Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas mini-miracle sends me to church on an icy morning

One of my favorite Christmas movies and soundtracks is The Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston, Courtney Vance as her preacher-husband, and Denzel Washington as the angel. It's a remake of The Bishop's Wife. With music, as you might guess.

Whitney Houston directs her husband's church choir and of course, also sings. My favorite is her  beautiful--I Love the Lord, sung in her inimitable style.

I finally had to buy the soundtrack.

But one cold and rainy Saturday night, before I owned the soundtrack, the weather was so awful, I wasn't sure I'd go to church next morning. I set my clock on my Christian station in case the weather improved, spiritual person that I am, don't you know, haha.

In the morning, I woke up hearing, "I--love--the Lord--for He heard my cry--and lifts me up...." It was Whitney Houston. It was that song. On the radio.

And it wasn't the Christian radio station.

And the weather was awful.

But I went to church.

I must have bumped the dial when I was setting it, maybe. Or maybe not.

"I--love--the Lord--for He heard my cry--and lifts me up...."

Right out of that bed and into church.

May He lift you up and bless you this Christmas and always!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Healing in the Gospels--is it for today?

Woke up thinking about some sick people I know and love.

Granted, God in His wisdom does not heal some until they go to Heaven. I don't know why, but it's so.

But if we were in the sunset on the beach at Galilee, they would have been among the "all" below.

Matthew 8:16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." Isaiah 53

So, why not now? Is healing for today? What do the Scriptures say?


Acts 10:38-- How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him.

1 John 3:8b --The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.


Is the devil at work today? Do we not receive today this same Holy Spirit that worked through Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today, and forever?

Matthew 28, the Great Commission: 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore (YOU) go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Matthew 10: 7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

1 Corinthians 1:7,8 Therefore you ***do not lack any spiritual gift*** as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed (or return). 8He will keep you strong to the end...

John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Yay, Jesus! 2 Cor. 9:15 Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!

Lord, please show us our sins and forgive us, cleanse us, give us a fresh anointing of your Holy Spirit and His gifts, and use us to do these things Jesus said to do! In the mighty authority of the name of Jesus! Amen! Thank You. We are worthy only because of what you've done in us. Please use us to glorify Yourself and restore our loved ones to health--in this world. Your highest will be done. But you said we have not because we ask not, so we ask this of you. And we say to these sicknesses be gone in the mighty name of Jesus.

Please see the story of my friend who was healed of CP in a living room full of believers.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Celtic Treasure by Liz Babbs--a lovely Christmas gift!





I was married twenty years when we learned we were part of a Scottish clan with a tartan, "cousins" in the U.S., and a chief and family in Scotland. So, now, more than ever, I love the ancient riches of Celtic Christianity.      






And I especially love the writings of my good friend from Nottingham, England, Liz Babbs.

Her latest book, Celtic Treasure, is small and gorgeous, a perfect gift for the rapidly approaching Christmas season. It contains stories and wisdom of the ancient Celts, and to these, she adds lovely original prayers and poems and beautiful photos.


She discusses Celtic traditions of creation, creativity, community, hospitality, and just celebrating life.

We meet some Celtic saints, too, and enjoy their writings, such as these familiar lines from

St. Patrick's Breastplate

         Christ behind and before me
         Christ beneath and above me
         Christ with me and in me...        
                                                      

And from Liz's own poetry:            


Spirit of God around me
In the air that I breathe


Glory of God around me
Inspiring all I see...

These are just a tidbit from the richness here.







Some of her books contain CDs with her reading meditations on God and His
Word, to the music of Simeon Wood on flute, bass flute, pan-pipes and Celtic whistles.

                            



The Thing About-- series reflects
her fun sense of humor.




And she wrote about her healing by prayer of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


Her website and my earlier blog tell more about these books, as well as her one-woman show,
Licensed to Chill, plus her workshops, and retreats.


 






I had the pleasure of going to the TV studios with Liz for this  interview where she gives a wonderful teaching on  Christian  meditation. Don't miss it.



                                                                                                                




When not reading, writing, or performing, my
multi-talented and lovely friend often breaks bread, er, chocolate at the Cheesecake Factory.                

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Writing Edgy Christian Fiction

Lots of discussion on requirements and taboos in Christian fiction. Different houses allowing different things according to what their particular audience expects and loves.

My funloving heroine has a problem and for answers, she dabbles in voodoo.

Now, I have blogged before about my worry about Christians dabbling in powers not from God a la Deuteronomy 18:9-14.... I'm concerned because God calls these detestable along with the people who participate. Whoa. Please scroll down to October 19  and see "Twilight" of Loyalty
Yet, there she goes. Why? Her husband even tells her, "Get into a playpen with serpents, sooner or later, you get bitten."

I'm inserting voodoo into my story--which is about many other things besides voodoo--because I want to show the problems and consequences.

The challenge is to make it somewhat realistic but not so attractive that the reader decides to go into it. And not so gorey that it haunts her.

Because all the while, I consider three passages from our Ultimate Editor.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
It would seem God wants us to fill our minds with lovely things. I guess it's fine to read the bad news out there, and be aware and wise to the bad realities of life, but not wallow in them for amusement. Be innocent but not ignorant.

I don't know how else to take it. I'm open to suggestions. I have to consider that, too, as my heroine explores sources of power not from God.

Then there's 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.

Even though we may not desire to write a didactic, teaching story, our stories do teach, or at least, influence people's thinking.





Joseph Gold's Read for Your Life/Literature as a Life Support System was
recommended by an instructor in a Christian counseling course I took.

Gold says that experiencing other people's life situations in fiction causes real reactions in our minds and bodies, as we wll know.

He also points out that Dr. Zhivago was so powerful it was banned in Russia.




The third scripture is pretty strong:

Matthew 18:6,76
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

Wow. Of course, we want to entertain without being stumbling blocks.

These are what guide me, before I put my work in black and white for all the world to see. God included.

And everyone must do what's right in their own mind, as they are led.

I love this from St. Augustine, I think: "Love the Lord and do what you please."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday



Tucson, Arizona, Chantilly Tea Room, waiting for Jeri Odell and Audrey Barcus to join me for tea. Saw this reflection and asked a waitress to take the pic. Lovely place. It's almost Thursday, so I can say this. LOL

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, almost



Reading Liz Babbs' beautiful Celtic Treasure. More about that soon!

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Twilight" of loyalty?



I wish I could say I never do anything wrong and that my faith is therefore perfect and strong. I wish I could say God never has to discipline me.

I have to pray for more love, more power to obey and to minister, and more faith. And I wish I were a perfect example to emulate. I'm not.

But we're told to encourage each other, right? And this is something that worries me in the Church--the pleasure in the books and movie, Twilight.


Along with
Harry Potter and The
Shack
, mixed emotions abound about Twilight, as this article attests:

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

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.


Sure, we should consider the weakness of some Christians.

But what about the feelings of our GOD?

He hates powers not from Him. He said in the Old Testament that anyone who dabbled in them could not go into the Promised Land!

Has He changed His mind today? We're under grace. But does it still hurt Him? Even if He won't keep us out of the Promised Land, will He have to discipline us?

The article does mention Deuteronomy 18:9-14

Detestable Practices
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.

14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.


Whoa. Detestable. Not permitted you.

And consider: Leviticus 17:10. God said to Moses, "Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood-I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people."

To me, it's a matter of obedience.

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.

Some would object that we're not under the Old Testament. Well, Galatians 5 in the New Testament lists sorcery as something that can keep someone out of the Kingdom. Of course, most people who watch these won't do sorcery. But vampires do; at least, they use powers not from God to do things God hates.

People will say vampires aren't real. ***But the concept of sorcery is real.*** It just seems disloyal to be entertained and amused by something God hates. I fear it will bring His discipline, too. He does discipline those He loves. Not to mention that we are in spiritual warfare.

(And I've recently read here that some teenagers are no longer just giving each other hickeys, but real bites, drawing blood.)

I just read a book of John Wesley's sermons, The Holy Spirit and Power. It reported 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.

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

But we recall that Jesus could do few miracles in Nazareth because of *their* unbelief. He did manage to heal a few!

Heal a few! Wouldn't we love to see a few healings!

Because of current events and prophecy, I suspect we are in the lukewarm Laodicean Church Age. And in the very last of the Last Days.

If so, we share a challenge:

Jesus questions whether He would find faith on the earth when He returns.

He also said in John 14:6 that those who love Him, obey Him, and He will love them, and show Himself to them. So I think obedience is key to more faith. Ephesians 5:18 tells us, Be (continually) filled with the Spirit.

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

I'm no great example of an obedient one. I have temptations and strongholds of my own that I battle.

But I find it easy to resist these popular stories.

Because I've had so much fun seeing God move in my life and I want more. Praise God. I'd much rather have that than any fun I can get from a movie.

And I really, really long to see a few more loved ones healed! Not to put a guilt trip on people who have not been healed. But I suspect the whole church is missing out by allowing the world to distract us from our reasonable service--loving God more than anything else.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Havah, the Story of Eve by Tosca Lee


Occasionally, I volunteer to read a friend's book, they send it, and I recommend it if I like it. Tosca Lee sent me Havah, and I loved it from the moment Eve--Havah-- heard, Wake.

Suddenly, Havah's senses were filled with all the luscious sensations of a glorious world, a perfect man, all a perfect gift from God--to His creatures and to Himself.

Tosca Lee took a short and powerful Bible story we've all heard a thousand times, and with her anointed imagination and much research, she created a wonderful, moving novel.

She heightened emotions we all would feel in this setting, by showing the sinless purity of it all, the glory of the presence of God and the freshness of His perfect, untainted Creation. And she placed these emotions in this first woman so childlike in this heavenly place. Everything around Havah was more lovely than anything we could ever imagine. Including this amazing creature so like her, yet so different, her man.

Together, they explored and discovered that world and each other, the joy of sinless love, of gorgeous and functional plants, awesome and affectionate animals, and the regular, tangible presence of the Creator. All was love, beauty, discovery, astonishment, delight. Worship.

Then Havah encountered another beautiful and enticing creature--the Serpent. With the first question recorded in the Bible, he made her doubt. Yea, has God really said?...
And soon the story turned dark. Eve went from complete, carefree joy to desperate despair, blame, guilt, terror. She called God's name and He did not answer.

I love Bible prophecy, and have concluded that we are in the very last days before the Second Coming of Christ. Revelation 3 shows seven churches, and the last one before the voice says Come up here is the Laodicean Church. Among the interpretations of this is the belief that this is a literal time period. And it follows that that would be now. If so, much of today's church is poor, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked. People suffer because of it, and so do animals.

The Bible says Creation waits.

And of course, it started with Adam and Eve.

With her beautiful prose and deep emotion, Tosca made it all so real, my heart broke. Tosca did not overplay this. But when Havah found sweet animals suffering and dead and swarms of flies, after all that beauty, joy and perfection, I had to put the book down for a long time.

The exquisite beauty of the Garden of Eden was polluted. All because Eve had to have her way and eat that fruit. And Adam did not stop her. She was deceived. He disobeyed. He joined her. Then he blamed God:

That woman you gave me.

Because the Serpent hated them so. (You can read more about the feelings of the Fallen Angels in Tosca Lee's amazing Demon.)

Finally, months later, I had to know how Tosca handled the rest of the 900 years of Eve's life.

And I was captivated by her depiction of the joys and challenges of family relationships--what was it like to be married to Adam? Of love and (necessary) incest, survival skills, practical arts, and new homesteads for offspring, and finally, new cities and foreign, false gods. All from venerated Mother Eve.

I rejoiced for her at the end. An end we all desire.

I do recommend this amazing book for mature youth on up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Be still and--Dance!



I am blessed to attend a church where the choir leads worship.

We have a praise band and a worship team of soloists on the front row. And the choir is there the whole time, encouraging the congregation to enjoy the Lord and give back enjoyment to Him. Sometimes it's one hundred people in choir enjoying the opportunity to minister to the church and to the Lord.

Recently we cut our second CD. Lots of Christmas presents, LOL

What goes through our minds as we worship there?

Of course, the lyrics of whatever wonderful song we're singing at the moment. Total Praise. Revelation Song. Wednesday--Days of Elijah, Jesus Paid it All, You Humble Me.

And also, obviously, the One we're singing to. And about. Our audience of One.

And a desire to help bring listeners to the Throne Room and prepare their hearts to receive the Word of God presented in truth and love.

And finally, and very important to me, I think of God's heart. He spelled it out--how He likes to be worshipped.

We've all read Be still and know that I am God. A lot of time we are to be still and receive, or just be still because that is appropriate.

I also think about other things He likes and therefore are are appropriate. He says a lot more about that.

For one thing, He wishes people everwhere would pray lifting holy hands without anger or doubting.

He says to lift up our hands in the sanctuary and make him happy!

He inhabits the praises of His people.

He says to make a joyful noise. (He probably said that knowing I'd be "singing" one day.)

He also said to shout, clap hands, play all kinds of instruments, and do creative movement.

No, wait, I can say it: dance!

LOL Like in that great Leon Patillo song from back in the '70s, Dance, Children, Dance!

Because He says He takes delight in His people. He wants to party hearty with us! Doesn't that touch your heart? To be delightful to God in our worship!

I know this from a little word study on hands at Biblegateway.com, and also in the last two Psalms by that man after God's own heart, that dancin' King David.

Years ago at a Jesus Festival in Orlando, the late, great Jamie Buckingham taught us to dance under the stars, just a step and a kick, and a step and a kick and a little persuasion, and soon, we were dancing. Next night, no persuasion necessary. This was not part of the staid tradition I grew up or was in then. But now it was part of my tradition. We, thousands of us, were dancing before the Lord and loving it.

Think about when that darlin' Gator QB Tim Tebow charges down the field, turning, raising his hands to catch the ball, and take off, staggering under one tackle, pushing away another, dodging yet another, gaining yard upon yard, finally crossing the goal line to victory. We cheer and dance and get all free and exuberant celebrating his crossing the goal.

Why not do the same for our Lord and Savior?

Imagine how Satan watched Jesus suffer torture and slowly die and be placed in a cold tomb. You know Satan was all ready to make that victory dance, when wait a minute, the stone was rolled away and the Son of the Most High was not dead, He was alive again, and came forth from the tomb, radiant, glorious, triumphant, escorted by joyful angels!

You know Jesus must have danced! They all must have danced!

Jesus reached His goal!

All for us! For those we love. For those we haven't met yet.

I cannot sit still for long when I think of that! Can you?

The least I can do for Him is what He asked for in His house on His day--Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and make the Lord happy! What a privilege!

Living, He loved me. Dying He saved me. Buried, He carried my sins far away. And rising, He justified, freed me forever, one day He's coming back, glorious day! Oh, glory hallelujah... to the risen King!

That's what's in my spirit as I sing in the Worship Choir.

And once in a while, just a little, I dance!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

To put feet on our prayers, let's contact our reps.

Contact your Senator
http://www.senate.gov/

Contact your Representative
http://www.house.gov/

Here's what I've read about contacting them, for what it's worth.

First, obviously, be polite. Otherwise, you'll be laughed at and probably dismissed.

Second, stick to one topic per post or letter. Often, an aide skims them and merely checks off yes or no on a list of topics. If you write about more than one, it might not get noted.

Third, be encouraged that you wrote. They consider one letter as representing 10,000 more constituents in agreement. It does hold weight.

So, Encourage the ones who vote like you do. They're probably fighting a hard battle.

I read the first two books of the tome, _Advise & Consent_ for a book report. I was touched by the idealistic young man who went to Washington only to experience a very un-idealistic "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" modus operandi. If you don't support my pork project, my whole sub-committee will vote against your project.

Finally, be sure that if God tells us to pray for everyone in authority, then he hears and answers. And He reigns!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twuLr5rQmp0 "He Reigns"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Healed of CP

Does anyone know Bob Turner? Tell him I'd love to chat with him, catch up. He had the most wonderful story to tell.

I met him years ago in a home meeting. He played the piano beautifully for our worship, then he gave his amazing testimony. I love to believe wonderful things and tell others, but I don't want us to be deceived. I want to verify it.

I did. I called his high school and asked the secretary if she remembered him. "Oh, yes," she said.

So I didn't put words in her mouth, just asked what she remembered. She corroborated:

Bob was born with CP and at 14, his left side stopped growing. His left arm and leg were shorter and drawn up, and he walked with a dragging limp. His parents bought him an old piano for coordination therapy. He'd pound on it in frustration. But he still managed to learn a lot.

One night, a friend took him to a home prayer meeting and they laid hands on him and prayed. His left arm and leg straightened out and even his teeth on that side came in longer.

His parents didn't believe it when he ran up the stairs to tell them. They had been through so much for so long. His mother put her pillow over her head. His father said, "Let's see if it's there in the morning."

It was.

He went back to school on Monday and teachers pulled him into their rooms to ask what happened. A Bible club was formed and at the end of the year, an assembly program speaker had to cancel, and Bob and the host of the home meeting were allowed to give their testimony to the whole school.

All this, the school secretary corrobrated--in her own words, not mine. Except for one mistake. She said, "He went to a revival..."

No. It was just a living room full of believers.


Bob spoke in several churches in the area, and in my living room twice. I made more friends on those occasions, strangers brought in by friends into my packed house.

It would seem that God is still in the healing business. Several times, the Bible says Jesus healed them "all." I don't know why all aren't healed who ask with faith today.

Nowhere does it show Jesus refusing anyone with the words, "I think I'll let you keep this affliction. It will make you more spiritual." But we have probably all seen situations where it does.

Nowhere does it say in the Bible the age of miracles is past.

In fact, I Corinthians 1:7-9 KJV says we are to come behind in no gift waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But miracles do seem to happen more on the mission field than in more  "sophisticated"  science oriented-countries. Like ours. Ask a missionary back from the foreign fields. When everyone else isn't around.

I think we're pretty Laodicean, a la Revelation 3, but that's another topic for another day.

I do know that some people are still gloriously healed right here, and I hope that knowing that builds faith.

And we should dwell on the Word, such as Isaiah 53:5, "With His stripes, we are healed." And "Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today, and forever." But if His plans don't coincide with ours, we should also remember, God has His plans for us, and they're all good. "All things work together for good for them them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose," Romans 8:28.

And who does the healing? We are told in Hebrews that Jesus is at the right hand of God. God and Jesus are seated in heaven. So, the work on earth is done by God's presence in the wonderful Holy Spirit.

James says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." I'm no expert. I just suspect that God appreciates it when we recognize all three aspects of Him in their different roles. Like it says in the hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy--God in THREE PERSONS, blessed Trinity.

Too often today, we fail to mention one of these blessed Persons, God on earth today, the Holy Spirit, rather than act and believe for Him to minister accordingly, his gifts of the Holy Spirit. Healing, in Bob's case.

My novel's heroine's little girl is very ill and a new believer prays for her. This believer just lost a loved one, himself. He says he doesn't know why everyone isn't healed. He just knows that healing was part of the work of the cross. "With His stripes we are healed." So he prays for the toddler in faith, believing, and....

Pray for me to get a publisher and you can read the book and find out. LOL Thanks!

As for Bob Turner, he doesn't have all the answers, either. But he did get his healing, praise God. May we see more healings like his.

Jesus said,  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."  John 14:21

It might require some sacrifice and some more obedience than we're used to. But it would be worth it all, to see our loved ones healed.

God bless~

Friday, July 03, 2009

Closed--Too Wet & Too Wild

I'm reading about changing ourselves and how difficult it is, even with God's help. We're "comfortable" with what is familiar. Change for the better may seem artificial, uncomfortable.

I once rode past a Florida water park, Wet 'n' Wild, after a violent storm. A new sign stood out front: "Closed--Too Wet & Too Wild." I laughed and went on by.

But God will not just go on by. He will change us if we tell Him we regret our shortcomings and want Him to change us. He'll forgive us and make us peaceful and calm, regardless of any storm. And let us live with Him forever.

Knowing He loves and accepts us, we can do the same for ourselves and change and grow and become the kind of person He plans for us to be. And that is success.

My heroine, Maggie, had massive self-doubts. Two people died because of her shortcomings, she believes. She searches for answers on the dark side and her artistic, funny, sunny self almost gets lost in the process. But she gets by with a little help from her friends and learns the truth from a surprising source.

Scroll down and push the Ready button in the margin for more information, if you like.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I wish Bibles would do this:

I wish Bibles would use God's names. Just as I like to hear my friends say my name, I imagine God would enjoy it. And it would show us more clearly the traits in nature of our Heavenly Father. See how powerful are his names in this lovely devotional by Sylvia Gunter:



Praying The Character Of Your Father
From The 23rd Psalm

For every need, there is a name of Father-God that corresponds to the need. His faithfulness and his caring meet in the 23rd Psalm to portray our intimately personal Shepherd. God's character in all of his covenant names can be seen in this psalm. Ask him what he wants you to know about who he is, what he does, what you have in him through each name. Cultivate your personal communion with God praying this Scripture.

The Lord is my Shepherd -
Jehovah-Rohi: The Lord my ShepherdThank your Shepherd that he knows you by name and wants to communicate with you. Talk to him about your intimate relationship with him. Write your response.

I shall lack nothing -
Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord my ProviderThank your good Shepherd that he provides all your needs, beginning with redemption. Ask him to carry all your worries, burdens, and cares. Write what he says to you.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters -
Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord my Peace
Thank Jesus your Peace for his attention to the details of your life. Tell him you want to see him more clearly in your "dailies." Let him speak to you.

He restores my soul -
Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord my Healer
Because Jesus your Healer became man, he understands everything you have experienced. Thank your Healer for healing the hurts. Write remembrances of his restoration.

He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake -
Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord my Righteousness
Thank the Righteous One that you are accepted in him and completely forgiven. Thank your Shepherd for his guidance of your life for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me -
Jehovah-Shammah: God who is there
Thank God who is there for his presence with you that dispels all fear. Your Shepherd is always there for you. Thank him that he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Thank God for his loving authority in your life to discipline, correct, and give you the security of loving limits. Thank him that you can never mess up so bad that you fear punishment by him.

You prepare a table before me in the presence
of my enemies -
Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord my Banner of victory
Thank your Banner for his strength and protection against the enemy. Thank him that Jesus lives victorious in you.

You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.
Thank your Shepherd for his grace and favor that he gives you so generously. Thank him that you can enjoy fellowship with him.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord forever.
Thank your Shepherd that you can continuously sense his presence because of his faithfulness. Worship him with a song that speaks of his nearness and love.


From the weekly “Seek Him Meet Him” devotional of Sylvia Gunter © 2009. www.thefathersbusiness.com

Used by permission.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

All dogs go to heaven!


Don't you just adore animals? We've always had at least one dog, and sometimes fish, birds and a cat, as well. As a child, I'd watch the circus on TV and wish I could bring all the animals right into my living room to snuggle.

When I saw how "compassionate" or "tenderhearted" God is toward animals as well as people, I was deeply touched. I just love these indications of the tender love of our Heavenly Father for us all:

When Jesus came upon the funeral at Nain, he found a widow weeping over her son. She now had no man to help her and protect her. His heart moved with compassion, Jesus raised her son from the dead and restored him to her. But first, He had to tell her, "Don't cry."

In the law, God commanded on three different occasions, do not boil a kid goat in its mother's milk. Anyone who has ever cuddled a kid goat at a petting zoo knows how cute they are. I guess our tenderhearted God thought it ironic to the point of being cruel and disrespectful to the animals to cook the little thing in the sustenance of its own mother.

God also tell us that the creation itself groans and waits for our glorification. When we are finally free of the sins of this world, the creation will also experience freedom from corruption. What a beautiful thought.

And finally, in Psalm 104, God mentions His provision for His animals ten times, by my count. You can verify the number, yourself, below and enjoy the praises to God.

Do all dogs go to heaven? I feel sure they do. Cats? Probably. LOL My own theory is that animals are here to serve us and show us God's love and majesty, and then return to Him, like a class of angels. Just my opinion.

My heroine, Maggie, in my wip set in New Orleans, Pensacola, Paris and Israel, is tenderhearted, so much so that sometimes she compromises her values for fear of hurting someone else's feelings. She discovers this can be a problem. A major problem that could cost someone else's life.

Anyway, it's no wonder that God urges us to be kind to one another, compassionate, tenderhearted, as Jesus is toward us. Easier said than done, but God promises that He pours out His love on us through the Holy Spirit. So it's also no wonder He commands us to be (continually) filled with the Spirit. If He desires it for us, He will not deny us the same. Our job is to regret our wrong thoughts and actions and ask Him to forgive us, save us, and fill us. It is a request to which He always says yes.

To enjoy these tenderhearted passages, click here and here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Want to *really* thank a soldier?

Here's an email that's doing around. I love it. Copy and send this, if you like:

I'd like to ask you to do something that has been troubling me.

Our nation is/has been on the slippery slope for a long time. If you look around you will find corruption, greed, moral decay, and a steady move away from the things that made us great.

The principles upon which this nation was founded are no longer our backbone. However, we can reverse this trend.

In God's word he states,"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

I am convinced that we must pray for our nation and its leaders and ask for forgiveness. For our own sins, as well. So I ask you to join me in this plea to our Lord.

Would you please send this to at least 25 people in your address book, (send it to all of them). Ask them to pray EVERYDAY.

If you do and they comply, we will lift up millions and millions of prayers a day to our Creator. He will hear us and in faith will answer.

Let me just add a quote from Ronald Reagan - "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." I truly believe this is why the United States of America is in the shape we are in today.

Most people have forgotten that we are one nation under God! Let us as Christians stand up and remind people of this.

Rise up, O Church of God
Be done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of Kings.

And write to our would-be kings!

Please take a moment and write courteous letters to our reps in Congress. They say one letter probably represents 10,000 more of the same opinion. One issue per letter gets better notice than a long letter about many issues. This is the best way to say thank you to our soldiers, too.

This is what they fight for. Government *by* the people, a democractic republic in action.

Again, a *courteous* letter will be read. Any other kind will be deleted, maybe laughed at.

Addresses for our reps: http://tinyurl.com/ngg4he

~ Have a blessed day!

"For nothing is impossible with God."


God will not ignore the prayers of His people. Especially not prayers He urges and promises He--promises. He'll heal if we'll repent--change our ways--and He'll help us with that, too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to delight our biggest fan.

CJ Darlington's blog today talks about Writing Edgy for All the Wrong Reasons.

She defines edgy: pushing the envelope of what has generally been considered acceptable in novels regarding violence, sex, language, etc.

On the other hand, not wanting to be preachy, she says she was acting ashamed of the Gospel: Romans 1: 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

And that if she wanted to write a powerful novel, she needed to include the Good News of Jesus. While she doesn't want to write preachy, she also doesn't want to be ashamed. Excellent points.

LOL, let readers skip over salvation scenes in inspirational the same way some do sex scenes in other books.

I was church librarian for eight years and my favorite books to recommend got people interested in the Bible. A little didactic--instructive as well as very entertaining--the books showed the power of God and led people to salvation.

In this world where science rules for so many, it's wonderful to see when the loving Creator of the universe breaks through and shows Himself in the world.

One of the books, the autobiography of Lydia Prince, reads like an exciting novel: Appointment in Jerusalem. A prosperous Scandinavian school teachers follows a strange urge to leave job and boyfriend to go to Jerusalem in the '30s. A whole different world of opportunities opens up.

Thing is--well, two things. First, we're going to meet a lot of authors in heaven. Maybe in a receiving line. Habakkuk and Malachi among others better known, Matthew, Isaiah, etc.

When I realized that, I read the whole Bible. How humiliating to shake their hand and say, "So nice to meet you. Duh, I haven't read your book...." Imagine! LOL


Second thing, when I go through that line or whatever, I want to hold a book or many in my hands--my own. And I want to be able to say to them, "Here's my little contribution to the Kingdom. It's nothing like yours, of course, but it's my best shot."

Whatever the Lord leads, didactic stories or simply clean stories where people go to church and pray--and to some degree, edgy stories--done the best way we know how--that's our best shot.

Main thing--I want to be able to show it to Jesus. I don't want to be ashamed to hand it to Him.

Not ashamed for making attractive the sin He died for. Not ashamed for excluding Him.

Here's my little contribution to the Kingdom. It's nothing like yours, of course, but it's my best shot.

He reads it, anyway. Even now.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Asking for what we need

Do we need to interview an expert in order to describe our character's profession? Do we need an endorsement? Do we need time off to write? (Ha!)

The Apostle James said that we don't have because we don't ask. Or we ask for the wrong reasons.

Jack Canfield, co-founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, elaborates on asking people for what we need.


Good Things Come to Those Who Ask by Jack Canfield

Asking for what you need is probably the most underutilized tool for people. And yet, amazing requests have been granted to people simply because they've asked for it!

Whether its money, information, support, assistance, or time, most people are afraid to ask for what they need in order to make their dreams come true.

They might be afraid of looking needy, ignorant, helpless, or even greedy. More than likely, though, it is the fear of rejection that is holding them back. Even though they are afraid to hear the word no, they're already saying it to themselves by not asking!

Do you ask for what you want or are you afraid of rejection?

Consider this: Rejection is just a concept. There is really no such thing as rejection! You're not any worse off by hearing no than you were before you asked. You didn't have what you asked for before you asked and you still don't, so what did you lose?

Being rejected doesn't hold you back from anything. Only YOU hold yourself back. When you realize that there's no merit to rejection, you'll feel more comfortable asking for things. You may just need a bit of help learning how to ask for what you want.

How to Ask for What You Want

There’s a specific science to asking for and getting what you want or need in life. And while I recommend you learn more by studying The Aladdin Factor, here are some quick tips to get you started:

1. Ask as if you expect to get it. Ask with a positive expectation. Ask from the place that you have already been given it. It is a done deal. Ask as if you expect to get a “yes.”

2. Assume you can. Don’t start with the assumption that you can’t get it. If you are going to assume, assume you can get an upgrade. Assume you can get a table by the window. Assume that you can return it without a sales slip. Assume that you can get a scholarship, that you can get a raise, that you can get tickets at this late date. Don’t ever assume against yourself.

3. Ask someone who can give it to you. Qualify the person. Who would I have to speak to to get...Who is authorized to make a decision about...What would have to happen for me to get...

4. Be clear and specific. In my seminars, I often asks, “Who wants more money in their life?” I’ll pick someone who raised their hand and he gives them a quarter, asking, “Is that enough for you?” “No? Well, how would I know how much you want. How would anybody know?”

You need to ask for a specific number. Too many people are walking around wanting more of something, but not being specific enough to obtain it.

5. Ask repeatedly. One of the most important Success Principles is the commitment to not give up.

Whenever we’re asking others to participate in the fulfillment of our goals, some people are going to say “no.” They may have other priorities, commitments and reasons not to participate. It’s no reflection on you.

Just get used to the idea that there’s going to be a lot of rejection along the way to the brass ring. The key is to not give up. When someone says “No”— you say “NEXT!” Why?

Because when you keep on asking, even the same person again and again...they might say “yes”...

…on a different day
…when they are in a better mood
…when you have new data to present
…after you’ve proven your commitment to them
…when circumstances have changed
…when you’ve learned how to close better
…when you’ve established better rapport
…when they trust you more
…when you have paid your dues
…when the economy is better
…and so on.

Kids know this Success Principle better than anyone. They will ask the same person over and over again without any hesitation. (can you relate!)

Getting a good perspective on rejection and learning how to ask will make a world of difference for you as you work toward your goals. Practice asking and you'll get very good at it! You'll even speed your progress by getting what you need, or improving yourself in order to get it later.

Make a list of what you need to ask for in all areas of your life, and start asking.

Remember, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE… if you dare to ask!

© 2009 Jack Canfield

********
Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Thank you, Terry Whalin, for pointing out this article.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Welcome, Holy Spirit! Concert



We know if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. I guess that means all three Persons of God. Father, Son--and the wonderful Holy Spirit.

It's Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was first given to the Church. To celebrate, I've collected these songs into a "concert." Just click on the titles.

Welcome, Holy Spirit medley!

Cece Winans- Holy Spirit Come Fill This Place

Come Holy Spirit

Let Your Spirit Fall


Come Holy Spirit I Need Thee

Spirit of the Living God

Come Holy Spirit Fall Afresh On Me

Come Holy
Spirit (different)


Mighty Wind by Andrae Crouch

Elvis Presley introduces The Stamps - Sweet Sweet Spirit 1972 live

The Amen - Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Sweet Holy Spirit By The Isaacs

It's Beginning To Rain

Just for fun: Send it on Down!

Terry MacAlmon - How We Need The River

Shine Jesus Shine



Sipping coffee on my back porch in the sunrise, I thought about how, if Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, then it's the Holy Spirit, really, who does God's work in the world. The Holy Spirit lives in us when we "invite Jesus into our hearts." Who points to Jesus. Baptizes us into Jesus.

I came inside, looked up songs about the Holy Spirit, and just relaxed in the Lord and enjoyed that concert.

"We're all children of God." My main character, Maggie, pushed open cemetery gates and embarked on a journey into the occult, danger, and more problems than she could have ever imagined. Through tears and laughter, she learned we are given power to become children of God, and receive the presence and power of the Holy Spirit when we believe on the name of Jesus.

The Apostle St. Paul, the Catholics' first Pope, prays this for us:

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,

15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through

his Spirit in your inner being,

17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being

rooted and established in love,

18may have power, together with all

the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to

the measure of all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church

and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.




Be filled with the Spirit,

Verses on the Holy Spirit

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama: "America not a Christian nation." Congress: we'll see!

I've copied the full text of an article from World Net Daily. It's awesome. Hope you take a minute to also enjoy the short speech on the video below.

Our president stated in Turkey, behind our backs, that the U.S. is no longer a Christian nation. I urge you to watch the short speech below, which refutes this assertion. Nobody asked me about it, that's for sure. The principles of our Founders must still apply, or we are lost:


FAITH OF OUR FATHERS
Whaddya mean, 'America is not a Christian nation'?


Congressmen challenge Obama assertion by drafting 'spiritual heritage' legislation


Posted: May 16, 2009
8:45 pm Eastern
By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily


While Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. is "no longer a Christian nation," several members of Congress have taken a stand to boldly disagree.

A bipartisan group of 25 members of the House of Representatives earlier this month submitted H.Res. 397, which calls on Congress to affirm "the rich spiritual and religious history of our nation's founding and subsequent history" and to designate the first week of May as America's Spiritual Heritage Week for "the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith."

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., specifically challenged the president's claims that America is not a Christian nation in a news conference announcing the bill immediately following last week's National Day of Prayer observance.

"The overwhelming evidence suggests that this nation was born and birthed with Judeo-Christian principles," Forbes told reporters, "and I would challenge anybody to tell me that point in time when we ceased to be so, because it doesn't exist."

Read for yourself the timeless evidence of Christianity's impact on America in the freshly republished "Christianity and the American Commonwealth."

The bill itself cites over 70 historical references and quotes from past presidents, Founding Fathers and Supreme Court decisions as proof that Judeo-Christian principles have been the foundation of our nation.

H.Res. 397, which has now accumulated 41 cosponsors, not only calls on Congress to affirm the nation's spiritual heritage, but also resolves that the U.S. House of Representatives "rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure or purposely omit such history from our nation's public buildings and educational resources."

Video of Forbes presenting his argument for the bill's passage on the floor of the House can be seen here.

The full text of H.Res. 397 begins by asserting that "religious faith was not only important in official American life during the periods of discovery, exploration, colonization and growth but has also been acknowledged and incorporated into all three branches of the federal government from their very beginning."

The bill's long list of "whereas" affirmations begins with the statement, "Whereas the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed this self-evident fact in a unanimous ruling declaring 'This is a religious people. … From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation.'"

Among the many historical proofs included in the bill were the following:

Whereas in 1777, Congress, facing a national shortage of '"Bibles for our schools, and families, and for the public worship of God in our churches," announced that they "desired to have a Bible printed under their care and by their encouragement" and therefore ordered 20,000 copies of the Bible to be imported;

Whereas in 1782, Congress pursued a plan to print a Bible that would be "a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools' and therefore approved the production of the first English language Bible printed in America that contained the congressional endorsement that 'the United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States";

Whereas the 1783 Treaty of Paris that officially ended the Revolution and established America as an independent [nation] begins with the appellation "In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity";

Whereas in 1795, during construction of the Capitol, a practice was instituted whereby "public worship is now regularly administered at the Capitol, every Sunday morning, at 11 o'clock";

Whereas in 1789, Congress, in the midst of framing the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment, passed the first federal law touching education, declaring, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged";

Whereas by 1867, the church at the Capitol was the largest church in Washington, D.C., with up to 2,000 people a week attending Sunday service in the Hall of the House;

Whereas in 1853, the United States Senate declared that the Founding Fathers "had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people. … They did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy";

Whereas in 1854, the United States House of Representatives declared "It [religion] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests. … Christianity, in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions";

Whereas President John Adams, one of only 2 signers of the Bill of Rights and First Amendment, declared "As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him";

Whereas President Andrew Jackson declared that the Bible "is the rock on which our Republic rests";

Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt not only led the Nation in a six-minute prayer during D-Day on June 6, 1944, but he also declared, "If we will not prepare to give all that we have and all that we are to preserve Christian civilization in our land, we shall go to destruction";

Whereas President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared, "Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic, expression of Americanism. Thus, the Founding Fathers of America saw it, and thus with God's help, it will continue to be," in a declaration later repeated with approval by President Gerald Ford;

Whereas the United States Supreme Court has declared throughout the course of our Nation's history that the United States is "a Christian country," "a Christian nation," "a Christian people," "a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being," and that "we cannot read into the Bill of Rights a philosophy of hostility to religion"
Following the lengthy "whereas" section, the bill then calls on the House to resolve to affirm the spiritual history of the nation, reject efforts to cleanse that religious history and establish America's Spiritual History Week to appreciate and educate the citizenry on the country's foundations in faith.

Forbes was joined in announcing the bill's introduction by several members of Congress who spoke in favor of the bill, religious leaders like Dr. James and Shirley Dobson, professional football player Shaun Alexander, and leaders of several national education, policy and advocacy groups.

Asked last year to clarify his remarks on America's spiritual heritage, Obama repeated them to the Christian Broadcast Network: "I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers," Obama wrote in an e-mail to CBN News senior national correspondent David Brody.

"We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the statehouse to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community," wrote Obama.

Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus with Rep. Forbes, spoke at the press conference announcing H.Res. 397 and asserted to the contrary that it's "high time" the nation recognize and affirm the "integral part of our nation's history" that Christianity has played.

McIntyre said Americans don't know, for example, that even Ben Franklin, who "wasn't known as the most spiritual of the Founding Fathers," nonetheless looked to God as the only hope for our country:

"Ben Franklin," McIntyre said, "stood up and called the assembly of delegates to prayer, because, he said, 'Scripture teaches us that if a sparrow can't fall to the ground without his notice, is it likely that an empire will rise without his aid?' And if we don't first go to prayer, he said, 'We'll be no more successful then the builders of Babel.'"

*****
Please email your congressmen and encourage them to pass this bill.

And pray that God not be offended by so many wanting to kick Him out of our institutions after He has blessed us so much!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Obama: Margo Carmichael World's Greatest Mom!

You heard it first, here!

I've never been so honored in all my life! LOL

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Secret wisdom of God--can we know Him? Yes, we can

Today, I'm going to let God speak for Himself. I'm sure He thanks me. LOL Enjoy and be blessed:

We have the mind of Christ!

1 Corinthians 2:7-16 (New International Version)

7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written:

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"—


10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.


13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?"

But we have the mind of Christ.


Those of us who have regretted and apologized to God for our wrong thoughts and words and actions, asked for help to do better, and asked Jesus to be our Savior and made Him Lord to love and obey, have received eternal life. We will go to Heaven and have a great time, ruling and reigning and praising God. And in this world, we have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The promise is that He helps us to understand God. The promise is, we have Christ's mind. Big promise!

Do we always make ourselves available to all of this? Do we receive the Holy Spirit as a welcome indweller who is free to do what He chooses in us and through us? Especially in these Post-Modern days? That is the question.

God says He doesn't change.

Jesus says He doesn't change.

The Spirit doesn't change.

Who changes?

_______

My character, Maggie, thinks she has all the answers she needs. A church-goer, she's now a happy-go-lucky new bride on her honeymoon. But she does not have the mind of Christ and goes exploring where she does not belong. She had married a Navy pilot and later dates a killer. Does she find out in time? Of course. And she gets her joy back, and this time, a real relationship with God. I like happy endings.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pardon me, I think we dropped something.

Well, yes, I think we did, somewhat.

An excellent book, Simple Social Graces by Linda Lichter, ought to have a stronger and more descriptive title. It sounds like a nice little etiquette book. Not.

It covers the alarming loss of quality of life, today, compared to the gracious way of life of the Victorian Era.


And no, Lichter says, the Victorians weren't prudes. Freud gives us that impression. He wrote in the Victorian era, about abnormal, unhappy people. Not much is written about average, happier people, because they were not what Freud or Jerry Springer or even Oprah would ever have the opportunity to interview. The Victorians were reticent, respectful and discreet. Some things, they kept private and special. Even sacred. Imagine! But they were not prudes. Queen Victoria really gets an unfair rap, Lichter writes. You'd be surprised.

Mainly, Lichter says that without manners and morals, we are at the mercy of one another's whims.

Women, being smaller and more vulnerable, will not come out ahead! Read this book!

And this rant is not to lay a guilt-trip on women who have to work in order to put food on the table. My heart and blessings go out to those women.

But to those who just want to go out and "find themselves," as they used to say a lot, I suggest: Wait! Stay home. Before your kids get lost. Before you and society get lost!

A woman who trains her children well definitely is worth more than rubies.

My heroine is the diligent, devoted mother of a baby girl. The baby contracts an illness that has no cure but prayer. The heroine is also an artist, and rather fits the stereotype--emotional. Sad to say, because of a desperate need to find a certain answer, she's been dabbling in the occult and paying the price.

And she doesn't know it, but one of the important men in her life is a murderer.

Most of us don't have such problems! We just have to decide what to cook for breakfast. For our maids. I'm still workin' on the maids part.

Then I'll have more time to write!

Brandilyn Collins blogged today about this in reference to thoughts by James Scott Bell, more specifically, on cruelty in the arts. For more on that, click on Brandilyn's Forensics and Faith.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Condolences to author Sara Mills

My heart goes out to my Canadian friend, Sara Mills on the death of her husband. I met her at an ACFW conference and thoroughly enjoyed her witty sweetness.

Sara has written two mysteries set in NYC in 1947, when clothes were clothes. I can't wait to read them. Just bought Miss Fortune. It looks like my kind of time and place. (Before my time, of course. LOL)

You can buy it used already, but Sara has three kiddos, so I hope everyone will pay full price.

You may read more about Sara and her books by clicking here and visiting my friend Cara Putman's blog.

Sara, sending you and your family (((BIG HUGS))) and blessings and God's peace.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We--and our books--are the only Jesus some will ever see.

What do we owe the reader, besides an entertaining read? Some laughter and tears and new insights about people and places?

As the Hippocratic Oath allegedly says, but actually doesn't, LOL, but does imply:

"First, do no harm."

Well, obviously, we don't show kids playing with matches and gasoline. At least, not without consequences.

But I also ask myself this:

Do I lead anyone astray with my story? And if my story is the only one a non-Christian ever reads, what impression does she have, now, about the Gospel?

Does it make her want to learn more about Christ and Christians--and how to become one? Or does it turn her off to Christians, pastors, church, and therefore, without knowing what she's missing--the Gospel?

This article brings good non-news: clean stories sell.

The bad news is, as we all know, while Hollywood and publishers still produce the other kind, they also produce stories that make the Gospel look bad. Or make Christians look stupid and/or evil.

Do we? Not on purpose, of course, but--do we?

My main character, Maggie, sees someone die in a plane crash. Angry at God, now, she turns her back on Him and looks for answers in the spirit realm. Obviously, this is not the ideal example to set for a reader. I give the readers credit: Many would know better. But not all. And I don't want to be responsible for anyone going where we're forbidden. So I show Maggie miserable on two fronts. On top of her grief, she is assaulted by fear. Horrible headaches and panic attacks come as a result of her dabbling. Her sunny, funny personality grows dark. And others around her express their misgivings and try to persuade her away from this quest. And she does not find answers there. She finds answers when she turns back to God.

Of course, not everyone feels called to spell out in their stories how to be "saved." Many choose simply to write wholesome stories about people who at least acknowledge God, maybe go to church and pray. How we need those!

But the least we can do is show most Christians as ordinary people with good intentions. They may slip, stumble, sin, but they rise again in God's forgiveness, and go on with their good intentions. And perhaps allude to the power of the Gospel to transform lives and give eternal life.

Because our story may be the only Christian book someone reads.

I think Dan Brown is a genius. But he also takes pleasure in writing stories that make the Catholic church look bad. I'm thinking of _The DaVinci Code_ and _Angels and Demons_. And little "Opie," Ron Howard, takes pleasure in making movies of these unflattering books.
While not a Catholic, I appreciate good Catholics as good people. Moreover, much of the world sees all Christians the same. To the world, all people of the cross believe the same way. Catholics, Evangelicals, Charismatics, Fundamentalists, and everyone in between.

So, what is bad for Catholics is bad for all of us.

It's not PC on television, in books, in movies, in news stories, to disparage any group--except Christians. That would include many people reading here. Us.

Persecution of any group--like us--always begins with disrespecting and disparaging that group.

May our books never, even accidentally, do the same.

A song says, "You're the only Jesus some will ever see." Like it or not, that goes for our books, too. Especially when we are known to be Christian.

I love to write. To get my thoughts down in black and white. I love to have written, too, LOL. To have finished something and maybe had a lot of fun doing it. I've even been paid for some of it, LOL.

In non-fiction, local newspapers, I've interviewed Randy Alcorn, Henry Mancini, Chuck Colson. I even had a walk-on scene with Dennis Quaid in Jaws 3 while covering the filming in Orlando.

In fiction, I'm fleshing out characters with quirks and dreams and problems and ambitions in challenges and funny situations. It's all so much fun. And work.

And some responsibility, too.

May our books never cause anyone to stumble away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If it does turn a reader off, are we guilty of causing a little one to stumble? Because then, Jesus says, we're better off having a millstone tied around the neck and cast into the sea.

And that is not my idea of the fun of writing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Heaven-Thursday Translation

That Wordless Wednesday picture (please scroll down to Wednesday. ) was taken during a comedy choir presentation, "Heaven."

For costumes, we wore anything we wanted, to represent ourselves, plus wings and haloes. Some were pretty wild. I wore my kilted skirt, sash and tam from Clan Carmichael.

We sang wonderful songs about--heaven--and told jokes in between. Such as: This Scottish woman's husband announced he was taking alllll his money to heaven with him when he died, and he hid it. After he died, she found it in the attic. "That old coot." She shook her head, laughing. "He should have hidden it in the basement."

Randy Alcorn wrote a wonderful book about Heaven.





During Christian Book Expo, he told me that once we know what the Bible says, we can speculate on the rest. He suggests we may be able to chat with Christians from other times and places.

For those of us who would love to travel more, that should be fascinating. I'd love to talk to artists in Renaissance Italy. And in Paris, the Impressionists.

And I'd really love to talk to the first-century Christians. I wonder how far we've come in 2000 years from living in their obedience and Holy Spirit power.

"Teaching them to do all things whatsoever I have commanded you...." "

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils...
"

"Until the end of the age/cosmos/world." Wow. The power in the Great Commission. But that's a topic for another time.

My husband took that choir picture used in Wordless Wednesday. Nice camera angle just happened to place me under the cross. That's where I live my life--in the shadow of the cross. Not because I'm so good. But because of what Jesus did on the cross for me, I know I will go to Heaven forever.

Do you have this assurance? If not, please click on the red button in the right margin.





So, if I don't get to see you around here, maybe I'll see you in Heaven.





Leave a comment. Let me know what you decide. : )

Have a great Thursday--and a wonderful Forever.



(If you know who the artist is, please let me know.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"IF MY PEOPLE..." God's Conditional Promise

I just read the latest about AIG and I feel the frustration, to say the least, along with everyone else. So, I think this bears repeating:

We have a God who is "slow to anger," because He "remembers that we are dust."

But He does have His limits. He does promise to "scourge all that He receives." (Never mind, right now, what He promises to the others.)

That's why He writes this startling promise to His own followers:

If MY PEOPLE who are called by my name [like all those who follow Him and claim His name. In my case, Christ-ian. Christ follower.]

will humble themselves [as in, "Don't make me come down there and humble, or worse, humiliate you."]

and pray [like, "Spend time to sit and talk to me."]

and seek my face [like, "While you're talking, try listening, too--find out what I love. Try obedience, John 14:21, and see me move in your life. And find out what really bugs me. I make it clear in in Deuteronomy 18. Quit turning to the occult for amusement, for starters. I HATE it. Instead, 'shine like stars,' Philippians 2:14-16. 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.'" Acts 2:40]

and turn from their wicked ways [like, "I'm talking to you, too, Margo. I love you, you are one of mine, you are saved because your sins were nailed to the cross with Christ and your life is in Him. But as for our fellowship, I cannot look upon sin. You might not do big, horrible, scarlet sins. But the tiniest dingy gray sin still put Jesus on the cross."]

then [like, "You determine when."]

will I hear from Heaven ["I look forward to hearing from you all."]

and forgive your sin ["every last one, dingy gray or huge and scarlet--again, if you'll repent. And I'll work with you and help you."]

and HEAL YOUR LAND. II Chronicles 7:14

I leave that last line to others' interpretation.

On the one hand, I want us all to put God's ways first in our lives so He will heal our land. Bring back some integrity and truth--and a little courtesy and modesty. And reverence. And I believe, up to a point, He will. That's why I bring it up here.

On the other hand, I wonder if we have time for Him to fully heal our land. I read this website every few days: Rapture Ready . To me, things are falling into place.

My friends do not need to agree with me. But just what if I'm right?

What if this is the time? For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1Peter 4:17

Some may need to push that red button in the right margin. We may be running out of time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wordless main character, not! "If MY PEOPLE...."

My main character, Maggie, would not do well with Wordless Wednesday.

An emotional artist, she accepts the stereotype. She has deep feelings, and some of them pop out of her mouth and get her in trouble. When someone she loves dies in a tragic accident, she tells God to just leave her alone. Turning her back on Heaven, she strides into her house. And from the corner of her eye, she sees a dark shadow.

How many of us have ever felt anger with God? Moses and Jeremiah both did. And God understood and loved them anyway.

How many of us have turned our backs on God? The Prodigal did, and when he turned back to God, God received him home.

We have a God who is "slow to anger," because He "remembers that we are dust."

But He does have His limits. He does promise to "scourge all that He receives."

That's why He writes this startling promise to His own followers:

If MY PEOPLE who are called by my name [like all those who follow Him and claim His name. In my case, Christ-ian. Christ follower.]

will humble themselves [like, "Don't make me come down there and humble, or worse, humiliate you."]

and pray [like, "Spend time to sit and talk to me."]

and seek my face [like, "While you're talking, try listening, too--find out what I love--try obedience, John 14:21, and see me move in your life. And find out what really bugs me--as in Deuteronomy 18. Quit turning to the occult for amusement, for starters. I HATE it. Instead, 'shine like stars,' Philippians 2:14-16. 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.'" Acts 2:40]

and turn from their wicked ways [like, "I'm talking to you, too, Margo, and everyone else out there. I love you, you are one of mine, you are saved, but I cannot look upon sin. You might not do big, horrible, scarlet sins. But the tiniest dingy gray sin still put Jesus on the cross."]

then [like, "You determine when."]

will I hear from Heaven ["I look forward to hearing from you all."]

and forgive your sin ["every last one, dingy gray or huge and scarlet"]

and heal your land. II Chronicles 7:14

I leave that last line to others' interpretation.

On the one hand, I want us all to put God's ways first in our lives so He will heal our land. And I believe, up to a point, He will. That's why I bring it up here.

On the other hand, I wonder if we have time for Him to fully heal our land. I read this website every few days: Rapture Ready . To me, things are falling into place. Of course, my friends do not have to agree with me.

Maggie wouldn't. She has never heard of such things in her church. And she's focused on raising her child and on her career. But when her friend goes to Israel and flies in the Six Day War, some of these things loom larger than before. And Maggie begins to wonder if she made the right decision in turning her heart away from the Lord.

There is a little similarity between Maggie and me, such as our love of art, which is coincidental, and the root of our name. It has to do with what she learns about her name--that even when she rebelled, God had His hand on her all along.

And when her heart turns toward Him once more, He welcomes her home.