Wednesday, October 22, 2014

He drew me out of many waters!

He sent from above, He took me,
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me;
For they were too strong for me

  2 Samuel 22: 17-18

Monday, October 20, 2014

Converts or Disciples?

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit  Matt 28:19

We learn from ACTS that the early church met in homes. Their relationships were intimate and personal. They ate together and shared their lives together. I imagine those among them with the gift of music helped lead worship, and those among them with the gift of teaching, gave the morning word, and those with the gift of service, served.... those with the gift of healing, healed, prophets prophesied.. etc.  The thing was, you couldn't be anonymous in their meetings. Everyone knew you and you knew everyone and everyone participated. So, if you were struggling with a problem, trial, or even a sin, there were people who were more mature in the faith all around to help you. They "discipled" you .   They taught you what they learned from the Scriptures and from walking with the Lord for years. That's how the younger Christians were able to grow in the faith. They were one-on-one discipled by people close to them.

That's what a disciple was in Jesus's day. Most Rabbis had disciples, men who forsook their careers, their families and followed a certain Teacher. When I say followed, I don't just mean their teaching. I mean they literally followed the Rabbi around. They ate, slept, studied and spent all their time with this Rabbi, learning from him, learning how to be like him.

Sometime after Rome became Christianized, believers started meeting in the old pagan temples once used to worship the gods of Rome and other demonic deities. Slowly the home church where people were discipled one-on-one evaporated in favor of mass meetings in church buildings where believers became more spectators than participators. The Christian church even adopted the idea of rituals and ceremonies from the pagan religions they replaced and throughout the centuries that has morphed into our modern-day churches.

The problem is that in this auditorium-style non-participating church environment, disciples have been replaced by converts. Churches measure their success on how many new converts they have each month and give no thought to what it means to actually disciple someone. Sure, there are after church programs and special classes and even small groups that people can attend, but even those can often times be very impersonal.  Plus they are not mandatory. That's why it's so easy for someone who is weak in the faith and engaging in some kind of sinful activity during the week to be able to hide in church.

But Jesus clearly said Go make disciples, not Go make Converts. But what is the difference?

A convert is someone who calls themselves a Christian and who has received Jesus's sacrifice for their sins. If they go no further than that, they remain just a convert. Are they still saved? That's between them and God.

Here's what Jesus says of a disciple
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.....So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.  Luke 14

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me  Matt 10:38

Discipleship is the same as it was in Jesus's day. It's a call to give up everything for your Rabbi. It's a call to put Him above everything in our lives. It's a call to follow Him and learn how to be just like Him. 

Yet how many churches today actually do that? How many raise converts and not disciples? And shouldn't we be about the business of doing exactly what Jesus commanded? 

When is the church going to wake up? I'm sensing God is asking us this. We are running out of time, and there are so many people still in the darkness.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Frenzy!

Happy Friday!

I hope you all had a great week! Mine was busy, as usual. Some may think an author's life is glamorous, but let me tell you, it's just as hard and mundane as anyone else's!  I still have to clean my house, scrub my toilets, do laundry and cook. I still have to deal with kid problems and grandbabies and spiders in the bathtub and an internet that keeps going out.  Like most women I step on the scale and cringe at what I see, then make pledges to cut back on the sweets!  I greet my husband at the door and listen to his day and then settle down to watch TV at night. Yes, I do watch TV. I think it's the storyteller in me but I have always loved a good TV show or movie.  Hubby and I have our favorites, though that list is getting shorter these days as the shows get raunchier.

Writing wise, I worked on edits for Tears of the Sea this week.  That is now turned back in to my editor for one more glance through and then I will start formatting it for ebook and print!  If you've signed up to read and review it, I hope to get the copies to you the last week of October.  After I send that out, I hope to take a couple days off to recharge. I want to go to the pound and rescue a cat in line to be euthanized.  Hubby and I love to take in strays and misfits. Mainly because that's what we've been most of our lives.

My Reef Tank

You may remember I started a reef tank some time ago. Well, it's coming along!  I've added a few corals, some clown fish, a shrimp, and an anemone.   Because I chose to put in live rock taken directly from the sea, new creatures tend to appear all the time.. and more will appear as time goes on. I've noticed a few baby clams and this weird slug-like creature. (pictured below) 

The Entire tank

Clown fish bonding with Anenome

Hammerhead Coral

Living soft pink coral
Sea Slug that just appeared!

I want to share with you pictures that my friend and publicist is finding to help advertise my book, Tears of the Sea. She's so good at this... 

I'm excited to see what she finds next!

Now for this week's writing tip


As much as you can, try to put action before reaction.  For example

She screamed as the monster charged toward her. 
Her heart thudded against her chest when the man fired the pistol

What you want to say is
The monster charged toward her. She screamed!
The villain fired his pistol. Her heart thudded in her chest.

Seems simple enough but not as easy to do. The reason? At least for me is the way a sentence reads.. it's rhythm and cadence. Sometimes it just doesn't sound right to write it the correct way!  Anyway, for the most part, it's important to write events in the sequence in which they happen.

Praying you have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Foam of Shame!

The Apostate!

They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Jude 1:12-14

Not exactly a comforting verse but I thought it was appropriate and a reminder to stay true to the Lord! 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh Death where is thy sting?

Jesus wept  John 11:35

This is the shortest verse in the Bible, but to me it is one of the MOST powerful. It's the only record of Jesus weeping, though I imagine He wept quite often. Jesus had just approached a crowd of mourners who were mourning the death of a friend of His, Lazarus. Both of Lazarus's sisters, Mary and Martha, had come to Jesus asking Him why He hadn't come and healed their brother. They'd sent a messenger to Jesus days before informing Him that Lazarus was ill and begging Him to come and heal him. By this time, Mary and Martha, who were also good friends of Jesus, had seen Him heal multiple people... most of the strangers. Surely Jesus wouldn't hesitate to come heal someone who was a good friend.

But He did hesitate. On purpose. He waited days before heading out. Even His disciples questioned why he was waiting so long. You see, Jesus knew that Lazarus must die. He knew God had bigger plans for Lazarus that could only be achieved by his death. I realize how weird that sounds, but it's true.  Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead as proof that Jesus was the resurrection and the life!  He even told his skeptical disciples what He was going to do, and still they didn't believe.

So when Jesus arrives and sees everyone crying and wailing in grief, why does He cry???  He knows Lazarus is going to rise again in just a few minutes... so why is He crying?  There's a few passages that give us a clue.

Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.  verse 33

Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. verse 38

Jesus, the Son of God, the Creator of all life, looks over the crowd and sees what death does to people. He sees how it destroys them, how agonizing and horrific it is, how it rips out people's hearts and souls and leave them empty.  And HE GETS MAD.

He's mad at death and the devil and sin for bringing it into the world.  This wasn't how things were supposed to be. God never meant for man to die, either physically or spiritually, but the enemy tricked Adam and Eve and stole  the rulership of earth that was rightfully theirs.  And with it he brought sin and decay and destruction and sorrow and pain and heartache and loneliness and emptiness and despair and aging and finally death.

And seeing the effect of that, I believe, made Jesus groan in His Spirit and get mad. And like the warrior King, he charges the tomb and calls out Lazarus. He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth!

And Death (at least this one death) is defeated. 

Two things I learn from this

Jesus is our warrior King who charges the gates of Hell and snatches us out of the grip of death
O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?  1 Corinthians 15:55

When trials, troubles or tragedy strikes, even when God sees that things work out for us in the end, He still cries with us. He takes us in His arms and cries with us.  How comforting is that?


Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Frenzy!

So, how has your week gone?  Are you glad it's Friday? Friday used to mean something to me when I had to drag myself to work everyday. Now, that I work from home, all the days tend to blend together. Plus I never seem to be able to get away from my work!

Writing news:

This week I got my edits for Tears of the Sea from my editor Lora Doncea! So now comes the tough
job of going through the book line by line and "fixing" everything.  Once that is done, Lora looks it over one more time and then I can send it out to reviewers and influencers. After that I need to work on the print copy, which takes a bit of time.  I'm so excited about this mermaid story!

I also started musing over my next book, The Reckoning. I created the main characters, Rowan and Morgan, but am working on theme, character arc, general plot and secondary characters. Top that off with historical research and I probably won't be ready to start writing until November.

Jar of Dirt

Thanks to Chappy (Debbie Mitchell) for sending me a Jar of Dirt!  Yup. She sent me a jar of dirt. Why, you may ask? Well, I'm embarrassed to say I had to ask why too.  For those of you who have seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Man's Chest, there's a scene where Captain Jack Sparrow has his heart stored in a jar of dirt and he drops the jar, shattering the glass and he says "Where's the thump thump?"  So, now I have Jack Sparrow's heart in a jar of dirt sitting on my desk!

The Blood Moon
Early Wednesday morning I got out of bed at 4:00 am to see the moon turn to blood. Yup. I'm crazy, I admit it.  People ask me if it really turned red, and yes, it did.. well sort of an orange red and very light. It was gorgeous. One of the reasons I pulled myself from bed to see it, is because it's quite a rare event. Also rare is having 4 blood moons in a row, often called a Blood Moon Tetrad. ALSO rare is when those Blood Moons fall on Jewish holidays.  I'll post the chart below and let you come to your own conclusions.  Either way, it was very cool.

Facebook anyone?

For those of you on Facebook who are not on my Fan Page, I urge you to join.  I plan on being more active there, in particular calling on influencers (people who will receive a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.)  I'm also going to be giving away free paperbacks of new releases for those who help me promote my books, etc...  so please come join the fun!
   Link to Fan Page

Here's one of my biggest reasons for living:  My precious granddaughter!

Friday Writing Tip
Less Words is More.  Often writers can be, by their very nature, overly verbose. We love words so much that we tend to use too many of them to convey our point. We almost relish in a cleverly constructed sentence using just the right words that we spent hours selecting along with the perfect adverbs and adjectives to give the entire phrase so much flourish that we know people's jaws will drop agape at our brilliance.
Ah.. No. When I'm reading a good story, I don't give a flying fig about fancy sentences or words. All I want is for the sentences to flow well so I can breeze through them and find out what's going to happen!!
For example instead of writing my long paragraph above, I could have easily said. In order to impress people, some writers tend to use more words than they need. 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Breath of God!

By the breath of God ice is given,
And the broad waters are frozen  

Job 37:10