Saturday, April 29, 2017
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 1 John 3:23, NKJV.
What if all we've been taught about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is a gross misinterpretation at best? Or even a flat-out lie?
What if Jesus was really only the son of a young woman who wanted to cover up her sin? You couldn't really blame her; she was bethrothed, and she would have been stoned to death if she'd committed adultery with another guy.
What if she'd just convinced Jesus all His life that He was that long-awaited Messiah?
What if all the miracles mentioned in the Bible were tricks or hysterical believers? Such things have been reported in the news.
What if all the disciples were misled to the point that all of them were willing to be martyred for the sake of the lie?
What if Jesus's body really was stolen from the tomb?
What if the biggest lie in the world had been repeated over and over, resulting in the expansion of one religion world-wide?
What if I've been equally misled, pouring money and time into spreading the lie?
What have I lost? A few dollars, a few hours.
But then, what if it's true? What if Jesus really is the Son of the One God? What if He really has gone before me into heaven to prepare a place for me? What if He really does know all that I say, do, and think? What if believing in Him really is The Way?
If it's true but I believe it's not, does that make it any less true?
Lord, please free me with Your truth, Your way, Your life. For Jesus's Name, Amen.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
I frankly don't know anyone who writes women's fiction as well as Ginny Yttrup. Even though it's fiction, there's such a ring of truth in them that you'd swear Ginny's writing it from her own life.
When the housing market took a dive, many building and architectural contractors went out of business. Those who survived had to diversify and cut back. Craig is one whose business has suffered--or strangled, nearly. He and Melanie discuss putting their own self-designed dream home on the market and moving to something smaller. Or rather, Craig tries to discuss it. Melanie closes herself off.
Melanie is a writer with a deadline that's looming way too close, and she can't get her characters to cooperate. What she needs is a break, and a friend provides her with the perfect retreat--a house on beautiful Clear Lake--for free. She can escape, but will she return even when--if--the book is ever finished?
Jill and Marcos live next door, and Jill is the closest thing to a best friend that Melanie has. Jill has problems of her own: She is OCD on steroids. She has frequent nightmares of someone dying, and she's literally terrified that someone in her family is going to die from a germ that found its way into their sterilized house or a car wreck or whatever. The dreams are so real they seem more like a memory than imagination. Marcos is beyond worried about her.
With tension on every page, Home is nearly impossible to put down. Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. Hebrews 5:13-14 NKJV.
A bunch of years ago, I attended a church that gave an altar call every Sunday. It was a small church, and everyone there had "walked the aisle" at least one time in their lives.
Do not get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with an altar call. But remember, sooner or later Christians need to get past babyhood and bottles--they need meat and vegetables. They need to grow past infancy.
Meat in this scripture section in the Bible refers to growing up, getting past being born again to becoming mature Christians. There is more to the Christian life than eternal life.
What does a mature Christian look like? I believe that all of us are given gifts. Yes, the gift of eternal life is given to everyone who believes in Jesus and what He did for us, but there are a lot of other gifts. Romans, Ephesians, and Corinthians list them, but if you read the Bible (and if you don't, why don't you?) you know that God wants us to use the gifts we're given to serve His church.
If you sit on the sidelines lapping milk from a bowl, how do you expect to grow? It might just be time to ask God how you can serve His people--what gift (or gifts) He gives you. Open them up and start using them.
Go for it.
Father, You are the giver all all perfect gifts, the special tools to pull others into Your world. Please show us what our gifts are and how You want us to use them. In the Name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ, Amen.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
There's always one thing you can always count on with Fay Lamb's books--okay, two. First, you'd better get a box of Kleenex. Second, expect twists that won't let you put the book down. I'm tellin' ya, folks--this gal can write! This is an inspirational romance of the highest quality.
Hope is the third in the Ties that Bind series. The other two were Charisse and Libby., stories about three friends (really four, plus two hubbies (and a fourth book, Delilah, will be happening soon!).
Hope Astor is the child of wealthy parents--beautiful, spoiled, arrogant, and filled with sarcasm for anyone who disagrees with her. Or at least she used to be. But that was before that lump showed up in her breast. The "C" word has taken over her life, but friends Charisse, Libby, and Delilah won't let her sink in self-pity. They surround her with love and support, but what Hope really wants is Danny--okay, Dr. Daniel Duvall, her oncologist. Brother to the girl whose death is Hope's fault. He's the only one she's ever loved.
Daniel doesn't even like Hope, let alone love her, anymore. Neighbors and playmates from the time they were able to walk, Hope, Danny, and Tiffany were inseparable. He fell in love with her when they were in high school, but he got over that. Now she comes begging for his help. Well, he'd show her. He'd shuffle her off onto his partner. And if she died? Maybe she'd get a taste of her own medicine.
Makes me want to drag out another Kleenex just to think about it. Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I received this book free from the author in return for an honest review.
Monday, April 17, 2017
[Jesus said} "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
After the euphoria of finding out Jesus had risen, then what did the disciples do?
Well--Simon Peter and several of the others went fishing. What was up with that?
Hm. Did they miss the message? Or was it that they were still waiting for the Great Commission?
"Preach My word to all creatures." That was His command. The command was to the disciple, but not everyone has been given the talent of preaching. Some just shine.
They shine in generosity to those people and causes who need it. They shine in hospitality--offering the comfort of a home or a warm meal to someone who needs it. They hug someone who is grieving. They sing in a choir. They smile when their heart is crying. They lend strength to the weak. They help someone move to a new home. They phone the lonely widow(er). They pray for the sick.
So, Christians, after the Resurrection--shine in the ways God gives you. Then you bask in His approval.
Lord--please show us the places where we can shine. Thank You for the chance to show Your love in the world. For the Glory of Christ, Amen.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
"And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. Matthew 28:7-8)
(continued from The End of the Road, Part 8)
A loud pounding sounded, and all the disciples jumped. James ran and put his ear to the bolted door. "Who's there?"
"Mary of Magdala--let me in. Hurry!"
James looked at Simon Peter. "Should I?"
"How do we know it's Mary?" Peter asked. "Or maybe it is, but the temple guards captured her and forced her to lead them to us."
"Who's with you?"
"No one but your mother, James. Please let us in. We have great news!"
James cautiously lifted the bolt and peered through the crack, keeping his foot in back of the door so it couldn't be shoved open until he knew who was there.
"Mother...and Mary. Come in."
The two women burst through the opening, their faces lit with beaming smiles. "He's alive," Mary Magdalene fairly shouted.
"What? Who?" Peter asked.
"The Master--Jesus. We saw Him!"
"I don't believe it," Bartholomew said.
"We saw Him die," James said. "How can that be?"
"Believe it," his mother said. "We're telling you the truth. It was really Him. We took the spices over to anoint Him for burial, but He's alive."
John and Peter shot out the door, and the clumping of their sandals on the stairway echoed through the room.
James the Less shook his head. "That can't be true. John and Peter will be arrested. Mark my words. It was pure chance that we happened on Peter after he collapsed on the street--otherwise, he would probably already be in prison waiting crucifixion."
"We're wiser to stay here. James, bolt the door again."
James ben Zebedee did, his eyes filling for the fortieth time with tears. "I would that it were true. You two Marys are cruel to strike us with this joke of yours."
"But..." Mary of Magdala cried out.
"Save your words, Mary. They will never believe us."
Glum faces surrounded the two women, but one by one they turned away. The men sat on the floor next to east wall of the room while the women subsided to the west wall.
It wasn't long before they heard someone thundering up the stairs and pounding on the door again.
Wearily, James lifted the bolt. If it was the guards, they wouldn't give up until someone let them in anyway.
John ran into the middle of the room and threw his hands high. "It's true! He is risen, just as He said!"
Peter clumped into the room behind him, panting like a winded horse. "He's alive," Simon choked out. "He's alive!"
The two Marys gazed triumphantly at each other. The other followers rose to their feet slowly, mouths and eyes gaping.
Peter and John hugged each other, then proceeded to pound each other on the back and dance with joyous abandon. It wasn't a moment before the others joined them.
"HE IS RISEN!"
Friday, April 14, 2017
(continued from yesterday)
"So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit." John 19:30, NKJV.
Simon Peter stood in the crowd, his eyes too dry to weep any more, staring at his Master on the cross. His Master? No, Peter had betrayed Jesus, so how could he now still call the Lord his Master. And Jesus was the first who had called him Peter, the rock, and now that name no longer fit him.
He had been no rock. Jesus had wanted to wash Simon's feet, but no--he refused. At least at first. Then Jesus asked him to pray while He prayed on the Mount of Olives--but no, Simon had fallen asleep instead. Twice. He had rushed to defend Jesus with a sword, but the Lord chastised him and healed the ear of that servant of the priests. Worst of all, Simon had promised he would never desert the Lord, that he would go with Him to prison or to death itself; but when confronted as one of the disciples in the courtyard at Caiaphus's house, he denied he knew Jesus not once; not twice; but three times. When that rooster crowed, Jesus had turned his head and looked right into Simon's eyes. And once more, Simon ran away.
That had been when the tears started. Tears so heavy that they blinded him. The disciple--no, don't call him that any more--had collapsed against a dark building and gave way to weeping until his eyes ran dry and his head felt like an overripe melon. Yet he followed that grim possession through the street and to the hill called Golgotha, staying out of sight as best he could. When Jesus fell beneath the heavy beam and the stranger took up the load, Simon cried out, "That should have been my burden!"
But nothing he could do now could make it up to the Lord. How could the Lord stand to look at him? He, Simon the crying babe, had ruined everything. He was a failure, a loud-mouthed braggart. The others of the disciples would despise him too.
Staying as invisible as he could, Peter--no, Simon--stayed in the distant crowd, trying to be as invisible as his large stature and red hair would allow. When Jesus uttered His last loud cry and dropped His head to His chest, Simon knew the Lord, the One Simon had followed and believed in for the past three years, was now dead. He fell to his knees and also gave a loud cry, a long wail of agony. When people turned to stare at him, Simon rose to his feet and ran blindly, his feet pounding the earth and bricks until he could run no more. He sank to the ground, begging the dirt to cover him.
Surely, this was the end of the road.