Thursday, January 21, 2021

 Living Forever

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (1 John 5:11).

Man has long looked for a way to live forever. Legend has it that Juan Ponce de Leon searched for the Fountain of Youth in Florida way back in 1513. Researchers keep trying to keep us healthy longer and prolong life. Cloning has the potential of copying ourselves to live another lifetime. Medicines to slow down aging, cosmetics to cover it up, and plastic surgery continue to be big businesses.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

However, the truth is that we don't have to go to extreme measures to live forever. We will all do that. The question becomes not if but where. Will we live in the joy, peace, and glory of God's presence in heaven where nothing bad will ever happen, or will we live it in the absolute torment of hell? We get to choose.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous unto eternal life (Matthew 25:46).

Some people try to ignore the question, but that won't prevent them from choosing. If they don't choose Christ as their Lord and Savior and let that change the way they live, they choose hell by default. We will all live forever, but it's our choice where.


Monday, January 18, 2021

 A Look at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is a good day to reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although many people appreciate his achievements, a fact that is attested by this national day in his honor and the Nobel Peace Prize he received, I wonder how many stop to reflect on what great strides he made without violence. In fact, he strongly advocated non-violence and taught others in the Civil Rights Movement to do the same.

When it comes to race relations, the United States seems to make great strides at times, and then slide backward. It amazes me that it's been this long since the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, and we are still plagued with prejudice, discrimination, and sometimes, even hatred. This is simply unacceptable.

King must have been a life-long student -- something I can relate to. He not only proved to be a great admirer of the noted theologian, Martin Luther, but he also studied Gandhi in India and adopted many of his non-violent policies to bring about reform. I think America was blessed to have this gifted activist who understood that violence only brings about more hatred, and that peaceful activism shows the negative hecklers and their violence in the dark light they deserve. I can't help but wonder what he would think about the political climate in America today, but I'm sure he would have plenty to say. Perhaps what the country needs is another leader like him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

 Lessons from the Ark

Many sermons could be preached from Noah and the ark. Here are some of the lessons in a nutshell:

1. Plan ahead when needed. Remember, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. 

2. Let God be your guide. Stay close to him, so you won't get caught up in worldly pursuits and miss the boat.

3. Don't be afraid to tackle whatever God puts before you. Remember an amateur built the ark, and experts built the Titanic.

4. Stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle. You never know when you may be called on to do something really important like Noah was.

5. In looking to the future, try to take the higher ground. Choose God's way.

6. Wickedness and sin are never best and never pay in the end.

7. Always be caring and considerate. In some ways. we're all in the same boat. Let God take care of the judging.

8. It's often good to travel in pairs. Make time for your spouse.

9. When you're stressed and feeling the pressure, relax and float with the Lord for a while.

10. Speed isn't always important. The ark held both a sloth and a cheetah.

11. Don't listen to the critics. Continue on, doing what needs to be done.

12. Noah relied on God completely, and things turned out fine for him and his family.

13. No matter how long or how severe the storm, when you place yourselves in God's hands, there will be a rainbow waiting.


Monday, January 11, 2021

 Writing a Series in a Team 

Many authors are teaming up to write a series. This is a great way to grow their number of fans by sharing readers, and any marketing efforts will pay off for everyone. If a reader reads one book in the series and likes it, he or she is likely to buy others. If there are four of five books in the series, the benefits can mushroom because of the broadening readership. 

Each author can write and publish their own book while coordinating with the others. This takes care of the question of how to split the royalties. I suggest that one author act as the coordinator to get the project off the ground and keep it moving. Many times, the books are just based on a theme, but they can have other connections, such as setting, friendships, family, etc. The authors can also act as beta readers or editors for each other. However, unless there's a professional editor involved in the group, I still suggest each writer still use a professional editor.

I am thinking about teaming with other authors to write a series of novellas or novels. These would be inspirational, historical romances that include sweet food(s) somewhere in them. The series might be called "Sweet Somethings,"  which could have a double meaning. I already have the rough draft of my novella - The Sweetest Christmas. The stories need to be new and never before published. If any Christian author would be interested in participating in this, let me know soon. 


Thursday, January 7, 2021

 Grace and Obedience

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3).

Grace and obedience are a lot like faith and works. They might appear to be opposites, but they actually go together. James tells us, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26). And Paul saw a connection between grace and obedience when he said, "By who we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all the nations, for his name" (Romans 1:5).

If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

We work to help others, not for favors or special blessings, but because we love the Lord and want to do His work. We work because of our faith. Likewise, we obey God's laws, not from a sense of duty or fear of what might happen to us if we don't but because we want to please Him. Because of what Christ has done for us, if we accept Him as our Savior, we are covered by His grace. However, that doesn't mean we should totally ignore God's laws and commandments. It means that we should be more willing to follow them since He has done so much for us.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (John 14:21).

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil (Matthew 5:17). Obedience to Him is a natural response to God's love and grace for us. Jesus brought keeping the law to a whole new level. He wanted His followers to keep the spirit in which the law was intended instead of being so concerned with keeping the letter of the law as the Pharisees tried to do. Most of them kept the laws without giving a care about their fellowmen.

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself (Luke 10:27).

If we could get the Greatest Commandment right, we need not be concerned with keeping a set of laws because we would be obeying God. If we love God more than anything else and loved everyone else as much as we do ourselves, we would have all the laws covered. This makes it easy to remember what to do, but it's often difficult for our selfish natures to put into practice. Loving God means we obey Him as we accept His grace when we fail. We work to further His kingdom according to His call because we have faith and trust that His way is always best. Faith, grace, works, and obedience are all intertwined.


Monday, January 4, 2021


Second-Choice Bride

Second-Choice Bride has just been released. You can find the ebook and print editions on Amazon, and I have dual narrators working on the audible version. This is the first book in a five-book series set in early New Mexico. I think the second book in the Cactus Creek series, Sterling Orphans, may be out around the end of February or the first of March.
In Second-Choice BrideAbby Carter is horrified with herself when she blurts out a marriage proposal to Preston King. A proper lady would never do such a thing, but her cousin had just jilted Preston, and she wanted to ease his hurt because she cared for him. Preston is confused but knows he needs a wife to help him ranch in New Mexico Territory, so he asks Abby to marry him. But will he ever purge Magnolia from his heart, and will they even survive the long journey west?

New Mexico Territory didn't open up to traders and settlers from the United States until Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. I lived in New Mexico for two years and taught school there. My husband and I bought an old adobe house and did a cosmetic remodel. I had a great time decorating in a Southwestern theme. The whole experience of what I learned living there gave me a good foundation for writing the Cactus Creek series. I think it will be as successful as my other best-selling western series, In from the Storms.


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Another Resolution

People make New Year's resolutions, but statistics show they aren't usually successful. Only about 8% of the resolutions made around January the first are kept. In fact, so many people have failed to keep them that only about 40% of Americans make them anymore.

But what if your resolution centered around your faith? What if you allowed the Holy Spirit to guide you in what you needed to work on during the coming year? And what if, instead of trying to live up to that resolution on your own, you relied on God's strength and power - you allowed Him to take control? 

I think we sometimes view setbacks as failures and see failures as permanent. Jesus didn't. Look at how he dealt with the people most others considered failures - tax collectors, beggars, prostitutes, etc. He not only ate with tax collectors, like Zacchaeus, but He called one to become His disciple (Levi who became Matthew). He told of Lazarus, the beggar, who sat at the rich man's gate and of others who won favor by their humble, kind spirit. And, look how He dealt with the woman at the well. He offered her living water if she would accept who He was. When the Pharisees were about to stone a woman caught in adultery, He saved her with a simple statement and then said He didn't condemn her but told her to go and sin no more.

I've talked with Christians who'd become so discouraged with their failures they were ready to give up. But when they asked for forgiveness, their sins are wiped away, and they had a new start. If you'll let Him, God can even use your failures for good. If you're willing to learn, you can become a better person each time. Resolve to surrender to God and live by His directions and His grace in this New Year!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).