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: http://amzn.to/2mMEvmu

 A WOUNDED WARRIOR. A WOMAN SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS. CAN SHE RISK ALL TO UNCOVER THE TRUTH?

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 Amazon.com, 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 www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewit helvamartin.blogspot.com on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Elvacobbmartin , Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin, and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin/


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Friends Don't Let Friends Miss God

We make friends in all areas of our lives - neighborhood, work, church, and maybe even the grocery store. But do I care for them equally when it comes to their spiritual health?

I tend to take care of those closest to me and forget my responsibility to everyone I know. I mean, come on, you mean I have a responsibility to share Christ with that lady whose line I go through every time I'm at Walmart? I don't really know her.

I believe I would hear a resounding yes to my question. Let me think about it another way. Do I care about that person's eternity? The fact remains that what I tell a person about Christ might be the difference between whether they find salvation or not.

God would have me to share with everyone I know. And to make things even more complicated, He would encourage me to get to know others so I can share with them too.

It isn't God's desire that anyone should miss eternity with Him. But the decision falls on each individual to accept Christ, the Way. In another section of scripture it asks - but how will they know unless someone tells them? Indeed. Enter God's plan for me. Share Christ with everyone.

So it is my responsibility to try to make sure that my friends and acquaintances don't miss God. At least as far as I'm concerned, I must tell them.

As I write this, many faces pop onto the screen of my mind. I've still got some work to do.

What about you? Is there someone you need to make sure doesn't miss God?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Looking Ahead in a Different Way

On my desk I have a calendar with quotes and Bible passages from Elizabeth George. Often lines from that calendar stick in my brain for days. Let me share about one such day.

The date on the page is February 28. Here is what is printed there: "Describe the woman you want to be spiritually ten years from now ... Imagine what those intervening years might hold, and you'll see that you will need God for the events of those years!"

There are many books, webinars, classes, journals, and the list goes on, which involve taking a look at where you are today and where you want to be. But most of those are focused upon gaining wealth or success. Presenters and authors will give you ten easy steps to do this or buy this book or enroll in this class and we'll show you how to make millions or be successful.

How often do we stop and consider where we want to be spiritually? And does this pursuit not take focus and planning as well?

A day later, on March 1st, George's calendar pages reads: "You determine some elements of the heart. You decide what you will or will not do, whether you will or will not grow. You also decide the rate at which you will grow - the hit-and-miss rate, the measles rate (a sudden rash here and there), the 5-minute-a-day rate, or the 30-minute-a-day rate. You decide if you want to be a mushroom - which appears for a night and shrivels away at the first hint of wind or heat - or an oak tree, which lasts and lasts and lasts, becoming stronger and mightier with each passing year."

When I ask myself where I want to be spiritually in ten years or even just next year, I would hope to be on my way to becoming that mighty oak tree. But just hoping for it won't make it happen. I have to decide to do the things that will cause the growth.

I'm still in the process of describing the woman I want to be spiritually ten years from now. But I feel just stopping to consider this helps my focus and corrects many goals.

Have you ever considered the spiritual person you want to be ten years from now?

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.