruta says the survivors are fearful to speak of those dark days when entire families would disappear in the middle of the night and Stalin's tanks rolled into their villages and towns.

So what of the character traits? There was pride in knowing love for your country could never be taken from you. There was love amongst family members who were, by sheer chance, not separated during deportation. Of course, the men were segregated from the women and children first, and most of them dumped into the worst conditions prior to their eventual deaths. The women devised intricate means to get written news to their husbands to see if they were still alive. Family was very important. Young love was even found in the backdrop of bleak circumstances and this kept some persevering.

Although God was not mentioned in Ruta's book unfortunately, it is a subtle underlining to the entire epic tale. Without Christ where would we be? If a ruthless super power took over our country and we were forced into the worst living conditions imaginable, would we persevere? Would we see it as a means of building our character? Would we be able to hope in the midst of all despair because of God's promises and proven miracles?

These are some serious thoughts to ponder as we begin the Fall slide into an important election year, perhaps the most important one of our lives. Can we recapture some of the majesty and morality of our country's foundations or will we crumble and quake as Christians? I chose not to fall into the hands of any interloper on my rights as a believer. How about you?

Please leave a comment. I'd like to know what you think!

Blessings and Agape,
Linda B. Greer

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


The new set-up for posting blogs to Blogger has got me stumped. I used Word for a Blog document, then pasted it in and still had editing issues. Tried to delete what  I thought was an empty "New Post" and wiped out the entire library of this year's posts to my blog, except for the one below! Well, I'm awfully sorry and as usual, I don't have a back-up for any of the others. Hope you all read them before they were wisped off Blogger!

Bashfully Yours,
Dr. Linda B. Greer

Interview with Kathi Macias: Special Delivery

Kathi Macias is an accomplished Christian writer who tackles some very tough social issues in her novels. Currently her focus is on the battle against human slavery and sex trafficking. I interviewed her on her first book in this Freedom Series on this blog. Please refer to that interview for links to organizations where you can take action and help in this fight! I hope you enjoy today's interview.(

1) Your protagonist from your last book of the series (Deliver me from Evil) has survived and escaped captivity as a sex slave in Southern California. At the beginning of the book, she chooses to return to the same area to live. If it were me, I would want to live as far away as possible to avoid contact with anyone from my past. Can you explain her motives?

There is a law in the US that helps non-citizens who have been victims of a crime to get a sort of “fast track” to citizenship, but they need to have sponsors/connections who are citizens nearby. Mara’s only real friend is an older woman named Barbara, who lives in the San Diego area. Because the brothel where Mara had been held has been shut down and the men who were her captives put in jail, she was able to settle in the area without too much fear of repercussion.

2) Jonathan and Leah, the brother and sister, reappear in this novel. You manage to make their transition into more mature adults (college junior and high school graduate) so easily. Where did you learn this technique?

One of the biggest helps for me in developing believable characters was studying drama. Though I never aspired to a career onstage, it was a huge help to me to learn how to “climb in someone else’s skin.” I also did biblical counseling for several years on a large church staff, so that too was a great help in gathering insight into people and how to bring them to life.

3) The ties between two Asian sisters in this book who live continents apart and in such diametrically opposite circumstances seem like “a chord of three that cannot be easily broken”. Do you think this is typical of Asian siblings?

I don’t have a lot of personal experience in that area; but from talking to people who do, it seems to be the case. They take family ties very seriously, more than we do here in the West. It is not at all unusual to find several generations of a family living together in Asian cultures. I like that and think we could benefit from doing more of that here. Perhaps with our tight economy we may be forced to do so.

4) Leah promises to be an extraordinary good mother by her interaction and babysitting with Anna. Does this foreshadow her future in your next book of this series (The Deliverer)?

No, The Deliverer doesn’t go that far into the future. But you’re right that Leah’s responsible    personality lends itself to excellent parenting in the future.
5) Jonathan still has mixed feelings about Mara, the girl he helped free from sexual slavery in Deliver me from Evil. Do you think it is beyond practical and probable that they would have a future together and why?

I never want to discount the fact that God can do anything, though you’re correct. This is not a practical possibility for the two of them. However, book three, The Deliverer, will continue to develop the possibility—though I won’t tell you how it ends up. No spoilers!

6) Barbara is a staunch advocate for eliminating modern day slavery of children and your teens for sex trafficking. Can you give us a clue where you found your model for this character in your book?

Barbara is the lady we’d all love to have as an older friend and/or mother figure. I’ve known a couple of ladies through the years who had her qualities, and now that I’m in my “golden years,” I long to be that sort of role model to other young women.

7) Mara appears to be following in Barbara’s steps as she takes some chances in this novel to help another young girl. How wise do you think her character is in doing this and what do you think motivates her?

I’m not sure if Mara’s choices would be deemed “wise” for the plain and simple fact, they were dangerous. And yet there are times we must “throw caution to the wind” and step out in faith when someone’s life is on the line. Courage is about doing the right thing, even when we’re scared and our knees are knocking.

8) Klahan, an Asian middle-aged man, becomes a kind of hero in this book. Where do you think he gets his strength for this?

Klahan was indeed a “mixed bag” of personality traits. His initial motives weren’t exactly pure, and yet God used him to accomplish what otherwise seemed to be impossible. I believe his strength came from God, even if he didn’t realize it until later.
9) There’s a trap set for Mara in this book and it gets pretty frightening. What is the likelihood she could be found and helped by strangers in the middle of the night?

In real life, the chances are slim. In movies and novels, chances are much better. And, of course, figuring in the God factor, anything is possible!

10) Leah’s best friend, Sarah, gets a rude awakening in this book. Some of her long-time dreams are dashed. How do you think this will influence her behavior toward Mara?

This is a key element in the final book in the series, The Deliverer. Sarah will have to do some serious self-examination, not only of her own personal motives but of her lukewarm commitment to God.

11)   Give us a sneak preview of your final novel in this series. It’s due out in August of this year.

The Deliverer picks up just months after Special Delivery leaves off, continuing with the stories of Mara, freed from slavery but still struggling with scars and memories from the past; Jonathan, attending Bible college but strongly drawn to Mara, despite her past; and Lawan, having escaped the brothel in Thailand and miraculously reunited with her younger sister in the US and adopted by the same family. Will Mara be able to move past the pain and hatred that bind her, even if it means traveling back to the place where her parents betrayed her and sold her into sexual slavery? Will she allow The Deliverer to set her free—once and for all?

Thanks for the interview, Kathi! As usual, you have given us another well-knit novel in your Freedom Series. I can’t wait to read the final piece!
            For more about Kathi Macias, Christian Author and staunch believer in Jesus Christ and the transforming power of God, visit:
To see Kathi’s book trailer for The Deliverer, go to:
If you’d like to pre-order her next book in the Freedom Series, please visit:
   or go to

Blessings and Agape,
Dr. Linda B. Greer