Thursday, June 13, 2024

 

Being Different

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9).

The United States of America could once say the same thing. We were first a nation founded on biblical principles and blessed by God. When the new nation formed after the Revolutionary War, our founders had the foresight to know we needed the freedom to worship according to our consciences; religion can not be legislated because it's a matter of the heart. Everyone must choose for themselves.

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15).

Over the years, we as a nation have drifted farther and farther away from God. God calls His people to stand out from the crowd and stand up for Him. Have Christians done this in the way God intended? Have we shone our lights into the darkness that's creeping in to try to envelop the world? Have we demonstrated righteous living and godly choices?

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).

When we accept Christ into our lives, He transforms us so we become new. We should no longer conform to the world's standards or try to act like nonbelievers. We should seek the things of God -- those things that are right and good and acceptable to Him. We should strive to please Him and not man, to fit into His Kingdom, not a worldly one. What a difference we could make if all Christians understood this and acted on it within their own lives!

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Monday, June 10, 2024

 Wishy-Washy or Incomplete Answers


So long ago that I don't remember when, I learned that, if I wanted to make good grades, be successful, or win competitions, I needed to follow directions, guidelines, and rules. If I don't want to do that, I don't expect success. That theory has done me well and allowed me to be somewhat of an over-achiever.

I must have learned this somewhere in my early school years because I remember it being in place when I attended college. It helped me test well, make better grades than I would have otherwise, and establish a good rapport with some of my professors. I have even won four prestigious awards as a teacher, as well as scholarships for summer travel to India and Mexico by following the guidelines and being thorough on the applications.

I've also won numerous contests and hundreds of county fair ribbons by carefully following the guidelines. So, I don't understand it when I hold online event contests to give away some of my books, and people only give vague or half answers. They certainly don't reply appropriately to the question or task given. I disregard those answers and only draw from the complete ones.  I feel that avid readers, of all people, should be able to read and follow directions. If they don't, it's not fair to the ones who do to be rewarded. 

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Thursday, June 6, 2024

 

Top or Bottom, Light or Dark

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).

Some fish are bottom feeders. Even when given good food nearer the surface, they still return to the dark bottom to eat garbage. Catfish, suckers, and bream are some common types of fish you may be familiar with that are often considered bottom feeders. But as with humans -- an analogy that is coming up -- some of these bottom-feeding fish eat more refuse than others.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deed should be reproved (John 3:20).

Many Christians are like those fish. They go to church on Sundays to be fed in the Word, but they return to worldly garbage the rest of the week. They exist, they survive, but they never really thrive. They might pretend, look, and act as if they do, but nobody lives as well as they could or should on filth and garbage. A few even resort to drugs or alcohol at times during the week. They think no one knows their secrets and how they really live, but God knows, and in the end, such a lifestyle will destroy them.

But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought to God (John 3:21),

If you live a selfish life through the week just like you did before you were saved and if neither you nor anyone else can tell any difference in your life from what it was like prior to salvation then you might question whether or not you are really saved and rectify that. The only way to live the abundant life God wants to give us is to surrender to Him and live for Him. You must become a new creature. Your perspective and desires change.

Do you feed on God's Word regularly and spend time with Him in prayer? Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Spiritually speaking, are you drawn to the Light and have your eyes fixed upward on eternal things? Are you more of a bottom-feeder or a top-feeder? If you aren't sure or don't like the answers, the Lord will help you change.

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Monday, June 3, 2024

 A Match for Merle

Vanessa Acker appeared in my very first book in The Matchmakers - Agatha Returns series as a minor antagonist. With her forward ways and cutting remarks, she didn't make herself very likable. After A Match for Marshall, she also made brief appearances in A Match for Cord and A Match for Silas. When I first wrote about her, I didn't know she'd end up being the heroine of her own book, but here she, doing just that, in A Match for Merle.

In this novel, the reader gets to see life from Vanessa's point of view and watch as she gradually begins to change. Merle Warner is a new character. He's been a real estate speculator, traveling ahead of the railroad, buying up land, and selling it for a profit after the railroad comes through; but now he's ready to settle down and start a family, so he contacts a well-known matchmaker in Chicago. The moment he sees Vanessa, he knows she's going to be a challenge, but he almost looks forward to it.

I once heard an actor say that it was more fun to play the part of a villain than the part of a hero. I found that writing about Vanessa flowed easily, and although she starts changing from the moment she meets Merle, she needed to be shocked into seeing what she'd become, so there is also a pivotal moment at the climax of the story. I hope readers enjoy this third novel of mine in the collection because it has a different slant. It publishes on July 1 and is on preorder now.

Link to A Match for Merle

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Thursday, May 30, 2024

 Confronting Giants

There were giants in the earth in those days. . . (Genesis 6:4).

We know there were giants in the biblical times of the Old Testament. They're mentioned early in Genesis and then several more times in other books of the Bible. When Moses sent the twelve men to spy out the land of Canaan, their report lets us know there were still giants there. Caleb wanted to go at once and possess the land, but ten of the men said, "We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. . . . And there we saw giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."

Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites called them Emims (Deuteronomy 2:11).

The Anakim were warrior-like giants, descendants of the giant, Anak. Moses records in Deuteronomy that God destroyed the giants who lived in Ammon so that Lot's children could possess the land. Later in Deuteronomy, it mentions Og of Bashan, saying that this king came from the remnant of giants. Deuteronomy talks about other giants, but most of them are different names for the same ones.

And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we might fight together (1 Samuel 17:4 & 10).

Of course, the story of the most famous giant in the Bible is told in 1 Samuel 17. Goliath of the Philistines mocked David's God and taunted the Israelites to choose a man to fight him. When David heard his mockery, he was insulted on God's behalf and determined to defeat the blasphemer, which he did with a sling and rock. The Philistines also had another giant with them when they confronted the Israelites in battle at Gob in 2 Samuel 21:18. Sibbechai the Hushath killed Saph.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

Today we're more likely to encounter figurative giants than physical ones, but most of us have probably faced giant problems at one time or another. We should approach these giants the same way Joshua, Caleb, and David did. They relied on God, knowing that nothing is impossible with Him and that His plans are always best.

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Monday, May 27, 2024

It's Almost Here

I'm excited that it's almost time for Beckett's Brides to publish.  It releases on Saturday, June 1, and is on preorder now. Perhaps because I've put so much time and effort into the research, this book is special to me, but the story was also fun to write. It ended up with a plot twist that even I didn't see coming to start with.

Link to Beckett's Brides

When Dr. Beckett March writes his aunt that he would like to have a wife and children someday, he had no idea she would send twins to Deadwood for him to choose from. Besides the impossible situation that puts him in, lawless Deadwood is no place for two young, single ladies, and then there's the problem of finding them a chaperone.

As many of you probably know, my husband and I went to Deadwood last June to research this book. In addition, I purchased books and did extensive other research, wanting to make the novel as authentic and historically accurate as possible. I found it both fascinating and fun to uncover Deadwood's early history. In fact, I plan to set another book there. Since Beckett is a doctor, he only encounters miners in that capacity, but the town started because of gold being discovered in the Black Hills, and it played a big part in the area for many years, so my main character next time will be a miner. It will be part of the Men of the West collection, titled The Miner, and publish in March of next year. In the meantime, don't miss Beckett's Brides. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

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Thursday, May 23, 2024

 Are You Thirsty?

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).

We shouldn't just read our Bibles, pray, and attend church because we know that's what we're supposed to do as Christians. We should crave these things because of our eagerness to discover more about God and His truths. Jesus told us we should thirst after righteousness.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14).

He also told us that He can give us living water, the only One who can permanently satisfy. Accepting Him as the Lord of our lives, and giving Him complete control, frees us from burdens and anxieties. We can rest in Him and He will meet all our deeper needs.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41).

When Jesus stopped by Bethany to visit His friends, Mary and Martha, we find Martha focused on more worldly things. Jesus gently admonished Martha and praised Mary for choosing what was more important, teachings about faith and God. What are your choices like? Do you hunger and thirst after spiritual things? Do you eagerly look forward to learning more about God and His truths and experiencing a close, intimate relationship with Him?

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