Monday, August 12, 2019

Zach Williams - No Longer Slaves (Live from Harding Prison)

I'm no longer a slave to fear. We all have fears, and I find this song so powerful.

Here are a few scriptures on fear:

Joshua 1:9 New International Version
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:34 New International Version "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Psalm 23:4 New International Version "Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me."

And another beautiful verse is Psalm 34:4 New International Version "I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears."

How amazing is that? If you struggle with fear, open your Bible and be comforted.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

El Paso Challenge

After the El Paso shooting, Ruben Martinez challenged others in his community to remember the victims with acts of kindness. What an amazing challenge, but the thing that makes it more interesting is that Ruben is only eleven years old.

This child is daring us to honor the victims. At first the challenge was to do twenty acts of kindness. It's risen to twenty-two acts of kindness today. These are not random acts of kindness. I feel like we are to be intentional in performing these acts.

If you need help coming up with ideas, Ruben has some to share. Mow a yard, visit a nursing home, pay for someone's lunch or dinner, donating for families in need, taking flowers to the hospital, or writing a letter to someone telling them how great they are.

If we perform twenty-two acts of kindness, I think we'll want to keep performing acts of kindness. Wouldn't it be great if Ruben's challenge made the world a better place?

I know nothing about Ruben's faith, but I do know he's a child. A child of God. He's important to God, his family, me, and the world.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Matthew 18:1-5

People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:15-17

Monday, August 5, 2019

Desk Update

I continue to find better ways to be productive and more efficient. The What's Best Next study inspired me to become better organized.

One of the biggest things I got out of What's Best Next for my life as an author, is to schedule my writing time in blocks. For instance, I'll write for say two hours. During those two hours, I don't check social media. I don't rotate laundry or start preparing dinner. I use the block of time to focus on my work in progress.

I also discovered I'm more alert in the mornings and late at night. I know this doesn't make sense, and I've decided to choose mornings as my writing time. I believe it's healthier for me to get up early and work while the sun is up.

In the early afternoon I struggle with drowsiness. So, I'm not going to feel guilty making myself coffee in the afternoon. I may even go for a short walk to energize myself. Then I'll write for another block of time.

In order to help keep my desk organized, I created two more work spaces in my office where I can spread out research and my vision board.

Matt Perman's philosophy is if we're more productive with our work, we'll have more time to do good for others. He says, “The biblical call on our lives is not to do good randomly and haphazardly. Rather, God calls us to be proactive in doing good — even to the point of making plans for the good of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."

To sum it all up, if I'm more productive with my work, I'll have more time to help others.

So, did I get my desk organized? It's better. Not perfect, but better. My dad has some funny quotes. One of them is, "I can find anything in three tries." And he always does find what he's looking for.

Monday, July 29, 2019

What Does It Mean to Love Mercy?

The prophet Micah tells us what the Lord desires from His people:
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8, New International Version).

Maybe we should start by defining mercy. According to Merriam Webster mercy is:

1a : compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power
also : lenient or compassionate treatment
begged for mercy
b : imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder
2a : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
May God have mercy on us.
b : a fortunate circumstance
it was a mercy they found her before she froze
3 : compassionate treatment of those in distress
works of mercy among the poor

Okay. Got it. But what does it mean to love mercy? I think "compassionate treatment of those in distress," a an act of loving mercy. We may have the right to punish or harm a person, instead we forgive and show compassion. This is mercy.

Let's dig deeper. Real mercy has an element of sacrifice. I've always been impressed when family members can forgive a person for murdering a loved one.

In Micah, God's word is clear that we are to love mercy.

If we want to see a picture of what mercy looks at, we can open our Bibles. Time after time God shows mercy to mankind. Old Testament and New Testament stories or parables touch on mercy.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36, NIV).

Titus 3:5 NIV says, "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit..."

Sometimes, it's easier to show mercy than other times. If this cutie did something wrong, it'd be easy for me to show her mercy. How could I not show her mercy.

No matter what the situation though, God expects us to show mercy. I'd love to hear your stories of mercy. Thanks!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Sherrinda Ketchersid

Today I'm excited to introduce you to my dear friend, Sherrinda Ketchersid. We met online years ago and are part of a critique group. The first time I met Sherrinda face-to-face was at an ACFW conference in Dallas. I was so nervous, and she was so gracious! She will always be special to me.

Sherrinda Ketchersid is a lover of stories with happily-ever-after endings. Whether set in the
past or present, romance is what she writes and where her dreams reside. Sherrinda lives in
north-central Texas with her preacher husband. With four grown children, three guys and a gal,
she has more time and energy to spin tales of faith, fun, and forever love.

Sherrinda had her first book published this year, Lord of Her Heart. It's a historical love story, and I asked Sherrinda a few questions.

How did you become interested in historical fiction? Have you always been a history buff?
I love historical fiction because I can escape into a different world easier than in contemporary. I love knowing that people in years past experienced the same struggles with faith, love, and ... well, everything. Also, my dad loved the time period for its chivalry, and I can remember coloring pictures he drew of knights and fair maidens (He is an artist as well as an author.).

Is trust the central theme in this story?
It's funny, but I didn't write the story with that theme in mind. Originally, I wanted to convey a sense of belonging, which was illustrated by Jocelyn's desire to return home to her family. But as the story unfolded, it was clear that trust was a major theme throughout. Not only trust in God but learning to trust each other in the journey.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for about ten years. Lord of Her Heart is my first novel and I worked on it a couple of years. I set aside writing for about four year when I was convicted of making writing an idol in my life. It wasn't until 2016 when I felt God releasing me to write again.

What was your inspiration for Lady Ashburne? Inspiration for Malcolm Castillon?
I've never been asked this. I wanted a heroine who, even though she was scared, desired something strong enough to gather courage and go for something big. This is something I learned way too late in life. Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing something in spite of the fear. As for my hero, I just wanted a strong character - fierce, but kind and chivalrous.

Have you ever toured a real castle?
No! It is definitely on my bucket list. I told my husband not too long ago that for our 40th anniversary, I'd like to go to Scotland and see castles. That's only seven years away.

Do you have a favorite castle even if you haven't toured it?
I would love to visit the Elean Donan Castle in Scotland. It was built in the 13th century, not far from the time my stories are set. I love the water and mountain around it.

If money was not issue, what would be your favorite vacation?
Other than going to Scotland, my favorite vacations have been in Colorado. I love the mountains and cooler weather. I love small brooks winding through the valleys. I love staying in a cabin, taking hikes, and sitting on a porch during the occasional rain shower. It's a piece of heaven.

Sherrinda, I'm actually a beach girl, but I loved Colorado on my one trip there. I really felt close to God in the mountains.

Sherrinda, thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Here's a little about the book.

Book’s Tag Line
He’s fighting for his future—she’s running for her life.

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle
because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to
force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises
herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.
Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament
and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on
the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny
lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for.
Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite
of her conniving ways.
Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are
determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only
way either of them survives.

Both the cover and story are beautiful!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

TobyMac - I just need U.

Here are the beginning lyrics to I just need you.

"Last night put the heavy on me
Woke up and I'm feeling lonely
This world gotta a way of showing me (showing me)
Some days it'll lift you up
Some days it'll call your bluff
Man, most of my days I ain't got enough
And all I know
Is You're my only hope
When I'm up when I'm down (uh, huh)
When the wolves come around (tell me)
When my feet hit the ground
I just need, I just need You
On my darkest days (uh, huh)
When I'm losing faith (tell me)
No, it ain't gon' change
I just need you..."

Good days or bad days, I always know where my hope is. I hope you enjoy this song! Thanks for stopping by. 
Keep believing!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Career Expert says the Golden Rule is at the Heart of Creativity

What is the Golden Rule?  In Matthew 7:12 (NIV) we're told: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

I grew up knowing this rule. I recently began studying what's best next by Matt Perman with a good friend, Sherrinda Ketchersid. We began with the timeline of one chapter a week. We're learning so much that we now tackle one chapter a day. I've included a link if you're interested in learning a little more about Matthew Perman and what's best next

Have a great week!

Sherrinda Ketchersid

Zach Williams - No Longer Slaves (Live from Harding Prison)

I'm no longer a slave to fear. We all have fears, and I find this song so powerful. Here are a few scriptures on fear: Joshua 1:...