Are you goal-oriented? Resolution prone? Does making a list of hopeful accomplishments help you to achieve them?
I'm not. Days melt away to nights. Each day inspires or decays objectives. I do need purpose, but if I set a goal, it means there's an automatic time stamp on getting it done. Maybe it's because, according to the bible, "Each day has enough trouble of its own" that I don't tend to be specific about what is to be done and when. Of course certain items must be done, accomplished, and I'm rarely without a plan, but it's vague and not bound by time constraints.
"Easy for you to say," says the author who must meet deadlines and strives to fulfill many requirements.
"Yes, it is, and I'm grateful for this life and the little corner of it I fill with God's mysterious instructions to me. His plans can also be vague, I've found, so I'm just trying to follow his lead."
So. Such is my life. No real measurable goals for the "new year". Other than to be obedient to whatever it is God has for me to do today. And sometimes that's no easy task, but it's a vital one.
Father, that's what I want to do. Obey you. Help me to be able to hear your instructions and to always follow your lead. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
A common problem for writers and readers is the back up of books to be read. I'm so there right now. December was a very slow month for me. I dragged myself through one novel and now have several tapping at my subconscious reminding me that reviews are due in January. Usually I can close one novel, create a review, and move right along to the next. Not so recently and I have no idea why.
The last book I read with fervency was The Last Man by Vince Flynn. If you've ever read his novels, you know why it was no problem to dash through that story wishing I could slow it down because of the long wait for the next one.
Well, there are reviews coming in January. Let's hope I can do some steady reading starting now, and that any one of the coming TBR novels will inspire me to get back to my own writing. It's been too long . . .
Father, my schedule is in your hands, but I also need perseverance. I'm asking for your supply. Please. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Earlier I told you I've been enjoying the first year of the TV series Elementary. Now some of you will shake your heads at me wondering how it is that this is the first year I've viewed any of the Castle episodes, but it's true. After all, the series features a male mystery writer as its co-protagonist with a female homicide detective. How could that not be enticing? I've been watching the reruns on TNT, and, at first, I couldn't watch a complete episode. Didn't draw me in.
I had to warm up to Castle and the detective, but I finally stuck with an episode and slowly succumbed to the charm of the UST, seeing that the lackluster chemistry which first diverted my attention warmed up and became interesting in its seeming one-sided affectation.
It will remain in second place to my normal Thursday evening viewing in that time slot, but I'm finally enjoying the reruns when I catch them.
So. Have you ever read a novel that you had to warm up to but by the end you were thoroughly involved? A movie? A television series? What ultimately hooked you? Do you know?
God, you supply the inspiration, the interest, the ability, the everything. Let me never forget: Apart from you, I can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
There's nothing quite like being a blessing to someone else. So many times others do things for us, give things to us, are there for us. When we can reciprocate, be there, provide for someone else's need(s), it's the true blessing.
Thank you, Lord God, for allowing me to bless others. Nothing honors you quite as much. Thankful for so much. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring your good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
There were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means "God with us."
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
You're for abortion, but you're sad that those children at Sandy Hook were executed by a young man with a gun. Each one of those precious little souls began in the womb. They were nurtured by their mothers as they formed from conception. Their mothers wanted them to live. They came into the world and were allowed to grow into little kids and then they died. A nation mourns their deaths and cries with their parents now missing such a vital, unique, and special part of their families.
How do you justify it? How do you stand for a violent death in the womb but protest the execution of a young child? How do you reconcile either of them? One death at the hands of the mother and a doctor. The other from the violence of a disturbed individual. And you say one of them is okay if the mother wants it.
Please tell me how you can tolerate one and condemn the other?
Oh God, we are so very desperate for your Truth, your forgiveness, your hope, and all that you have for us. Help us, Lord. Help us to see the message in the birth of a child, the death of a God-man given to set us free from our own depravity, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ to prove our need for a Savior and the peace with God only He could bring. Thank you, Jesus. Holy Spirit, convict our hearts. Show the lost the Truth. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The desire to attach a human definition to Love is rampant. As if humans can even remotely understand it. As if humanity can truly attain such an ethereal definition. Christians adhere to the biblical definition of love. Simply stated in 1 John 4:16: God is love. That single scripture opens up such a huge realignment of thoughts on love as to be indescribable. Because God being love encapsulates enormous qualities which include things like mercy, grace, forgiveness, discipline, judgment, and punishment. Singular factors which capture the softer side of love are all courtesy of human attempts at showing their potential aptitude to embrace the "unlovable". Another exercise in defining love immediately leads us to this scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 where the perfection of love is outlined and described, leading us to an understanding of what's desirable but certainly not attainable in our human state, and pointing us to a perfect Lord who holds and embodies the true definition of Love.
The utter tragedy in the Connecticut school shooting is being blamed on all kinds of explanations, not the least of which is the procurement and use of guns. The gun-control enthusiasts are quick to point out how disastrous it is for citizens to have access to guns, completely ignoring the fact that non-law abiding citizens will always have guns to threaten others' lives.
This isn't about guns. It's about the inherent evil in our souls. It's the earthly struggle between good and evil. It is defined not by the lack of love but by the nature of Sin. Sin with a captial s. Sin that runs through our bloodstreams with all the other chemical elements, both healthy and unhealthy, inherited not only from our biological parents but from the origin of the human race. From the fall of man to the present time, we carry around this inheritance of evil and it requires us to sin.
Of course the world will have none of sin. Sin is "old-fashioned". Biblical, therefore arguable and worth mockery. Even in the church sin is being redefined right alongside the new definitions of love. No wonder. Without a new definition of love, we couldn't okay sinful behaviors. And let's not forget to renew a fake grace which enables those sins.
Here's the thing about sin from a Christian perspective. Sin immediately flooded the earth at the first couple's disobedience of God's simple order, law, rule. Just one. Do not eat from a certain tree. That's all. Why? It's for your own good. And isn't that the reason for not giving in to sin now? For our own good? Aahh, but when sin's conduct wobbles around with rearranged definitions established upon the wicked whims of the human heart, we have all kinds of mayhem. Evil. Increasing as the Lord foretold. One day He will put an end to it. After the last heart that's willing to turn to Him cries out in shame and repentance, He will say, "Enough!"
You can hide or destroy or eliminate every pistol, rifle, rocket launcher on earth. Man will invent something equally as lethal and execute others with it. Why? Because man is sinful. Sin. Full. Without Jesus there is no cure, no remedy. No stopping sin. And still we humans will fight to extricate it from our conscious lives with the assistance and counsel of the Holy Spirit.
Which brings us to "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men". The peace is Jesus. He has made this peace available to all of mankind: by His birth, death, and resurrection He alone provides peace with God. That peace which was broken at our first disobedience, that peace that eludes us because of our inherent sin, has been reestablished between God and His creation through His Son Jesus Christ who wrote Paid in Full in His sinless blood across the Past Due requirement for the ills of the human race. The payment brought us to the place where angels proclaimed, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men" approximately 33 years before it came to be.
The best example of God's defining love is that He can love us in our sin. That He can warn us there are always consequences for sin: death being the primary result. He does not overlook sin, understand sin, okay sin, and redefine sin. Repentance and the acceptance of His Son's sacrifice are the only pardons for sin. Without His definition there is hell to be paid for sin. His love encompasses a huge definition, one that man likes to rearrange and redefine. Can't be done - except in the minds of men.
As Christmas approaches, realize the truth of Jesus. He brought and continues to bring "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men".
Father, God of all Creation, we ask for your Truth to permeate our lives. We're truly desperate for you. We need you in every way in every aspect of our lives and at all times. Jesus, thank you for saving us. There are no words to say enough. Holy Spirit, we want to always hear your voice. Day in and day out. We know: apart from you, we can do nothing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Thank you Jessica Thomas. I did this a few months ago thanks to Karin Kaufman. Not a lot has changed since then, but sometimes I'm a good sport. Sometimes. So here goes.
"The Next Big Thing"
1. What is the title of your next book/work?
Let me just say titles are super important to me. And although I'm working on three novels currently, I only have one absolute title for one of them and that is " . . . heard it in a love song". The other two haven't given me their titles yet although the first one will probably be called "Seeing . . ."
2. Where did the idea come from for the book/work?
Book One of three: I can only claim divine inspiration.
Father, love on my friends. Bless them in all their endeavors, done to honor you. Encourage them as only you can do. Bring healing where needed. You are who we need. Fill them with your inspiration. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Visit with me over here. I apologize. When I posted this, my post appeared at my regularly scheduled time at Novel Rocket. Apparently, I have been pre-empted. Sorry for the inconvenience. Hope you enjoy the snow scene.
Lord, you lead. I'll follow. As best I can . . . In the name of Jesus, Amen.
You recognize the symbol of course. Division. Symbolic, isn't it? One circle above a dividing line with another circle below it.
Christmas brought the dividing line. Jesus Christ was born according to years of prophecy established at Creation. He defined heaven, God's intention for His creation, how sin had severed relationship, and how Jesus had come to set men free from the chains and separation of sin.
He went beyond the Cross to send the Holy Spirit to lead His people into God's prescription for their lives, to aid them in seeking a closer relationship with Him, to renew their minds to right thinking, to unify the purpose of real life, to dispense of and help them utilize gifts and talents ordained by God. Nothing left to chance, to confusion, to ignorance. For the record and history of the human race, its divine purpose, and to caution them about the alternatives which lead to a destined death.
Whether or not the end of world has been predicted by man becomes irrelevant compared to God's mystical explanations of its damnation and destruction and of those who choose to serve Satan instead of Jesus Christ. There most certainly is an end to this corrupted world, but only God knows exactly when it is. In the meantime He built a self-sustaining planet that has survived nuclear bombs, pollution, and men's theories of its imminent death due to a variety of horrible man-instigated causes and crimes.
Is it any wonder that as we head to our inevitable conclusion that depravity is amplified?
"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24:37-39 NIV)
Prayer and discipline have been removed from schools. Propaganda teaches that babies in the womb are mere masses of cells and valueless. History is being revised. Truth is absent from much of reality. Envy is a staple for those who want more than they've earned or been given. Mob mentality is being cultivated. And "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is scorned and mocked as "old-fashioned". A new "Love" is being defined by an apostate church which invites all people into "The Church" with no mention of sin or accountability or the use of the Bible as the only reference for a God-centered life. The Word is being rewritten with human philosophies just as Colossians 2:8 stipulated:
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
Merry Christmas is politically incorrect as atheists fight to demolish nativity scenes everywhere and demand that anything to do with God be removed from public vision.
This is why Jesus came to earth. Because sin was rampant and perversion prevailed. Just as it did in the days of Noah. Just as it does today. Still, Jesus came then and He comes now. Waiting for those who consider their lives. Are they full and meaningful? Are they purposeful? Can people evaluate themselves as contented and without errors? Does anything done give them pause to wonder about right and wrong actions? Is there an emptiness that just can't be filled?
The human condition can never be completely fulfilled here on earth, but neither can it be even partially fulfilled without Jesus Christ. He seals the deal for attaining completion. There's no other way. Does His personal residence make life easy all of a sudden? For some, it actually happens that way. Not that trouble and hardship won't eventually come again. This is earth after all. For others, things get immediately tougher - perhaps with families, with persecution. But what is gained by knowing Jesus puts to rest all other gods, all other lifestyles. If you know Him, life changes. For the better. Always. Because He is the way, the truth, and the life. That makes all the difference.
The sorrow felt at the great division among people today rises all the way to heaven. The great divide was never God's idea, but rests upon the weakened shoulders of a man and woman who thought God's way could be bettered. It never can. And never will.
The "Peace on Earth" was the amendment between God and man. Restored from Eden to the present when a soul accepts the sacrifice of Jesus to once again find a loving Father waiting with open arms. That sacrifice took a sinless life with holy bloodshed and demands a sin-stained human race repent for the sins that plague them all. Paid in full. The resurrection guarantees an eternal future. The only cost is to recognize what's at stake. Heaven or hell. Life or death.
As Christmas comes, remember the God-man born as a babe, bringing life to all. If they want it . . .
Father, you send the Spirit to relentlessly call upon the lost with the Truth of Jesus. May all who hear His words of love come to you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Writers are mostly dreamers. Some will admit to grandiose goals and others will admit to nothing. The desire to produce something of value usually comes from the heart of a writer and finds common ground throughout the community.
Christmas is celebrated by Christians for the gift of Jesus, given to the world. The world in its coarse and sinful ways fails to understand the motive of this gift and often chooses to mock the beauty of such a perfect offering. We give gifts to share joy, and there is no equivalent to the joy of knowing Jesus Christ.
As a writer, I want to share words to touch lives. Whether or not I achieve that, it is my intention. Words can be gifts. Words can wound, devastate, or demonstrate depravity. Words can encourage, inspire, or strengthen. When words assemble with all of these facets combined to form stories, unique experiences can bring readers to tears, to resolutions, to declarations, to somber or joyful reflections. The power of words orchestrated in stories make for potentially meaningful time spent immersed in what they have to say.
So what would make your writer's Christmas near perfect this year?
Father, we're thankful you gave us Jesus. We're still desperate for you. Desperate for your love, forgiveness, grace, and revelation knowledge. Thank you, Jesus, for it all. The fabulous truth of who you are and what you've done for us is overwhelming. Holy Spirit, thank you for tirelessly talking to lost souls, presenting them with the opportunities to choose Jesus. It's always a choice. Thank you, God, for loving us more than we can comprehend. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
You're pregnant. You don't want to have a child. You say "it's" just cells, not yet a human. So you can justify killing "it". Then you're not really pregnant because just a bunch of inhuman cells doesn't mean you're pregnant with a child which would require an abortion to rid yourself of the child. But "it's" not a child. Therefore, you aren't pregnant. Therefore, you don't need an abortion. Think it through.
You're an adult. You just charged more purchases than you will be able to pay for in years to come. You can't afford all those items, many of them ridiculous and unnecessary. So you go to the bank and explain you need to borrow more money because you can't afford to pay your bills - or even the interest on those bills. The bank looks at your purchases and declares they can't loan you more money because there's no way they can be paid back and your collateral can't cover the amount. You demand a loan, telling the banker that you have relatives and friends who should give you money to help pay for them. The banker asks why they should have to pay for what you bought. You tell the banker they have more money than you. The banker explains that you would have more money if you hadn't bought all that unnecessary stuff. You reply, "But I wanted it!" The banker replies, "Then find a way to pay for it yourself. No one else should have to pay for your frivolous spending. And we certainly aren't going to loan you any more money for such reckless habitual spending."
Father, may eyes be opened to see and ears be opened to hear. We're desperate for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.