Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Abingdon Press (October 2011)
***Special thanks to Julie Dowd (Abingdon Press) for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Richard L. Mabry, MD, is a retired physician and medical school professor who achieved worldwide recognition as a clinician, writer, and teacher before turning his talents to non-medical writing after his retirement. He is the author of The Prescription for Trouble Series, one non-fiction book, and his inspirational piesces have appeared in numerous periodicals. He and his wife, Kay, live in North Texas.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

An epidemic of a highly resistant bacteria, Staphylococcus luciferus, has ignited, and Dr. Sara Miles' patient is on the threshold of death. Only an experimental antibiotic developed and administered by Sara's ex-husband, Dr. Jack Ingersoll can save the girl's life.
         
Dr. John Ramsey is seeking to put his life together after the death of his wife by joining the medical school faculty. But his decision could prove to be costly, even fatal.
Potentially lethal late effects from the experimental drug send Sara and her colleague, Dr. Rip Pearson, on a hunt for hidden critical data that will let them reverse the changes before it’s too late. What is the missing puzzle piece? And who is hiding it?




Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (October 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426735448
ISBN-13: 978-1426735448

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

No one knew the man’s name. White male, probably in his late seventies, found unresponsive in an alley about two o’clock in the morning and brought to the emergency room. Just another homeless derelict, another John Doe.

     “Pneumonia, late stages,” the intern said. He yawned. “Happens all the time. Drank himself into a stupor, vomited, aspirated. Probably been lying in that alley for more than a day. Doesn’t look like he’ll make it.”

     “Labs cooking? Got a sputum culture going?”

     “Yeah, but it’ll take a day or two to get the results of the culture. The smear looks like Staph. Guess I’ll give him—”

     “Wait. I’ve got access to an experimental drug that might help. Let me start him on that.”

     The intern shrugged. It was two in the morning. He’d been on duty for more than twenty-four hours straight—why’d Johnson’s wife have to go into labor today?—and he was bushed. The bum probably didn’t have a snowball’s chance of surviving anyway. Why not? “You’ll be responsible?”

     “I’ll take it from here. Even do the paperwork.”

     “Deal,” the intern said, and ambled off to see the next patient.

     Three hours later, John Doe lay on a gurney in a corner of the ER. An IV ran into one arm, a blood pressure cuff encircled the other. Spittle dripped from his open mouth and dotted his unshaven chin. His eyes were open and staring.

     “Acute anaphylaxis, death within minutes. Interesting.” He scratched his chin. “Guess I need to make some adjustments in the compound.” He picked up the almost-blank chart. “I’ll say I gave him ampicillin and sulbactam. That should cover it.”

     * * *

     The woman’s look pierced Dr. Sara Miles’ heart. “Do you know what’s wrong with Chelsea?”

     Chelsea Ferguson lay still and pale as a mannequin in the hospital bed. An IV carried precious fluids and medications into a vein in her arm. A plastic tube delivered a constant supply of oxygen to her nostrils. Above the girl’s head, monitors beeped and flashed. And over it all wafted the faint antiseptic smell of the ICU.

     Chelsea’s mother sat quietly at the bedside, but her hands were never still: arranging and rearranging her daughter’s cover, twisting the hem of her plain brown skirt, shredding a tissue. Sara decided that the gray strands in Mrs. Ferguson’s long brunette hair were a recent addition, along with the lines etched in her face.

     Sara put her hand on the teenager’s head and smoothed the matted brown curls. The girl’s hot flesh underscored the urgency of the situation. Since Chelsea’s admission to University Hospital three days ago, her fever hadn’t responded to any of the treatments Sara ordered. If anything, the girl was worse.

     “Let’s slip out into the hall,” Sara said. She tiptoed from the bedside and waited outside the room while Mrs. Ferguson kissed her sleeping daughter and shuffled through the door.

     Sara pointed. “Let’s go into the family room for a minute.”

     “Will she be—?”

     “The nurses will check on her, and they’ll call me if anything changes.” Sara led the way into the room and eased the door closed. This family room resembled so many others Sara had been in over the years: small, dim, and quiet. Six wooden chairs with lightly upholstered seats and backs were arranged along three of the walls. Illumination came from a lamp in the corner. A Bible, several devotional magazines, and a box of tissues stood within reach on a coffee table.

     This was a room where families received bad news: the biopsy was positive, the treatment hadn’t worked, the doctors weren’t able to save their loved one. The cloying scent of flowers in a vase on an end table reminded Sara of a funeral home, and she shivered as memories came unbidden. She shoved her emotions aside and gestured Mrs. Ferguson to a seat. “Would you like something? Water? Coffee? A soft drink?”

     The woman shook her head. “No. Just tell me what’s going on with my daughter. Do you know what’s wrong with her? Can you save her?” Her sob turned into a soft hiccup. “Is she going to die?”

     Sara swallowed hard. “Chelsea has what we call sepsis. You might have heard it referred to as blood poisoning. It happens when bacteria get into the body and enter the bloodstream. In Chelsea’s case, this probably began when she had her wisdom teeth extracted.”

     I can’t believe the dentist didn’t put her on a prophylactic antibiotic before the procedure. Sara brushed those thoughts aside. That wasn’t important now. The important thing was saving the girl’s life. Sara marshaled her thoughts. “We took samples of Chelsea’s blood at the time of her admission, and while we waited for the results of the blood cultures I started treatment with a potent mixture of antibiotics. As you can see, that hasn’t helped.”

     “Why?”

     Sara wished the woman wouldn’t be so reasonable, so placid. She wished Mrs. Ferguson would scream and cry. If the roles were reversed, she’d do just that. “While we wait for the results of blood cultures, we make a guess at the best antibiotics to use. Most of the time, our initial guess is right. This time, it was wrong—badly wrong.”

     “But now you know what’s causing the infection?” It was a question, not a statement.

     “Yes, we know.” And it’s not good news.

     Hope tinged Mrs. Ferguson’s voice. “You can fix this, can’t you?”

     I wish I could. “The bacteria causing Chelsea’s sepsis is one that . . .” Sara paused and started again. “Have you heard of Mersa?”

     “Mersa? No. What’s that?”

     “It’s actually MRSA, but doctors usually pronounce it that way. That’s sort of a medical shorthand for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that’s resistant to most of our common antibiotics.”

     Mrs. Ferguson frowned. “You said most. Do you have something that will work?”

     “Yes, we do. Matter of fact, when Chelsea was admitted I started her on two strong antibiotics, a combination that’s generally effective against MRSA. But she hasn’t responded, because this isn’t MRSA. It’s worse than MRSA.” She started to add “Much worse,” but the words died in her throat.

     Sara paused and waited for Mrs. Ferguson to ask the next question. Instead, the woman crumpled the tissue she held and dabbed at the corner of her eyes, eyes in which hope seemed to die as Sara watched.

     “This is what we call a ‘super-bug,’” Sara continued. “It used to be rare, but we’re seeing more and more infections with it. Right now, none of the commercially available antibiotics are effective. These bacteria are resistant to everything we can throw at them.”

     Mrs. Ferguson’s voice was so quiet Sara almost missed the words. “What do you call it?”

     “It’s a long name, and it’s not important that you know it.” Matter of fact, we don’t use the proper name most of the time. We just call it “The Killer.”

     “So that’s it?”

     “No, there’s a doctor at our medical center doing trials on an experimental drug that might work for Chelsea.” No need to mention that Jack is . . . No, let it go.

       “Can you get some of this? Give it to Chelsea?”

     “I can’t, but the man who can is an infectious disease specialist on the faculty here at the medical center. Actually, he helped develop it. Notice I said ‘experimental,’ which means there may be side effects. But if you want me—”

     “Do it!” For the first time in days, Sara saw a spark of life in Mrs. Ferguson’s eyes, heard hope in her voice. “Call him! Now! Please!”

     “You realize that this drug isn’t fully tested yet. It may not work. Or the drug may cause problems.” There, she’d said it twice in different words. She’d done her duty.

     “I don’t care. My little girl is dying. I’ll sign the releases. Anything you need. If this is our only chance, please, let’s take it.”

     Lord, I hope I haven’t made a mistake. “I’ll make the call.”

     “I’m going back to be with my baby,” Mrs. Ferguson said. She stood and squared her shoulders. “While you call, I’ll pray.”

     * * *

     “Mr. Wolfe, you can come in now.” The secretary opened the doors to Dr. Patel’s office as though she were St. Peter ushering a supplicant through the Pearly Gates.

     Bob Wolfe bit back the retort he wanted to utter. It’s Doctor Wolfe. Doctor of Pharmacology. I worked six years to earn that Pharm D, not to mention two years of research fellowship. How about some respect? But this wasn’t the time to fight that battle.

     He straightened his tie, checked that there were no stains on his fresh white lab coat, and walked into the office of the head of Jandra Pharmaceuticals as though he had been summoned to receive a medal. Never let them see you sweat.

     Dr. David Patel rose from behind his desk and beamed, gesturing toward the visitor’s chair opposite. “Bob, come in. Sit down. I appreciate your coming.”

     Not much choice, was there? Wolfe studied his boss across the expanse of uncluttered mahogany that separated them. Pharmaceutical companies seemed to be made up of two groups: the geeks and the glad-handers. Patel typified the former group. PhD from Cal Tech, brilliant research mind, but the social skills of a tortoise. Patel had been snatched from the relative obscurity of a research lab at Berkeley by the Board of Directors of Jandra Pharmaceuticals, given the title of President and CEO, and charged with breathing life into the struggling company. How Patel planned to do that remained a mystery to Wolfe and his co-workers.

     Patel leaned forward and punched a button on a console that looked like it could launch a space probe. “Cindy, please ask Mr. Lindberg to join us.”

     Steve Lindberg ran the sales team from an office across the hall. Lindberg could memorize salient scientific material and regurgitate it with the best of them, but Wolfe would bet the man’s understanding of most of Jandra’s products and those of its major competitors was a mile wide and an inch deep. On the other hand, Lindberg had his own area of expertise: remembering names, paying for food and drinks, arranging golf games at exclusive clubs. No doubt about it, Lindberg was a classic glad-hander, which was why he had ascended to his current position, heading the marketing team at Jandra.

     Wolfe hid a smile. Interesting. The President of the company and the Director of Marketing. This could be big. The door behind Wolfe opened. He deliberately kept his eyes front. Be cool. Let this play out.

     “Hey, Bob. It’s good to see you.” Wolfe turned just in time to avoid the full force of a hand landing on his shoulder. Even the glancing blow made him wince. Lindberg dragged a chair to the side of Patel’s desk, positioning himself halfway between the two men. Clever. Not taking sides, but clearly separating himself from the underling.

     Wolfe studied the two men and, not for the first time, marveled at the contrast in their appearance. Patel was swarthy, slim, and sleek, with jet-black hair and coal-black eyes. His blue shirt had a white collar on which was centered the unfashionably large knot of an unfashionably wide gold-and-black tie. Wolfe wondered whether the man was five years behind or one ahead of fashion trends. He spoke with a trace of a British accent, and Wolfe seemed to recall that Patel had received part of his education at Oxford. Maybe he wore an “old school” tie, without regard to current fashion. If so, it would be typical of Patel.

     Lindberg was middle-aged but already running to fat—or, more accurately, flab. His florid complexion gave testimony to too many helpings of rare roast beef accompanied by glasses of single malt Scotch, undoubtedly shared with top-drawer doctors and paid for on the Janus expense account. Lindberg’s eyes were the color of burnished steel, and showed a glimmer of naked ambition that the smile pasted on his face couldn’t disguise. His thinning blond hair was combed carefully to cover early male pattern baldness. The sleeves of his white dress shirt were rolled halfway to his elbows. His tie was at half-mast and slightly askew.

     Patel, the geek. Lindberg, the glad-hander. Different in so many ways. But both men shared one characteristic. Wolfe knew from experience that each man would sell his mother if it might benefit the company, or more specifically, their position in it. The two of them together could mean something very good or very bad for Bob Wolfe. He eased forward in his chair and kicked his senses into high gear.

     Patel leaned back and tented his fingers. “Bob, I’m sure you’re wondering what this is about. Well, I wanted to congratulate you on the success of EpAm848. I’ve been looking over the preliminary information, especially the reports from Dr. Ingersoll at Southwestern Medical Center. Very impressive.”

     “Well, it’s sort of Ingersoll’s baby. He stumbled onto it when he was doing some research here during his infectious disease fellowship at UC Berkeley. I think he wants it to succeed as much as we do.”

     “I doubt that.” Patel leaned forward with both hands on the desk. “Jandra is on the verge of bankruptcy. I want that drug on the market ASAP!”

     “But we’re not ready. We need more data,” Wolfe said.

     “Here’s the good news,” Patel said. “The FDA is worried about The Killer bacteria outbreak. I’ve pulled a few strings, called in a bunch of favors, and I can assure you we can get this application fast-tracked.”

     “How?” Wolfe said. “We’re still doing Phase II trials. What about Phase III? Assuming everything goes well, it’s going to be another year, maybe two, before we can do a rollout of EpAm848.”

       “Not to worry,” Patel said. “Our inside man at the FDA assures me he can help us massage the data. We can get by with the Phase II trials we’ve already completed. And he’ll arrange things so we can use those plus some of our European studies to fulfill the Phase III requirements.”

     Lindberg winked at Wolfe. “We may have to be creative in the way we handle our data. You and I need to get our heads together and see how many corners we can cut before the application is ready.”

     Wolfe shook his head. “You say this drug will save us from bankruptcy. I don’t see that. I mean, yes, it looks like we may be in for a full-blown epidemic of Staph luciferus, but we won’t sell enough—“

     Lindberg silenced him with an upraised hand. “Exposure, Bob. Exposure. If we get this drug on the market, if we’re the first with a cure, our name recognition will skyrocket. Doctors and patients will pay attention to our other drugs: blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes. Our market share will go through the roof in all of them.”

     Wolfe could see the salesman in Lindberg take over as he leaned closer, as though to drive home his point by proximity. “We’re preparing a direct-to-consumer push on all those drugs, ready to launch at the same time we release Jandramycin.”

     The name didn’t click with Wolfe for a moment. “I . . . Well, I’ll certainly do what I can.”

     “Do more than that,” Lindberg said. “Jandra Pharmaceuticals is hurting. We’re staking everything on Jandramycin.”

     That was the second time Wolfe had heard the term. “What—“

     “Stop referring to the drug by its generic name,” Patel added. “From now on, the compound is Jandramycin. When people hear the name Jandra Pharmaceuticals, we want them to think of us as the people who developed the antibiotic that saved the world from the worst epidemic since the black plague.”

     Lindberg eased from his chair and gave Wolfe another slap on the shoulder. “This is your project now. It’s on your shoulders. The company’s got a lot riding on this.”

     And so do I. “But what if a problem turns up?”

     Patel rose and drew himself up to his full five feet eight inches. His obsidian eyes seemed to burn right through Wolfe. “We’re depending on you to make sure that doesn’t happen. Are we clear on that?”

     * * *

     Sara leaned over the sink and splashed water on her face. The paper towels in the women’s rest room of the clinic were rough, but maybe that would put some color in the face that stared back at her from the mirror. Her brown eyes were red-rimmed from another sleepless night. Raven hair was pulled into a ponytail because she could never find time or energy for a haircut or a perm. Get it together, Sara. She took a deep breath and headed for the doctor’s dictation room, where she slumped into a chair.

       “Something wrong, Dr. Miles?”

     Sara turned to see Gloria, the clinic’s head nurse. “No, just taking a few deep breaths before I have to make a call I’m dreading.”

     Gloria slid into the chair next to Sara. The controlled chaos of the internal medicine clinic hummed around them. The buzz of conversations and ringing of phones served as effectively as white noise to mask her next words. “Is it one of your hospital patients? Got some bad news to deliver?”

     “Sort of. It’s Chelsea Ferguson.”

     “The teenage girl? Is she worse?”

     “Yes. The cultures grew Staph luciferus.”

     Gloria whistled silently. “The Killer. That’s bad.”

     “The only thing that seems to be working in these cases is that new drug of Jack Ingersoll’s.”

     “Oh, I get it. That’s the call you don’t want to make.” Gloria touched Sara lightly on the shoulder. “When will you stop letting what Ingersoll did ruin the rest of your life? I can introduce you to a couple of nice men who go to our church. They’ve both gone through tough divorces—neither was their fault—and they want to move on. It would be good for you—”

     Sara shook her head. “Thanks, but I’m not ready to date. I’m not sure if I can ever trust a man again.”

     Gloria opened her mouth, but Sara silenced her with an upraised hand. No sense putting this off. She pulled the phone toward her and stabbed in a number.

     * * *

     Dr. John Ramsey found a spot in the Visitor’s Parking Lot. He exited his car and looked across the driveway at the main campus of Southwestern Medical Center. When he’d graduated, there were two buildings on the campus. Now those two had been swallowed up, incorporated into a complex that totaled about forty buildings on three separate campuses. Right now he only needed to find one: the tall white building directly across the driveway at the end of a flagstone plaza. The imposing glass fa├žade of the medical library reflected sunlight into his eyes as he wove past benches where students sat chatting on cell phones or burrowing into book bags. He paused at the glass front doors of the complex, took a deep breath, and pushed forward.

     There was a directory inside for anyone trying to negotiate the warren of inter-connected buildings, but John didn’t need it. He found the elevator he wanted, entered, and punched five. In a moment, he was in the office of the Chairman of Internal Medicine.

     “Dr. Schaeffer will be with you in a moment.” The receptionist motioned him toward a seat opposite the magnificent rosewood desk that was the centerpiece of the spacious office, then glided out, closing the door softly behind her.

     John eased into the visitor’s chair and looked around him. He’d spent forty years on the volunteer clinical faculty of Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine. For forty years he’d instructed and mentored medical students and residents, for forty years he’d covered the teaching clinic once a month, and today was the first time he’d been in the department chairman’s office. He swallowed the resentment he felt bubbling up. No, John. You never wanted to be here. You were happy in your own world.

     John couldn’t help comparing this room with the cubbyhole he’d called his private office. Now he didn’t even have that. The practice was closed, the equipment and furnishings sold to a young doctor just getting started. John’s files and patient records were in a locked storage facility, rent paid for a year.

     He wondered how many of his patients had contacted his nurse to have their records transferred. No matter, she’d handle it. He’d paid her six months’ salary to take care of such things. What would happen after that? He didn’t have the energy to care. Things were different now.

     For almost half a century he’d awakened to the aroma of coffee and a kiss from the most wonderful woman in the world. Now getting out of bed in the morning was an effort, shaving and getting dressed were more than he could manage some days. Since Beth died . . . He shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs that clogged his brain. The knowledge that he’d never again know the happiness of having a woman he loved by his side made him wish he’d died with her. What was the use of going on?

     But something happened this morning. He’d awakened with a small spark of determination to do something, anything, to move on. He tried to fight it, to roll over and seek the sleep that eluded him. Instead, he heard the echo of Beth’s words: “You’re too good a physician to retire. People need you.” He remembered that conversation as though it were yesterday. She’d urged, he’d insisted. Let’s retire. I want to get out of the rat race and enjoy time with you. Retirement meant the travel they’d put off, the time to do things together. Only, now there was no more together.

     This morning, he’d rolled out of bed determined that today would be different. It would be the start of his rebirth. As he shrugged into a robe, as he’d done each day since her death he looked at the picture on their dresser of him and Beth. She’d been radiant that spring day so many years ago, and he wondered yet again how he’d managed to snag her.

     He’d shaved—for the first time in days—with special care, and his image in the mirror made him wonder. When did that slim young man in the picture develop a paunch and acquire an AARP card? When had the thick brown hair been replaced by gray strands that required careful combing to hide a retreating hairline? The eyes were still bright, although they hid behind wire-rimmed trifocals. “You’re too old for this, John,” he muttered. And as though she were in the room, he heard Beth’s words once more. “You’re too good a physician to retire. People need you.”

     Fortified with coffee, the sole component of his breakfast nowadays, he’d forced himself to make the call. He asked his question and was gratified and a bit frightened by the positive response. John dressed carefully, choosing his best suit, spending a great deal of time selecting a tie. He’d noticed a gradual shift in doctors’ attire over the past few years. Now many wore jeans and golf shirts under their white coats. But for John Ramsey, putting on a tie before going to the office was tantamount to donning a uniform, one he’d worn proudly for years. And he—

     “John, I was surprised when I got your call. To what do I owe the pleasure?” Dr. Donald Schaeffer breezed into the office, the starched tails of his white coat billowing behind him. He offered his hand, then settled in behind his desk.

     “Donald, I appreciate your taking the time to see me. I was wondering—”

     “Before we start, I want you to know how sorry we all are for your loss. Is there anything I can do?”

     Perfect lead-in. See if you can get the words out. “As you know, I closed my office four months ago. Beth and I were going to enjoy retirement. Then . . .”

     Schaeffer nodded and tented his fingers under his chin. At least he had the grace not to offer more platitudes. Ramsey had had enough of those.

     “I was wondering if you could use me in the department.” There. Not the words he’d rehearsed, but at least he’d tossed the ball into Schaeffer’s court.

     “John, are you talking about coming onto the faculty?”

     “Maybe something half-time. I could staff resident clinics, teach medical students.”

     Schaeffer was shaking his head before John finished. “That’s what the volunteer clinical faculty does. It’s what you did for . . . how many years? Thirty? Thirty-five?”

     “Forty, actually. Well, I’m still a clinical professor in the department, so I guess I have privileges at Parkland Hospital. Can you use me there?”

     Schaeffer pulled a yellow legal pad toward him and wrote a couple of words before he pushed it aside. “I’m not sure what I can do for you, if anything. It’s not that easy. You have no idea of the administrative hoops I have to jump through to run this department. Even if I could offer you a job today—and I can’t— I’d have to juggle the budget to support it, post the position for open applications, get half a dozen approvals before finalizing the appointment.” He spread his hands in a gesture of futility.

     “So, is that a ‘no’?”

     “”That’s an ‘I’ll see what I can do.’ Afraid that’s the best I have to offer.” Schaeffer looked at his watch, shoved his chair back and eased to his feet. “Coming to Grand Rounds?”

     Why not? John’s house was an empty museum of bitter memories. His office belonged to someone else. Why not sit in the company of colleagues? “Sure. I’ll walk over with you.”

     As the two men moved through the halls of the medical center, John prayed silently that Schaeffer would find a job for him. With all his prayers for Beth during her final illness, prayers that had gone unanswered, he figured that surely God owed him this one.

The Christmas Lodge, DVD review and Giveaway!



Getting away from the city is just what Mary needs, so she heads to the mountains for some hiking and fresh air.  While she and her "city-slicker" boyfriend, Kent, are out hiking, they hear a voice of a child needing help.  Mary hikes down a wet, steep hill to save Charlene and her dog.  Taking the child and dog home, leads Mary to a place from the past, Christmas Lodge.  It is now owned by Jack and his daughter, Charlene, and is in ill-repair to the point of dilapidation.  After enjoying a meal and memories of the past with them, she is determined to help restore Christmas Lodge to it's former glory and get back some of the joy she found there in the past.  She returns to the city, tells her boss (she's in historical building restoration) about the lodge to see if he can help with costs.  Unfortunately, they can only cover half... a miracle is needed! 


The movie was sweet and enjoyable even though predictable in ways.  It was a wonderful family- time Christmas movie, safe for everyone!!     

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
If you would be interested in winning a copy of this DVD, please let me know by leaving a comment and a way to contact you below.  I will pick the winner Monday, November 7th.  Thanks for reading and good luck!



Monday, October 31, 2011

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Charisma House (September 6, 2011)
***Special thanks to Kim Jones | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kimberly Daniels is a sought-after conference speaker, preacher, and powerful prayer warrior. She pastors Spoken Word Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Ardell and is on the Jacksonville City Council. Daniels graduated from Florida State University and Jacksonville Theological Seminary and is the author of Inside Out; From a Mess to a Miracle; Clean House, Strong House; Delivered to Destiny; and Give It Back! and the coauthor of More Than Just The Catch.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Stay Prepared for Satan’s Unexpected Attacks

Do life’s challenges seem to throw you off balance? Do you struggle with the should haves, could haves, and would haves? In Spiritual Housekeeping, Kimberly Daniels outlines the keys to defeating the devil and putting your spiritual house in order.

Using numerous Bible passages and experiences from her own life, Daniels provides proven principles that give you the balance to live in the world while pleasing God by…

Avoiding compromise and ungodly tolerance
Discerning the difference between what is holy and what is not
Understanding the realms of spiritual authority
Keeping the occult out of your house

Discover how to become a gatekeeper to your home and receive God’s instructions for the spiritual traffic there. You can depend on the Holy Spirit to help you with the devil’s unexpected attacks and difficult situations.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382384
ISBN-13: 978-1616382384

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Delivered From

Social Intercourse

The Bible tells us that believers are “in” the world but not “of” it (John 17:11, 16). God has called us to be a light to the world. At the same time He has warned us not to be unequally yoked with people, places, and things that would hinder our walk with Him. So with this in mind, how do we run our businesses, educate our children, and relate to society in a way that will not displease God or cause us to be unequally yoked with the world?
The answer is simple—beware of social intercourse! Let’s start by reading 2 Corinthians 6:14–15 (kjv, emphasis added):

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

I have read this scripture many times over the past twenty years of my salvation. I found it very interesting that the Holy Spirit would open it up to me in a new way, as He did recently. Though the foundation of my deliverance is rooted in this scripture, until now I never recognized the standard that it sets for a victorious
lifestyle in Christ Jesus. Second Corinthians 6:14–15 represents the line that God has drawn in the Spirit to give us:
• Spiritual strength to avoid compromise and ungodly tolerance
• Stamina and endurance against opposition and persecution
• Discernment to know the difference between what is holy and what is unclean

The key words of this passage are:
• Fellowship—People (becoming one in Him)
• Communion—Places (gathering in His name)
• Concord—God (agreement with God)
• Part—Faith (having a belief that cannot be shaken)

Fellowship—righteousness vs. unrighteousness
The word fellowship is metochos (met’-okh-os) in the Greek, which means, “intercourse.” Intercourse is defined as: “connection or dealings between individuals or groups that causes a coupling or uniting that makes those who have come together one.” As I studied the word intercourse, I noticed the word interchange. When intercourse takes place, there is always an interchange. This means that the people who come together literally experience an exchange in the midst of their union. The word interchange means, “to put each in the place of the other; to cause to change places, or to give and receive things from each other reciprocally.” It also means to cause to follow one another. Based on the word study on fellowship, it is not difficult to see that when we fellowship or socialize with people on a continual basis, a union takes place in the spirit. This is why the Bible asks the question, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The interchange involves everyone and enables each person to get something out of the relationship. This is why we must know those that we labor among. God commands that we “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17)! If you do not want what other
people have, it would not be wise to hang out with them. On the other hand, when believers come together, there is a sweet communion that takes place. Where two touch and agree, Jesus comes into the midst. One believer can put a thousand demons to flight, but two can put ten thousand to flight (Deut. 32:30). The Word of the Lord asks: “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” Whenever the Word asks a question, an alarm should go off in our spirits to do a self-evaluation. We should ask ourselves questions like:

• What kind of inner circles am I a part of?
• Are the values of those who are closest to me committed
to righteousness or unrighteousness?
• What am I depositing into my closest relationships,
and what am I getting out of these relationships that influences me spiritually?

Pause and think on these questions! Is there anything in your life that you are in fellowship with that will stop you from being one with Jesus? If so, break fellowship with it now!

Communion—light vs. darkness
We are called to be in communion with our God. Let’s look at the word communion. The Greek word for communion is koinonia, which means: “partnership, participation, social intercourse, communication
and distribution.” I was knocked off of my feet when I found out that communion means social intercourse. When Paul refers to communion, he relates it to light and darkness. He is actually saying that light and darkness
will never commune or agree. Because of this, we must choose one side with which to commune. There will always be controversy, combat, and a battle in the spirit when dealing with light and darkness. Many people get discouraged when they experience this kind of warfare. This is the kind of warfare we should rejoice about!
The Bible says that we must be watchful when all men speak well of us. The truth of the matter is that not all men are supposed to agree with us. All men are not walking in the light of the truth, and when you are confronted with darkness, there is supposed to be a battle!

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would
love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will
also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. —John 15:18–20

The battle will rage when light and darkness collide. The only true light in the world is the light of Jesus Christ. The world hates Jesus! When believers get this down in their spirits, they will develop tougher skin. Those who represent Jesus must have tough skin and not take persecution from the world as a personal attack.
It is not personal; it is scriptural! The world is not supposed to love you when you love Jesus. When believers allow resistance and rejection from the world to get them down, it is a sin before God! Paraphrasing what Jesus said, He made it simple: “Who do you think you are? You are not greater than Me! They hated Me, and I
created them—I AM God! Do not be moved when they hate you.” This is the commandment of the Lord. Light cannot commune (be comfortable with) darkness.

No matter how good things may seem or how nice people may be, if you are a child of light, darkness will always oppose you. No matter how much you try to harmonize, there will be a screeching sound of discord in the spirit. We have Jesus on the inside of us, and demons will always be uncomfortable in His presence. When we step into a place, we bring Jesus with us. There are places where people do not want Jesus around. We should not be alarmed when we are barred and even kicked out of certain places. The power of manifested light in a dark place is a good thing. It reveals to the people that they are in darkness. It is a glorious thing when the children of God come together to let their light shine. When light connects with more light, the power of God is manifested in the earth realm.

The koinonia of God flows fluently in the midst of the saints. This is why the anointing of the saints increases with numbers. One can put one thousand to flight, but two . . . ten thousand! Koinonia promotes partnership, communication, and a balanced distribution among the people of God. It is a social intercourse that takes place to give birth to the will of God in the earth realm. Real communion causes God’s glory to radiate in the midst of a dark and lost world. There is something awesome that takes place when God’s anointed ones gather. We gain ground in the spirit, and the Lord has free course to move. On the other hand, because of negative agreement there were some places where even Jesus could not heal the sick. When we fellowship with people who are not children of light, we get stuck in a spiritual limbo. To be in limbo means to be caught between. Because light and darkness cannot agree, those who try to make them mingle always end up in limbo. The manifestations of limbo are the spirits of struggle, distraction, confusion, and heaviness. We are in the world but not of the world. We are commanded to go into the world to be witnesses for Jesus, but the approach and strategy we use means everything. We are called to influence and not to be influenced!

There is a difference between communion and compromise. Communion brings forth a unity that bonds believers together for God’s purpose. When we compromise there is no bonding, but a bowing that takes place. It causes a person to knowingly or subliminally submit to the spirit in charge.

Concord—Christ vs. Belial
The scripture also asks, “What concord hath Christ with Belial?” The word concord is sumphonesis (soom-fo’-nay-sis) in the Greek, and it is defined as: “to be in harmony with, agreement, to stipulate by compact; to concur and support.”
Agreement means everything! It affects every area of our lives. We need agreement within ourselves to achieve our everyday goals. Without agreement, our families are dysfunctional and our businesses will fail.

God showed me that agreement is a type of spiritual covering. I believe that this is why Paul used the analogy of Christ and Belial. When we agree with certain things, we come under the covering of a certain ruler. We cannot agree with Christ and Belial at the same time; only one will rule!

Let’s take a look at the meaning of Belial:
• A person considered morally worthless
• Good for nothing
• Diseased in the mind
• Hard-hearted
• One who promotes rebellion against God and constituted authority
• Another name for Satan
• Vile, lewd, licentious, corrupt
• That which works against and has no regard for God or the things of God

Understanding the meaning of Belial brings forth a greater understanding of why this spirit has no agreement with Christ. We can be effective in winning the lost in dark places and during dark times as long as we have the revelation that Christ has no agreement with Belial. This is what accursed means: “dedicated unto doom or
damned by God Himself.” If God has killed a thing, we cannot religiously resurrect it. If the root is holy, the fruit will be holy, but if the root is demonically dedicated, the fruit will be cursed. Christ and Belial simply cannot agree. A biblical meaning for the word agreement is, “to marry, betroth or to gather selves until they
become one.” We cannot attempt to attach Jesus to the accursed thing.

Part—believers vs. infidels
The Word of the Lord asks, “What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” The word part in the Greek is meris (mer-ece’), and it means, “to share, to be in the same province of or to participate with.” It comes from another Greek word, meros, which refers to a coast, portion, or to have respect of.

When Paul asked the question, “What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?,” it was serious! The word infidel refers to one who does not have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. There is a difference between believing in Jesus and believing that Jesus is the one and only living God. Few deny that Jesus walked on the earth. Many
consider Him a great man or even a powerful prophet. The problem comes in when they deny His lordship! Putting it simple, an infidel is one who denies the lordship of Jesus Christ. What part does a true believer have with a person who does not believe that Jesus is the Lord and Creator of the universe? None! Believers should have no part in activities that give homage or even respect to other gods. We should not spiritually hang out in territories where demons are attempting to make us bow to the gongs of the land with the intent to overthrow them. The persecution of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the perfect example of having no part with infidels. The king made a decree that whenever the gong sounded, everyone had to fall down and give homage to the pagan deity of the land. The Hebrew boys were put in the fiery furnace because they refused to bow. Yeah,
I know this is an old Bible story (in the minds of many), but the reality of this story will one day be grafted into the hearts of the saints in America. Many gongs are sounding, and many people who call themselves believers are bowing in our country. Jesus told Satan, “You have no part with Me” (John 13:8). In this same way we must not be a part of, have a portion with, or participate in modern-day idolatries. There are gongs going off in the spirit bidding Christians in America to bow. These are not ancient gongs as in the times of the Hebrew boys. These are gongs of economic trouble, disasters in the weather, seducing spirits from the rich and the famous, political unrest, peer pressure, idolatrous temptation, and compromise. During times like these we can remain steadfast in the things of God if we focus on our portion. Looking to the left or the right will make us lose the race. We can win if we stay in our lane and allow Jesus to be the author and finisher of our faith. We must be able to stand and declare, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Josh. 24:15). God is using His people to do a great work in the days in which we live, and we cannot come down off the wall.

Let’s take a look at how Nehemiah dealt with the temptation to bow to the dictates of the world.
Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with
fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the  hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they  said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite,  Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said,  “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” So I answered them, and said to them,  “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no  heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” —Nehemiah 2:17–20

The people of God were in a bad situation, yet Nehemiah bragged on His God. His enemies mocked him and called him a rebel, but Nehemiah had a revelation; God was his portion! His source was not in man, so he did not have to bow to them. He also let his enemies know that they had no portion in what God had for him. When we (as believers) know our portion and in whom it is placed, we also know the portion (or legal right) the enemy has to get involved in it—none! The portion of the wicked has no agreement with what God has for us.
The twentieth chapter of Job describes the portion of the wicked. It describes the portion of the wicked to be like a basket filled with curses.

It includes the following curses:
• The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment.
• He will perish forever like his own refuse.
• He will fly away like a dream and not be found; he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
• His children will seek the favor of the poor.
• His bones will lie down with him in the dust.
• His food in his stomach turns sour; it becomes cobra venom within him.
• He swallows down riches and vomits them up again.
• He will not see the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
• From the proceeds of business he will get no enjoyment.
• He knows no quietness in his heart; therefore his well-being will not last.
• In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; every hand of misery will come against him.
• When he is about to fill his stomach, God will cast on him the fury of His wrath.
• A bronze bow will pierce him through.
• Terrors come upon him.
• An unfanned fire will consume him.
• The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him.
• The increase of his house will depart, and his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath.

The scripture concludes by saying: “This is the portion from God for a wicked man, the heritage appointed to him by God” (Job 20:29). I praise the Lord because we have no portion in wickedness. Today, when the hearts of many are failing them for fear, we must continue to confess Psalm 73:26, which says: “God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever.”

We must rebel against or disagree with the things or the ways of the wicked. This is the only way to avoid social intercourse. Social intercourse is the pathway to idolatry, which comes in the name of status quo social activities. God put the need to socialize on the inside of us, but we must do it according to the Word of God. There is a sweet anointing when the brethren dwell in peace under the covering of God’s covenant. We can operate in the midst of those who do not know Jesus, but we must lead and not follow. We must influence and not be
influenced. This is the calling we have as the salt of the earth. I call it blending without bending.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy



I picked The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy to review because I was interested in reading another of her books.  The first book I read by her, Kiss,  was a book she coauthored with Ted Dekker, a favorite author of mine.  Then I also read The Promises She Keeps which is also by Erin Healy... and it was a wonderful book that, like Ted Dekker's books, made me think.  The Baker's Wife continues Healy's success as a writer.  It's another very good, though-provoking hit!

Before Audrey was the baker's wife, she was the pastor's wife.  As often happens, scandal hit their church involving their family and the church asks Geoff to resign his position as pastor.  Standing firm and together, they decide to take over a bakery that is being run into the ground and make their livelihood from that. On her way into work one morning, Audrey is blinded by the fog and hits a a vehicle.  When she gets out of her car, she finds that she has hit a motor scooter and the driver is nowhere to be seen, but there is a pool of blood.  Sergeant Jack Mansfield, who is the detective and church member/deacon that is responsible for Geoff's resignation as pastor, is suspicious of Audrey and Geoff's part in the missing person-- his own wife, Julie.  There is no evidence to support Jack's belief that  Audrey and Geoff have murdered and done away with or kidnapped his wife.  In order to "get revenge" and hopefully his wife back, Jack "snaps" mentally and takes hostage the little bakery and those inside.  Audrey must find Julie before Jack really loses it and she loses her family.

I was so drawn in to this book! It was full of suspense and just GOD being God.  It was an amazing book of faith and healing.

For more information about this book please go here or here.


From Thomas Nelson Publishing:
Erin Healy is the best-selling co-author of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning editor for numerous best-selling authors. She has received wide acclaim for her debut solo novels,Never Let You Go and The Promises She Keeps. She and her family live in Colorado. Erin can be contacted through her website erinhealy.com or through Facebook at erinhealybooks.



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