Apr 102019
 

Some of you may be interested in checking out some of these links to further your understanding of God, Scripture and our intended role(s) as Believers. The links for the apologists’ (“apologia” is greek for “defense” by the way, not for “apology”) sites are awesome for finding answers to questions/concerns you may have in/about your faith and beliefs, or for finding answers to questions other people pose to you for which you have no confident response. I hope you find them helpful.

Apologetics and evidence for faith:

https://www.reasonablefaith.org

http://multiplymovement.com

https://www.reasons.org

https://www.str.org

https://crossexamined.org

https://coldcasechristianity.com

https://www.johnlennox.org

Bible studies & commentaries:

https://enduringword.com

https://www.versebyverseministry.org

https://jesusonline.com/resources/free-bible-studies/

Mar 232019
 

The Bible (both old and new testaments) exhorts us to read and study God’s word so that we thoroughly understand God’s character and nature, and how He wants us to live our lives. Through Jesus, He wants a personal relationship with us. He doesn’t want “religion” or ritual, because religion doesn’t save: Jesus does.

Look and see how many, many books and chapters of the Bible (again, both old and new testaments) are offered as warnings to us all to not ignore our God, the Creator of everything that exists.

As I was studying Scripture this morning, I was particularly struck by these words from the Book of Hosea 4:6 (NASV), given as warning and prophesy to Israel prior to their destruction by Assyria. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge…”

Do those words bring any degree of conviction to your heart? Are you rejecting the knowledge readily and freely available to you because you’re “busy” with your life? Take a look at your activities throughout the day. What actual value has that 30 minutes (or hours????) of television brought to your life? What about the time spent on social media? Do you find yourself watching silly videos posted by people you don’t even know, and then realize how much time has evaporated? Oh, it may have been entertaining, but was it of any real value???? And when things get rough in your life, do you ever feel God seems so far away? I’ve heard this several times, and you may have as well: “If you feel far from God, guess who moved?” Here’s the clue: it certainly wasn’t God.

We should have our noses in our Bibles every single day, or certainly as often as we can manage — always giving priority to time with the Lord. (Try getting up 15-20 minutes earlier every day and make it your very first task.) If you’ve tried reading the Bible and feel like you’re just not getting much out of it — possibly because you’re struggling with old King James linguistics, I implore you to try a different, contemporary version. Nowadays, you can read almost any version of the Bible online for free, or download from Amazon or the Apple Store. Also please read, listen to or watch commentaries and studies posted online, for free (such as, but not limited to: versebyverseministry.org; bible commentary; https://thebibleproject.com/podcasts/exploring-my-strange-bible/; https://thebibleproject.com/explore/;and enduringword.com), and pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit. I will testify to what great insight you will gain — not only an increase in head knowledge, but tremendous enhancement of your spiritual growth and your connection with the Lord.

The thing is (and you’ll learn this once you begin to study Scripture), the Jews believed they were “just fine” because they continued to go through the motions (ritual) of the Law, without putting any thought into it. Without putting their hearts in it. They worshipped and trusted in other gods, adding a small side-serving of the One True God just to make sure they had all the bases covered. They acted according to “what was right in their own hearts.”

I ask you to “Sow with a view to righteousness. Reap in accordance with kindness. Break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord.” (Hosea 10:12)


Feb 182019
 

Hello again. Here is my amalgamation of 1 Peter 1:15, Mark 9:24 and my own requests for spiritual improvement and relational growth with the Lord.

Please forgive me for my lack, and for my failures. Unveil my faults and rid me of them. Prevent my neglect. Cure my unbelief. Help me wait for You, putting my hope confidently in Your word. Help me be holy in all my behaviors in imitation of You, the Perfect One who called me. Imbue in me Your goals. Include me in Your work, and support my success. Create in me a fervent and unwavering spirit; a faithful, pure and devoted heart. Set in my being an unquenchable passion for You and Your ways. Give me all Your promises, for You are the God of my Life.

Dec 252018
 

Psalm 119 has so many verses that speak to me. Here’s an adaptation from that Psalm:

Help me seek and find You, Lord. Be with me. Enlighten me, inspire me, and fill me. Store up Your living words in my heart so I may not offend You. Give me all I need to earnestly carry out Your desires each day. Draw me ever closer to You. Help me fully trust in You, and love You with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength. Reveal to me the way I should go, because I pine for You. Align me with Your will and hold me fast, for You are my God.

Know that the Lord Goes Before You.

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Dec 172018
 

Since my current work in progress is greatly stifled by writer’s block, 🙁 I’m inclined to post some Bible verses and prayers that resonate with me. Perhaps you might also enjoy them? Here’s the first, a mash-up from Deuteronomy 31:8 and 1 Chronicles 28:20 :

Know that the Lord is the One who goes before You. He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake You. Never fear or be dismayed for His work is always perfect. All His ways are consummate. He is the God of faithfulness and power, devoid of injustice. Faultless and upright is He.

Nov 272014
 

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.

The glory of the Lord: the visible token of the presence of the God. A white shining cloud of intolerable brightness, known among the Jews as the Shechinah. It was observed in Moses’ burning bush, in the pillar of fire and cloud which guided the Israelites out of Egypt and as they wandered in the desert, and also witnessed in the tabernacle in the Temple in Jerusalem. It shone round Jesus during the Transfiguration. It robed Him when, risen, He appeared to the Pharisee Saul outside Damascus. The occasional presence of this visible glory was exceedingly precious to the Jews. The terror felt by the shepherds was the natural awe felt by man when brought into visible communion with heavenly beings.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” 15 

It should be considered significant this message was announced to shepherds. Historical evidence indicates they were social outcasts, rough characters on the fringe of Jewish society, and considered among the lowest class. (That they were not allowed to give testimony in court is one indication of their low cultural status.) As a group, they have no discernible qualifications for the distinction of being the first to hear of the Savior’s birth —especially when delivered in such a manner. But this could be the very reason they were selected: as a practical illustration of what Christianity often exemplifies: “the exaltation of the humble and meek” as opposed to the further exaltation of persons held in high regard or power. This seems to reflect Mary‘s words in the Magnificat: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.”[15]

May you, too, be lifted up with joy and uncountable blessings throughout this Christmas and holiday season. Go forth and make merry!

Passages and commentary excerpted from:

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/luke/2.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annunciation_to_the_shepherds

http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/news/why-did-angels-appear-to-the-shepherds-42031

http://www.whychristmas.com/story/birth.shtml

Apr 162013
 

Thank you to the fabulous and talented Shanyn Hosier for inviting me to participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. The blog hop serves to highlight new releases and introduce other authors. The blog consists of a series of questions about the author and his or her book. Here goes:

1. What is the working title of your book?

I currently have two in progress, Through the Darkness and The Ruins. (Or From the Ruins – I’m flip-flopping on that one. What do you think?)

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The concept of From the Ruins sprang from some of my own personal experiences and challenges – although not nearly as intense, nor including any threat of death, mind you. That one will be a lot more personal on some levels than my previous books. Through the Darkness developed as a result of a very bizarre and disturbing incident I had one night when awakened from sleep. Puzzling over it afterward (now, even years later) elicited other questions/puzzles I suppose I need to pursue perhaps for my own edification.  

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Both are romantic suspense with Christian elements.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm. I’m not much of a movie watcher. Although I might recognize the face of many actors, I can’t remember their names for the most part. Despite that, definitely Sandra Bullock could play the role of Alyssa in Through the Darkness. Alyssa is much like many characters Ms. Bullock has played: sassy, joke-cracking, and kick-ass when she needs to be.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence? Sorry, can’t do it.

Through the Darkness: Murder. Spirits. Love & Faith. Can Alyssa’s love lead Judd through it?

From the Ruins: When everything falls apart…to the point where life is on the line. Colin’s love has proven insufficient. Can newfound faith win Kristen back? Or will either of them survive?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I expect to self-publish both, primarily due to the difficulty placing a romantic suspense with Christian theme/elements in any particular genre or category. A little tough to market, it seems. Nonetheless, I hope readers will like my work and tell their friends.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 

Still in process and incomplete. No telling. Although I do have my spurts, I am not a fast writer.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t read anything like what I write, so can’t think of anything to which to compare them.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

While hoping I don’t come off as obscenely full of myself, I do believe that my drive/compulsion to write is prompted by God’s plan for me.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The fact they are inspirational but also include suspenseful romance and what I believe are real-life challenges and situations faced by fallible Christians co-existing in a world filled with non-Christians and those who are still on the fence. Ultimately, the message is that love is profoundly and universally powerful. My hope is to encourage and hearten readers of any faith.