Thursday, December 28, 2017

My One Word

Some people have asked me about picking a word for the year. Below is a link to a YouTube video in which one of the authors of the My One Word book explains a bit about this idea and process. Now this video is a bit old - I believe he mentions 2012. But it still holds the basics to this concept of picking one word to guide your life instead of a host of resolutions for the new year.

There is a book available as well as a study for this My One Word concept. I received the book a couple of years ago and still at this time of year I go back to it.

Here's the link to give you an idea: My One Word intro with Ashcroft

Just a couple of mornings ago I woke up with my word on my mind. I will admit, I was resistant and asked God if He was quite sure about this one. In the past I've had words like intentional and diligent.

For 2018 God has nudged me to choose SURRENDERED as my one word.

I'll be sharing about my one word here off and on.

I would love to know if you choose a word to guide your year. Please share in the comments.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Missing in Action

Anyone ever proclaimed you to be MIA? Friends, this is how I've felt for the last several months. Not saying I've liked it, but I suppose it has been necessary.

Back in the summer God surprised me by leading me in a direction I never thought I would go again. I've entered the world of educational interpreting for a deaf student. It's really funny to look back and see this full circle happening.

When I completed my BA, I interpreted in schools for all ages. However, a few years into this vocation saw me switching between icing and heating my arms each night and then sleeping in braces. I went back to school and upon receiving my MEd, I started teaching. I really felt that God wanted my interpreting reserved for ministry.

I've interpreted for our church services for ten years. During that time I also reentered education as an assistant part time but pursued my writing and publishing dream mostly.

I've often mentioned God nudges. Well, this interpreting position seemed like a God shove. My only concern was whether my arms could physically handle it since I'm not a spring chicken any more.

Let me say that so far, my arms are doing great. This is a definite God thing since I interpret all day long during the week in a high school setting and then also still interpret on Sundays.

Friends, please join me in prayer for our high school students. There is much darkness in the halls along with many disillusioned young people. My prayer each morning is that I will shine Jesus. So many need Him and don't even know it. Those who do have Him need encouragement to stick with their faith.

I'm not sure of all the reasons I am where I am, but God's leading demanded I step up.

How I've wanted to have a moment to share with my dear brothers and sisters in Christ here about my absence. I'm hoping to get back to regular posting.

Anyone else experience a sudden shove from God? Please share in the comments. I love it when we share our lives.

As always, I pray God blesses you in your season and situation no matter what it is.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Connecting It All

Now I have shared my nonnegotiable truths and offered the strategies I use to teach them.

Go back and look at your nonnegotiable truths. If you missed that post or want to review it, search in the archives for Nonnegotiable Truths.

Think of the strategies you could use to teach these truths to those you have influence over. List them and connect them with your truths to make sure you have covered them all.

This is a very important step to being intentional about passing on a Godly legacy.

Share a truth or strategy in the comments. You never know how you might help someone else in their strategy building.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Celebrate "God Things"

We praise our children and others for soccer goals and good grades. This builds their confidence. It can allow them to establish a healthy pride for doing a good job.

What have you most recently praised someone for?

However, do we also praise people for the "God things"? This might include learning the books of the Bible, memorizing scripture, or even establishing a regular quiet time.

My daughter was homeschooled, thus Bible was included as one of her classes. She was praised for memorizing scripture passages. It was amazing to watch her knowledge of Bible characters and stories increase. Most importantly, her understanding of what can be learned from scripture and applied to life was increased. She would often share with me what God wanted her to apply from her Bible study. Admittedly, I don't think I could praise her enough for these precious lessons.

We should praise our children and those we have influence over equally or maybe more for accomplishing milestones in their Christian walk. We should strive to build their confidence through encouraging them in the things of God. We celebrate birthdays, so why not celebrate "born again" day?

What things of God have you praised someone for?

When we praise and celebrate an occurrence or accomplishment, we show the priority and worth we attach to it. If we want our children and others to grasp that God and the things of God are important, then we must emphasize them.

Celebrating the things of God in our lives supports and continues the Christian legacy we strive to leave behind.

What kind of God celebrations could you include into your Christian legacy transmission?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Model It Part II

Admittedly, many of the things we learn are gained through example. And we are told in the Bible to follow our role model Jesus.

As Christians we are to imitate Christ and then pray that He would make us a worthy example to be copied.

If others were copying you in your Christian walk, would they be imitating Christ?

This is yet another tactic through which we convey our Christian legacy.

What would you want someone who considers you to be his or her role model to say about you?

When I consider those who are watching me, I have to examine myself constantly to make sure I'm living up to being copied. I fail miserably but that's not a reason to stop trying to be the best imitator of Christ I can be.

Thing is, we never know who is watching us. This is why I have begun to pray each morning to shine Jesus, whether at work, church, home or in my community. I'm a role model for Christ if I claim to be a Christian. Being a good role model is as much of an intentional act as passing on a Godly legacy.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Model It

"Do as I say, not as I do." We all know that idea doesn't truly work, especially as parents.

I can tell my daughter that she needs to spend time in prayer and Bible study, but I I don't model it, she won't see the importance. When she sees me studying my Bible and praying, she has proof that doing these things have value. If I don't engage in these activities I require of her, I prompt doubt. She will wonder why she needs to study her Bible and pray.

There are many areas in life to model. Out reactions and attitudes in situations and with people are to be modeled. The Bible instructs us to treat others as better than ourselves. We can preach this, but the best way to convey this is to be kind to that unlovable person.

My husband has been the best role model for reading the Bible for personal study. He is a pastor and can struggle with not always studying the Word for his sermons. I usually see him pull out his Bible or his iPad in the evening at some point and read the Bible reading for his plan he has set for himself. This has been a great example for me and our daughter. We see that he values reading the Bible personally, not just for preparation for teaching or preaching.

Has someone in your life been a good role model for you?

Who was or is that person and what did or do they model for you?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

More on Staying Firm and Consistent

The consistency in passing along a Christian heritage can truly be difficult to maintain.

Often as my life becomes busy with a full time job and then coming home to another full time job of caring for my family, I let things slip. I'll neglect reading my Bible. I'll even barely go to the Lord in prayer. If I'm not being consistent in my Christian walk, it is difficult to convey the importance and need to others. But I have learned that at these times, I need to pray and read the Word more than ever.

Admittedly, I'll return to those teachable moments by admitting that I got off track and that it wasn't right. I need to repent and return to staying near to God through reading His Word and communicating through prayer.

God has called me to follow His precepts, not the world's. To ensure a Godly legacy I have to stay firm and consistent in teaching and emphasizing what God would endorse. If I know something wouldn't be acceptable to God, I should steer myself and those I have influence over away from it. I must teach others to do the same.

Staying firm and consistent in the ways of God is the right example for others to see. And God clearly instructs us not to conform to the ways of this world. We are to be different.

Will we take some ridicule for it? Probably.

Will we be labeled too strict? Sure.

Will we be found faithful in transmitting this all-important Christian heritage? Yes, servant, you will!

What struggles have you experienced in staying firm and consistent in passing along a Godly legacy?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Stay Firm and Consistent

Do you struggle with consistency?

I've always heard that parents must remain firm and consistent in disciplining their children. When we aren't firm and consistent, our children can become confused about what is acceptable behavior or what is truly right or wrong.

This idea of being firm and consistent transfers into passing along a Godly legacy. In this I must remain consistent.

When my daughter was a teenager, her father and I were fairly restrictive on what she watched on television and the movies she saw. One day she approached me rather upset because some of her peers had teased her because she hadn't watched a particular TV show. She went on to explain that her friend told her this was a good show and she should try it some time. Because these friends were from the youth group at church, I decided that we would watch an episode together. We lasted about two minutes before I abruptly turned it off. The language and morals portrayed were not appropriate for a Christian of any age.

I have been labeled overly-protective, old-fashioned, and strict by people in my own family, but I cannot allow the world to creep in and desensitize us to God's will. When we watch what the world watches or listen to what the world listens to, we are conforming to the world. The more we engage in what the world offers, the more the lines of Godly discernment blur.

Do you find that others label you strict because you desire to follow God's commands consistently?

Friday, July 28, 2017

More on Teachable Moments

What kinds of lessons concerning the things of God could become teachable moments?

Since I homeschooled my daughter, I had the opportunity to see her growth in many areas. None was more pleasing than in her spiritual maturity.

Prayer time became a teachable moment. Her father and I tried to make sure we modeled prayer for her. And we instructed her. When she would pray, we would encourage her to make it a conversation, not just rote recitations.

Although difficult sometimes to do, one teachable moment to take advantage of is when I would make a mistake or lose my temper. I modeled asking for forgiveness and even discussed with my daughter how I might avoid that situation in the future.

There are teachable moments that occur when we are with other persons as well. When facing trying times, we teach through our attitudes, words, and actions.

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she taught others through her faith. She emphasized prayer to bring her through, which instructed others in the importance of prayer. She also displayed an attitude of trust in God, knowing He was in control. Her motto was that of Paul: "To live is Christ, to die is gain." She won either way.

We can learn many lessons through teachable moments, those moments when the instruction is the most meaningful and timely.

To pass on a Godly heritage, we should take advantage of our teachable moments and focus on the meaningful instructions of God.

What have you taught through a teachable moment?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Teachable Moments

Often as parents and teachers we are encouraged to take advantage of teachable moments. Of course we have all taught different concepts in the classroom or when they come to mind. But instruction can be more meaningful in context.

Let me give you an example. When my daughter began learning about money and the concept of making change, we would do the workbook pages or use play money. But the more meaningful way was to learn in context. She would accompany me to the grocery store, and I would ask her to calculate the change I would receive. Or I might ask her to tell me which brand of a food was a better buy and by how much. We would also do this when we went to a restaurant. She learned to make change and learn about money in a real situation.

But I didn't restrict these teachable moments to academics and life skills only. As a Christian parent I saw the need to use teachable moments to instruct about faith and the things of God. There was also an aspect of studying my daughter's bent and discovering her gifts and abilities, so I could encourage those.

Have you used teachable moments? Is there a particular one that comes to mind you might share?

Do you find teachable moments an effective way to instruct?

Tomorrow we will continue to consider this topic about teachable moments more pointedly in regards to our Christian legacy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sunday is for Worship at Church Pt 2

In our house, we have decided that nothing comes before church attendance. My daughter was to be in a ballet recital. The dress rehearsal was scheduled for Wednesday evening at exactly the same time as our church's midweek service. I kindly informed the ballet mistress that my daughter wouldn't be in attendance. To compromise would mean that I believe if something else comes up, it's okay to do that instead of attending church.

I feel that by not allowing other activities to interfere with our church attendance, I am teaching my daughter the proper place for honoring God in our priorities.

When my daughter attends worship and Sunday school, her knowledge of the things of God increases and are reinforced. I thank God for those Sunday school teachers and youth leaders who help instill God's Word into children and youth each week.

Even if our schedule is busy, time for corporate worship must take priority. If we allow sports practice or other activities to take precedence over our church attendance, our children won't believe we truly honor God and put Him first.

People other than our children will also notice our worship attendance or lack thereof. We influence others in our family, neighbors, co-workers, and friends as well. They are watching to see what priority we place upon worshiping the God we serve.

To ensure a Christian legacy, we must "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."

How do you combat an interference with church attendance or activity?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sunday is for Worship at Church

The first strategy I have personally employed to follow God's instructions and pass along a Christian heritage is to obey the fourth commandment.

God commanded us to "remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." God "blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Exodus 20:8-11

God set this day apart for rest and focus upon Him. In another verse in the Bible we are told not to "forsake the gathering of the saints." Hebrews 10:25

Today the way we honor this commandment is by setting aside specific times to attend church. These are times we worship corporately as well as times we receive instruction and encouragement for living our Christian lives.

Our time is in such demand. We are so busy with our lives that we must schedule the activities we want to accomplish. In doing so, our priorities become evident; that which we value most gets our time.

I know some people argue that they can worship any place. And I know that is true. I can certainly worship God while out in His creation. But God specifically made the Sabbath holy. That means it is set apart and different than other days. For me this implies that I have to make sure I am keeping it holy - set aside and different than my other days.

Let's continue our discussion of the Sabbath tomorrow.

In the meantime, do you attend church regularly? How do you keep the Sabbath holy?

Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Convey Non-Negotiable Truths

Now I study my list and brainstorm ways to convey these truths.

Here's my list of non-negotiable truths:

I want others to know there is one God, Who sent His Son, Jesus, to die for every person who believes and accepts.

I want others to come to salvation through Christ.

I want others to accept and stand on the Bible as truth and God's words and instruction.

I want others to realize God has a plan for them and has gifted them.

I want others to understand that they are filled with the Spirit, Who guides and teaches them through the Word.

How can I convey these truths to those around me?

Church attendance
Take advantage of teachable moments
Stay firm and consistent
Be an example - Model it
Celebrate God "things"

Start to brainstorm your list.

Tomorrow I will take each practical action and discuss it for a couple of days, matching the actions up with my truths.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Non-Negotiable Truths

Yesterday, I shared with you my non-negotiable truths.

Now it is your turn.

Think about what it is in your spiritual legacy you want to pass along. What are those big ideas, those big truths, that you must ensure that the next generation understands?

Start by just listing whatever comes to mind.

Now, read over your list. Do you have some repeated truths?

Hone your list until you feel it shows the most important truths you are compelled to pass along.

Hold onto your list. On Monday, we'll start to work on finding the practical ways to convey these truths.

Did your non-negotiable truths come easy? Did you struggle to think about what truths you want to pass along? Please share in the comments.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How Do I Make It Practical?

This is the question I asked myself. I understand the need to pass along a Godly legacy, but I need practical ways to accomplish it.

I asked myself: Where do I start? I realized that I needed to know what it was that I wanted to pass along. What are my non-negotiable truths?

Here's what I came up with:

I want others to know there is one God, Who sent His Son, Jesus, to die for every person who believes and accepts.

I want others to come to salvation through Christ.

I want others to accept and stand on the Bible as truth and God's words and instruction.

I want others to realize God has a plan for them and has gifted them.

I want others to understand that they are filled with the Spirit, Who guides and teaches them through the Word.

By knowing these non-negotiable truths, I can now come up with practical ways to pass this along.

Have you ever considered the truths you want to pass along to your children and those you have influence over? Consider this and return tomorrow, ready to list your non-negotiable truths.

Y in Legacy is Yoke

Again I find myself posting for yesterday and today. But we laid a dear saint to rest yesterday and that took precedence.

The Y in Legacy stands for yoke with Christ. There is no way to go alone, but God is willing to yoke with us to help us leave His legacy.

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Oftentimes I can let my guard down and feel comfortable, not remaining active in leaving this Christian heritage. Let's face it. When those around me make professions of faith, I can become lax. But this command stands all the days I'm still alive on this earth.

And honestly, friends, sometimes I just become weary. My pastor/hubby says that the pull downward is easier to allow than the pull upward. It's easy to think we are okay. We have enough of Jesus and we've done enough. But we should never let our enemy trick us into believing this lie.

The only way to remain faithful in leaving this legacy is to yoke with God. Just as the verse says above, He is the One to encourage and strengthen us for the task. I can't be satisfied because there are always those who need to know about Jesus and then learn to pass along their faith, so we never find ourselves in a place like the generation after Joshua who didn't know God or His ways.

I stay yoked by reading God's Word, praying, and attending Bible study at my church.

Remember, a yoke was used to harness two or more animals together. In this way, the animals could pull together, making them stronger than if they were alone. Now think of yourself yoked to God. Wow, the power and strength to be found in that!

How do you stay yoked to God?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

C is for Consistency

Consistency - this can be a challenge. To stay firm and not to waiver might just be one of the hardest things to do in passing along this Godly legacy.

Let's get some motivation from God's Word.

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:10-11

Our enemy wants nothing more than for us to become tired and weak in this endeavor. But we have to stand strong and contend for our Christian heritage until the end.

How do you remain strong and consistent in passing on your legacy?

Monday, July 17, 2017

A is for Abstain

Just as there are things we should actively do, there are things we should steer away from from.

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:14-15, 22-24

Here we are warned to abstain from what does not measure up to Godliness.

At the beginning of this passage there is a warning to not be tricked into listening to those who are teaching falsely or what doesn't quite measure up to what God's Word says. Don't accept the teaching and preaching you hear at face value as being "gospel." Test it with what you read in the Word with the help of the Holy Spirit as your Guide. This is something that must be modeled to those we are passing our heritage down to. We must all be able to discern what is sound doctrine and what is not.

We remember that when we accepted Christ, we became new in the attitude of our minds and made to be like God, holy and righteous. We continue to grow into this, becoming like Christ, which may mean that be abstain or stay away from things we might have been involved in before. Now we live as a new person.

For me, this abstaining is further proof of how important and precious this Godly legacy is to me, and thus critical for me to pass on.

Have you encountered teachings that go against God's Word? Have you had to use Scripture to show someone else that a teaching was untrue?

Take a moment, as I often do, and analyze whether your old self has crept back into your life. Make a point to put it off and renew your mind in accordance with God's Word.

The G in Legacy

Today you get a double whammy. One should never assume when she is away teaching at a conference that the internet will work, allowing her to post to her blog. Sorry about that.

So this is the post you should have received on Friday.

The G in Legacy is for get actively involved.

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Here's where I think we're encouraged to be intentional and active in passing along a Christian heritage.

These two little verses pack a punch. There's a warning about how we live out this testimony. Also notice the implication of choosing the wise way to live. Wisdom comes from God, and He will lead you in the right way to live out your legacy. Then you encounter the push to get active in this - make the most of every opportunity.

I can't help but be reminded of the verses from the Old Testament we have already studied about keeping God and His ways in front of our children. He encouraged them to keep Him in front of their children upon every opportunity.

For me to be actively involved in passing along this Godly legacy, I had to make it a matter of habitual thought. If I am to take advantage of every opportunity to impress God and His commands on those I have influence upon, I have to train myself in His wisdom and look for every teachable moment or modeling I can do.

How do you get actively involved in passing along your Christian heritage? Are you taking advantage of all opportunities?

Notice that last part of the verse: "because the days are evil." I would prefer for my children and those around me to follow a Godly path instead of the very easy and attractive way of evil. But this is what we're fighting against every day.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The L in Legacy

Yesterday we studied the fact that to be able to pass on a Godly legacy, we have to have one to pass on.

Now we jump back to the L in legacy which stands for lead.

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you received." Ephesians 4:1

This verse encourages us to live a life that is worthy to follow. Whoa! Does anyone else feel a load of responsibility?

Honestly, for me personally, this means I have to lead a life that proves my legacy is worth following. If I constantly stray from God's path for me, how can I encourage someone else that they should follow God's way? Makes me think of the adage: Don't just talk the talk but walk the walk.

Am I leading others to God by my life? If others follow me, will I lead them to Christ?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Can't Give What You Don't Have

Let's use the word, Legacy, as an acrostic. But I must warn you that I have to start with the letter, E. You'll understand why shortly.

The letter E stands for experience God.

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ... For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light ..." Ephesians 2:1-2, 8

Before you can pass along a Godly legacy, you have to have it for yourself. You have to claim His salvation and relationship then live it out in your everyday life.

Friend, if you have never made Jesus the Savior, Lord, Leader, and Boss of your life, this is your first step toward a Christian heritage.

I accepted Christ when I was eleven years old during a revival service at my home church. I have continued to learn what it means to not only make Him Savior but also Lord. This means He is in control of my life. I look to Him for guidance and try my best to obey what He calls me to do. My relationship with God through Jesus now compels me to share with those around me, so they might also have a relationship and future.

As I began to think about passing along this Christian heritage, I first analyzed myself. Have I had this salvation experience with God? Have I accepted the salvation He offers to me through His Son? Am I continuing to work on this relationship through studying God's Word and following its instructions?

I can't give what I don't have.

I suggest to you that you might consider the questions above. Can you answer yes to the questions?

We'll consider the L in Legacy tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

God's Word is for Passing On

We have seen several passages from the Old and New Testaments about transmitting a Godly legacy. But ultimately the whole Bible is instruction for us to pass on.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:14-17

These verses show a transmission of a Godly legacy. The encouragement is to continue in what has been taught. The implication is that Scripture has been used since being just a young infant.

Then the verses emphasize the benefits of Scripture. First, God inspired the Word. And these words are exactly what is needed to be learned and to correct our lives.

Do you study God's Word?

How do you encourage others to read God's Word? This is a part of passing on a Christian heritage.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Timothy is Proof

"I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 2 Timothy 1:5

Paul is writing to Timothy, his prodigy. Obviously either Paul had met Timothy's mother and grandmother or he had heard of their faithful training to Timothy. At any rate, Paul recognized this legacy of faith that had been purposefully transmitted.

Because his grandmother and mother valued their faith, they wanted to transfer this to Timothy. This letter from Paul served as proof to their successful transmission of faith. Their Godly heritage lived on in Timothy.

When I return to the church where I grew up, I often have members come up to me and speak of my grandparents and what good people they were. My parents still attend that church, and I'm sure they are reminded of this Christian heritage that started with my grandparents.

When I see people out and about, they often ask about my parents and will proceed to speak highly of them.

Has anyone ever commented about your legacy of faith?

Who did they mention passed this legacy on to you and why?

I can't help but think of a song that expresses what I hope will happen with my Christian legacy.

I pray that all who come behind me find me faithful.

Click here to listen to the song, Find Us Faithful

Friday, July 7, 2017

Example and Integrity

God's instruction isn't just for our offspring as we saw yesterday. The next two verses in the passage from yesterday encourages us more in this Christian heritage passing.

"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:7-8

We are to set an example. Let's face it. People pay attention to what we say but they also pay closer attention to see if our words match our actions. Are we living this Christian life that we teach about?

Our teaching should show integrity. Integrity refers to being one of character and honesty, being upright and righteous. Again we can't expect someone to listen to our teaching if we aren't of good character and possess the right morals.

Notice the last part of the verses above imply that we be so full of integrity that those who oppose us would be ashamed because they can't find a bad thing to say against us.

I believe this is speaking directly to me as I'm trying to pass along this Godly legacy. I can teach all I want but its effectiveness is related to the type of person I am. Whew. That's heavy with responsibility. This passage begs to have me examine myself to make sure my integrity is intact and then to remain way above reproach for those around me.

What comes to your mind as you read these two verses?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Not Only For Our Children

"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled." Titus 2:1-6

Instructing in the ways of God is not only for our children. Look at the command here in the above scripture. The older generation is to instruct the younger generation. Then the verses get into specifics.

The first statement clearly states that it is our responsibility has Christians to teach what aligns with the Word of God and His commands. Some of the areas to instruct upon are in being self-controlled, pure, and loving those around us in the right way.

In my life this teaching was gained from those faithful Sunday school and training union teachers in my church as well as vacation Bible school experiences each summer. This education continued through my youth and into adulthood with the teaching of good Bible teachers and preachers. I've enjoyed and benefited from women in my church who have shared through church classes or studies.

So I'm not just responsible for transmitting this Christian legacy to my children but also to younger women coming behind me.

In what ways are you passing on your Godly legacy to the next generation other than your children? Please share. I know people could get ideas from your comments on ways they can instruct and mentor others in the ways of God.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

For Our Children

The Old Testament isn't the only place we see God encouraging the continuation of His heritage. In the New Testament book of Ephesians parents and children are given specific instruction.

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy a long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:1-4

Notice that the tradition hasn't changed. Children are still to obey to ensure a long life.It is stated here that this is the first commandment with a promise attached.

However, this obedience to parents is given with the warning to the parents to bring them up in the Lord. In other words, it is the parents' responsibility to pass on this Godly heritage. And this isn't the use of whatever culture says is the "in" thing or psychology right now.

The only way that I can bring up children in the Lord is to study His training and instructions in His Word. Then I can make sure that my instruction and correction aligns with what God teaches.

How do you specifically bring up your children in the Lord?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

One Generation Away

"After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." Judges 2:10

I have shared this verse before and how it cuts me to the core. The whole generation spoken of here is the generation of Joshua. Yes, the same guy who spoke about his house serving the Lord, even if the people didn't.

This is what it looks like when a generation isn't intentional about passing on a Godly legacy.

At this time they were surely still going through the motions of going to the temple with their sacrifices. But obviously there was no teaching about what this meant and Who they were to honor.

The next verse in Judges says that they did evil in the sight of the Lord. Here begins a struggle against the outside influences that God said to stay away from. The people would turn to the gods of nations around them.

Unfortunately, I do see this today. Just because I attend church and bring my family along doesn't mean we're truly understanding and worshiping the one and only God. And there's so much in the world to distract and become those little "g" gods to us.

God knew how difficult this total devotion would be and that He had to help these people understand that leading in His ways and only worshiping Him was the only way to go. In the verses we have already studied we see God giving them and us ways to keep this Godly legacy alive. There's a reason He encouraged them and us to talk about it often and wear reminders on our bodies.

As I read and study verses like this one, I realize the responsibility lies with me. I can't control anyone else, not even those I'm trying to have influence over. However, I can determine like Joshua did to serve the Lord and Him only and be intentional about teaching those around me about why they must do the same.

When I find myself becoming lazy or flippant about this Christian heritage, I return to a verse like this and consider the consequences - always just one generation away.

What thoughts cross your mind as you read Judges 2:10? Please share.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Visual Object Lesson

In the book of Joshua, God instructs the people to build a memorial for the precise purpose of reflecting on what He had done for them. This would provide a visual object lesson for their children.

"When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 'Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight. serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, "What do these stones mean?" tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.'" Joshua 4:1-3, 6-7

These stones would not only serve as a memorial but as a prompt for the children to inquire about. When the children asked, can't you just imagine the older generation's eyes widening and lighting up? I can just hear them say, "Now that's a story. Sit down right here and let me tell you about it."

I've seen that glint in my grandparent's eyes as well as my parents'. I've heard that excitement in their tones as they related something God had done in their lives or through them.

Now we don't tend to erect stones or monuments to milestones in our faith journey. Maybe we should because we should be prompted to tell the next generation about the things God has done in our lives.

This scripture tends to conjure a question in my mind - Do people around me see enough evidence of God to inquire about it? Am I shining His light? Am I that salt Jesus spoke of, creating a thirst for the things of God?

Please comment what comes to your mind when reading this scripture. How does it apply to us today?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Surround Them

Our passage from yesterday continues and becomes even more pointed and specific.

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." Deut 6:5-9

The people did inherit the land, but there were more words written emphasizing the obedience needed and the commands to heed. They were not only to take God's words to their own hearts but to surround their offspring with God's commandments.

I have to wonder if some of God's people back then were like me. God knows that I am often so scattered and busy that I need to be surrounded by His Word to be reminded of what is important and priority. Verses from the Bible that seem to speak to me in my situation are posted on cards on a small magnetic board beside me at my desk. I have tried to make it a habit to always start any work I do at my desk with Bible reading and study.

I believe that the Deuteronomy passage above was God being very specific. He wanted the Israelites and us to take this responsibility seriously and to make plans on how to pass along His instructions. Notice this transmission says nothing about taking our family to church and letting them learn everything in Sunday school. No, these actions are done in our own homes.

Though I believe that church attendance is a must, this isn't the primary place where our children will gain this Godly legacy. We have to understand that it is our responsibility to teach of God and His ways. And this should become as natural as talking about Godly things wherever we find ourselves.

So in the car on the way home from school we ask, "Where did you see God today?" In the morning we pray with our family, and we end the evening at bedtime in the say way. We post Bible verses on the bathroom mirror and challenge everyone to memorize it.

This passage of Deuteronomy is so specific because I think God was saying that He and His Word should be naturally mixed into our lives.

How do you surround yourself with the commands of God?

Do you discuss the things of God often?

Think of how you might incorporate God and His Word into your life and with your family.

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

God is Intentional

God Himself was intentional in communicating the heritage He desired for His people. In Deuteronomy He spoke through his leader, Moses.

"These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:1-5)

Moses relays God's message to the people. And notice that first verse above. This message is not just for those of the generation listening but for the children and the children after them. God reminds them that He was the God of their ancestors, and He wants to continue to be their one and only God. Then He wants them to make sure that their children and grandchildren understand this.

This section of the scripture tends to focus upon how the individual will keep God at the center. There are instructions to keep the commands and obey what the Lord has instructed. Also it is reiterated that God is the only God. And in knowing this they should love the Lord with all of their being.

Promises appear here between the lines. God tells them if they will follow His commands and love Him, keeping only Him as their God, He will grant a long life and enjoyment in a fertile land of His providing.

Though this passage is taken from the Old Testament and is directed to the nation of Israel, I believe God still holds to this philosophy. He still desires that we obey Him and worship only Him. And He still wants us to instruct our children and their children in His ways. We should love Him with everything we are and show the next generation how to do the same.

Tomorrow we'll finish this passage in which God gives specific ways to transmit this important spiritual heritage to the next generations.

Did anything stand out to you? Please share.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

God's View on Legacy

Throughout the Bible, God encouraged leaving a legacy based upon Him and His commands. This was to ensure that future generations would know of Him, honor Him, and obey Him.

As early as Genesis we see this handing down of the birthright.

"So Issac called for Jacob and blessed him and commanded him: 'Do not marry a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother's father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham.'" Genesis 28:1-4

Do you have instruction and blessing to pass on to your descendants or only material possessions?

In some of Issac's last words, he passes on to his descendant, Jacob, instruction and blessing. He instructs his son as to what God would want in regards to whom he should marry. He also blesses him through tangible, as well as intangible means. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words explains that within the old covenant, the blessing did include the possession and enjoyment of the land. However, this spiritual blessing also included "the joy of being in an intimate, personal relationship of favor with one's God." Issac desired to pass on a Godly legacy to his heir; he wanted to be assured that his family would continue to follow and obey God. Thus, he specifically communicated this to Jacob.

These specifically communicated instructions were intentional. Issac called for his son Jacob and verbally gave him specifics about how he wanted his son to carry on.

How do you pass on the Godly instructions and blessings to the next generation?

God Himself will give some suggestions on this in our next two posts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who is this Godly legacy for?

Unfortunately, we have an enemy who would like nothing better than for us to become lazy about this legacy transmission. Satan doesn't want us to pass along our Christian legacy to the next generation.

One of this enemy's greatest weapons is apathy or a feeling of we're all right. We may feel we do enough for our children to catch this legacy. If we take our children to church, that should be enough. We may even feel that much of this spiritual legacy transmission is the responsibility of the pastor or the children's minister or Sunday school teacher.

Our enemy will even go so far as to give us the false notion that we can let our children make their own way, find their own religion, or choose God if they decide to.

But as I have contemplated this and studied God's Word, I realize I can't leave the fate of my children or anyone else to chance or to our enemy. This sounds heavy and very serious. However, that is exactly the way this topic should make me feel. When I speak of a Godly legacy, I'm speaking of eternity.

Don't we want to be assured that our loved ones not only know Christ but have a relationship with Him? It's not enough just to know about Christ and be able to answer the Sunday school questions about Him. Jesus said that He is the Way, Truth, Life and that no one can come to the Father (to heaven) except through Him.

This legacy is much too important to just fingers-crossed hope that our loved ones will invest in it. When speaking of our eternal destination, I want to do everything I can to make sure my loved ones are there in heaven with me. To achieve this I have to be very intentional.

So who is it that I want to pass this legacy along to? I definitely want to make sure my daughter knows about Christ and eternity gained through Him. But I can't leave out those in my extended family. But wait, what about those friends I love? Oh, and those around me that God says I should witness to?

Everyone I come into contact with has the right and the need to know about this spiritual legacy for I don't want anyone left behind.

Make a list of those you want to pass this Christian legacy to.

As your list grows like mine has, you'll see the need for intentional legacy transmission. We truly are looking at ensuring a Godly legacy to the next generation.

Tomorrow we're going to dive into some scripture in which God is showing His view of this legacy transmission.

Please comment with anything that came to mind while reading this today.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Intentional for the Next Generation

On Friday we defined intentional and discussed the need to be intentional about the passing on of a spiritual legacy. But why must we be this intentional?

Today, our children are being distracted and even pulled away from all that supports our Godly heritage. It is not uncommon for sports practice or games or recitals and competitions to occur on Sundays and Wednesdays, taking the place of assembling for worship.

What activities have threatened to pull you and your family away from attending church?

I remember once when my daughter was elementary age, a friend at church asked her to attend a birthday party. But the party would be during the Wednesday night service. That confused me. I wondered why those parents would schedule this to conflict with church attendance. Her father and I said no.

Now many would think that we turned down the birthday party because my husband is a pastor. But that wasn't the reason. We explained to our daughter that by attending church at the regularly scheduled times, we were honoring God.

My daughter might not have realized it at the time, but we were showing her what took precedence in our lives. We were showing priority.

Why do you think many children are rebelling and abandoning their faith?

Honestly, I believe that our children don't see the relevance of our faith in our lives. We allow other priorities and activities to distract us from God.

Now I know one argument I've had with others is that attending church doesn't equal a relationship with God. I'm fully aware that I can worship God anywhere. However, what are we teaching our children when every other activity is more important than meeting with God's people and worshiping God?

We as Christians are to influence the world, but often it has more of an influence on us. And we must face the fact that what we hold dear is what our kids will hold dear.

If we want to raise the next generation of Christians, we must be intentional about transmitting our Christian legacy. This intentional transmission involves proving our priorities are based in God and our relationship with Him, refusing that anything else would seem to be above this goal.

Tomorrow we're going to zero in on who we want to transmit this spiritual legacy to. Subsequent days this week we will look at God's view on legacy transmission through Biblical passages.

We're off to a good start. Are there things that have come to your mind that you might share in the comments. Please share.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Why do we need to be intentional?

Intention means a determination to act in a certain way or what one intends to do or bring about. Such words like purpose or aim would be synonyms.

Thus, intentional means done by intention or design. Words like deliberate or purposeful would be synonyms here.

Let's face it. Our faith must be characterized by intention. We purposely and deliberately accept Christ as Savior and Lord for our lives. Our next aim or commission is to pass on this faith to those around us.

I feel my mother was intentional about passing on her faith to me. I remember when I was eleven years old, and our church had a revival. Not some one day kind like you see today. No, we had those revivals that started on Sunday night and went all the way through the week. Every night we gathered to listen to the visiting evangelist.

One of those nights, I felt something. When I got in the car with my mom on the drive home, I asked her some questions. She eagerly answered them. To be honest, I didn't have many questions because my parents and grandparents had always modeled this faith and been clear about it, as well as had me in a Bible teaching church.

The next night, I went forward to give my heart to Christ. I tell people that I understood it wasn't a family deal. I had to make the decision for myself. I couldn't ride into heaven on my mom's coat tails.

But back when I was growing up, it was the cool thing to go to church and be involved in the groups there. I hung out with my youth group and did things with them regularly. We often talked about what was going on at church while we were in school and openly invited others to join us.

So when I say that I feel my parents didn't have to be as intentional about passing on this Godly legacy, I don't mean they didn't encourage it.They definitely made sure I knew the Lord and His ways. I just mean that there weren't outside influences pulling against this transmission process.

Would you consider your parents to have been intentional in passing along a Godly legacy to you?

This is the point I feel it becomes more difficult for the current generation, thus requiring a more intentional effort to ensure a Godly legacy.

Monday, we'll explore this topic a bit more, looking at our current situation and our next generation.

What your feeling on how intentional one should be in ensuring a Godly legacy?

Can't wait to delve more into this topic on Monday.

Let me encourage you to find yourself in worship this weekend. If you don't have a place of worship to hear good solid Biblical preaching, tune in to my church service. We live stream on the link below. (And yes, that's me signing away for our deaf members) Join us at 10:15 EST.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Godly Legacies Left

As I stated yesterday, there were possessions passed on to me, but the things that had the real impact were the Christian principles and modeling.

My maternal grandparents had their pew at church. You know what I mean. They sat about halfway back in the middle section. Why would I consider this part of their spiritual legacy? Because it showed the priority they placed upon attending church, being there for worship. This was a huge deal for my mamaw. Her arthritis left her dragging a leg that had dropped six inches. She used a cane and then switched to a walker to literally drag herself into the sanctuary.

Sometimes I would spend the night with Mamaw and Pap. I slept with Mamaw. When she went to bed, she turned on her stack of records (dating myself here) which were of the southern gospel sort. Each record would play and drop down in succession, playing the Gaithers and every other gospel group she could get. She would prop on her elbows in bed and read her well-worn Bible. This showed a little girl that her faith wasn't just a Sunday thing; this was her lifestyle.

Honestly, when I was growing up, passing on a Christian legacy didn't seem as difficult as today. Church attendance took precedence. My parents were never faced with having to decide if I would attend an extracurricular activity instead of a church function. There were no conflicts in schedule. It was a given that Sunday and Wednesday evenings were for church and other activities worked around that. I can even remember teachers not giving homework on Wednesday because everyone was going to church that evening. For this reason, I don't feel my parents had to be as intentional about passing on a Godly legacy. Our very environment supported this transmission.

How about you? What can you remember about the transmission of your Christian legacy? Were there distractions and struggles for your parents and grandparents?

Is there something that stands out about how you "caught" your spiritual legacy? Or maybe a specific person?

Please share.

Tomorrow we will look at what is meant by intentional and why we should be that way about this transmission.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Legacies Left

As mentioned in the previous post, legacies can be possessions or in the way one has lived or has contributed. Here's some examples of secular legacies.

The King of Rock 'n Roll

Who was that? Yep, Elvis Presley.

The King of Pop

Who was that? You got it, Michael Jackson.

Not hard to think about these legacy leavers and what they contributed.

When my paternal grandmother died, I got her rings, sewing basket, and two pieces of furniture. But I more so remember her sweet, humble manner. She was such a servant.

There was more gained from my maternal grandmother, because I was around her more often. Her joints were wracked with painful arthritis, but she taught perseverance through that ailment. In fact, she modeled it once when I watched her put on panty hose. Oh my! The trick she had to perform just to have on that proper accessory for her Sunday dress. Makes me think when I start to whine I can't do something.

We can gain meaningful morals and values from those around us.

What kind of things pop into your head? Did you gain some kind of precious possession from a relative? Have you gained some kind of moral or value from someone in your life?

Tomorrow we will zoom in on Christian legacy leaving. But until then, share some of your answers to the above questions. Please, join the discussion.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What is a Legacy?

Now that we've shuffled through some memories, let's define what is meant by legacy.

Legacy can be defined as money or property left to one by a will. It can also mean something handed down from one generation to another. If you consult the thesaurus, you would find synonyms such as heritage, tradition, vestige, transmission, and birthright.

A heritage is valuable or important traditions handed down from generation to generation.

Vestige implies a trace, remnant, records, or moments.

A person's legacy is often based upon the material possessions or money gained which is passed on to a descendant upon death. Just as the word vestige indicates, these things are remnants, what a person left behind.

Legacy, however, can imply much more than material possessions. The synonym tradition can include beliefs, values, morals, or even occasions and practices that a person might leave to heirs.

Jim Rohn says: "I truly believe that part of what makes us good and honorable people is to have a foundational part of our lives based on the goal of leaving a legacy."

To me this quote from Rohn implies that we not only live for today without the future in mind. Part of what makes us respectable people is that we think about those who will come behind us and leave them with something that will live beyond us.

As a Christian, I would desire to leave a legacy based on my faith in Jesus Christ.

How would you define Christian legacy?

A Christian legacy to me would include the traditions, morals, values, and truths outlined in God's Word. This is a Godly heritage as opposed to just passing on things that have no eternal value. This transmission is to ensure that those who come after us know and serve the God we've come to know.

What are your thoughts on leaving a Christian legacy? What would you add to the definition? Please let me know in the comments.

Tomorrow we'll get more specific, looking at examples of legacies.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let's Get Started

The best way to start our journey to a Godly legacy is to answer some questions about our own legacy. Hopefully, this will stir our minds and hearts so as we study together, we can be poised to apply what God teaches us into our own heritage-passage.

Now I will admit up front that I am a spiral notebook toting woman. Please grab whatever you prefer and be ready to answer this quick survey. I will be providing the questions and then at the end of the post I will share with you my answers.

So let's get started.

Were your grandparents Christians?

Did they attend church?

Were or are your parents Christians?

Do or did they attend church?

As a child, were you taken to church?

Were you involved in church activities?

Did you play sports or were you involved in some extracurricular activity?

Was there prayer in school when you attended?

Were there secular things that interfered with church attendance (ex: sports practice or recitals)?

What kind of Christian legacy did your parents leave?

How did they leave it?

Do you have children? Grandchildren?

Are they involved in extracurricular activities?

Have these activities interfered with church attendance?

What do you do to ensure a Christian legacy in your family?

Please feel free to add any explanation you wish to these answers.

Here's mine:

Were your grandparents Christians?
Did they attend church?
Yes. They continued to attend until my grandmother could literally not walk any more.
Were or are your parents Christians?
Yes, my parents are Christians.
Do or did they attend church?
They both teach and serve in the church I grew up in.
As a child, were you taken to church?
Yes, often.
Were you involved in church activities?
Yes. All the way through my childhood and into my youth, the church activities were what I was involved in.
Did you play sports or were you involved in some extracurricular activity? 
I wasn't into sports. All of my activity was centered around the church.
Was there prayer in school when you attended? 
There was prayer that morphed into the moment of silence.
Were there secular things that interfered with church attendance (ex: sports practice or recitals)?
No. I can remember that we didn't get homework on Wednesday nights because there was church.
What kind of Christian legacy did your parents leave?
A strong one in which I knew that God was priority.
How did they leave it?
We regularly attended church. You didn't miss unless you had a limb severed or you were throwing up. LOL Can I get a witness? I saw my mom study her Bible for her Sunday school class. I heard my dad talk about following Christian principles in his secular job. They modeled it. Their talk matched their walk.
Do you have children? Grandchildren?
I have one daughter.
Are they involved in extracurricular activities? 
When she was young, she was involved in ballet. But the ballet company was a Christian one, so I knew they wouldn't go against our standards.
Have these activities interfered with church attendance? 
Ballet didn't interfere but there were Christian friends who would ask her to do things during regularly scheduled church times. We didn't allow it.
What do you do to ensure a Christian legacy in your family?
I have always stood my ground in making church time a priority and making sure my family knows why. We don't attend church for attending's sake. We do this in obedience and to show God He is number one. I have also tried to "get caught" reading my Bible. What I mean by that is this, I try to practice the disciplines of reading my Bible and prayer so that I am modeling it more than demanding it.

So, did that little survey stir up any memories about your Godly legacy? I hope it might have whetted your appetite to dive into this study. Now more than ever I feel an urgency to make sure those I have influence over know about God and His plan of salvation and also the way in which God would have us to live.

I'm so glad you're joining me on this journey.

If something stirred in you about your legacy, please share in the comments. I love to hear from you.

Until tomorrow ... keep shining His light!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Godly Legacy - Am I Leaving One?

Anyone who has followed me for very long knows that one topic I often gravitate towards is that of a Godly legacy.

I want my family and those I have influence over to carry on the Christian heritage that began long ago in my lineage. But this task can't be accomplished through casual and unfocused transmission. This legacy is too important to just hope others will catch on to it.

No, passing on a Godly legacy takes concentration and being intentional. I don't want to risk feeling nonchalant about such an important task. This legacy involves life and death and eternity. Heavy, I know. But true.

Because I have spent many years studying scripture, focusing upon this topic, I feel the need to share with you what God has taught me, as well as deepen my knowledge.

Soon I will begin a series here entitled: 40 Days to Intentional: Ensuring a Godly Legacy.

I pray you might take this journey with me through scripture study and self analysis to discover how we might be more intentional about guaranteeing that our Christian heritage continues long after us.

I'm hoping to begin on Monday, June 19th.

Please join me and get ready to share in the comments about your legacy. I'm excited to take this journey with you!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Reminder

Hey, Readers, I've had quite a year. Can you relate? I'm sure many of you can.

My part time job in the school system was taxing because the teacher I was working with had some family issues. She ended up retiring at Christmas. Ugh. Now who would they get to replace her?


Then the publisher I worked with as an acquiring editor announced the doors would have to close.

Additional stress.

My mother was facing back surgery coming in January.


Something I didn't know - stress can cause some illnesses. I was awakened one night with a sudden pain in my left ear. It felt like someone had stabbed it with an ice pick. I had some swelling on that side and knew I better get to the doctor. I must have let it go too long and I had a bad infection. My doctor shook her head and announced: You have shingles.

What? No time for that.

As I stuffed in the strong meds for shingles, I started crying out to God - What are You doing? What is this?

I'm happy to report that the replacement teacher turned out to be a great fit. Another larger publisher acquired the imprints and editors from the closed publisher. The new publisher even turned out to be the one that published my first book. My mother did great with her surgery. She's tough. And I got through the shingles outbreak.

Recently I heard a song that perfectly expresses this time in  my life and what I learned. Please take a moment to listen and let the lyrics sink in. I'm sure there's someone else that might need to hear this message and hold on because this is gonna make you stronger. Let God use everything. There's nothing He can't use to make you stronger and teach you things.

Click here to listen to Mandisa's song, Stronger

Can you relate to the message in this song? Share in the comments.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Check out a new book from Delia Latham!

Please help me welcome Delia to my blog by taking the time to check out her newest release.

Dream on!
Let’s talk about dreams.
Let’s talk about prophetic dreams.
God used dreams to speak to folks, from prophets to kings to the average ‘blue-collar’ worker in the Bible. Joseph was a carpenter whose dreams led him to take an unwed mother as his wife. Later, a dream allowed them to escape from the evil Herod, who wanted to kill baby Jesus. Later still, Joseph was made aware—yes, in a dream—that Herod was dead and it was safe to return home.
Another Joseph—he of the coat of many colors—was also a dreamer of many dreams. Some  symbolic, some prophetic. But he dreamed…oh, yes, indeed he did! So did his father. Jacob’s dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder to Heaven is famous even today. Daniel dreamed. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed. Abraham. Samuel. Solomon.
It is my firm belief that the Book which relates all these dreams—The Holy Bible—can be trusted above all others.
So I’ll say it again: Let’s talk about prophetic dreams. Dreams that—
·        foretell a future event;
·        seem to provide warning or guidance for something yet to come;
·        come true.
Scientists dismiss the idea (along with Divine Creation, Jesus healing the sick and raising the dead, etc.). They say the dreamer self-edits her dream after the events happen. Dream recall is, in fact, often inaccurate, which makes for a strong argument. Science suggests that recall changes along with unfolding events. By the time a crucial occurrence takes place, the dreamer believes he dreamed the exact incident.
Also, we know that our subconscious works all the time—awake and asleep. Therefore, the sleeping mind is able to piece together current events and their possible outcome more quickly than the conscious mind. Therefore (says science) a dream that, in retrospect, might seem prophetic, most likely is a result of the dreaming mind having pieced together information you already had and producing a plausible outcome.
All excellent arguments…but I still believe in prophetic dreams.
No, they don’t happen as often as they did in Bible times, probably because we now have the Bible itself, which (based on 2 Timothy 3:17) fully equips us, revealing all we need to know as Christians. But God still speaks into the minds of men and women today, when doing so fits His purpose. If that means making them aware of future events through a dream, well…He is God. He can and will do as He pleases, with or without our belief or approval.
Just such a dream happens on a recurring basis at the beginning of Summer Dreams, Book 2 in my Paradise Pines Series. God uses that dream not only to save the life of the heroine, but to bring her together with the hero.
I loved writing the dream scene in this book…and the rescue scene—oh, I admit it, I enjoyed the “making of” this entire story. As readers, I hope you’ll be willing to suspend your disbelief (if you happen to not believe in prophetic dreams) long enough to enjoy reading it. You may find more than one blessing tucked into the pages of this seaside romance.
Yes, I said ‘blessing.’ And unlike dreams—which can be good, bad, or totally awful—blessings are always wonderful. Undeserved, unmerited, freely given gifts with no price tag and no payback date.
Let’s talk about blessings…

About Summer Dreams:
Summer Callahan isn’t in Cambria for the beach or the ocean or the pine-scented air around Paradise Pines Lodge. She’s there as a companion to her flighty cousin, Deah—with the understanding that they will have separate agendas the entire time. Summer just wants to be left alone to dream up the romance novels she writes under a pseudonym.
But never in Summer's wildest writer's imagination does she dream of being caught in an undertow and almost drowning, only to be rescued by a wealthy artist. And when Logan Bullard proves hard to shake, Summer fears for her heart—especially when Deah sets her sights on Logan.
But at Paradise Pines Lodge, what's meant to be has a way of the best time and in the best way. Miss Angelina Love—who may or may not own the place—has an "in" with Heaven's own "department of romance." And she's determined to see Summer and Logan together.
Amazon            Pelican Book Group            Barnes & Noble
Want a peek inside first?
Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway. It runs through June 21st, with a winner each week, and a grand prize winner at the end.

About the Author:
Writing Heaven’s touch into earthly tales, Delia Latham puts her characters through the fire of earthly trials to bring them out victorious by the hand of God, His heavenly messengers, and good, old-fashioned love. You’ll always find a touch of the divine in her tales of sweet romance.

Sounds intriguing! How about it readers? Another book to add to your summer reading list? 

Thanks for sharing about your new book, Delia!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

We're One Generation Away

In my One Year Bible reading I've come to the book of Judges. There are times as I read in this book that I cringe. One such moment occurred recently.

Judges 2:10 - "After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel."

Does that stir anyone else like it does me? It prompts me to ask if I'm making sure to pass on a Godly legacy to those around me.

Earlier, the Israelites were told to follow God's commands and to constantly have those before their children, as well as the stories of what God had done on their behalf. So what happened? The parents didn't do as they promised and were instructed.

These parents were to told to talk about God's commands when they woke up and when they went to bed. They were to discuss them as they walked along the roads. There were some little reminders to prompt the children to ask questions. Things like piles of stones carried from the middle of a pathway through a river.

The responsibility was given to the parents to carry on the ways of God. But somewhere, somehow they totally failed. Did they simply become complacent? Did they take it all for granted or think they had brought themselves out and into a new land? Did they think the children would just "catch on" to knowing God and His ways? Or did they allow the kids to decide if they wanted to know the commands or not?

Whatever it was that caused these parents to drop the ball led to evil and God being angry. He let other nations run them over.

Let's face forward to today - 2017. Are we a people who teaches our children about God and His Son? Or do we think they'll "catch on" if we take them to church for one hour on Sunday? Do we not find God's ways relevant enough to pass on? Do we think we are where we are today because of what we've done?

Sweet Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I truly believe that we are always that one generation away from not knowing God and His Son, and what has been done for us. I pray that we won't fall into any of the traps of complacency or arrogance. The next generation is relying upon us to teach them about God and His Son.

God forbid that it be written of us that when we pass, our children don't know the Lord or follow Him. Everything written in God's Word is for instructing us and warning us. This warning seems to scream at me from Judges 2.

To think we're only one generation away ...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Live More Like a Lyric?

Recently a blog I follow written by Emily P. Freeman contained a quote that stuck out to me.

"I want to live my life less like a list and more like a lyric."

I shared the quote on my Facebook timeline but didn't go into my thinking about it. The quote made me think so much that I posted it on the small board right next to my desk.

Admittedly, I'm a list person. My hubby would roll his eyes and nod vigorously about that. In fact I'm a very planned and organized person. Close to the OCD level.

My clothes are chosen and ready for the next morning each night before I go to bed. A rather extensive list of "to dos" awaits me at my desk each day when I arrive home from my part-time job at an elementary school. That list is usually too much for the time I have in the afternoon. But I continue to make that unaccomplishable list.

But living by a list definitely cuts down on going with suddenly inspired activities. I mean, if it's not on my list, I can't do it. Right? Am I missing out on meaningful moments because my head is tucked, starring at my list?

This quote tends to convict me a bit. Let's face it. A beautiful lyric is much more appealing than a list. A lyric has meaning. A lyric is inspired expression.

So in the context of my life, a list existence would be just checking off the activities of my day then doing it again and again. Meaning comes from completing.

For my life to be a lyric I would need to watch the Composer's direction. Be more in tune with what God wants me to accomplish in my day and in my life. Meaning comes from being in tune with His plan for me and realizing what He created me to do.

The more I think on this quote, the more meaning it has for me. I know that I don't want to finish this life and show God my list, saying, "Look what I did." I'm sure what He prefers is for the lyric of my life to bring glory to Him - sweet music in His ears.

What do you think about this quote? Please join the conversation in the comments.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Debut Romantic Suspense

What Inspired Me to Write Summer of Deception   by Elva Cobb Martin   
Many summers ago my husband and I visited Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina. I fell in love with the old southern charm of it—the awesome Avenue of Oaks, draped with silver moss and surrounded by fuchsia azaleas, the old slave cabins, and then the elegant plantation house that finally comes into view and takes your breath away.
Boone Hall is a working plantation of about 700 acres which produces several commercial crops and sponsors events to benefit its thousands of visitors annually and area residents. In Summer of Deception I describe this plantation as a Gone-with-the-Wind setting. I’m so glad it’s still here as a successful functioning plantation and open to visitors.

Later, we also visited Charleston Tea Plantation, owned by Bigelow Tea Co., one of the few tea plantations in the United States., and the only one that produces tea commercially. I was intrigued with it, too. I learned the process of growing and curing tea from the green, shiny leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant that blooms with white blossoms. The current bushes are descendants of the same plants that were first brought to the Carolinas in the 1700s by French botanist Andre Michaux.

 I describe this tea curing process in Summer of Deception as my hero owner Luke Barrett takes heroine Rachel York on a tour of his tea factory.
I actually combined Boone Hall and the Charleston Tea Plantation in my setting and renamed it Barrett Hall, since the tea plantation does not have a plantation house, just the tea fields, factory, and Gift Shop.
So Boone Hall and Charleston Tea Plantation began the inspiration for what eventually became Summer of Deception, the love story of Luke Barrett and Rachel York who battle not only attraction but deception and intrigue as well one long, hot summer at Barrett Hall.
This setting actually has inspired an historical series as well that I am working on. Book 1, In a Pirate’s Debt, will be released by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas (LPC) in May, 2017. I found the original colonial owner of Boone Hall was a reformed pirate, like my fictional pirate hero, ancestor of Luke Barrett, who sailed the Atlantic and the Caribbean as Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett in the 1700’s. In Summer of Deception my heroine Rachel discovers his life-size portrait in the attic.
So I guess we can say setting plays an important part of inspiration for me. Have particular places you’ve visited inspired you in your writing? Please share. We look forward to your comments.
Thanks for letting me stop by.
Elva Cobb Martin

New Release Friday, March 24, 2017 by Pelican/Prism Book Group

Summer of Deception - an inspirational romantic suspense
Amazon Page Link:


Determined to unearth the truth about her DEA agent brother’s reported death, Rachel York takes a position at an historic Charleston, South Carolina, tea plantation, but she finds she is ill prepared to deal with the plantation’s new owner. Luke Barrett may be handsome, but he is overflowing with bitterness and distrust. Widowed and wounded, former Marine Corps Special Forces operative Luke Barrett has enough to handle with his little girl and an historic property to upkeep. The last thing he needs is a feisty, stubborn woman with whom to contend. Yet, Rachel’s determined spirit awakens something in Luke that he thought died a long time ago. Luke begins to capture Rachel’s heart until the night she uncovers evidence he may be keeping his plantation solvent by allowing cocaine to be smuggled along his coastline.  Devastated by the possibility, Rachel must decide whether to confront him, even while she conceals secrets of her own. When all the deception rips asunder in a hurricane, will love or faith survive?

Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried her articles. Summer of Deception, her debut inspirational romantic suspense novel is to be released March, 24, 2017, by Pelican Books. She has also contracted an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt, slated for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in May, 2017. She has published a Bible study, Power Over Satan, available on, and she coordinates an internet Prayer Task Force. Elva is represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund writing helper, Lucy, and a chartreuse  parakeet named Tweetie, in Anderson, South Carolina. She would love for  you to connect with her on her web site, her blog http://carolinaromancewit on Twitter , Facebook, and Pinterest