Thursday, January 28, 2016


Edie here. I want to make sure you know that Henry's latest book, Riverbed Justice, is now available. Read more about it at the end of this post. Also, today is Henry's birthday. Be sure to leave him lots of well wishes. And remember, the best gift we can give a writer is a review!

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God chooses to do through us. God doesn't want our success; He wants us. He doesn't demand our achievements; He demands our obedience.
~ Charles Colson as quoted in Mike Huckabee's God Fruits

Why is it hard sometimes to give God what he wants most from us—our obedience?

It’s easy to obey in some things.
  • Yes, Lord, I’ll go to church every Sunday. And I’ll volunteer in the nursery or the parking lot, wherever they need me.
  • Yes, Lord, I’ll spend time each day reading the Bible and praying.
  • Yes, Lord, I’ll bless the food before every meal.

There are times when it's hard to obey.
But then there are times when it’s hard to obey.
  • Tithe? I’m not sure about this tithing thing, Lord. Are you sure it’s scriptural?
  • Go with the church into a town devastated by a tornado or hurricane. I don’t know, Lord. There’s no electricity or working toilets. Can’t I just give a little extra instead?
  • Buy a meal for a homeless person? I can do that, Lord.
  • Sit with them, listen to them, minister to them, pray for them. I don’t know Lord. I’ve got to get the kids to Little League.
  • Give up my job and move to the mission field? Are you nuts, Lord? No offense.
  • Leave my family and move to another part of the country to serve in a ministry? That’s asking a lot, Lord.
  • Be a writer? Get up early. Stay up late. Type words into a computer that nobody seems interested in reading. Send query after query and receive rejection after rejection. Have critique partners give me a deer-in-the-headlights look when my beautiful writing leaves them confused and questioning if English is my primary language. Walk in a world with it’s own jargon (show, don’t tell; point of view; three act structure), a world that sometimes seems like a granola festival—full of fruits, nuts, and flakes. To put my ego out there to be flayed, fileted and fried.
I’ve learned—okay, I’m still learning every day—to be obedient in the little things. This will develop the strength and faith in him to be faithful in the big things.

Being obedient to His call to write is a big thing. It requires humbling myself, it requires sacrifice of time and finances, it requires risking, putting aside comfort and pride, and doing what He puts on my heart.

And it’s worth it. For the reward. Not the financial or ego rewards, although they are nice. I’m talking about the reward of standing before Him and hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Has God ever asked you to do something and you thought He’d lost His marbles? How did you handle it?

Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Riverbend Justice

Riverbend Justice is the exciting sequel to Henry McLaughlin’s award winning novel, Journey to Riverbend.

In this second book of the Riverbend Sagas, Michael Archer, wracked by guilt and failure over having killed once again, embarks on a mission to clear the name of Ben Carstairs, a man wrongly executed for murder. He tried to do this once before and failed. If not for the wish of Ben’s dying father, Michael would have gladly disappeared into his old life and pulled the cork in after him.

His journey brings him back to dear friends who had supported him when he made his way from the depths of a life headed for hell to one where he dared dream of possible happiness.

Can he ever recover that dream? Is he even worthy of it? Is he worthy of Rachel Stone, the woman he fell in love with in Riverbend?

With the help of old friends and new, he seeks to unravel the mystery. Only now, records are missing, potential witnesses can’t be found, and the forces seeking to keep the secret are more determined than ever to stop him. Another murder takes place, possible suspects disappear, and danger looms as ominous strangers threaten.

Undeterred, he continues. When he is beaten and shot, and an innocent young girl is taken hostage, and his beloved Rachel Stone is wounded, he puts aside physical pain and his own fears to seek the killers.

In finding them, he reveals corruption reaching to the highest levels of the town. Levels more determined than ever to stop him. To bring the guilty to justice and to save those he holds most dear, he faces a life or death struggle with powerful enemies. Revealing the truth may cost him more than he is willing to pay.

Henry’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest. 

He serves as Associate Director of North Texas Christian Writers. 

Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers. 

Connect with Henry on his blogTwitter and Facebook.


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HENRY. Thank you for writing this. Obedience compels me to write. I never wanted to be a writer; I don't like writing. (OK, I am starting to like it, just a little). As a speaker, ladies would ask for a book on the topic. "I am not a writer," was my quick response. This went on for 15 years. I finally prayed and ask my Father if He wanted me to write. 18 months ago I attending the New England Christian Writers Retreat in hopes of confirmation. God spoke clearly to me through many people. I left knowing that I must write. If I did not write I would be blatantly disobedient. I think of 1 John 5:3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." I am a writer now. Obedience is freedom to me. I know my Heavenly Father is pleased by obedience. His Spirit confirms in my heart that I am doing His will. There is nothing greater in this world than the peace that follows obedience. There are days I don't want to write, He gently reminds me that He will give me the power to do it.

    1. Cherrilynn, it comforts me to read your comment. When God pulled me from engineering into writing, I thought He was nuts, to say the least. He used the 2006 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference to confirm His call. Like you, I don't enjoy writing. I love the research but the writing is hard. I'm a very social person in a solitary job.

      But He has blessed my obedience by allowing my Bible study, Storms of Life, to be published. It doesn't sell that many but I know He uses it in the life of each woman who reads it.

      Your comment blessed me more than you know. I thought I was the only writer who didn't like to write!

  2. Happy Birthday, Henry! And congrats on the new sequel.

    Edie, Chuck Colson's quote nailed it for me and the things God is teaching me these days: "It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God chooses to do through us. God doesn't want our success; He wants us." And it all begins with being obedient in the little things.

    1. I had the same reaction, Cathy. Even tweeted it, as it's something we all need to think and act on

    2. Thank you, Cathy and Ellen. Colson's quote was a dart to my heart when I first read it. When He has my obedience is when He can really work in my life.

  3. Edie, this post has been both convicting and comforting. The comments have been especially meaningful.

    When God took me from engineering to a Bible-study author, I thought He was nuts. Actually, sometimes I still think He's nuts but I struggle on to be obedient.

    1. I know what you mean, Sherry. I still have times when I wonder if I'm the right person. He must be nuts to think so. It's taking that first step of obedience that opens the door of revelation. Of course, there are still times when I look yo heaven and say, "Remember, this was Your idea!"

  4. Happy birthday!

    Thank you for the insight. Your book sounds intriguing.

  5. my mind still can't grasp that the writing i so love (grit and all) is truly His call! i know it is, but it blows me away! thank you for the nudge to be obedient in it, and to work with excellence!

  6. Thank you, Robin. I'm glad my words blessed you.

  7. Happy birthday, Henry! I hope it's your best one EVER! Loved--and needed--this post. Thank you. :-)