Monday, February 20, 2017

Clean Hands and Pure Hearts

Psalm 24: 3-6
"Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob."

At first these verses hearken back to when the Israelites had to stay back from the mountain while Moses was up with God. Moses returned to find the people with dirty hands and impure hearts for they had created an idol and were worshiping it. God knew the people would mess up and not be in the right place to stand in His holy place.

After remembering this historical perspective, then I turn to myself. Can I ascend? Can I stand in His holy place?

The qualifications are given for the one who might ascend and stand.
First, the one with clean hands. Does this mean literally washing my hands to be accepted? No. I believe this is a reference to what I have done. Have I soiled my hands by doing things contrary to God's instructions? I must do those things God wants me to do and stay away from doing the things He tells me not to do. Such things come to mind as taking care of people around me but refraining from gaining for success only.

Next, a pure heart is needed. This becomes even more difficult, for now I have to examine my thoughts and motives, not just my actions. Have I held ill will against another? Do I harbor bitterness or envy? These will keep me from standing in His holy place because God knows. Others may only be able to see what my hands do or do not do. But God sees my true motives.

Then, I mustn't trust in an idol. Some take this literally and exclaim readily that they are okay in this area. But what about the idols of career or even family or friends we hold in higher regard than God. An idol is anything that becomes more important than God. This takes careful examination.

Also I can't give any credence to any other person or thing that might take the place of the One True God.

Thus if I can have clean hands and a pure heart and a total loyalty to God, I can stand in His holy place and ascend His mountain. This makes me think about worship. When was the last time I just entered worship without considering if I was actually prepared? Whew. I won't start confessing here. But I am guilty of just approaching Him without examining my readiness.

When I do come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart, I will receive His blessings. I like the sound of that. And to add to that - Notice it says that such is the generation who seeks the Lord. Let's face it. If I am practicing getting clean and pure before worshiping my Lord, I will in turn lead my family to do the same. This will bring blessing upon my family - this generation.

Lord, help me to approach you with clean hands and a pure heart, leading those I have influence over to do the same. And let your blessings encourage me to continue to prepare when I worship You.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Be My Valentine, Forever!

Shall I resist getting mushy?

But I do have a Valentine forever in my hubby. Immediately I thought of a song that expresses how I feel. Maybe you readers might enjoy and relate to this song by Steven Curtis Chapman.

The song is entitled I Will Be Here. I think it expresses the sentiment of longevity - being in for the long haul. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Forsaking all others. Keeping only to him. As long as we both shall live.

Hubby has been preaching on marriage during this love month. He suggested that couples might reclaim those vows, remembering and keeping them.

So here's my Valentine to my hubby. Listen to the song here: Song - I Will Be Here



Friday, February 3, 2017

Time Search by Danele Rotharmel

Danele is my guest once again. We are featuring her latest release, and this is blog stop #12 on her fun blog tour. I'm posting this a couple of days early, so all of my readers can catch up.


Welcome to Danele! We've got a little interview for you, readers.




It’s always great to welcome an author/friend back to my blog. I’m thrilled to have Danele back to introduce us to her newest book.

Thank you, Paula! It’s so nice to be here! I always enjoy working with you.


Danele, briefly remind the readers about yourself.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Danele, and I’m the author of The Time Counselor Chronicles. My books are Christian romantic suspense with a time-travel twist, and I wrote them during a seven-year period when I was in quarantine.  I know that sounds strange, so let me explain. Several years ago, I started feeling ill, and my doctors couldn’t figure out why. Finally, it was discovered that I was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty furnace in my home. I thought that once the furnace was replaced, my health would improve, but the gas had triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Anytime I was exposed to perfume, cleansers, car exhaust, or any of the other chemicals that surround our daily lives, I would become extremely ill. My health continued to worsen, and eventually, I was put into quarantine in my home.  My house was a “chemical-free” zone, and for seven years I could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. My years of quarantine were very difficult, but during them, I wrote my books.  My characters were a window to the outside world, and they gave me something to focus on other than my health.


Tell us about your newest release.

Time Search is the third book in The Time Counselor Chronicles. It contains the same characters from Time Tsunami and Time Trap. And although Time Search is a sequel, I’ve included several helpful glossaries that will allow easy reading even if someone hasn’t read the previous books in the series.

Here’s Time Search’s back cover blurb:
A nameless evil lurks in the shadows… In the wake of a recent wave of violence, TEMCO employees are left reeling. While some of the staff are put into hiding, others are left behind to discover the true identity of the mysterious nemesis who is determined to destroy them all. While Crystal, Marc, and Zeke search for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for TEMCO’s missing leaders. It’s a race against the clock! And as the hours and seconds tick away, it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first. It’s a classic battle of good versus evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher!



What kind of takeaway do you hope readers gain from this book?

Time Search is full of spiritual takeaways, but there are two that really capture my attention. By report, my readers love Crystal Stuart. Crystal is incredibly nice, but she’s also klutzy and socially awkward. In Time Search, Crystal makes a fool of herself in front of Marc Kerry, and she collapses emotionally. She feels hatred toward herself and dredges up all her painful memories. Later, she realizes that reliving a painful past is wrong, and so is calling any creation of God’s rubbish—and that includes herself. She realizes that if Zephaniah 3:17 says that God sings over her, she must be pretty special. Another wonderful takeaway can be gained by looking at the theme of forgiveness in my book. During Time Search, my characters learn that if they want to live in peace, they can’t allow bitterness to take over their lives. They learn the importance of forgiving others when they’ve been sinned against.


What part of this book was the most enjoyable to write?

My favorite part of Time Search is Crystal’s Cinderella moment. She overhears Marc saying that she’s a dud in the look’s department, and with Nicole’s help, she transforms into a glamour girl who turns Marc’s head. While I was writing, Crystal and Nicole’s plotting ways had me in stitches! I spent so much time giggling over this book! I really enjoyed it!


What part of this book provided challenges while writing?

Writing Time Search was an enjoyable breeze; however, editing it was more difficult. While I was editing, I experienced severe problems with my eyes, and it looked like I was headed toward emergency surgery. Although I was able to dodge surgery, I was warned to spend less time at my computer. Learning how to pace myself has been a challenge. I’m used to gobbling up my writing and editing assignments. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that I need to practice moderation when it comes to computer time.


For fun and curiosity’s sake, what is your ideal setting for writing? Please include location, snacks, anything that makes you primed to produce your best and most creative work.

Well, Paula, if I was ACTUALLY my idea of the perfect writer, I’d say that my favorite writing location would be the shores of a peaceful mountain lake. I would gaze periodically at the sparkling water while tapping away at my laptop. I would be dressed in a lovely, shimmery blouse, and my blue jeans wouldn’t be overly snug because my ideal snack would be mineral water and an apple…  But if I’m going to be honest, I produce my best work when I am holed up at my desk with earplugs crammed in my ears, the shades drawn, and a bowl of Doritos at my elbow. And my favorite writing attire is a ratty t-shirt that’s about twenty years old and pair of oversized sweat pants.


Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers or that you might want our readers to respond to in the comments?

Writing my novels has been an act of pure joy! I used writing as a way to entertain myself during quarantine. I hope my readers enjoy my books just as much as I do!

In the comments, I would love to hear what my readers love the best about my books. And if someone hasn’t read my books, I’d love to hear what part of a book catches their attention the most—the comedy, suspense, action, romance, characters, etc.

Danele, as always, it’s a pleasure to have you on the blog. May God bless your newest release and richly bless you. 

Thank you so much for having me, Paula! I really appreciate this wonderful opportunity to chat with you and your readers!





Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, causing her to be put in quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful. To learn more about Danele, visit her blog:  https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Visit Danele's blog to catch up on any of the blog tour you missed. There's prizes involved!

Thanks again for sharing this new release with us, Danele!



Monday, January 30, 2017

Deliverance and Timing

In my daily Bible reading I am up to the point in Exodus where God sent the plagues and now finally, Pharoah says to go.

As the children of Israel are preparing to leave, there is a verse that states that the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. All those years. All those generations. Now God has sent his deliverer, Moses.

But the number of years. 430, stuck in my mind. Why? I remembered that between the Old Testament and the New Testament is estimated some 400 years of silence from God. Then He sent the ultimate Deliverer, Jesus.

In bondage for 400 years plus. Then the blood of a lamb in the Old Testament and the blood of the Lamb in the New Testament brought on deliverance.

I have studied the connections between the Passover and Jesus' sacrifice before. But I hadn't zoomed in on the similarity of even those 400 some odd years in the accounts.

God waits for exactly the points in time that are perfect, according to His plan.

At just the right time, God sent Moses to Pharaoh to bring the people out.

At just the right time, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to save us all, once and for all.

And as we who are His children await His second coming, we might think He is slow in returning. No, His timing is perfect. It is even reiterated in scripture that God isn't slow. He delays, wanting all to come to faith in Jesus.

We don't have the exact moment of Jesus' return, just like the children of Israel didn't know the exact moment of their deliverer. And that's just like the people didn't know the exact moment of Jesus' coming the first time.

So what do we do? We are on mission to make sure as many people come to Christ, as God desires for them to do. And when that eastern sky splits and Christ descends, we'll be delivered eternally. Perfect timing!

Monday, January 23, 2017

What Are You Reading?

As I sat down to write out a post for today, I decided to share with you what I've been reading.

I just finished reading Sandra Bricker's The Big 5-Oh! Sandra passed away earlier this year. When I realized I had another of her books on my kindle that I hadn't read yet, I started reading it immediately. As I wrote in the review for Amazon: Never read a Sandra Bricker book I didn't love. I suppose this book hit me close to home as well, since I'll be turning 50 in 2017. This book had sweet romance with a mix of unpredictable dilemmas. You won't be disappointed.

The  Big 5-OH! by [Bricker,  Sandra D.]

My newest fiction title is Give the Lady a Ride by Linda Yezak. With cowboys involved, what's not to love? I haven't gotten very far in but so far, I've loved it.

Give the Lady a Ride: Circle Bar Ranch Series by [Yezak, Linda W.]


In nonfiction I've been reading and meditating on Have a New You by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman. Now I didn't follow the timeline with this book. There's a lot more to read and think on than for only a few days. I love the way he explains personality types in a much easier way to understand, using dogs of all things. Then one of the sections that most prompted thought for me was the birth order part. Leman brings up some things I had never considered. You're probably better at reading and digesting and can stay on the "by Friday" timeline. But I would recommend this book to everyone, even if you don't want a new you by Friday. You just might get some insight into why you are the way you are and about those around you.

Have a New You by Friday: How to Accept Yourself, Boost Your Confidence & Change Your Life in 5 Days by [Leman, Dr. Kevin]

Dr. Leman has some other versions of this that you might want to check out, relating to teenagers, children, and your sex life.

Now as for my writing craft book, I'm rereading Inspired Writer - How to Create Magic With Your Words by Brian Hutchinson. I'll give one warning with this one: there is some language that I don't care for. It's really not needed, but it tends to be the way of this author. But what Hutchinson has to say to writers about being inspired and getting past perfectionism and negative critics is really worth ignoring the profanity. Any writer who might feel a little less than motivated should check into this book. With each chapter, I feel encouraged and ready to write for all I'm worth.

Inspired Writer: How to Create Magic With Your Words by [Hutchinson, Bryan]


So there you have it. Those are the books I have my nose stuck in right now.

What have you been reading that you would encourage others to read? Please share in the comments.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I Will Be With You

"Then the Lord said to Jacob, 'Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.'" Genesis 31:3

In my Bible reading plan through the One Year Bible, I've been reading about Jacob. Poor guy - he was in love with Rachel and worked for seven years for her. Then he was tricked into marrying Leah, the older sister. I would have been angry and pitched a big fit. We're only told that Jacob speaks to the father and asks why he has done this. The father calmly answers that he couldn't marry off the younger daughter without getting the older one hitched first. (Well, he doesn't say it in exactly those words, but that was the gist.)

What does Jacob do? He agrees to work more years for Rachel. He must have really been smitten with her. Finally he has Rachel as well.

Now Jacob works for his father-in-law and brings much prosperity to his flocks. I'm sure that's why the father-in-law wasn't too happy when Jacob said it was time to head back home.

Of course, Jacob had to also be thinking about that little incident with his brother Esau. Last he heard from him, Esau wanted to kill him.

But the Lord told Jacob to go home, and the Lord would be with him.

I got to thinking about that. There are times I wish God would speak clearly about His direction for my life. Some instances in my life, I've been very sure of God's leading. Everything has pointed in a direction. But other times in my life, God hasn't been as clear. I think in those times it is like Abraham's experience. God told him to get up and go to a land He would show him. But Abraham didn't know the exact itinerary or have an X marked map. He just had to follow.

But I have to focus on the last part of the verse above rather than the first part.

Focusing on the first part means I want God to be specific with me on His direction. However, I don't think that is the best part to focus upon. The last part of the verse says that God would be with Jacob. I have that same promise from God.

The important thing for me is to know that God is always with me. He may decide to shine a big light on the dark path up ahead and let me see far away. But He may only shine a tiny light which means I can only see far enough to take the next step.

This is a hard lesson for me. I am a planner. I like to know what I'm doing. I crave a nice filled in schedule. But God knows that my trust in Him can grow when I don't quite see the whole plan laid out. When I'm forced to just depend on Him for the next step, my faith grows. And I know I can depend on Him to be there because He promised. I have to rest in that. Or at least I'm learning to rest in that. The controller in me says, "Could you make this path a little more blatant and clear?" And God says, "I'm here. That's all you need to know."

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Four Days into the New Year - How Are You Doing?

Evaluation time. At least for me. I told you about my word for this year - diligent. Let me report one way I feel I have been diligent.

Normally, I go through a One Year Bible each year. This year I decided to be more earnestly involved in reading God's Word by keeping a devotional journal.

Here's what I do:

Read the Old Testament passage in the One Year Bible.
Write something in my journal that stood out to me in that passage.
Read the New Testament passage.
Write something in my journal that stood out to me.
Read either the Psalms or Proverbs passage, whichever is included.
Write something in my journal that stood out to me.
Sometimes write out other things that come to mind or maybe even a prayer for God's help in an area noticed in the passages.

How does this make me more diligent? Acting on what I read means I have to truly think, meditate on the scriptures. By doing this, I can begin to apply what I am reading into my life.

I have often fallen into the trap of just reading through the Bible passages so I can mark it off for the day. But if I truly want God's Word in my heart and influencing me always, I have to be more attentive.

I'm sure you'll end up hearing about some of the passages here throughout the year. You know how I love to share when God teaches me stuff.

How about you? What are you doing in your personal devotion time this year? I would love to hear about them all in the comments.