The First Step Toward Confident Living

Strength for the Quest
FINANCIAL BANKRUPTCY usually comes as no surprise. It’s not the result of a single misstep, but a series of small rationalizations over time, poor spending habits, and bad decisions that build like snowflakes on a mountainside, resulting in a sudden, cataclysmic avalanche. 

The same can be said about moral bankruptcy. In his novel, The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky describes the downward spiral—  

“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and, in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal, in satisfying his vices. And it all comes from lying — lying to others and to yourself.” 

Making promises you don’t keep.

Exaggerating to get attention. 

Lying to avoid confrontation.

Writing verbal checks your life can’t cash.

Rationalizing that everybody does it. 

The first step toward confident living is being honest with yourself, honest with others. There is strength in truth, freedom in honesty. 

Because Life Is More Than A Journey


Fantasizing Fame: A Parable

Strength for the Quest

There is an ancient African folktale that tells the story of a village that was terrorized by a lion. Old and no longer king of a pride, the lion didn’t have females to hunt for him. So he raided villages at night, stealing cattle and snatching unwary children. 

All the men of the village gathered their spears and formed a hunting party. All but one. 

Days later the hunters returned victorious. They’d killed the lion. 

The carcass was dragged into the center of the village. Everyone cheered and sang and danced. Children took turns daring one another to touch the dead animal. And in the midst of the celebration, the villager who didn’t join the hunting party, when he was  certain everyone was watching, strode boldly up to the lion . . . and kicked it. 

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who take risks, and those who want the glory without the risk. 

Dream. Do. Don’t fantasize over spotlights you don’t deserve. Don’t be a dead lion kicker. 

Because Life Is More Than A Journey


When Reading Was a Crime

Strength for the Quest
ANNE ASKEW KNEW when they handed her the book she was committing a criminal act simply by holding it. 

I wonder if she hesitated before lifting the cover. I wonder if she began at the beginning, or turned to a particular page, and if so, which one? I wonder what emotions she felt as she read for the first time the words of God from an English Bible. 

I wonder if she knew at that moment that the simple act of reading a book would lead to her death? 

Events unfolded quickly— 

She was arrested for “gospelizing” — telling other people what she read. 

She was questioned several times by state and church authorities who challenged her to recant when her teaching did not conform to the traditional doctrines of the church. She answered their questions with quotes from the Bible.

She was taken to the Tower of London and tortured on the rack to force her to reveal the identities of the persons who gave her the Bible. She didn’t. Twice she fainted. Twice she was revived. (Anne is the only woman on record who was tortured in the Tower of London.) 

She was taken to her execution in a chair because she couldn’t walk, chained to a pole to hold her up. She was presented with a pardon. All she had to do was admit she’d committed heresy. She refused it. 

On July 16, 1545 Anne Akskew was burned at the stake. As one man described her death, “She went to heaven in a chariot of fire”

She was 25-years-old. 

So inspired were people by her courageous stand, ballads were sung of her. The Bleets company in London produced an Anne Askew doll complete with rack and stake.

So inspired was I by this young woman’s dedication to God and the Bible, I wrote two novels portraying the dangers faced by men and women like her to read and distribute the Bible in English — Glimpses of Truth and Beyond the Sacred Page

I dedicated Glimpses of Truth to Anne Askew. 

You can read more about these novels, click here

One last thing — I found an inspiring video on YouTube depicting Anne’s courageous stand and wanted to share it with you. To watch it, click here.

Because Life Is More Than A Journey


Inspiring Heroes Inspire Readers

Strength for the Quest

(Note: This post first appeared on Sherri Wilson Johnson’s blog, on March 22, 2012. It was my part of a blog exchange. You can read her post here.)


Emma Woodhouse
Jane Eyre
Robin Hood
Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy
Atticus Finch
Romeo and Juliet
Sherlock Holmes

You’ve shared their adventures. Shared their pain. And even though in your heart of hearts you know they’re not real, they feel like friends.

Every year Margaret Mitchell gets the highest compliment an author can receive when Atlanta tourists walk into the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and ask for directions to the graves of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. 

How do authors do it, clothe fictional characters in flesh and blood? 

Creating characters is an act of inspiration. The word inspire means, “to breathe life into.” So how does an author do that? He follows the same recipe the Creator used when He fashioned man—

“And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

An author begins with dust of the ground attributes:

Physical description,
Hard-wiring his character with a personality type.

Then, the author breathes life into his creation with motivation and intangibles:  

Giving him hopes and dreams,
Setting obstacles and opposing characters in his path,
Placing doubts in his mind,
Forcing him to change,
Making him face his greatest fear.

To make a hero, the author adds: 

Cleverness and resourcefulness,
A special talent or insight,
And a wound to make him human. 

Finally, the author places the character in a scene with other characters and sets them in motion. It’s an anxious moment, even for the author, to see how the hero will handle himself. Bestselling author Terri Blackstock expressed this anxiety at a writers’ conference when she asked the other authors, “Do you pray for your characters?” 

How do authors know if their creation has truly come to life?

They know they’ve succeeded if at the end of the book the reader suffers mild depression upon realizing they will no longer be spending time with the characters of the story.  

As magical as this seems, it gets better. 

If authors do their jobs well, there comes a moment when the reader is no longer reading the story, but living it; a dramatic moment of realization when the truth of the story crystallizes and — with a sharp intake of breath — the reader discovers something about himself. His life is changed. His sights are elevated. His resolve strengthens. He is a better person for having read the story. 

Not only has the author breathed life into his characters, he’s breathed new life into his reader. 

This is inspirational fiction at its finest. 

Because Life Is More Than A Journey


The Law of Happiness

Strength for the Quest
THERE ARE LAWS FOR RELATIONSHIPS. Like scientific laws, relationship laws are not made, but discovered. One such law was discovered during the race to the South Pole.

After facing the bitter disappoint of reaching the South Pole, only to discover that his rival had reached it five weeks earlier, Capt. Robert Scott and his men began the long journey back to their base camp.

They never made it home.

Deteriorating weather, frostbite, snow blindness, and exhaustion took a fatal toll. Their supplies ran out. And as their inevitable fate settled in on the expedition, Capt. Scott recorded his thoughts in a journal that was eventually found next to his body.

 Included in the journal was this entry:

 “We are pegging out in a very comfortless spot. We are in a desperate state — feet frozen, no fuel, and a long way from food, but it would do your heart good to be in our tent, to hear our songs and our cheery conversation.”

 The relationship law at work here? The key to happiness lies in who you’re with, not where you are or what your situation.

Because Life Is More Than A Journey

FOR MORE – Click Here to watch a great video, “Happiness is Productive”