WAGING WARFARE BY HONOR

By James Wilson

(Author Note: A Warfare by Honor conference will be presented at Revival Barn in Elk Grove, California, November 1-2; there is no charge although love offerings will be taken. To learn how to bring this teaching to your region contact Jim at praynorthstate@gmail.com or call him at 530 941 3470.)

When a judge cut Sacramento Delta water to farmers in order to save a fish called the snail darter many Californians were up in arms. Dedicated attorneys argued persistently in courts against this wrong on multiple levels. Meanwhile a few hundred Christians who practice warfare by honor prayed blessings on all concerned and repented of the tendency to rage at injustice rather than seek God’s solution to it. We prayed for eighteen months, asking God to forgive as well, blessing also those who argued while asking God to reframe the conversation to give Himself the last word. The judge eventually reversed himself, saying the so-called science presented to rationalize the water cutoff no longer impressed him. Delta water flow returned to parched fields. God did have the last word and it was good.

Warfare by honor is God’s way to fight for His people and His plans; He never loses a conflict and we never have cause to regret it when we fight His battles using His methods. When, for example, Moses goes to Pharaoh, commanding in the Name of Yahweh that his people be freed, he always begins by asking God for long life for Pharaoh and wisdom for his rule. He is not wimpy in his demands, but he recognizes and acknowledges Pharaoh was made and loved by the same God who made the Israelites. Honor simply acknowledges God parting the sea for those who honor Him.

When Daniel must defy King Nebuchadnezzar over the issue of praying to God rather than to the king he does it with courtesy and prayer for the king’s well being. The fruit is – after a night among the lions – he is eventually enabled to lead the king to faith in God, just as Elijah earlier led King Ahab. When Paul defends his faith before the detestable Herod Antipas he first honors the king with confidence the king is quite able to see the truth Paul speaks; it was no different when Peter and John spoke before the Sanhedrin, telling leaders what they did not want to hear after honoring them as leaders of the Jews.

Jesus Himself honors Pontius Pilate and washes Judas’ feet before sharing the Supper with him, just as he does with the other disciples. This is how important God holds this thing we call warfare by honor. But what is this warfare that is so effective and yet so counter-intuitive to human methods?

It is simply walking out Paul’s teaching that we struggle not against flesh and blood – people are not the enemy – but against principalities and powers. We are called to engage one another rather than these powers themselves, using only the weapons with which Christ Himself engages us. There are three weapons, each expressing a dimension of repentance.

The first is blessing. Romans 12:14 is clear: We are to bless and curse not. That does not mean endorsing or accepting evil; it includes and requires confrontation of evil, but in terms of a loving God who hates nothing He has made. When Christian legal foundations take on judges who favor fish over farmers they do it in the knowledge God loves that judge as much as He loved kings like Ahab and Nebuchadnezzar. When we bless we simply pray for and affirm the best God intends even for His adversaries. We say in word, deed and – especially – prayer – that they are better than their behavior indicates and we seek that betterness. It requires repentance – re-focus on God – to bless those whom we abhor.

The second is forgiveness. John 20:19-23 is just as clear: Those sins we forgive are forgiven and those we retain are retained – by any who refuse God’s command to forgive as He forgives. Shannon Grove was a member of California’s Assembly known as a fiery voice for conservative and biblical values and hated by her opponents. That ended when she heard God calling her to pray for her enemies – for their blessing – even as she opposed their policies. It required her to repent of unforgiveness before she could so bless. Today she is the minority leader in the California State Senate and known as the one who prays for everyone in that body.

The third is engagement through the Lord’s Supper – however we express that act of ultimate worship. It takes a heap-load of repentance to feed our enemies and – perhaps – even more to relax into the necessarily unself-conscious worship via the sacred meal in the middle of a crisis. Yet when I was asked to lead a prayer team into a community called Forest Ranch that is exactly what we did.

Witches and warlocks were practicing their foul faith on a stone slab near the town’s northerly edge. We found the location, blessed them as children for whom Christ died, forgave them in His Name, and celebrated the Supper on the slab. This kind of thing is effective beyond argument – although consistent witness is crucial – it literally changes the atmospherics to alignment with the Lord’s powerful love. This change is impacting whether or not people know what has been done. Within days they had ceased operations and car crashes in the area had nearly stopped altogether. This is the power of the Lord released through repentance and reiteration of His ways; I have witnessed it many times. The world witnessed this power when it felled the Berlin Wall and set Eastern Europe free.

This is waging warfare by honor.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the EndTimes, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

New Book Releases :: October 8th, 2019

by Sean Frankel

This week we have some really amazing releases from Holly Black, James Patterson, Jojo Moyes, Danielle Steel, Robert Jordan, and Terry Goodkind!

I am personally super excited for the Robert Jordan book!

New Book Releases:
A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie – Mystery
A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry – Mystery
Child’s Play by Danielle Steel – Fiction
False Bingo by Jac Jemc – Fiction
Finn by Melody Anne – Romance  
Frozen 2: Forest of Shadows by Kamilla Benko – Kids
Grand Union by Zadie Smith – Lit. Fiction
Heart of the Moors by Holly Black – YA
I See You by Mary Burton – Mystery
Marley by Jon Clinch – Lit. Fiction
Merlin Redux by Dave Duncan – Fantasy
Ninth House by Leigh Bordugo – Fantasy
One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker – Fiction
Racing Hearts by Lauren Landish – Romance
Reveal Me by Taherah Mafi – YA
Salt Slow by Julia Armfield – Lit. Fiction
Sudden Traveller by Sarah Hall – Lit. Fiction
The 19th Christmas by James Patterson – Thriller 
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – YA
The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate – Mystery
The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L Armentrout – YA
The Christmas by Olivia Miles – Fiction 
The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt – Sci Fi
The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury – Romance
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – Thriller
The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
The Nugget by P T Deutermann – Thriller
The Raid by Steven Konkoly – Thriller
The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman – Horror
The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller – Romance 
Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan – Fantasy
Wasteland by Terry Goodkind – Fantasy

TRUTH, FICTION, AND NOTHING BUT GOSSIP AT HIGHEST LEVELS

by James A. Wilson

Once when I was still pastoring a member of my board raised a complaint at a board meeting. It seems a newcomer family had complained I pressured them for a pledge of money to the church. I responded this was neither my style nor a typical part of a newcomer visit; besides that I categorically denied doing it. The board member persisted that her friend was reliable and I needed to apologize for my misdeed. When I pointed out the Bible we revered required two eyewitnesses to verify a report against a leader – hoping to avoid wasting time on he-said-she-said – she seriously responded that inasmuch as her friend had witnessed my misbehavior and then told her of it there were two eyewitnesses. The rest of the board laughed off this equating of gossip with an eyewitness account and we moved on.

The latest tempest-in-a-teapot over President Donald Trump is much worse. A federal intelligence officer claims POTUS pressured the new Ukrainian president in a telephone conversation to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden over his recorded coercion of said president into firing a Ukrainian prosecutor; POTUS is even accused of threatening US aid to Ukraine as leverage. The Acting Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice did not treat disclosure as an emergency and Democratic Congressional leaders – and others, including some Republicans – are up in arms over what some would call “the appearance of evil” per the biblical 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Why did they refuse to rush what would be a serious – and perhaps impeachable – abuse of power? It is simple enough.

The whistleblower has no firsthand knowledge of the telephone conversation. Some other unidentified person(s) told the whistleblower and that makes – in the minds of the New York Times, CNN, and Democratic leaders – two witnesses corroborating the story. The whole thing is dizzying unless we recall our country has a document nearly as sacred as the Bible called the Constitution; that document requires witnesses to be confronted by the accused and hearsay evidence to be inadmissible on its face. We need to laugh and move on from this absurdity – this journalistic atrocity. Instead, Democrats are going full speed ahead on an impeachment inquiry.

There are larger issues than this, although it can be readily seen the Times and CNN have again deliberately misled the American People by calling credible that which is vicious gossip at best. The larger issue is whether or not POTUS used the power of the presidency for political gain against a rival or simply requested a legitimate look into justice. Joe Biden – against whom Trump is accused of conspiring – has been seen and heard by millions of Americans bragging of how he strong-armed the former Ukrainian president into firing a state prosecutor who was investigating Biden’s son, Hunter, for graft. Even under these circumstances if our president invoked a quid pro quo forcing his counterpart to investigate Biden or lose US military assistance it would be impeachable. However, the conversation from last July has now been released; it was a friendly exchange in which Ukraine first broached the subject and then volunteered to aid in any investigation the US might undertake.

Additionally, Donald Trump had already frozen aid to Ukraine prior to this conversation on grounds of Ukrainian government corruption. With the advent of a new president he unfroze the funds before this conversation took place or was even contemplated. Money for aid was never once mentioned in the conversation. That our DOJ is currently investigating the roots of the Mueller investigation and FISA Court abuses stemming from high office holders in the Obama Administration – possibly including abuses by the former vice president – is well known. Almost as well known is that the Ukrainian Government made attempts to provide evidence during Mueller and was stonewalled. If Ukraine is again offering cooperation it appears much more like a clean than an unclean move on their part – and on the part of our president.

What we have here is House leaders grasping at yet another straw in their lust to uncover something impeachable where there is not – and never has been – anything. They are relying on nothing but gossip. Additionally we have nothing but a friendly leader encouraging another leader to complete the housecleaning he has already begun, as Trump himself is completing a housecleaning. Finally we have the utter absence of anything resembling quid pro quo alongside abundant evidence Donald Trump was simply doing his job as the President. House and media leaders attempting to again deceive the American People need to spend some time in time out…and do some serious repenting.

The rest of us have some serious repenting to do as well. The facts do indeed need to come out and all of us should eagerly seek the truth, letting the chips fall where they may. That said, Americans have been gifted with a government of, by, and for the people themselves. That government presupposes responsible citizenship, not whining malcontents on both sides demanding somebody else get things right. In Donald Trump we have a president who stands for life, responsible constitutional government acting only when it must, and personal responsibility played out on a level playing field. We owe it to the God who made all of us Americans to stand with our president.

That standing includes voting him a Congress of honest and decent representatives. This occurs only when we re-commit to honesty and decency ourselves – or at least a critical mass of us so do. Then it gets really good.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

New Book Releases :: October 1st, 2019

by Sean Frankel

Here are some of the most popular books released today!

Most notably book 2 to The Bird Box and The Tattooist of Auschwitz came out today!

We also had some more great Christmas novels come out and Joe Hill released a new book!

A Mrs. Miracle Christmas by Debbie Macomber – Romance
A Tale of Magic… by Chris Colfer – Kids
Angel Mage by Garth Nix – Young Adult
Bloody Genius by John Sandford – Thriller
Cilka’s Journey (Book 2, Tattooist of Auschwitz) by Heather Morris – Historical Fiction
Conceal, Don’t Feel by Jen Calonite – Young Adult
Country by Michael Hughes – Lit Fiction
Drowning With Others by Linda Keir – Mystery
Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury – Sci Fi
Everything You Are by Kerry Anne King – Lit. Fiction
Full Throttle by Joe Hill – Horror
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky – Horror
MacTrump by Ian Doescher – General Fiction
Malorie (Bird Box, book 2) by Josh Malerman – Horror
Master of the Phantom Isle by Brandon Mull – Kids
Quantum by Patricia Cornwell – Thriller
Rebel by Marie Liu – Young Adult
Right After The Weather by Carol Anshaw – Lit. Fiction
Someplace to Call Home by Sandra Dallas – Kids
Takes One to Know One by Susan Issacs – Mystery
The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini – Romance
The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy – Lit. Fiction
The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen – Mystery
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner – Lit. Fiction 
The Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith – Paranormal Romance

Young Adult Books For Book Club

by Ashley Owens

Happy almost Friday fellow bookworms! I am following through on a promise to make a blog post a series… can you believe?!

In a recent post, I discussed some Adult Fiction recommendations for book clubs. Today I’d like to continue the book club recommendations by telling you about some YA books I think would be great picks for a book club!
The great thing about YA is that it’s often more accessible and readable for people because the main characters are younger. This is really important in book clubs, because not everyone reads avidly, so it’s a great way to get someone back into the “flow” of reading, or pique their interest in books & book clubs for the first time ever.


Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Seanz

There’s no way I was going to make a list of great ya books and not include this one – it’s literally my favorite ya book of all-time… I read it once a year.
Precious cinnamon rolls Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana are both high-school-aged Mexican-American boys who aren’t very good at making friends. Then they find each other at the community pool one summer, and as they come of age together they also develop a beautiful relationship.
Both of these boys are absolutely precious and their story is GORGEOUS. They both have this tendency to think the worst of themselves and be inside their own heads too much, though Ari to a greater extent. There’s so much to parse out and discuss about their family relationships, the discovery of their identities, culture, and the feelings they have. Seriously, I get emotional every time I read this book and find something new to love about this it.

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley

It’s queer. It’s a retelling of Beowulf. It’s got themes of feminism. It was clearly written for me specifically.

This novel has wells upon wells of interesting plot points, character choices, and social commentary to draw on for a book club discussion. It will keep you guessing and interested, and I guarantee everyone will be asking each other about their interpretations of the book’s series of events. It’s a wild ride of a book, and one written unlike most other ya novels out there. If you choose this book for your book club, please talk about the author’s use of language, because it is exquisite!

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Shocking – a Gayle Forman book on another YA list of mine! I will never forget my experience reading this book; I literally cried when I finished it because I was sad it was over and knew I’d never read another like it. It changed my life.
While the title of this book suggest it’s about one day only, the main character’s story actually takes place over the course of a whole year. After meeting Willem in France and spending an adventurous day together, Allison goes home to the US and finds herself dissatisfied with her life and herself. She embarks on a serious journey of change and self-discovery, and it’s honestly inspiring.
I wasn’t in a book club at the time I read this, but I found myself wanting to talk about the topics this book brought up with anyone I could. It really made me think about finding “value” in life and how/when we know we’re in love, and so many other deep thoughts & feelings. These kinds of topics lend themselves super well to a book club.

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

This book is me; it is my heart and soul. It’s like the author was speaking to/thinking of me directly as she wrote the story.
It’s a hard-hitting YA book about a girl whose brother rapes her best friend, leaving her to face some difficult realities, made all the more difficult by the fact that she is a survivor of sexual assault herself. It has queer representation in it, which is outstanding. And the writing itself is thoughtful but doesn’t shy away from the difficult. There’s so much empathy and care in the story, it’s absolutely breathtaking. I 100% recommend everyone read it, even if you don’t read it for book club specifically.

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Really any Adam Silvera book could be on this list. Just know that if you choose to pick one of his books up, you absolutely will cry during your reading of it.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I do believe this book has been on the NY Times bestseller list for over a year and a half now… which has to be a record.
This is such an important book, and handles the topic of the Black Lives Matters movement with intelligence, care, and passion. It’s also an accessible reading experience that remains honest, because the author can speak about it with honesty and from a place of experience.
It’s well written and makes for some deep conversation. Deep and important.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

It would appear that this book has flown completely under the radar; I have no idea why more people aren’t reading it!
In this novel, Minnow Bly is arrested for attempted murder after escaping from a religious cult. Oh, and she has no hands.
This is an absolutely original and riveting story. It’s surprisingly large, but doesn’t read that way. Seeing things through Minnow’s point of view really forces readers to be sympathetic and open. Her journey and the way she learns about what the world is really like is absolutely fascinating.


Check out more by Sparky here: http://wp.sparkylovesbooks.com/

HURRICANE DORIAN: THANKSGIVING A GOOD PLACE TO START

by James A. Wilson

Much has been spoken and written – deservedly so – about the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. The Category 5 storm hit the Bahamas with lethal force, accounting for more than sixty deaths and counting, plus mega millions in property damage. It killed two more people on Ocracoke Island – offshore of North Carolina – and sowed more devastation when it hit Eastern Canada. Progressive politicians and activists managed to make political hay – shocker – by accusing Donald Trump and ICE of new outrages when they declined to admit a hundred Bahamians to the country without visas. But I have not seen or heard one word about how thankful Americans ought to be in the matter of Hurricane Dorian.

Seriously, Jim? Sure, you are the guy who is always carrying on about how a Eucharistic heart – a heart thankful by default that can only be grown by repetitious choosing to give thanks when it makes sense and when it is counter-intuitive to the max – but seriously?

Let me count the ways. Dorian was expected to devastate Florida with nearly the destruction it brought Grand Bahama; for all practical purposes Florida was untouched as the storm turned northeast and skirted the Florida shoreline. By the time it reached the Carolinas it was – against all predictions – down to Category 1 and barely swiped the mainland, if at all. It swept up the eastern seaboard without much more than a peep although it flared up again on reaching Canada. You’d better believe there’s thanks to be giving!

There are other things to be thankful for. Untold thousands of Christians prayed in the days and weeks leading up to the storm breaking; they prayed for mercy and provision and for God to get glory for Himself. I don’t know whether people in the Bahamas and Northeastern Canada prayed with such commitment – surely some did and perhaps many – but I am inclined to thank God for what He has actually done rather than winge about what He has yet to do. That certainly aligns with the urging in 1 Thessalonians 5 to choose joy however we feel, pray without ceasing, and give thanks for all things. That is how we are enabled to see how God keeps His promise in Romans 8 to work all things for good in those who love Him and are called accordingly – sooner or later and one way or another.

The promise and instruction are potentially all encompassing of humanity, although in practice the number heeding either or both is much smaller. It is too difficult for most of us – and I include myself all too often – to really surrender our will to anyone else, especially when that One says we need to persevere to the end if we want to see the good stuff unleashed. The good news is all that persistence comes about through one choice at a time to repent – re-focus – enough to say thanks when it seems a silly thing to choose in the face of relentless adversity.

Of course it is counter-intuitive. Yet when we begin with thanksgiving we find our attention is diverted away from present – and entirely real disaster – to what the Lord Himself is beginning to unfold in the ashes. When I was divorced in 2015 – and let no one think I am defending divorce, including my own – hell had no fury like what most of the Church turned on me without a hearing or a question. Frankly, I was so spiritually exhausted I would have been happy to finish my days in the peace of obscurity; I chose to give thanks even for pain and injustice while waiting to see what the Lord had in mind. What he had in mind – so far revealed – was a new love and family, re-location to Australia where I not only married but found a British publisher for the novel turned down by so many American houses. I was invited to revive the radio ministry I left behind in California, was led to Idaho when my wife received her green card, was enabled to buy a home against all odds, and find myself still discovering the new pathways of ministry I would never have found in a million years had disaster never struck.

It was no different when it took five years of record-breaking drought to bring a few thousand Christians in each west coast state to seek a culture of repentance – begging God to make in us a eucharistic heart is a big first step into it – that radically changed our lives. God broke the drought into the bargain after spreading one man’s vision from the Mexican border into Alaska and the Arctic Circle.

No, we are not capable of doing all things – certainly when the adversary is a hurricane or a drought. We are – however – capable of choosing thanks over depression, and so enabling God to perfect His strength in our demonstrated weakness.

In the spirit then of 2 Chronicles 7:14, thank you Lord…for Dorian.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

New Book Releases :: September 24th, 2019

by Sean Frankel

These are all the popular book releases for September 24th, 2019! #titletuesday!

There are some fantastic Young Adult books that were released today!

The New Releases
A MacGregor Christmas by Nora Roberts – Romance
All the Devils by Barry Eisler – Mystery
Blood In the Water by Jack Flynn – Mystery
Bomber’s Moon by Archer Mayor – Mystery
Coming Home For Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne – Romance
Exile From Eden by Andrew Smith – YA
Immortal Born by Lynsay Sands – Paranormal Romance
Invisible As Air by Zoe Fishman – Fiction
Kisses In the Snow by Debbie Macomber – Romance
Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh – Romance
Lethal Agent by Kyle Mills & Vince Flynn – Thriller
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak – Lit. Fiction
Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix – Kids
Right Beside You by Mary Monroe – Fiction
Rules For Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall – YA
Sins of Fathers by J.A. Jance – Mystery
Spirit of the Season by Fern Michaels – Romance
The Bone Ships by Rj Barker – Fantasy
The Dutch House by Ann Pratchett – Fiction
The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz – Sci Fi
The Grey Sisters by Jo Treggiari – YA
The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen – Lit. Fiction
The Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino – Fiction
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht – Fantasy
The Off-Islander by Peter Colt – Mystery
The Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart – YA
The Tenth Girl by Sarah Faring – YA
The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan – Kids
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman – Lit. Fiction
Verify by Joelle Charbonneau – YA 
Violet by Scott Thomas – Horror
Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell – YA
Wrapped Up In You by Jill Shalvis – Romance

New Book Releases :: September 17th, 2019

by Sean Frankel

Some of the amazing new releases for September 17th, 2019! #titletuesday

Science Fiction and Romance releases have some big named authors! Definitely make sure to check those out!

The New Releases
A Golden Grave by Erin Lindsey – Mystery
A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – Fantasy
A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier – Lit. Fiction
A Trick Of Light by Stan Lee – Sci Fi
Ark by Veronica Roth – Sci FI
Dark Forge by Miles Cameron – Fantasy
Death In Focus by Anne Perry – Historical Mystery
Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay – Thriller
Frost and Flame by Gena Showalter – Paranormal Roamce
Guts by Raina Telgemeier – Kids
Land Of Wolves by Craig Johnson – Mystery
Met Her Match by Jude Devereux – Romance
On Division by Goldie Goldbloom – Lit. Fiction
Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr – Fiction
Red At the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson – Fiction
Shatter City by Scott Westerfield – YA
Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker – YA
Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd – Romantic Suspense
Summer Frost by Blake Crouch – Sci Fi
The Midnight Blade by Max Brallier – Kids
The Stalking by Heather Grahm – Romance
The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger – Mystery
The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox – Horror
What Rose Forgot by Neveda Barr – Mystery
You Have Arrived At Your Destination by Amor Towles – Sci FI