Wednesday, December 31, 2008

_My Wicked, Wicked Ways_

The 1940s actor, Errol Flynn, gave this title to his bio. He was handsome, debonair, even swashbuckling in his adventure movies. With brawls, wives and mistresses, fortunes that came and went, he considered himself a charming rascal. Wicked.

I thought of this as, during my New Year's introspections, I considered how God talked about the wicked ways of His own people in the Old Testament.

Just the other day, I mentioned something related to this. Well, just this morning, I came across it again. In the New Testament. Galatians 5.

It's among the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit, right beside, wow, hatred, sexual immorality and other detestable things: witchcraft.

Yes, we're made in His awesome image and have many of His traits--creativity being one, love being another.

But lately we're being drawn away from obedience and into something He detests.

When I consider what's going on in our country today--indeed, in all the world--my concern is the MY PEOPLE in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

God's people are embracing witchcraft and the occult with Harry Potter and Twilight. And it must break His heart.

Deuteronomy 18 and Galatians 5 both say that those practitioners will not enter the Kingdom of God.

But what happens when people already in God's Kingdom practice it? Or just wish they could? Or even just find their amusement and entertainment there? What happens to them?

On a personal level, whatever it is, I don't want it happening to me.

The Lord disciplines those He loves. He disciplines me enough already!

But the Chronicles passage also deals with your land. God promises that if His people will turn from their--our--wicked ways, He will heal our land.

Conversely, are the Wall Street problems part of God's lifting His protection from our land? Is He disciplining the United States and the rest of the world?

If so, wouldn't we rather see peace and prosperity again, than books and movies that makes what God calls detestable look cute, sexy and smart?

Or a book that misleads people right out of the Truth that gives eternal life--The Shack-- that says on page 110 (Jesus) is the best way to relate to God. He's not. Jesus, Himself, says He is the ONLY way to the Father.

Walter Martin says in The Kingdom of the Cults that if you miss who Jesus is, you have missed it all.

And again, and on a personal level: Between being amused and being used--in answered prayer and Power of the Holy Spirit--wouldn't we rather see our friends and loved ones healed of diseases and delivered from pain because we choose to walk close to God than be entertained by things God detests--as charming as they certainly may be?

And if we do find our amusement in detestable things, could that give the enemy permission to hassle us? I beleive so. But that's a topic for another day.

This very situation is one faced by my main character, Maggie. Crushed by a tragedy, she went into rebellion. Seeking answers, she delved into powers not from God. Her fun-loving, happy-go-lucky personality was lost in the darkness--for a season. And she was hassled by the enemy before she regained her joy of life.

Lord, please show us if there be any wicked way in us, and lead us into lives that please you. So you may forgive us for our disloyalty. And so we may see more of your power and glory and victory in our lives. And so you will heal our land!

Habakkuk 3:2 (New International Version)

LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

In the mighty name of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Now, I'm going to bake 7-Layer Cookies:

360 for 30 minutes

So easy and fast:

stick of butter --melt in bottom of 9x14 pan

Graham cracker crumbs -- 1 C spread over the butter

Sprinkle 1 C each:

semi-sweet chocolate chips
butterscotch chips

1 can condensed milk

top with:
about 1 1/4 C or two small pkgs chopped pecans or mixed nut topping

Bake at 360 for 30 minutes. Let cool and cut. Enjoy!

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

_Twilight_ of Loyalty to God?

What do you think about the books and movie, Twilight?

(Click here:) Should Christian Teens Be Reading "Twilight?"

As with
Harry Potter ( 7-17-07 and 10-20-07) and The
, there are mixed emotions about Twilight, as this article above attests.

It concludes:

So, What's the Verdict?

There really is no verdict here, just a conscious choice. Like anything we see in the world today, you have to make a choice you can live with. As Christians, we need to be mindful of what we put in our minds and hearts.

Some Christians have read and seen a lot of books on witchcraft, sex, violence, and more without it ever even denting their faith. However, a lot of other Christians are more vulnerable, and the smallest mention of something tempting can lure them away. You have to know where you are and what you can handle in order to choose wisely.

Well--how about--choose wisely NOT to go there, to things God hates, in the first place.

The article does mention Deuteronomy 18:9-14. We should take that passage seriously.

To me, it's a matter of obedience. It's a matter of holding God in awe and reverence and holy fear of His loving discipline.

And even more, it's a matter of love and loyalty to the One who loves and protects us and gave His life for us--and to us.

I wish I could say I never do anything wrong and that my faith is therefore perfect and strong. I pray for more love, more power to obey and to minister, and more faith. I wish I were a perfect example to emulate. I'm not. But we can all learn from each other, can't we? And this is something that I think is important to share.

It's hard for me to imagine the First Century Christians who had walked with Jesus and/or with the eyewitnesses of His amazing, giving life on earth, and the power of the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost, finding their entertainment in things God hates.

I just read in a book of John Wesley's sermons, The Holy Spirit and Power, that in Augustine of Hippo's church, SIX people were raised from the dead.

This was over two hundred years after the death of the last apostle.

His power did not diminish with the death of the last apostle, as some traditions teach.

The power of God through the Holy Spirit was never intended to diminish. If it has diminished, we can recall that Jesus could do few miracles in Nazareth because of *their* unbelief. He did manage to heal a few!

Wouldn't we love to see a few healings!

I submit that if we had more belief, we'd probably have more loyalty. And that if we practiced more loyalty, we'd also find ourselves filled with more belief.

I suspect we are in the Laodicean Church Age. That's the last church named in Revelation before the trumpet says "Come up here." That's a whole 'nother topic.

But if so, we have a challenge all around us. Jesus questions whether He would find faith on the earth when He returns.

I think the solution to less faith on the earth is to surround ourselves with friends and teachers who bring out that faith, to practice loyalty, and to pray to be (continually) filled with the Spirit.

And this plays out in part by not turning for entertainment to books about things God hates and tells us so for our own well-being.

Again, I'm no great example.

But given the choice, rather than read a "good" book, I'd rather see some loved ones healed....

Monday, December 15, 2008

In Withdrawal from a blessing

I'm in withdrawal. Slept so late. It was all so much fun.

I'm talking about the Christmas musical in our church, "Sing Joy." You can find some of the songs on Youtube.

Awesome Christmas songs, many new ones.

In addition to the Worship Choir, we had three groups of singers--Dickens, '40s Swing and Christmas Classics. The musical used the whole choir of 80-100--

I'm very analytical, and I think about the emotions that I would feel if I sang in a pop-secular group, love songs and all. I know I'd enjoy it.

But singing here, songs about and to the One that returns--initiated--that love! What a blessing. It just gets better and better. Unlike my singing. LOL

The Holy Spirit surely visited the loft that night. I had chills during some of the songs, and often did close my eyes and close out the audience and just listen and sing to the One.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry Who-mas?

I've about decided that when someone says to me, Happy Holidays, I'll say politely, Thank you. It *is* my happy holy day.

Let's all politely let merchants know how we feel about the use of Happy Holidays--or Merry Christmas. And let's let our dollars speak for us, too.

I know that money talks. Mine says Good-bye.

After a tragedy left her shaken, my heroine, Maggie, could not bear the emotions of the Christmas season. So, she and her best friend left New Orleans and spent Christmas in Paris. There, another life-changing even took place, one that left her happy and mystified. She found that she could not escape God and His love for her--and she could not escape herself.

Merry Christmas!

Character Situations: Men and Women--both confused!

But you knew that, right? LOL

One of the fun things about writing is the research. The articles you collect. Information that may be useless to others is fodder for interesting character situations.

And it's probably best to file them under Character Situations. That way, when you die and people go through your stuff, they might understand why you collected all this weird information. You'd hate for them to think it's about you.

Unless they already think you're weird. And writers generally are, with little people talking in our heads all the time.

Anyway, I found some articles today that talk about flirting.

How men misunderstand when women are flirting.

What's more, and possibly more annoying, they misunderstand when women are not flirting!

Just being kind and friendly to someone you genuinely like in an innocent way makes a woman suspect. That's the adjective, suspect.

When a woman is trying to make a man interested, she also has these two facts to deal with: Some men want women to be obvious and make the first move. Some men want to be the one to make the first move. Okay, that helps a lot, too, LOL

This is why women are also confused.

Take a look, see what I mean. The comments are telling, also:

Click here: Why the Female Flirt is Wasting Her Time - or MEN ARE CONFUSED

At any rate, again, it's good fodder for your Character Situations file....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gifts of the Holy Spirit and our writing

I think the Lord is more ready to speak through our writing than we realize.

I just finished reading, Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church--An Exploration into the Gifts of the Spirit During the First Three Centuries of the Christian Church by Ronald A. N. Kydd. It's his doctoral thesis at St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Scotland.

He writes a sad conclusion: These three centuries saw dramatic changes in the Christian church. In the midst of all this, the gifts of the Spirit vanished. There came a point around A.D. 260 at which they no longer fitted in the highly-organized, well-educated, wealthy, socially powerful Christian communities. The Church did not lose its soul, but it did lose these special moments when God broke into the lives of men and women.

Well, up to a point, yes. Every congregation is different. And I know we all see God's hand in our lives.

But for the most part, the strong presence and moving of God as the first church saw it--those who walked with Jesus and the eyewitnesses--was gone.

Another point to consider: Some who study Bible prophecy look at the world's political alliances and see Ezekiel 37 & 38 looming.

If it's the case, that could put us in the last church era of the Laodicean church of Revelation 3. That's the bad news.

The good news is, that's the reason we don't see more of the Lord's hand in our world.

But however much we do see, we could see more, I think.

He is knocking at the door of this church!
Revelation 3:20.

I said all that to say, Let's let Him in! LOL In His fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Missionaries today come back from foreign fields telling of the moving of the Holy Spirit in wonderful ways.

If we pray to "be (Greek--continually) filled with the Holy Spirit," Ephesians 5:18, we might be surprised at what He will do in our writing. (And in our lives.) It would be more than interesting to find out.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

art and adverbs

I was just thinking about art and adverbs! Weird? Not too.

I read someone's critique about how she may or may not want to use a certain adverb.

Well, of course, adverbs are a legitimate part of the tools of our trade. But, granted, we must be careful not to overuse them.

Same as in art. An artist has tools, and can't just attack a canvas creatively without an awareness of how to mix paints. Certain shades of red and green may be dazzling side-by-side, but if they overlap and become mixed, they can become a muddy brown or gray. We have to know a little about what we're doing if we're going to be satisfied with the result.

But I can't see rejecting a certain tool like an adverb because of overuse.

I can't imagine never painting with a certain color.

Having a Daniel moment....

Praying right now a la Daniel 9:20 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.... praying & confessing my sin & the sin of my people:

In the mighty name of Jesus--Lord, this land was started as a city on a hill, by people who loved you.... We've strayed so far from their ideals--and Yours.

Please forgive our sins, our selfishness, our greed, our idolatry of ourselves and our own pleasures.

Use us to inspire others to love you and the simplicity that is in Christ, and the guidance of your living Word....

Put Your person in the White House, please don't bring us to our knees with a bad president...

We agree with you, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord"....

Please, Lord, heal our land. Thank you.

"Where two or three agree...." Matt 18:19.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

www in Hebrew is--a startling visual for today...

Guess how you write www in Hebrew. 666. No kidding. I once took a class in Hebrew, for fun, and noticed this extremely interesting little detail.

Here's why: Like Roman numerals, Hebrew letters are also numbers. And unlike in English, Hebrew is read from left to right.

So, take a look at the chart and notice there is no w. If you wanted to write www.whatever etc. in Hebrew, theoretically, you would use the v.

Scroll way down to the numbers. You'll see that if you wrote vvv, you wrote the equivalent of--666.

Now, this article points out that that is not the same as six hundred and sixty and six. In Roman numerals, you wouldn't use III to write one hundred eleven.

All I know is, it's a very startling visual in these times when Jerusalem is a "burdensome stone" always in the news along with Persia, Babylon, Gog and Magog. (Iran, Iraq, and Russia.)

We live in interesting times. Knowledge increasing, people traveling, markets shuddering, sabers rattling. What all this means depends on your school of thought, and my friends are free to subscribe to their own.

And if I were ruler of the world, I would communicate with the world via the internet, wouldn't you? On the 666.

(Of course, the internet itself is neither good nor evil. It is used for much good and much evil.)

While we're not to obsess, but stay busy, still, there is the promise of a crown for those who long for His appearing.

Again, my friends are free to enjoy their own schools of thought. But I think it's too much a coincidence to be a coincidence.

What do you think?

While you're thinking, get ready!

God bless~

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Total Praise When I Don't Know What to Do!

When my character, Maggie, felt like God had betrayed her, she turned to darkness in her search for help. But her mother-in-law knew a secret--the secret of praise as she prayed for Maggie.

For praising the Lord in this bailout situation, the lying lamestream press, gridlock in Congress and all the problems in the world--I just love this song:

"When I Don't Know What to Do" by Drew Bounds.

And for the goodness of God and the beauty of His earth, and the sweetness of His love and the gift of love through people, and all sorts of blessings--I adore this song! "Total Praise"

The Lord bless our writing and use us for His glory and our joy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Psst, want to get rich?

Quoted from a favorite newsletter:

God has a prosperity theology! I'm not making this up! There are two specific things we can do and if we do them, God promises to prosper us. Are you ready?

Number one: Meditate on God's WordJoshua 1:8. God commanded Joshua, as he was leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land, to meditate on the Word of God day and night and promised him that if he did so, God would make his way prosperous and successful! Who knew? (Me: This is the only place success is used in the King James Version.)

Psalm 1:1-3.
If our delight is in God's Word and we meditate on it day and night, then God says whatever we do will prosper!

Number two: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Psalm 122:6. God commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and then promises that those who love Jerusalem (a signpost for Israel and her people) will prosper! Another aha! moment.

Do you pray for Israel? She's in sore need of our prayers today. She's surrounded on all sides by those who would like to see her people obliterated.
Do you understand that Israel is still the apple of God's eye and that He won't abide those who do her harm? ...
By Heidi Sandler


One of my characters, David, goes to Israel to find his Jewish roots. He finds that and more in that beautiful, troubled land.

I want as much prosperity as God knows I can handle without getting distracted from Him. See

Proverbs 30:7-9.

Jan Markell wrote Gone the Golden Dream, which I enjoyed long ago and far away. So I was happy to find her website a few years later, and receive her newsletters. Check'em out.

Jan Markell's Olive Tree Ministries.

Monday, September 15, 2008

So, didn't God listen? "If MY people..."

So, we rebuked the storm and spoke to the storm, (see below) and prayed it would go away, and still, we were hit with the storm. It could have been a lot worse. But we were hit.

Are we in a terrible weather cycle? Or part of the birth pangs of (click here:) Luke 21 with the sea roaring?

Or is God judging this country?

Because, not just those in the path of the storm, but the whole country suffers economically and many, emotionally, when we see this misery and destruction.

What is the answer? I'm not sure, but I'm surely paying attention to this:

"If *my people,* which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked, ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14.

One other possibility:

Joel 3
The Nations Judged 1 "In those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. [a]
There I will enter into judgment against them
concerning my inheritance, my people Israel,
for they scattered my people among the nations
and divided up my land.

May God forgive us.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Speaking TO the storms

Praise because Gustav slowed down and didn't do much wind damage. Some cool air came in--the cool wind of the Spirit, perhaps? The whole RNC and millions of viewers prayed against that storm! (Not being partisan here, just Christian!)

Praise for a wonderful time, a week with cousins in my home. We really had fun, then they had a long drive home. Some got their AC back only today. And lost it again while the power company fixed light poles for a while.

Now, they wonder if they must leave again. So do Houstonians!

Beth Moore teaches that praying aloud exercises and results in more faith:

2 Corinthians 4:13--"We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak."

Let's do what Jesus did in Mark 4:39 and say out loud to the storms, "Peace, be still," in His powerful name.

Because He said in John 14:12, "Greater things
than I do, you can do, because I go to the Father."

It's probably, usually, about unity--imagine if every Spirit-filled Christian in the world spoke aloud to the storms! That's a lot of prayer power. Let's do it!

Let's say it aloud, right now, and every time we hear a weather report--and then, don't turn around and speak against our prayers, saying, "Oh, it's headed toward wherever."

Let's say it and believe for it in the mighty name of Jesus.

To the storm: "In the mighty name of Jesus, I say,
'Peace, be still!'"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Soaring on a song

Last night we kicked off the new choir season. We invited new people, and our little church had 80in the choir loft. What a way to start the week.

My character, Maggie, marries a Navy pilot who sings. But when tragedy strikes, she wants to make her own kind of music before she can ever sing songs like these....

Click here and enjoy: More than Enough and Total Praise.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Three Kings in this city!

In a different direction this weekend, went to Memphis, Tennessee, with my church choir, to tour Graceland and sing concerts in two churches.

Graceland was amazing. I have blogged about Elvis before, (click here )--a kind and ultra-talented man who took kind of an, um, distracted side trip from his Christian roots. But he always eschewed the title, "The King," saying, "There is only one King--Jesus."

We also visited the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King. There had been a strike of sanitation workers. The basic issue had been lack of timely paychecks, as I understand it. And you know the rest of the terrible story.

Then, the reason for the trip: We sang in two churches, in Memphis and Brownsville.

The response ministered back to us. The first church we sang in stood up during one of our songs, "Something Happens." Click here for an online performance I found.

Well, something happens with that song, all right, it'll knock your socks off, but it's the first time I sang in a choir that got that response and it was awesome to know I was part of something the Lord was using to really bless people.

And did they bless us back, with lasagne, Southern fried chicken, fresh vegetables, chocolate chip pecan pie, and so on.

Before the second service, we had prayer time and I asked that the Lord minister to us through His people again--with their response to the songs, I mean.

And they did. The second church stood and clapped during a third of the songs!

I mean, right in the middle of a song, if they liked its message, they'd stand up and clap. Like for "How Great Thou Art."

And click on "When I Don't Know What to Do." The solo in our version was sung by a young woman who came out of a very rough background, mom and sibs in jail, to graduate with honors and attend college now. She has never sung in a choir or anywhere else before. And in "Cry Holy," "Grace," and again in "Something Happens."

The pastor made us sing the fun "Hallelujah Anyhow" twice.

It was exhilarating in the spirit. And such freedom for the Spirit.

Makes you think the Lord meant every word in Psalm 149 and Psalm 150.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kristy Dykes--Celebration of a Life of Inspiration

What a great service!

That may sound too glib, because sending one's loved one on Home ahead of us is always hard.

But I hope that my homegoing will express joy and expectation the way this one did.

They showed a clip of Kristy when she first learned she had brain cancer, thanking the church for their gestures of love, and saying she just wanted to be in the center of God's will. That she believed in healing and always did, but that there are all kinds of healing.

Milton gave a beautiful euology. He held up a fat notebook of Kristy's writings and laughing, said "We'll start on page one."

Members of the family sang beautiful solos. Larry Ford, I think, sang, "I Bowed on my Knees and Cried 'Holy'" and the service ended with "How Great is our God."

If you would like to enjoy this service, click here.

And if you would like to understand more about how anyone could have peace and joy in spite of just losing a loved one, then scroll down and push the red button marked, "Ready?"

God bless!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kristy emails about grief, 2006

Wow, going through old files in my discarded computer, I just came across this email from Kristy to the loop, posted on May (I forget already) 2006. I'm sure she wouldn't mind a bit if I posted it here, with her good thoughts.

Greetings from Kristy Dykes in sunny Florida!

Somebody asked what to do when you've faced a trauma and can't seem to write, or you're feeling directionless, etc. I was touched by the responses. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Wow, this loop is fantastic. Several things ministered to me, below. Thanks, ACFWers.

I saw Francine Rivers on TBN the other night and enjoyed hearing her story again. Great interview. She said she couldn't write for four years. Once she started writing again, she wrote REDEEMING LOVE! (Are you getting goose bumps like I am?)

1."God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10

2. So give yourself permission to grieve, and in grieving, pushing anything, making important decisions, is not wise.

3. All that said, remember that the battle you face isn't just an emotional or physical battle. It's rooted in the unseen. The enemy of your soul wants to prevent you from responding to the call of God. He certainly intends tosabotage or ambush any attempts to write for Him. It may be time tointentionally thwart the enemy's plans, to write to spite him (if that'seven theologically possible!), and to draw a hedge of prayer protection around yourself before even attempting to lay fingers to keyboard. Blank computer screen, be gone in the name of Jesus!

4. What Kristin B. said. She always says the right thing! On every subject.

5. Oh, and Laurie said to journal during this time.

Kristy Dykes, who's off to journal...


*Sigh,* that'll be some journal, now! Praise the Lord.

Kristy Dykes in Glory--"I Can Only Imagine"

One of the sweetest people you could ever meet, Kristy Dykes, has gone on to be with the Lord.

"I can only imagine" the wonderful time Kristy is having, free of pain, dancing with Jesus.

For the rest of us, it's not quite as wonderful.

I wish I could be at the service. A few years ago, I emailed Kristy about writing, and a few days later, was surprised to find a brown manila envelope in my mailbox. She had sent me three of her books, to "show, don't tell me," how she did it. I was so happy when I finally met her at a conference.

I pray that the wonderful Holy Spirit do His good work as Comforter for all who love her.

Click here Kristy Dykes and here "I Can Only Imagine"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Uh-ohh, LOL

Click here~

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wombs with a view!

Click here to see the most adorable videos of babies in the womb.

And of course, everyone remembers this little hand gripping the surgeon's finger.

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world!
Red and yellow, black and white,
Whether in or out of sight!
Jesus loves the little children of the world!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

All dogs go to heaven~

Diann Hunt's little dog is failing and she blogged about knowing it was time to put him down. I told her I hurt with her. I've been there several times.

The good news is, I believe we'll see our pets in heaven. The Bible says "creation waits" for glory.

Romans 8:18-20 (NIV)
Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope

I take that literally--all of God's creation.

My belief is that pets are like a class of angels. Why not? Look at the strange and wonderful critters in the Bible! Our pets don't sin, they just serve us and God by giving us love and give us pleasure, and then go to heaven. I'm convinced.

However, I was in Tokyo and saw only cars crossing that Rainbow Bridge, LOL

(Vets often send sympathy cards with a very touching poem about a rainbow bridge.)

I hated to give them up, but didn't want to keeping them suffering in their misery.

I figure that finally, *love lets go.*

Our little Shih Tsu was going blind and hard of hearing and when he cried out and his little back leg went stiff, we knew we had to let him go. So we took him to the vet and stayed with him while he left this world.

The assistant brought me scissors and I clipped the plume of his tail and brought it home. I don't even know where it is at the moment. I can't look at it.

He would walk around a corner of the hall and bump into one of those springy little doorstops and we would hear boiiiiing. Now, any time one of us does the same, I remember him.

Now, a few months later, we just got a new puppy. When Jocko died, we asked our other dog, "Do you miss Jocko?" The ears went up and it hurt my heart to know he did. I never asked him that again.

So we got another.

It's hard to think about it when we are losing one, but there are many other wonderful dogs out there waiting to bless us.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Shack and John 14:6--excellent blog

Barry Dean 4 Christ writes: Step back, take a deep breath, and weigh it against the Scriptures....

Dr. Albert Mohler dedicated his entire radio program to reviewing the book.... The book is being compared to “Pilgrim’s Progress” for it’s allegorical use. [but] the character Papa who is God (seen by Mac, the main character, as an African American woman) says

When we three spoke ourselves into existence as the son of God we became fully human.

This is a complete destruction of the biblical understanding of the Trinity.

The Godhead did not become human. On page 110 the character of Jesus does not say that I am the only way to Papa (God) but he does in fact say that I am the “best way” that any human can relate to Papa (God). ... [this] flies in the face of John 14:6.

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me It is impossible to get past this verse in scripture. No one has access to the Father except those who follow Jesus Christ. Tim Challies states it in his review of “The Shack”, “the book has a quietly subversive quality to it”.

Throughout the book there is this kind of subversive strain teaching that new and fresh revelation is much more relevant and important than the kind of knowledge we gain in sermons or seminaries or Scripture.

Click here for the full article.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Shack--"another jesus"?

There are those who believe in what Reinhold Neibuhr described as:

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

In other words, another Gospel, another Jesus, one watered-down and easy to swallow.

Does the popular book, The Shack, go against Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 4:6 Do not go beyond what is written?

Jan Markell, whose Olive Tree Ministries I have trusted for years, states,

On page 110 Jesus says that He is perhaps not the way, truth, and life, but the BEST way to relate to the Father and Holy Spirit. Papa God, the African-American female, says she has many followers of many religions in different lands. This is not Orthodox Christianity, yet millions of Christian readers claim it is! Discernment has taken a summer vacation or perhaps a permanent vacation.

Mack asks "Papa" God, the female, about God's wrath. The answer is that she doesn't punish people for sin; rather she wants to cure sin. No mention of repentance, the shed blood, and all the things the new "seeker" environment wants to leave out in the church parking lot.

Yes, clearly, the “Jesus” of The Shack is not Jesus Christ of the Bible.

And God in a muu-muu and turban and cooking turnip greens and saying "sho 'nuff" to show that He has a wonderfully sweet side?

Nothing wrong with a warm, nuturing ethnic character like that. Nothing wrong with allegory in itself, as long as it doesn't misrepresent Scripture or go beyond what is written.

And, yes, I know God has a feminine side to His nature. Isaiah talks about Him comforting like a mother.

The book tries to make God more approachable to those who don't know Him or His love very well.

I can understand and cheer that motive with loud applause and kudos to the authors.

But that Papa is not God the Father, to me.

I think about Jesus at the funeral at Nain, where a widow had lost her only son and now had no man to help her. Jesus brought the son back to life. Our tender-hearted Lord was so moved by the woman's sorrow, He had to pause long enough to tell her, Don't cry.

This is the sweetness of our God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. I would urge people to share that passage instead of that book.

If anyone meets Him in a muu-muu first, well, I just hope The Shack isn't the only book they read!

And, our wonderful Holy Spirit, God who lives inside of us, is also a female and her name is Sarayu? Where does that name come from? Sarayu is a river in India. Please go here and click on this this one about Hindu spirits.

Why associate even obliquely, the blessed Holy Spirit with Hindu gods???
It just raises a red flag with me. It implies Universal Reconciliation, God brings everyone home, with or without the cross. What a waste!

Chuck Colson's column includes many links at the bottom. If his points aren't strong enough for you, he obviously just gets a check in his spirit.

It can seem overwhelming to know how to guard our hearts or to share the Truth.

From The Kingdom of the Cults tapes by the late Walter Martin, I learned a few quick, mind-boggling Bible passages that could apply to The Shack, and definitely to other things out there:

There are other gospels, other jesuses, other spirits. Paul is dismayed that Christians have received them:

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

Galatians 1:9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Whoa!

And to answer the error of the groups that tell us that works will qualify us for Heaven, that the goodness of our puny works is greater than God's hatred of sin and the complete work of the cross:

Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! [Wow!] Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?"

Regarding being entertained by and taking lightly the things that God hates, such as wizardry and talking to the dead--spiritism:

Deuteronomy 18:9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in [a] the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

Hmm, God doesn't seem to be aware that enticing books on this subject also entice children to read~

Let's also consider the fact that God made us in His image and He adores us. He's not looking to condemn us, but help us into knowing and loving Him. Blameless in His eyes by coming to Him by Way of the cross.

And for those that have a new revelation for a new time, a new place, a new society, I fell in love with Jude verse 3: Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend (defend vigorously) for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

I love that one so much because I once explored a cult that came knocking on my door, and I could have been led astray, myself. I am yes, eternally grateful that I found the Truth of the Word of God. Not that I have it all down perfectly, not that I am perfect, by any means. But having been pulled to safety, I just want to reach out to others in danger.

Most of us probably understand that we as writers have a huge responsibility.

Like it or not, we are sort of taking on the role as teachers.

Like it or not, Christian author just sounds a little authoritative.

Like it or not, this warning's attached:

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Ack! If we get it right, that's one thing. But, as always, and perhaps, moreso, today:

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Unsaved people who do not understand sin and salvation and the power of the blood of Christ (foreshadowed by thousands of years of sacrifices of doves, lambs and goats) look to us and our writing to at least represent the Truth that sets us free.

Saved people will look to us for confirmation, or at least, no contradiction. Safe to enjoy and share.

Not talking here about whether to use hymns or praise songs, sprinkling or immersion, or to drink or not, but the John 3:16-18 Gospel, itself, and the definitions of the Persons involved.

Walter Martin said again and again, Ask for definitions. Ask for definitions. Ask for definitions.

With God's help, and His definitions, we and our books won't lead readers astray, at which point, we recall, it would be better to have a millstone tied around our necks, as Jesus said, and be cast into the sea.

We live in the Post-Christian era, some say. Roger Ebert, liberal movie critic, even says we are spinning out of control. We certainly live in troubled times.

People don't know where to turn.

Some will turn to us and our books.

What an awesome responsibility!

Obviously, we want to comfort and strengthen and maybe lead them to the Lord.

But with the wrong definitions, we could lead some astray with another gospel, another jesus, another spirit.

I have to agree with that quote at the top:

This false teaching about a “God” who “dwells in, around, and through all things” is the kind of New Age leaven that, left unchallenged, could leaven the church into the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. And while many people have expressed a great deal of emotional attachment to The Shack and its characters — this leaven alone contaminates the whole book.

Clearly, the “Jesus” of The Shack is not Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Others may disagree and enjoy the book. I love and respect my friends and they have that freedom. : )

But if this book really does present another Gospel--no sin--and another jesus--the best way instead of the only way--then my friend, Patty Carroll is not exaggerating when she calls the Shack "Shacking up with the Enemy."

I doubt that I'll ever read the book. I've read too many questionable reviews about images I just don't especially want in my mind and spirit. I try to heed the warning, "Guard your heart."

There will always be controversial books that skirt the truth. I don't need to read them all, even though conventional wisdom says I should, not to let others do my thinking for me, to be able to share the Truth with others, etc.

But I don't have to read every counterfeit in every bookstore along the pike to recognize the traits of a counterfeit trinity. I just need to know and share the priceless original Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My typo on Kristy's blog

Kristy's husband, Milton, wrote on Kristy's blog about how beautiful Kristy is, and he offered to put on her makeup. Her respons: "No way!" LOL

I wrote a comment:


Margo Carmichael said...
"No way"? LOL

Maybe the thought of you putting Kristy's makeup on her reminds her of a certain youth camp skit:

The Beauty Demo.

A boy pretending to be a girl stands behind a table full of cosmetics--cold cream, face powder, lipstick, etc.--and someone behind him, partly behind a curtain, only arms exposed, applies the cosmetics to the "girl's" face as she earnestly describes the beauty process. Neither is able to see what the applyer is doing to the applyee and the whole thing is hilarious.

Thanks for the giggle

Yes, Kristy is beautiful. I was sitting at a table beside the restaurant doo in Nashville, I believe, at ACFW, when she popped in, and that was the first time I saw her and thought, "She is darling."

Prayers and blessings for you all today. : )

5:55 PM

I re-read that after it was published. Ack! I wrote another comment:


Margo Carmichael said...
"Restaurant doo"???

Oh, wait, restaurant "door," of course. Silly me, too gentle on the r. Pardon my Southern accent.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Praying for Kristy's--and Kennedy's--brain tumors

I am still praying for complete healing for Kristy Dykes--and now, Ted Kennedy--in this world, in this life, and that God would receive all the glory.

Unless and until the Holy Spirit tells me to do otherwise, I will look at the Word and not at the situation:

"With His stripes, we are/were healed," Isaiah 53:5, and Peter something.

I know that seems to hold out false hope to those that love her. Sometimes, I tell a family I stand in agreement with whatever they pray. I'm not sure what the Lord thinks about that, to tell you the truth.

I also adore this one:

Habakkuk 3:2
"LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy."

And not just for the sake of just an experience, but so we may know Him better!!!

Why don't we see more healings? Especially those that really believe for them? I don't know. I have really believed for some in this life and seen their "graduation" instead.

I think it's the times we live in. Jesus in Matthew 13:58 did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

I just think we live in the powerless Laodicean Church age of Revelation 3, just before the Rapture in chapter four, when John hears a voice that says, Come up here.

Yes, those church ages can represent different aspects of the church in any age. But we cannot rule out literal ages through history.

And a lot of us believe we are seeing political alliances and all kinds of signs of the times leading to Ezekiel 37 and 38.... And that's another subject, I realize.

But it does apply to this subject of why aren't we seeing more healings, because if we are in the Laodicean church age, then much of church is "poor, wretched, miserable, blind and naked."

And if it's true, I am blind to some things, too. Don't know what, though, if I'm blind to them! Catch-22! Lord, please give me more revelation knowledge.

So, I acknowledge that I am no expert, no judge, just a fellow struggler. Straggler? Both, maybe.

Here's just a thought: In the Great Commission, Jesus told the apostles to "teach everyone all things whatsoever I have taught you." "until the end of the age." And in Matthew 10, He taught them, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils...."

Are we seeing that in most of the church? Would those things be welcome? I think not.

I just know that it is the time that Jesus says what we usually use as a salvation verse: Revelation 3:20--"Look, I'm standing here, knocking at the door! If you'll just open the door, I'd love to come in and hang out with you." My paraphrase.

Jesus is not present in much of the Laodicean church! JESUS is not WELCOME in much of the Laodicean church!

I'd quote the Great Commission in Mark, but that would really scare the horses.

In I Corinthians 1:7 we're told not to lack any of the gifts while waiting for Jesus to return.

So, maybe if we all agree in prayer, the Holy Spirit will give a gift of healing for Kristy. ( I believe there's a difference between a gift and a ministry. I'm asking for a gift, a healing for Kristy. And for Ted Kennedy. )

Yes, please, Lord, in the mighty name of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Savior, our Healer, our Friend, our Jesus!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Giggle on Wordless Wednesday

( Click here )

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Virginia Smith here today, with a double drawing! Maybe you'll win!

Will Mayla Strong’s life ever resemble normal? Just as she settles into a great place with God, everything else falls apart. In the course of a single week she loses her job, wrecks any chance at a relationship with Pastor Paul, gets the cold shoulder from her friend Stuart, and learns that Lindsey—the teenage sister of her late friend Alex—needs a place to stay. What good is being a control freak if nobody will do what you tell them?

Taking advantage of her newfound “vacation time,” Mayla flees to her grandmother’s house in Florida. But one by one, her problems follow . . . literally. In this touching sequel to Just As I Am, quirky Mayla Strong comes face-to-face with the responsibilities and joys of friends and family. As she tries to help her loved ones, Mayla begins to realize that God has all the answers—the trick is letting go long enough for Him prove it.

Hi, Virginia, I received your beautiful new book, Sincerely, Mayla, two weeks ago, can't wait to get into it. Now that I'm back from vacation exploring Santa Fe and Albuquerque--and my feet are now as brown as Mayla's on that gorgeous cover, by the way--I'll have time to read her story. I'm delighted to post an interview with you.

Margo, thanks so much for allowing me to be a Guest Blogger here today. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my newest book.

So, you have ten books under contract? Wow, good for you and God! I don't believe you were published at all, were you, when we all drove through Nashville two years ago, during conference, for the booksigning for Terry Burns and Kathryn Mackel, Randy Ingermanson and all?

When we met 2 years ago (it'll be 3 in September, actually!), I had a book contract but it hadn't be released. And at that conference in Nashville I signed with my agent and pitched what would become my second book to Steeple Hill. Things have snowballed since then. Kind of amazing, isn't it? When God is ready to move, He really moves!

He does! We serve an awesome God! So, tell us about Sincerely, Mayla.

Sincerely, Mayla is my fifth novel, but I actually wrote it several years ago, right after I finished Just As I Am. The main character, Mayla Strong, is so vivid and alive in my mind she just wouldn’t step quietly back into anonymity. The idea for Mayla’s external struggle – convincing Pastor Paul that he has feelings for her – came about during the editing process of Just As I Am.

Wait until I tell my daughter. Her husband's sister is about to be engaged to a Pastor Paul~

Well, in the first draft of that book, Mayla ran to the office of Salliesburg Christian Church for a private counseling session with Pastor Paul. One of my editors said that was inappropriate, so she advised me to place a secretary in the outer office and leave the door cracked open. Which I did.

LOL, wise move.

But I started thinking about the scrutiny a single pastor is subjected to in a conservative church. How can they ever form a lasting relationship with a woman if they’re not allowed to be alone with them? In other words, how can a single pastor ever become a married pastor? And then I thought, “What would Mayla say to that?” That made me laugh – she would be furious to be subjected to such “propriety”! I decided that would make for some funny scenes, and I was right.

But I didn’t want Sincerely, Mayla to be only about a Mayla-style romance. Just As I Am touched on some pretty hot contemporary topics, and I wanted to do the same in Mayla’s second book. I have a heart for crisis pregnancy centers, and in the months before I was ready to start working on Sincerely, Mayla, Focus on the Family began a campaign to purchase an ultrasound machine for every Pregnancy Resource Center in the country.

Wow. That is wonderful.

Yes. Some of the broadcasts really touched me, and I paid a visit to the Salt Lake City PRC. The tour I received during that visit gave me the information I needed to write one of my favorite chapters in Sincerely, Mayla.

Sounds intriguing!

Another thing I wanted to accomplish in Sincerely, Mayla was very personal. I wanted Mayla to face up to an issue I’ve seen crop up in multiple generations in my family: the tendency to manipulate others through martyr-type behavior and guilt dispensing. I’ve been on both the receiving and giving ends of that battle my whole life.

Me, too, from time to time.

But the Lord had been pointing out to me that I could put a stop to manipulating behavior in my own life. I often write from my own experiences – I emphasize the lessons the Lord teaches me by watching them play out in my characters. So that’s what I decided to do with Mayla.

Great. It would be hard not to.

All that sounds like this book is full of “lessons” and themes and messages. Honestly, I didn’t set out to write a book that would teach anybody anything. I never do. I strongly believe that fiction should entertain, not preach, so I hope all of my books are primarily entertaining. But because I am a Christian, and because Mayla is a Christian, elements of God’s grace show up naturally in the story. So if someone wants to learn a thing or two, they can. But mostly, I just hope they like the story!

I’d like to invite everyone to pop over to my website.

To celebrate this week’s blog tour of Sincerely, Mayla, I am giving away a set of Mayla books – Just As I Am and Sincerely, Mayla – to two lucky people on May 19th. I hope you’ll enter the drawing!

Again, Margo, thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest today!

Thank you for coming. Sounds like your books are full of double blessings, entertaining and addressing today's issues~ I can't wait to read them.

God bless.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lazarus was dead! Are you?

God can use you anyway! A friend just sent me this from The Daily Encourager . (It says "Author unknown." If you know the author, please let me know.)

So, be encouraged:

No Excuses

There are many reasons why God shouldn't have called you.
But don't worry. You're in good company . . .

Moses stuttered.
David's armor didn't fit.
John Mark was rejected by Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea's wife was a prostitute.
Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer.
So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burnt out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Mary was lazy.
Samson had long hair.
Noah got drunk.

Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul -- well, lots of folks did.
But God doesn't require a job interview.
He doesn't look at financial gain or loss.
He's not prejudiced or partial,
not judging or grudging,
not sassy or brassy,
not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need.

As much as we try, God's gifts are free.

Satan says, "You're not worthy."
Jesus says, "So what?... I AM."

Satan looks back and sees our mistakes.
God looks back and sees the cross.

He doesn't calculate what you did last month or last year.
It's not even on the record.
Sure. There are lots of reasons why God shouldn't have called us.
But if we are in love with Him,
If we hunger for Him more than our next breath,
He'll use us - in spite of
who we are,
where we've been, or
what we look like.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" Philippians 4:13

Friday, April 25, 2008

We need a new punctuation mark~

We need a mark for when we don't want to shout, but we want emphasis or humor. I think we need something to replace "LOL" or "< grin >."

I submit we need one more simple little diacritical mark, a pretty one, already available: The tilde~

It has uses in math, in editing, and in Spanish and 17th century French, and maybe others I'm not aware of.

But I haven't seen any case where it appears at the end of a sentence, so it would cause no confusion.

I would also submit a new name for the tilde when used for emphasis and humor, one that suggests a frisson of emotion: Strangely enough, I would submit "the frisson."

It's easy to reach at the upper left end of the keyboard.

And isn't it a pretty little flourish at the end of the sentence~

I mentioned it about a year ago, and I have been lax in my campaign. So, here's my slogan:

We need a new punctuation mark--
The "frisson" for when one is having a lark?

Or maybe not.

Anyway, a cheer and a plea for the frisson~

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Movie-maker speaks!

I just woke up for a midnight cup of tea (decaf), came in here and found this awesome (click here: ) interview by CJ Darlington with Stephen Kendrick, a Christian co-writer of movies--made by his church--and well-received. Such as "Facing the Giants."

And he talks about, among other things, edginess. And a marriage book he's writing to be used in the movie--about firefighters-- Fireproof, out in August.

God provided again and again, in amazing ways. Like when they needed to move a car off of a train track, and a man who lived nearby just happened to have in his backyard, a fork lift. No charge.

Like the day I was at the Blue Angels air show. I'm writing about flight and I wanted to see another air show, since it had been years since my last one. I mentioned to a stranger in that huge crowd that I'd love to take my daughters into the VIP section where they could see the show the way I did when my dad was in the Navy in Pensacola. The crowd of multiple thousands was twenty people thick along the flight line and my little girls would see nothing, over all the heads. The kind stranger introduced herself--the mother of one of THE Blue Angel pilots. It was his last show and it was a big deal. She handed me three tickets to the VIP section. Amazed, I thanked her, and we went in but all the chairs were taken. So we sat down on the ground in front of everyone. When the show started, everyone stood--and we were on the front row. Awesome show, awesome God, encouraging us, and my writing!

Anyway, this interview is powerful and encouraging. It came in with my Title Trakk subscribed email. Now I'm going to read the rest of it, and tell my daughter Kirk Cameron's in a new movie. She's taking his Way of the Master witnessing course.

That's another point they make, how our writing witnesses. How they wanted to be powerful but not "cheesy." All the stuff we think about in our writing, plus with a videocam. You all will love this article.

Thanks for indulging me and my midnight rambling.


Monday, March 10, 2008

"Something Happens" Do you need healing? Praying for Kristy

Sunday, our choir sang the most awesome, song, Something Happens. As a sweet white-bread church, we sang it with a lot of Spirit and power, even so.

But here's the song's writer, himself, leading it, and watch out! LOL

There is power in the name of Jesus, and when His name is uttered in faith, (click here:) Something Happens!

I'm dedicating this blog entry to our precious Kristy Dykes. God bless, Kristy, I'm praying, praying, in that mighty name of Jesus!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"It was the worst of times, it was the best of times--" The 'Sixties

I just listened to the most fascinating analysis of our times!

Very interesting observations and for me, a certain amount of nostalgia, too-- the rippling effects of the '60s. How the philosophies and events changed our world and affected the children of the '70s, '80s, and today, even our own children, today.

I loved and hated the '60s. Some of it was so much fun, some of it was awful. And I hated the direction I could see us going in. Tommy lists the good changes and the bad. As in _A Tale of Two Cities_, he says, "It was the worst of times, it was the best of times."

A friend sent the link. She loves the speaker, Denton Bible's Pastor Tommy Nelson, who used to play football at U of N. Texas.

To hear it, click here, go to your choice of type of links to the sermons, and click on #7 Blueprint for Revolution to #3, the Results of the '60s.

Tell me what you think.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

When God makes you do weird things

I just received a Google alert!

Pam Meyers tagged me. She wants to know what I'm reading. She says to turn to page 123 of the nearest book, go to the fifth sentence and post the next three! Then tag five more people. Cute idea. LOL

Okay, I just finished _Demon: a Memoir_ by Tosca Lee. *Really* good. Very different!

I can't quote from it as I've already lent it out, and honestly, the nearest book to me, where I was doing Bible study homework at my desk, is the NIV!

I wondered if I should do exactly what the rules say, or just choose a light and fun book I've recently enjoyed.

But--when the author of the nearest book is--God--how do you choose a different book? LOL

Sometimes we're called to do something weird. He may just have something up those big sleeves.

So, okay, page 123 is in Leviticus 9, and this may be apropos of nothing, but, who knows, maybe God wanted someone to see this awesome sacrifice. It will be fun to see if someone says He did. So, let's see:

"9 His sons brought the blood to him, and he dipped his finger into the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. 10 On the altar he burned the fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver from the sin offering, as the LORD commanded Moses; 11 the flesh and the hide he burned up outside the camp."

There you have it! Does that speak to anyone out there?

I'm now tagging these five to do the same: Michelle Sutton, Cynthia Hickey, Lena Nelson Dooley, Terry Burns, Cynthia Ruchti, Sharlene MacLaren and Tosca Lee. Whoops, can't count! Love it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Are your characters on the "B" Team?

A good story has conflict, and well-rounded characters face inner conflict as well as outer conflict.

Lucy must save the ranch and not let it be foreclosed in order to keep the steers moving out and the groceries coming in--external conflict. Lucy doesn't want to keep the ranch, she wants to be an interior decorator--inner conflict. Her ancestors and siblings would be disappointed if she let the old homeplace go, yet they don't help. External and internal conflict.

We can go on, brainstorming, adding "but--" "so--" "and--" "but--" deepening external and internal conflicts.

How else can we add internal conflict?

A few blogs ago, I posted psychological issues one could face that would make interesting personality traits for our characters.

(And I stress again, that while little quirks can be amusing, real problems are not. I do not make light of those, or of the people who suffer them. The real problems could make wonderful, redemptive stories, though.)

Another source of internal conflict for the Christian market would be spiritual inner conflict. And this morning, I found an interesting and challenging article about the church today and one man's analysis of its influence on the world--not always for good.

Click here to read the six reasons he gives for his unsettling conclusion.

Do you agree with him? Does he understand? Is he too harsh? Characters in these situations may be understood or they may be criticized. Complacent. Miserable.

Disagreeing or agreeing, we can find fodder for our stories here. It's interesting reading, and sure to step on some toes--not my intention--but much of it is worth considering.

And perhaps worth laying on our poor, unsuspecting characters.

What do you think? Is the church on the "B" Team? Do you see your characters in any of these spiritual situations?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Not-so-Wordless Wednesday! Good grief.

No words on Wednesday didn't quite happen for me, LOL! The picture has words:

"It seemed like an ordinary day until I had coffee with Jesus at the Cafe' du Monde."

Please scroll way down, or click here to see the painting. I took the photo one morning while enjoying a cafe' au lait--like the photo at the top of the blog--at the Cafe' du Monde in New Orleans' French Quarter. (Unless the photo shows a bowl of crawfish, or me in the patio of the Dauphine Orleans hotel looking up at my husband, or any number of others.)

I love the, yes, words. They lift my spirit to read them.

Have you ever had coffee with Jesus? He'd love that!

He waits to be invited into our lives. Jesus Christ, himself, says, "Look, I'm standing here at the door, knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and share a meal with them." Revelation 3:20.

(Actually, it's written to a whole church that is meeting in his name, but leaving him outside! A word to the wise! )

Anyway, one on one, He wants to set us free from the penalities of our bad choices. Even the little ones.

Our perfect God cannot have imperfection--sin--yes, that's what he calls it--in his presence.

And if we've ever told a lie, or wished you could have something that belonged to someone else and they couldn't, anymore, or been really angry with someone, then, in God's eyes, we've already broken three of the Ten Commandments!

In God's perfect eyes, we're a thief, a liar and a murderer, in our hearts! That's a heavy truth. But it is the truth. Jesus said if we are angry with someone without cause, we have committed murder already in our hearts!

Yes, we do get some credit for not actually commiting murder, but that's not enough. God says our "righteousnesses are as filthy rags."

Uncleansed, we cannot stand in the presence of a holy God!

Whoa! That is too hard! Who can live up to such a standard? No one!

"But, wait! for just $19.95.... " LOL

No, a far greater price than that has been paid, on the cross of Christ, so that we can have a great personal relationship with God.

In his great love for us all, he took on a body of flesh and came into this world to live among his creatures, teach us about himself, and finally, pay the awful penalty for our sins.

All the sacrifices given to Moses and his people were to prepare the way for this ultimate sacrifice. He is "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."

And all who receive this sacrifice and agree, "Yes, God, those are my sins on that cross, forgive me and help me to live right," and mean it, become children of God. And he becomes our Lord and Savior.

So, let's open the doors of our hearts and invite him in to live with us and help us turn away from bad choices. Agree with God that we have done wrong. Tell him we're sorry for falling short of his perfection, whether in awful deeds or little thoughts.
Ask him to forgive us and help us to live for him.

Make that commitment to him, and our sins will already be forgiven, even as we learn to do better.

And when the time comes, we will join him in heaven, along with many other believers who have gone before you. (Along with our pets, I believe.)

There, we'll probably have satisfying work, wonderful times with others, and sing some of the best songs we've never heard in our lives!

Not only that, our eternal life will begin. I know mine has. As they say, I'm not perfect, just forgiven. Thank you, Lord!

Is that arrogant? No. God says,

These things I have written to you that believe on the name (nature, identity, mission) of the Lord Jesus Christ that you may know you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Wish I knew the artist's name to give him or her the credit.

"It seemed like an ordinary day until I had coffee with Jesus at the Cafe' du Monde."

LOL See what an awesome truth comes with a few little words on a Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008