Thursday, October 13, 2016

Do You Care?

We've had a special emphasis in our church over the past month and a half. During worship and Sunday school time we've focused upon salvation and reaching out to those who are lost around us.

In our particular area we can't quite claim to be Christian or probably not even the Bible belt anymore. The statistics show that at least every other person I meet as I go about my little town is lost.

Now here's the part that hit me during our last Sunday school session. Do I care?

As I'm sitting in my church surrounded by family and friends who are saved, I can say, "Of course, I care." But do my actions match that statement? Am I really reaching out to those who are lost? Or am I just satisfied to know that my little circle is saved?

When Christ gave the Great Commission, He said to make disciples of all nations. He didn't say to make sure your family and friends were taken care of and then you're done.

Jesus set the example of truly caring and having compassion for every person. He comforted and touched the leper who no one else would go near. He noticed people who weren't noticeable. He fed people He wasn't responsible for. The Bible states often that Jesus looked on people with compassion.

The ultimate way to look on others with compassion is to want to bring them to Jesus, to have an effect on their lostness.

Now back to that hard question. Do I care for lost people? If I do, I'll act in compassion. Compassion is sympathy and empathy with work clothes. In other words, it isn't enough to feel sorry for them. It isn't enough to say, "I remember. I've been where you are." Really caring is acting when we encounter a lost person.

What does this look like? This may mean I have to meet physical needs before a person is willing to listen to me. It could mean that I have to build a relationship with the person so they know I really care.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I'm beginning to care more and more. I'm asking God to show me those who need Him. I'm asking Him to let me see them as He sees them.

The Bible states that it isn't God's desire that any person die without Christ as their Savior. I am working on making that my desire as well and then to do all I can to introduce them to Christ and what a relationship with Him means.

Do you care?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

World Alzheimer's Day - Sept. 21

Wednesday is World Alzheimer's Day. I will be wearing purple that day.

One reason is because I have friends who have family members who are suffering from this disease right now. Because my family has been through this before, I can say from experience that it is hard being the care-giver. It is also hard watching the care-giver suffer.

Another reason I will don my purple is in memory of my grandfather, Paul Lindsey, or as we called him, Pap. Pap suffered many years with Alzheimer's disease. He went from just forgetting things to almost burning down his house with a heater during the summer. He progressed into only the shell of the man we once knew.

Pap was a big, strong man. He proved it by propping his arm on the doorpost and letting my little brother hang on it. He would say, "Tell me when you get off." Classic, right? He was a tractor-riding farmer. My brother and I always wanted to go with him when he had errands. Why? Well, he would just happen to pull into the corner market and get us a soft-serve ice cream in a big cup. Yum.

I'm so glad that God allows me to remember Pap not with the Alzheimer's but before it struck him. God helped me to sing at Pap's funeral. I had always known I needed to sing Another Soldier's Coming Home because it fit him so well. If you've never heard this song, check it out here sung by Janet Pascal, who also wrote the song.    Another Soldier's Coming Home

Thanks for your Godly legacy, Pap! I'll see you there, in heaven. No Alzheimer's. Just my Ol' Pap.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

National Read a Book Day - Sept. 6th

Tuesday, September 6th, is National Read a Book Day.

Now, most of you would probably guess that I don't need an excuse to read a book. But I definitely want to support this wondrous little holiday.

Currently, I am reading a Richard Mabry book called Code Blue: Prescription for Trouble Series #1 in the fiction arena. I didn't read these books from Mabry and am going back to "catch up." In nonfiction, I am reading a book by Aaron D. Gansky and Diane Sherlock called Write To Be Heard.

If you currently need a book to be ready for this holiday, may I suggest my Christian romantic suspense, For Our Good. I'm actually celebrating its anniversary. This book released a year ago. If you haven't read this book, please leave a comment, telling me why you love to read, and I will choose a winner for an ecopy.

You can also find some other books to consider just by scrolling through my blog posts. I have featured author-friends' books here.

In the comments tell us all what book you will read to celebrate this holiday on Tuesday. I've already shared with you what I'm going to be reading.

Read On!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

How About a New Book for Your Reading List?

I am so pleased to welcome fellow author but most importantly, sister in Christ, Danele, back to the blog to share about her new book.

I’ve always loved to read, but I hate that horrible moment when a good book comes to an end. It’s torture saying goodbye to characters I’ve come to love. One of the BEST things about being an author is having control over your own stories. Many of you know that I wrote The Time Counselor Chronicles while I was ill and enduring seven years of quarantine. During that time, I didn’t have control over many aspects of my life, but I DID have control over my fictional characters. I found extreme pleasure in the fact that since I was the author, I didn’t have to say goodbye to Gil, Crystal, Marc, Laura, Alex, or the rest of my crew—I could just write them another story. Time Trap was written for one reason only—I was enjoying myself, and I didn’t want to say goodbye to the people I’d created in Time Tsunami. And that’s why the other books in my series were written as well. By the time I finally sought publication, I’d completed six books. Writing, for me, was an act of pure enjoyment. When I began, I wasn’t thinking about publishers, reading audiences, or profit margins, I was simply thinking about what type of adventure I wanted to write next. My books brought me joy, and that was all that mattered.

For years, I didn’t let anyone know I was writing. TEMCO was my personal world—my escape hatch from illness and pain. I was afraid that if I let others into my imaginary world, it would crumble away. As it turned out, the exact opposite was true. When I finally let my family read my stories, they were extremely enthusiastic with their support. They helped me proofread, and they gave me wonderful advice. They also encouraged me to keep writing—in actual fact, some of them threatened me with dire consequences if I stopped. They had become just as involved with my characters as I had, and they wanted to keep reading their adventures.

I always fill my books with suspense, romance, action, faith, and comedy. I keep them clean, and I work hard to make them full of page-turning fun. Communication is such a wonderful thing. I love the fact that we can relay our ideas, hopes, and dreams to each other. My books are more than just stories, they symbolically chronicle the way I stood up to my illness and fought it. They speak about the value I place on love and friendship. They show that humor can be found even in the midst of great difficulty. And most of all, they demonstrate that a crisis of faith isn’t the end—it’s simply the first step to understanding God on a deeper level.

When I was ill, I questioned every aspect of my Christian faith. I didn’t understand why a loving God would allow me to suffer in such unimaginable ways. What I learned is that Christ suffered too, and when I’m in pain, He stays by my side and helps me bear it—even when I’m hurting so much that I’m not aware of His presence. In a strange way, I’m glad that I went through my illness. If I hadn’t, my books would probably be very shallow. Instead, I’ve filled them with the questions I’ve struggled with—and with the answers I’ve found. Life isn’t easy, but I’ve learned that even in the middle of tragedy, God is faithful and trustworthy. That’s what each of my characters eventually learn, and that’s what I hope my readers will take away from my books.  

When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate.  While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program.  As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question.  A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself. 

Purchasing Links:

 Just her own personal testimony is so inspirational. You don't want to miss the stories that came out of this hard time in her life. 

Thank you, Danele, for sharing and for not keeping your stories to yourself. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Its' Not Just Old Stories

Has anyone ever said that the Old Testament is just history or old stories? Yeah, I've heard that too. I've also heard people say that we can only learn from the New Testament because we are New Testament Christians.

I must disagree with this reasoning. And believe it or not, obviously those first church people also needed to know that the Old Testament was valuable to read and study. Paul actually writes to the church in Corinth in his letter from 1 Corinthians.

"Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.' Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."

Paul is referring back to what the Jewish people did and were punished for. He states that these things were recorded as examples for us. They were written for our admonition.

Admonition means counsel or warning against fault or oversight. The word carries the idea of alarm, alert, caution, and notice. Let's break down this definition a bit more. The word counsel means to give advice, to coach, to show, guide, tutor, shepherd or mentor. The word warn means to put on guard or caution, to give supportive advice to, or to notify especially in advance.

Thus the Old Testament is meant to be read and studied as an advance warning of sin's consequences. The stories are to be an example to guide us away from wrong and following what is right.

When I teach children from the Old Testament, I try my best to relate the story to them. Why? The story of Daniel in the lions' den or David and Goliath are not there for simple entertainment. These were included in the Old Testament to learn from. There is more of a purpose for the Old Testament than just as a history.

Think about your favorite Old Testament characters and stories. I just completed the book of Esther. Great story. But as I finished the last verse, I thought how something from her story could help me. Right now, in my current situation, the Esther story encourages me that even if I feel I don't understand why I'm in a certain position or place, I never know if God didn't plan it for me to be in this exact place for some specific reason. That's how it was with Esther. God planned for her to be in the exact place she needed to be when her people needed her.

The whole of the Bible is applicable to me and my life, not just the New Testament. God didn't have those scriptures penned just to entertain or provide a history. He included them for us to have an example and learn from them.

What was the last Old Testament scripture you read? What could you apply to your life from that story or passage?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Seek With All Your Heart

"Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered." 2 Chronicles 31:20-21.

This verse came up during my daily Bible reading. Made me stop and think. King Hezekiah prospered. Why? He sought God with all his heart.

In another verse in Scripture we see this kind of wording. "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

Have you ever lost something really important? When you set out to search for it, you don't just half-heartedly look. You focus on the task of seeking that item. You keep at it until you find that which you lost. This is the way I see this seeking of God with all my heart.

Hezekiah sought to follow God in every area. Notice the verse speaks of every work that he began, in law and commandment, he sought God wholeheartedly.

Just a couple of chapters after this, Hezekiah's son becomes king. Manasseh tried it his way and was carried off in fetters to Babylon. But God still honored His Word.

"Now when he (Manasseh) was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God." 2 Chronicles 33:12-13.

Really? Had Manasseh not realized why his father prospered? Or did he just have to learn his own lesson?

Whichever it was, even though Manasseh messed up, God heard him when he came to his senses and sought Him. Guess Manasseh had to have proof for himself that the Lord was truly God.

The lesson here? It's worth it to seek God with all my heart. If I try to do things my way, I'll always end up in trouble. It's comforting to know that when I mess up and seek other things that I can always humble myself and seek Him again. He's there waiting. I can only hope and pray that I've learned my lesson and will keep my focus on the only One worth my constant focus.

My next task is to make sure that those I have influence over, such as my daughter, understand the importance of seeking God with their whole hearts.

So precious reader, I implore you to seek God with all your heart. If you do, you will find Him because He isn't lost or hiding. He's waiting for you to seek Him. I believe Manasseh would encourage you to do the same, for he discovered that the Lord was God.

Monday, July 18, 2016

He Longs to be Involved

"The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you." Isaiah 30:18-19 NIV

In light of the state of our world today, have we forgotten to call upon God?

When the above verse appeared on my scripture calendar, I just paused and marinated in it for a moment.

Take heart in what this verse says. Look at that first sentence. He longs to be gracious to me? He rises to show me compassion?

How much more gracious could He be that long ago when He saw into the future, He knew He must send Jesus to die for all sins. How much more compassion could He show? God loved me and you so much and wanted to provide a way to be in a relationship with Him, that He did the ultimate. He sent His Son as a sacrifice.

But you know, I truly believe that this verse is ongoing. God longs to be gracious and show compassion to us now, in our current circumstance. Just notice that next line - He is a God of justice. And I don't think that the next sentence is just accidentally put right after the justice part. We are blessed if we wait for Him.

We might look around at what happens in our world and wonder where God is. Oh, He is here and He is still a God of justice even if we feel His timing should be on our schedule. God's justice will prevail in the end, make no mistake about that.

Some might say that this verse isn't applicable because it names people who live in Jerusalem, but this is a direct reference to God's people. Who are God's people? Those who have a relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. I truly think God is saying that His people should weep no more. We should cry out to Him.

Too often I'm guilty of watching the happenings on the news or social media and then moaning about it. Or I might even wring my hands and start to worry. God says to call upon Him first. Notice the verse says that as soon as He hears, He will answer.

Will this answer be to solve the horrors we see occurring in our nation and around the world? I don't know. That's God's decision. He isn't slow, as Scripture says, in acting. He seems to be because He wants all to come to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus.

But when we, His children, call out to Him, He will hear and answer in His way. This might be to show me compassion through a comforting peace that passes all understanding. He might show me how to help a situation. He might use me to tell another about Christ. He's God. It's His choice. But He does hear and will answer.

Read the above passage again and take heart in that your God wants to be gracious to you and show you compassion. He wants to hear your cry and answer. Cry out, precious brothers and sisters.

Does this scripture stir anything different in you? Please share with us in the comments.