Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Kathi Macias is one busy woman! She has written both fiction and nonfiction, she does public speaking in various venues. She won the 2008 Member of the Year Award from Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. Her most recent books include The Extreme Devotion Series: No Greater Love, More Than Conquerers, Red Ink, and the upcoming People of the Book (April 2011). Find out more about her at http://www.kathimacias.com/index.html. She also has a new site: http://www.thetitus2women.com/.

Kathi was generous enough to share a recipe that is perfect for gift-giving or just to keep on hand.

“Cake in a Jar”

Betty Crocker cake mix (use pudding recipe on back of box)

Use canning jars—spray inside of jars with PAM and fill jar just under halfway mark

Put jars on a metal cookie sheet in oven; bake according to cake mix directions

When done baking, take jars from oven with tongs and DO NOT ALLOW JARS TO TOUCH EACH OTHER OR THEY WILL SHATTER

While baking take the seal part of the lids and boil in water on the stove. When you take the jars out of oven, put a seal on them and lightly screw on the top. Tighten tops down after jars cool a little.

What is your favorite type of gift to give?

Something personal and/or handmade, since that’s the type I prefer to receive.

Kathi your newest series clearly comes out of a passion for the persecuted church. How did you sense God leading you to write about the persecuted church? Have you traveled to the areas where your books take place? (I love that you are passionate about Voice of the Martyrs. I’m passionate about them and the work they are doing, too! )

Of the four countries covered in the Extreme Devotion series, I’ve been to Mexico only. All the others I had to do intense research on to bring them to life, plus work with people who live in the countries as the stories developed. My passion for Voice of the Martyrs and all the true stories I heard from their publications were the impetus for creating this series, particularly Red Ink, which is loosely based on the true life account of a woman named Li Ying who is currently in prison in China for printing/distributing Christian materials.

If you could travel anywhere you haven’t been to before, where would you go and why?

Israel! Each time I’ve planned to go, something came up and I wasn’t able to do so. My dream is to go there before I die, but if not, I’ll certainly see the New Jerusalem afterward, won’t I?

Which character in your books do you most closely relate to and why?

Probably Chioma in No Greater Love. She was a strong-willed young woman, and I’ve always been that way, though probably not nearly as noble as Chioma proved to be. My prayer is that God will continue to draw me closer to Him so that I might want day resemble Zhen-Li in Red Ink.

I’m so excited to see that you are part of a Titus 2 Women’s ministry site. Can you tell us a bit more about this ministry?

Tbis ministry was a couple of years in the making, as we prayed about/discussed it before launching it recently (www.thetitus2women.com). We believe it is a scriptural concept for the older women to teach the younger, and we seven ladies are all “mature” and have been in the Christian publishing industry for decades. It is our desire to minister/help the younger women who are coming along behind us to prepare to take the baton and continue to run the race. What a privilege and honor God has given us!

As a mother of two, I love that you have a book about biblical examples of mothering. Who is your favorite mother in the Bible and what do you think younger mothers can learn from her?

Because I married so young (18) and moved away with my military husband, I didn’t really have a role model close by. With two children by the time I was 20, I certainly needed one! I suppose that’s why I relate to Eve, who was the first mother and had no one to turn to for advice or comfort. That realization has completely changed my perception of her.

What is your favorite part about being a mother?

When my children (who are all long-since grown and gone with children of their own) come home and I get to wrap my arms around them in welcome. Don’t you imagine the Father feels that way (on a much grander scale, of course) when He welcomes one of His own? Makes me that much more anxious for my own heavenly homecoming!

Can you share with us a favorite writing tip?

Just do it! If God has gifted/called you to write, stop putting it off. Don’t let that book/story/poem/song die inside you. Start today! It doesn’t have to be perfect; writing is a craft that is learned over the years. But if you keep putting it off until tomorrow, it will never happen.

Do you have any favorite writing related rituals?

No. I’m a trained journalist, and I simply sit down and start working as I would at any other job. I do have to discipline myself to stay away from Facebook and emails, though—a terrible distraction, I’m afraid!

Would you like to leave us with a short excerpt from Red Ink, your latest release?


By Kathi Macias


Yang Zhen-Li was nearing thirty but at times felt twice that old. Her back was becoming permanently bent forward from the heavy pails she carried daily, one attached on each end of the thick bamboo rod that stretched across her shoulders, mirroring the heaviness of her heart. There had been a time when she’d been acclaimed as a beauty, but she could scarcely remember why…or imagine that it would matter.

She tried to fight the encroaching darkness, tried to hold fast to what she knew was true, but the constant lies and propaganda were taking a greater toll even than the physical labor and abuse or the burning, gnawing hunger. If her situation didn’t change soon, she knew she would never live long enough to see her husband or son again. And with nearly eight years of her ten-year sentence left to serve, the possibilities of her emerging from prison alive grew dimmer by the day.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. She forced herself to focus on one of the many scripture verses she’d had opportunity to memorize between the time she accepted Zhu Yesu as her Savior and her arrest by members of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) on charges of teaching religion to children, including giving them papers containing religious writings. Even before her arrest, her parents had written to her—warned her, begged her, threatened her—and finally had her kidnapped in an attempt to convince her to go along with the government rules, especially the one limiting each family to one child. After all, she already had a healthy son. Why would she want another baby when they could scarcely afford to feed the first one? But though her abductors had forcibly aborted her second child, they had not succeeded in convincing Yang Zhen-Li to abandon the faith she had adopted before marrying her Christian husband. If anything, the ordeal had only strengthened her resolve to take a stand for the meaning of her name—Zhen-Li, “Truth,”—and spurred her to begin actively sharing the Good News of Yesu every chance she got. As a trained teacher, that quite naturally included talking with children about the gospel, a practice expressly forbidden by the government.

And now she was paying the price. Separated from her family and sentenced to ten years of hard labor and “re-education,” Zhen-Li struggled to survive against pain, exhaustion, and bitter loneliness. Worst of all were the times she felt God had abandoned her. It wasn’t enough to know in her mind that He promised never to leave or forsake her. She needed a visible reminder—soon—if she was to continue to remain faithful behind these prison walls.

Thank you so much for being here, Kathi!

My pleasure! I look forward to hearing from your readers/followers!
GIVEAWAY: I have a full set of Kathi's Extreme Devotion series for giveaway.  This includes: No Greater Love , More Than Conquerers AND Red Ink. 
(1) Please enter your email in this format:
name (at)  wherever (dot) com
(2) Answer the following question in the comment section: Have you ever read a fictional book that impacted your faith? 
I will draw the winner's comment number using random number generator on Tuesday January 18, 2011.


Thanks so much for posting this, Julia. I was so excited to see it appear almost simultaneously with the glowing review of Red Ink on Crosswalk.com this morning. Blessings to you and your followers!

Oh, I'm so glad it came up at the same time. And I'm so glad you got a great review at Crosswalk, you deserve it!

Thank you for having this giveaway. I have heard such great things about these books and I would love to win them. I have read several novels that have had an impact on my faith. Whenever I read books like that I am amazed by the author's ability to infuse such a powerful message in a story. I love books like that. Thanks again!

Thank you for the in-depth interview. The giveaway is wonderful.

One book that I always share is Leota's Garden by Francine Rivers. It's a book of reconciliation, something we need more of today. It encouraged me in my relationships with family.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Kathi said: "I do have to discipline myself to stay away from Facebook and emails, though—a terrible distraction, I’m afraid!"

it's so nice to know I'm not the only one that has this problem! :)
Thank you for the interview ~ I so hope I win!

In answer to your question, yes. I still cry when I read C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia books, my favorite being the Last Battle. Everytime I read/listen to these, I learn or see something new.

Thank you for the giveaway ~

kjv1611as (at) gmail (dot) com

I read alot of Christian fiction and the books that inspired me and I frequently re-read are Lisa Wingate's "Tending Roses" series, and Robin Gunn Jones' "Gardenia's For Breakfast". There are many others that I read that are so wonderfully inspiring and give me moments to pause and think about my life and faith. Kudos to all the authors who give us these books to read.
Thank you for the entry in your giveaway.



Great interview!

Many books have impacted my faith. One of the authors who always 'gets me' is Lisa Samson.

Blessings -

Andrea Schultz
andrealschultz (at) gmail (dot) com

Ponderings by Andrea blog

Thanks for the interview!

I'm sure every book influences my faith at some level. The most surprising one was the Thomas Covenant series by Stephen R. Donaldson. Although the idea of having such a sinful and faulty anti-hero is unattractive to many Christian readers, Covenant's character helped me to understand the way Pride and Guilt can integrate deeply into a person's self-perception and the way that person interacts with others.

My email address is:

roachcutie (at) gmail (dot) com


Several Christian fiction books have impacted my life. Probably the one I remember most doing that was Robert Winslow's "The List." Stephanie Grace Whitson also moves me enough that I've read all her books. I would love to win the drawing as I'm just getting to know Kathi through Christian Writers Fellowship International -- and loving her! I am anxious to read all of her books.

Please enter me--reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Many novels have impacted my faith to some degree or other. The first Christian novels I read after I was saved as a teen definitely helped shape my view of all that a Christian young lady should be. Novels I've read in recent years have helped me dwell on what is right, pure, lovely, etc., as I follow wonderful characters through a story.

But two novels that impacted my faith in the way this one probably would are Safely Home by Randy Alcorn and Daughter of China by C. Hope Flinchbaugh. Both books presented Christians under persecution and made me think about what I would do were I in their situations and how I could pray for those who are suffering.

Many fictional Christian books effect my faith. I like reading about people in real situations and how their faith and God got them through when we aren't perfect. I can't think of a specific book right now but I look for that when I read. If I don't feel I will get that, I may not finish the book.

The Shack was a HUGE shock to me. I was blown away by how unconventional the story was, and it took a lot to remember that is WAS fiction.

I am so excited for this giveaway!!!! :D Ahhhh, thank you so much!


I have read many books that have impacted my faith! One of those was Deadline by Randy Alcorn. It totally changed how I view Heaven. I had seen it as white cloud toilet paper commercials before-well maybe not totally- but surely not as a vibrant place. I looked forward to going (as opposed to the other place) but not in any rush. I was actually afraid of boredom. Silly me-how could I think that my Heavenly Father did not have an exciting afterlife planned for us with all the things we so love doing.

I also really was changed by was Daughter of China by C. Hope Flinchpaugh. We have it so easy here!

Kim Thorne

I don't know if Kim will come back to read the comments, but Randy Alcorn also changed how I view heaven with his books Deadline and Safely Home. He wrote a non-fiction book titled, Heaven, which I absolutely love! It's a must-read. And Amanda, whenever I listen to The Last Battle (Focus on the Family Radio Theater), it makes me cry, too . . . so many good books out there!

What a wonderful interview, Julia! Kathi it is pleasure to meet you! I haven’t read any of your books yet but they sound so edifying and inspiring and I would LOVE to read them :) Voice of the Martyrs is such an incredible organization. When I got the mail last week and saw the cover of their latest newsletter I sat down at the kitchen table and just cried. Most American Christian’s have no idea what it means to be truly “persecuted” for their faith in Jesus Christ. These people intimately know what Paul means when he says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Sometimes our “freedom” can be more of a handicap in our walk with Christ. Anyway, knowing where you draw your inspiration from and reading that beautiful excerpt you shared makes me so excited for this series! Great titles too, BTW! I love fiction that can edify and encourage your walk with the Lord :)

As far as a fiction book that has impacted my faith- I can think of two from last year that really stick out in my mind and heart: Laura Frantz’s “Courting Morrow Little” and Karen Witemeyer’s “Head in the Clouds”. In CML I saw the power of forgiveness and how the Lord will help us grant it and except it. Also the great peace to be gained in giving your fears to Jesus. In HITC I saw the importance of waiting on God’s direction and how He will guide His children in all situations. Also His patience with us and how He can make something beautiful out of our mistakes. Both books really impacted me, showcasing the power of God in a very real way and leaving lasting impressions on my heart. I’m greatly looking forward to both Laura and Karen’s new releases coming out this year!

Julia, I was truly blessed by this interview :) Thank you so much for spotlighting Kathi and introducing me to her work! I loved your review for No Greater Love and I hope to read it and her others soon! Thank you so much for the chance, my friend :)

May God richly bless you both!!

Sorry, I meant "accept" forgiveness not "except" forgiveness, LOL! Blame it on another sinus headache, Julia ;)


Hello Julia and Kathi! Julia, you always feature the most fascinating writers on your lovely blog, and Kathi, it is a real joy to meet you today! Although I have not read any of your books - yet- I am looking forward to doing so and wish you much luck with your writing. I recently read "Touched by Mercy" by Tina Pinson and "A Christmas Gift" by Diane Craver and they are both very touching, faith-filled works. Happy new Year and blessings to both of you.

@ Carly,

Isn't it great that there are such impacting books out there?

@ Linda,
Thanks for coming by! I loved Leota's Garden and I agree. What a redeeming message of forgiveness.


Emails are one of my greater temptations, too, I'm afraid. And I agree with you about the Narnia books. I am looking forward to reading these to my children, although I don't think I've read the 7th book.


I haven't read either of the authors you mention although I have heard good things about Robin Gunn and Lisa Wingate. Thanks for stopping in.


Isn't it great when we find authors like that? Thanks for stopping by.


Your suggestion did surprise me a bit. But it does seem like fantasy ofen deals with matters of faith.


Your suggestion did surprise me a bit. But it does seem like fantasy ofen deals with matters of faith.


From what I've seen of Kathi online she seems like a gem. The group you mentioned intrigues me. I'll have to check it out.

Renee Ann,

Between a friend at church mentioning Alcorn and you mentioning him online, I simply must read him soon. That's a powerful book if it changed your viewpoint of heaven.


I can totally understand where you're coming from. After reading some watered down books my resolution is to put anything down that's not going to help in growing my faith.


I haven't read The Shack, but I know it impacted many people.

@ the other Amanda- I just noticed your email address and I think its really cool! Just wanted to let you know :)


Between you, Renee, and others, I will definitely have to give Randy Alcorn a try!


I love what you say about our freedom being a handicap. I've often thought that. We're so "fat" with temptations in this nation while others are being starved, beaten, and persecuted for their faith daily. Convicts my heart so deeply.

Of course, I agree on Courting Morrow Little and I think I will definitely have to try Karen's books this year!


Thanks for stopping in. I haven't read either of the authors you've mentioned, but have heard much about them online. God bless!

In light of Luke 12:48- "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required."- I've often thought that American's will be judged more than anyone else when we stand before the Lord. That being said, this nation could also produce some of the greatest overcomer's Church history has ever seen! Never has any people in any generation been presented with so much to stumble it and turn it's eyes to behold vanity. "Fat with temptations" is right. But praise the Lord for the Way of escape that we may be able to bear it and be victorious in Him! :)


a wonderful posting/giveaway...lisa samson's novels always 'talk' to me.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Julia M. Reffner

About Me

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Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.


Contributor at The Writer's Alley:


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