Monday, September 1, 2014

What is the cause of all arguments and strife?

Self-centeredness. 

You may disagree with me, but I truly believe all problems, struggles and arguments between people have their beginning in SELF-LOVE.

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

If you think about it, why do we get angry with people? Isn't it because of one of the following:

They broke a promise
They insulted us
They accused us falsely
They stole from us
They abused us
They lied about us
They disappointed us
They betrayed us
They hurt our feelings

OR we might get mad at people because they have something we want or they got the job we wanted, the boyfriend we wanted. Perhaps we are jealous of them in some way, of their talent, looks, position.

Still doesn't it all boil down to US?  It's the I-am-the-center-of-the-universe syndrome or the all-about-me syndrome. Essentially, we feel unappreciated and misused and therefore our pride rises up indignant that someone would treat us in such a way.  Whether or not that person has a reason for their behavior or whether they are just mean and self-centered, it doesn't matter.  We are allowed to be angry at first. But we don't have a right to stir up strife, to fight, to cause conflict and behave badly.

But what would happen if we were other-centered instead of self-centered? What if, as the Bible says we put others ahead of ourselves?  Then when someone mistreats you, it just rolls off your shoulders, and you care more about what inward turmoil that person is going through to have caused them be so mean. What if your focus was on helping them and not on your own feelings? Wow. 

The reason I bring this up is because I see so much strife in the church these days, it must break Jesus's heart. I also see it in families. People who should love each other are at each other's throats. Friends are rejecting each other, groups breaking up. Why? Because people are self-centered. They put their wants, needs, and desires above others.

But, you may say, that person really did  me harm. Am I just supposed to let him get away with it? Yes. For a time. Yes. You return love for evil until the Lord tells you otherwise. There may come a time when God may tell you to break off your relationship with that person. But in the meantime, love them.


No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  1 Corinthians 1-:24


Man, this is hard to do, isn't it?  Believe me, I struggle with this daily. Only God can change our self-centered hearts. I pray he would hurry up with me!! 


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Friday, August 29, 2014

Writing news and upcoming sale!

The first draft of Tears of the Sea is done! This has been one of the hardest stories I've ever written. Once you read it, you'll understand. Since I plot while I write, getting the first draft down is really draining. Some days I'm stuck on a scene or single paragraph for HOURS. Mainly because I have no idea where to go from there. So, it is a huge relief to have that first draft done. At least I have the story down. Now, I go over and over it, at least two or three times, to fix any problems and get it all polished up. It is due to my editor in October, at which time I will put it up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for pre-order.  I'll keep you posted.!!


HUGE SALE!

SEPT 3rd -11th my entire Pirate series will be on sale (Ebooks only)

Redemption
Reliance
Restitution
 
Ransom


  The Redemption will be FREE (regularly 3.99) only on Amazon from Sept 3rd - Sept 7th. Then it will be 99cents until the 11th.

The Reliance will be 1.99 (regularly 3.99) on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Itunes
The Restitution will be 1.99 (regularly 4.99) on Amazon Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Itunes

The Ransom will be 2.99  (regularly 4.99) on Amazon Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Itunes

I'm also giving away a $25 Amazon Gift certificate for those who help me spread the word!!! Come back Wednesday, Sept 3rd for more details!

I do NOT plan on putting this series on sale again for quite some time, so this is your chance to pick up a copy. (They all go back to 4.99 after the sale) ALL the books have been edited and have new covers. The stories haven't changed but the writing is tighter and smoother, though I admit to changing or adding a sentence here or there!

If you already have all of them, they make great gifts too!!


Argggg... So Hop on Board! You're in for the adventure of your life!



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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Living Water!

 

Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13




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Monday, August 25, 2014

Are you bored with Christianity?


I remember when my husband first got saved some 10 years ago now. He had one of those Road to Damascus experiences where God showed up big time and gave him visions of demons and angels and beams of light shooting into heaven representing the saved. After a month of spending every spare moment studying the Scriptures, my husband looked up at me one night and said, "Now what?"  In other words, what do we do now with this grand revelation? How can we go on with our mundane lives when we know there's a God and a devil and a heaven and hell and a battle going on all around us. What do we do?

At the time all I said was "We live what we believe." I wasn't sure what that meant exactly but the more I study the Bible, the more I believe that as followers of Jesus we are supposed to be having adventurous abundant exciting miraculous lives. Then why when I look around at my fellow Christians do most of them seem so bored and defeated? They come to church on Sunday, they may attend a Bible study during the week. They may even read their Bible occasional and pray. They rarely talk about God at social events and even if they do, there's no excitement in their voice, no spark in their eyes.

In my opinion the church in America has reduced itself to a social club, a place where like-minded people get together to hear a good talk, get entertained by a good band and then go home and live our lives like everyone else. (Well, except for the fact that most of us try to be moral)

But is this what God had planned for His children?  When I read the Bible, I find nothing but stories of people who did great things for God, people who lived fulfilling adventurous lives and accomplished unbelievable tasks for God. All because they held God to His Word. They believed Him and they stepped out of their comfort zone to obey Him.

We in America have become far too comfortable in our walks with God. We have turned Christianity into a self-worshiping religion instead of God worshiping. We put our own comfort and happiness above doing God's will.

Are you bored with your faith? Do you have doubts from time to time that any of it is true? Perhaps you ought to pray and ask God to wake you up. Ask Him to call you out of the boat into the storm. Ask Him to use you in a mighty way to further His Kingdom. Tell Him you'll obey Him no matter what the cost to you or your family. Wow, now that's a radical prayer! But don't pray it unless you mean it. Because God WILL answer.  You can choose to lead a hum-drum Christian life more concerned with your comfort than in joining the battle for the Kingdom of God. OR you can risk everything and live the life of adventure God has planned for you since the beginning of time.

Think about these people in the Bible. How dull and ordinary would their lives have been if they hadn't been willing to risk it all for God?

  • What would have happened if Moses had told God that No, he wasn't going to go to Egypt and free his fellow Israelites. It was too dangerous, too much work, too hard, too scary, the people won't listen, Pharoah will kill him, etc etc. ?  
  • What if Joshua hadn't agreed to lead the people into the promised land? What kind of life would he have led?
  • What if Abraham had never left Ur? 
  • What if Joseph had been too frightened to interpret the King's dream?
  • What if Daniel had blended in with all the other captives and not stood up for his beliefs? 
  • What if Peter and John had remained fishermen and not followed Jesus when He called?

I could go on.

The point is, if you're bored with your faith, then you are probably playing it safe. You are the eleven disciples who never asked to get out of the boat and walk with Jesus on the water. They never got to feel the rise and fall of waves beneath their feet as they tromped through the storm! What a rush! Only Peter asked to come to Jesus. Only Peter got to experience that.

If you are considering praying the prayer I mentioned above, make sure you are serious and will obey God when He calls. If you're not willing to pray the prayer, you are still going to heaven. You are still a child of God if you believe in Jesus. You will most likely remain in your dull complacency and live out your life in comfort. But you will miss out on the thrill!  The thrill of walking with God minute by minute and seeing Him work in ways you could have never imagined! The thrill of seeing miracles, healings, deliverances, people plucked from the fires of hell.!!

Don't be one of the many who will arrive on those heavenly shores and say, "I wish I'd done more for God. I wish I'd done more."



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Friday, August 22, 2014

Introducing Rayed Redemption Ministries

I recently met David Barberis online and found out he has a fantastic and far-reaching ministry.  He is a Godly man whose main desire is to further the Kingdom of God. He sent me the following information on his ministry. Please look it over and go check out his page. Perhaps there's something that can help you or someone you know!

Please welcome David Barbeirs and Rayed Redemption



Redemption, loosely translated means delivered from the afflictions that have enveloped us, when it comes to the subject of domestic violence, those afflicted should know that help is available, they are not alone.
Redemption – The Greek word apolytrosis means the safety margin that results when a person is rescued from what previously enslaved them.  Redemption is derived from apolytrosis as we can confirm in Ephesians 1:7 “ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων, κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ (SBL GNT), “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (NKJV)

Rayed Redemption, a Texas non-profit organization and Federal 501(c)3 registered agency has incorporated the domestic violence ministry to promote the well-being of those afflicted by the presence of domestic violence and sexual assault in their lives and the prevention of both in our society.

All of Rayed Redemption's services are developed and adapted from Biblical principles and teachings. 

The organization will hold a kickoff program to introduce its presence in the very near future.
At this kickoff program we will welcome visitors, pass out informational brochures and feature speakers that will inform the public about our programs.  Visitors will be treated to a performance by a major Christian artist. 

Rayed Redemption's main focus is to provide relationship workshops and offer supportive education and resources for those who find themselves in unhealthy situations.
Overall, the general community does not have enough information about Biblically centered domestic violence and assault counseling and outreach, and when it comes to recognition and prevention, the information gap is widened.

Rayed Redemption’s goal is to fill that gap.  Rayed Redemption's mission is guided by the Bible, following established programs from Overcomer’s and Celebrate Recovery.

While we at Rayed Redemption are devoted to working primarily with those afflicted, we understand the need for recognition, prevention and healing, and will not turn away anyone, for domestic violence knows no barriers, afflicted are men, women, rich,  poor, educated or not, and of course domestic violence has no color line.  Assistance will be available to all cultures.

Rayed Redemption has no home base as of yet, but we faithfully pray and know that we will have a permanent space sometime in the fall at a location either in Plano, or Frisco, Texas with locations coming in 2015 in Los Angeles and Miami, as donations allow us.

Until that time we will travel to civic organizations, faith-based organizations, and businesses to offer workshops that can be tailored to meet the needs of specific groups.

We need to openly discuss domestic violence.  Domestic violence is not a private issue, we do not have to keep it quiet, we need to make people aware and let them know that it is OK to speak up.
We will help those afflicted and affected by domestic violence see that there are alternatives, and we will provide them with the resources to resolve their situation, safely.

As for spreading our message, we will not compete with any other groups, organizations, or social agencies, we all share the same goal of delivering information to all segments of the population.  We strive to partner with other social agencies to better serve the community.
For information about these programs call 469-525-9113, email dv@rayedredemption.com



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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Your Lightning lights up the world!



The clouds poured out water;
The skies sent out a sound;
Your arrows also flashed about.
The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightnings lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook.
 Your way was in the sea,
Your path in the great waters,
And Your footsteps were not known.

 

Psalm 77:17-19

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Illusion of Success

Most of us look at successful people and think "Ah, surely these are people who have it altogether."   They are smart, hard working, talented, beautiful, wealthy, whatever their gifts are... Whether they are a famous movie star, CEO of a company, sports figure or an author like me, most people believe that with success comes some sort of  uniqueness or power. I'm always amazed when I meet people who know me only by my writing. They often tell me that they were intimidated to meet me, that they thought I must be some kind of spiritual giant  because of my blog posts and the strong Biblical themes in my books.  It makes me laugh.  Truth is, I'm just as messed up and inadequate as anyone else.

God doles out talent to everyone. Whether we choose to use what He has given us is up to us. In fact, I have come to believe that God tends to use the most messed up people to do His most important tasks. There is example after example all through the Bible. 

Moses stuttered and didn't want to lead God's people out of Egypt
Gideon was the least of all the men in his tribe and from the least tribe in Israel yet God used him to defeat an army.
Ruth was an impoverished foreigner 
David was the family runt.
Do I need to go through Jesus's disciples? Talk about a bunch of weak, power-hungry, doubters.
The Apostle Paul murdered Christians for a living

You may be surprised to discover that I NEVER feel confident when I'm writing my books. I always feel inadequate. I always wonder what the heck am I doing? How can I write a novel and expect people to buy it and enjoy it?  Who do I think I am?  So often I still feel like that shy, insecure little girl who grew up without a Father's love and who all her life wondered if she was worth anything. I'm being completely honest with you. I feel that way most of the time!

But here's the thing. God always steps in when we come to the end of ourselves. In fact, He loves to do that. He loves for us to come to Him and say., "Father, I'm out of my league. You've asked me to do this thing and I'm terrified. I don't know what I"m doing. I don't have the talent, the money, the skill to do it."  God loves that. Why? Because He can show up HUGE and in the process of our leaning on Him, not only is the task accomplished far better than if we had done it alone, but our relationship with Him grows to greater depths than we could have imagined.  

Which brings me to 2 points.

If you're feeling inadequate. If you feel insecure, terrified, like you're out of the boat in a storm. If you feel like you just can't do what God is asking you to do. GREAT!  You're in the perfect place for a miracle!  Just lean on Him

Success without God is empty.  Atheists can still use their God-given talents and achieve great success in this life. But the end result is nothing but emptiness and pain, because once you reach the top, where else is there to go? What else is there to do? What happens when you get sick or get old? What does your success do for you then?

So many of those we idolize as important successful people are living tragic lives of depression, anxiety, divorce, substance abuse, and intense insecurities. If only they knew that they could bring all their inadequacies to God and allow Him to give them purpose, life, love, and hope.


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