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....