Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, a lovely, breezy day in central, coastal Florida. This is my favorite time of year. The beautify of Christmas lights, the traditions and familiarity of songs and movies. The good will and cheer in the hearts of so many.

I'm blessed by you all and want to wish you a very, merry Christmas. I've been slow on blogging this fall, but I'm a blogger at heart and will do better in the New Year.

When I submitted the rewrites Monday morning for the first book I'm doing with a country music artist, I literally had no energy, words or emotion left. That book took it all. But my editor and I are very pleased with it. She more than me, so I'm thrilled. A writer is too close to their work by the the final version.

Artist has been a gracious and fun partner.

As we end this year with uncertainty in our financial market, going into a New Year with a new president of whom who know so little, I'm comforted to know God is not surprised or caught off guard. He's well aware and even better, in control.

We cannot judge our future successes or opportunities by the world, but by Him. He can make a road way in the wilderness, a river in the desert. Keep your heart and mind on Him, and be comforted by His peace.

As people fear the world and it's economy, we have such a great opportunity to touch them with the Light within us, the hope we have in a living, loving Lord.

I recently had a non Christian reader tell me she felt such hope after reading "Love Starts With Elle." How great to spread the love and fragrance of Jesus across the country to a woman I've never met.

God has a plan and destiny for all of us. In Matthew 16, Jesus said to Peter, "I give you the keys to the Kingdom." Wow! Jesus HAS GIVEN us the keys to His Kingdom. He's given us His robes of righteousness. What are we doing in pauper clothes? Worry, doubt, fear, pain from the past, hopelessness.

Let's put on Jesus and His righteousness. He has such great love and desire for us, not only to fellowship face to face, but to walk out the destiny He's had in mind since the foundation of the world.

Think of when you held your first child. Didn't you dream? She's going to be a prima ballerina, or a prize winning scientist. Or, he's going to be the next Babe Ruth, or a best selling author.

Jesus has those same dreams and plans for us. Better yet, He is able to bring them about! I'm not talking about digging around our own souls and presenting to Him a product of our selfish ambition. I'm talking about standing before him, arms wide, head back, eyes closed, heart toward Him and saying, "You are so good, so good, I can trust you with my life and destiny. What do you have for me to do. I'll do it."

He'll hear you, answer and launch you on an amazing journey.

Don't be afraid of being hidden, or to be seated at a table in the back. Jesus cannot resist a humble, unoffended heart.

Let's commit to seek Him wholeheartedly in '09. Be unoffended by friends, family, church, government. But seek Him.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finished writing the book

I've been a rewriter frenzy for the past few week, since we got home from Thanksgiving in Tennessee.

Butt in chair about 10 - 16 hours a day. Yes, I take breaks, eat lunch, walk the dog. I'm the cleanest writer in the world during crunch days. I take a bath when I'm stuck, frustrated, need to think, or feeling the pain of muscle strain.

Works every time. As soon as I sit in the hot water, an idea hits. I scrub up and get out. Back to work. One day I think I took five baths.

There, more than you wanted to know about my writing life.

Hubby and I are enjoying the Christmas season though we've not done much shopping or prepping. Just the tree. He put up house lights today. Monday I'll get into the swing of things.

The photo is of my annual Christmas ornament exchange lunch with former co-workers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

AT&T and iPhone

Tony asked what I wanted for Christmas. "iPhone," I said.

So, I took a break from my edits to run down to the AT&T store. We have a contract with them already and like the service, um, er, the phone service.

The customer service stinks.

I couldn't get an iPhone. Wouldn't even sell me one at regular price. An existing customer. The sales rep told me they have to pay $700 for every iPhone and unless I sign a new contract, which I can't because I'm not eligible yet, he losses a bunch of money.

Really?

AT&T has an exclusive deal with Mac's iPhone that cost them $700 per phone? I almost laughed out loud. But I was trying not to cry. I really wanted an iPhone.

So, we left. I just don't get it. How can existing customers get no care or regard. Why are we treated like we are not wanted?

By the way, this store had three sales reps and no other customers but Tony and me.

Sigh, can we go back to the customer is always right?

Okay, last minute 2008 complaining before I'm not going to allow myself to do this in the New Year. Rats, not complaining is HARD.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Getting in the holiday spirit


It's not snowing outside, but I'm getting in the Christmas spirit. Of course, the last time it "snowed" in central Florida was '89 and I-75 turned into a parking lot.

We had a great Thanksgiving with my family in Knoxville. My mom's home is always so cozy and inviting. I inherited my aversion to over head lights from her. We like balance, warmth, ambiance.

It was good to see my 94 yr old Grandma and two of my brothers and my sister. (Middle bro, we missed you.)

Then there were the nieces and nephews! They are always fun and I enjoyed hanging out with them. They grow up so fast. My sister is unhappy with me however 
because I gave her two girls, 4 and 2, make up. They've come out of their room with heavily made up eyes more than once. And the four year old wanted to put on make up for pre school.

Oops.

The good news is she can't get me back!

After Knoxville, hubby and I spent a few days in Nashville. Had a great time. I met with my agency, Creative Trust, went to the Bluebird Cafe where Monty Powell (think Keith Urban hits), his wife Anna Wilson and country crooner Billy Dean played. Think "Somewhere in My Broken Heart."  I talked to them afterwards which is why the 'Bird is such a  great place.

Also had breakfast with my editor, Ami McConnell. She's amazing and I'm undone to be able to work with her. I learn so much every book and she's incredibly encouraging while being honest and helpful. Ami gets writers. After chatting and eats, I stopped by the Thomas Nelson office to say hi to the fiction team. Another fabulous group of people.

The trip home via Atlanta's airport was looong and confirming my distain for air travel as well as Atlanta's airport.

But, I'm not complaining. 2009 will consist of less and less Rachel Hauck complaining. Like really, what's the point? And it only sullies my heart and mind. One day when I stand before the Father, I'd like not to hear all my whining and complaining played back to me. Ack, can you imagine.

Even my thoughts! I think those ring louder in the heavens than my words. So, I'm capturing those bad-boys too.

Check in with in around March '09. I might have ceased to exist with all this restraining of complaining.

Well, enough. Must work on rewrites.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Angela Hunt's "The Face"

Please welcome friend and fab author Angela Hunt! She has another very exciting release. I so admire her work and intellect!

The Face by Angela Hunt.
from Mira

Compelling characterization is the driving force behind this enthralling story of hope . . . Hunt (The Elevator) fuels the completely engrossing story with dual present-tense narration by the two women. Readers are drawn into their lives, sharing their joy and fear as they approach a fulfilling and surprising climax. A touch of suspense adds to the powerful themes of second chances and new beginnings. (Nov.) --Publishers Weekly

Publisher's Weekly Interview with Angela Hunt about THE FACE:

--Sarah Sims, the main character is a victim of Treacher-Collins syndrome, a rare disease that causes severe facial defects. Sarah literally has no discernible face. Her disease is a vehicle for plot development. Did you have any personal connection with this disease or specific reasons for highlighting it in your novel?

Last year I watched a special on the Discovery Channel about a real little girl born with Treacher-Collins. She's still preschool age, but I was so touched by her plight and all she has had to go through to have a functioning face. A novelist naturally asks, "What if?" and so I found myself wondering what might happen if someone like this young girl had the same condition . . . and the story bloomed in my head. I'm also fascinated by the power of beauty, so the story gave me an opportunity to juxtapose the two conditions--beauty and facelessness.

--Like your last novel, The Elevator, The Face is also written in alternating perspectives and in the present tense. Most novels use third person or an omniscient narrator, and this choice is definitely unconventional. How do you feel that adds to the story and/or the reader’s enjoyment of the book?

I like present tense because it adds an immediacy to the story--plus, unlike a past tense narrator who obviously survived to tell the tale, you're never quite sure if the present tense narrator is going to make it through. I struggled a long time with the question of protagonist--was it Sarah's story or Renee's? And then I realized the story belongs to both of them.

--The title, The Face, represents more than just what the main character lacks. Faces are revealed and discovered through the course of the story. Why the significance on faces?

Studies have shown that not only do our facial expressions reveal our emotions, but our emotions can be ignited by our facial expressions. In order to be fully human, Sarah not only had to learn how to communicate through a face, but to feel the emotions her face could convey. On a deeper level, her new face represents an emotional and spiritual rebirth. Because she receives a new face, she receives a new future and a new life.

--Because she has been isolated on an island all her life, and her contact with people has been extremely limited, Sarah has turned to old movies for her understanding of situations and emotions of the real world. Her idea of reality is based on things she has seen on the screen. Why movies and not books, or music?

I like movies, old or new. I knew Sarah would want to know about the world outside her cloistered life, and movies were the most direct way for her to visualize things she could never see. By watching films, Sarah thinks she knows the world. She doesn't realize that movies are only an imitation of life.

--There is a fair amount of research that went into this novel, from CIA protocol to extreme medical procedures, all of which seem a bit fantastic but are ultimately true. How important is it to blend fact into your fiction and what does that do for the overall quality of the story? Is research fun for you?

I cut my teeth writing nonfiction and I suffer from rabid curiosity so yes, research is fun for me. Why make something up if it really exists? So I do as much research as I can and travel whenever possible. I spent a week in the Amazon jungle to research one novel, and I visited the Spanish coast for The Face. When I saw an old monastery on an island off the coast of Spain, I knew I'd found the location for Sarah's fortress.

--What comes first for you, building the characters or building the story?
I work with four elements to build a story: plot concept, character, setting, and theme. The plot concept usually shows up first, then the other pieces either fall into line . . . . or I give them a shove.

Thanks Angie for stopping by! I pray great success for you and this book!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The depths of love

I posted before on owing no one anything except love. Paul wrote to the Roman church, "don't run up huge debts, except the huge debt of love you owe each other."

Lately I've been meditating on true, real, heart issued love. Loving when we're wronged, when we're cheated or over looked. Keeping our mouths shut when we have a right to say, "I told you so."

I want to love like Jesus loved. When He was chained to a poll or stone and whipped, He said, "Father forgive them." As they nailed Him to the Cross, He endured.

Love is patient and kind. Keeps no record of wrong. Endures. Does not seek it's own, it not arrogant.

Can I say I love in this manner? No. But more and more my heart yearns to love with all sincerity. I find comfort in the back row, being forgotten, over looked.

Yet, here's where love can crash into the ditch. I've seen it in many true believers who desire to exemplify Jesus. They embrace sin.

Loving like Jesus doesn't require us to embrace sin. It actually challenges us to speak out against sin. How can a man or woman turn from their "wicked ways" if we don't point the way to Jesus and the Cross?

If loving my fellow man means I look like the world instead of heaven, then I can't love. But I'm convinced loving my fellow man demands I look like and act like heaven.

For me, it means I don't grumble or complain. I don't compare myself and wonder why this person is getting that thing instead of me. It means I give of myself without demand or expectation of return.

It requires prayer and devotion to the Word in order for my heart to be changed. Love is not about others changing, but me becoming conformed to the image of Christ.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds," Paul wrote to the Romans.

Loving like Jesus transforms. I'm convinced of it. In '09, I want to love. To walk in humility. I'm confident He loves me, has good in store for me. I don't need to elbow my way into the future.

What about you? Can you think of areas of your heart and mind love can transform? Are you waiting for someone else to change? Really, your prayer should be, "change me, Father."

Let's take the journey of love in '09. Real love. Study 1 Corinthians 13.



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bearing His Fragrance

I'm at my mom's in Tennessee for Thanksgiving. My older brother is here, my youngest brother lives here with his family. Of course, I brought hubby with my.

Oh, and my 94 year old Grandma lives here, too.

This evening, my sister-in-law and I ran errands. Target, Krogers, a mom and pop pizza joint. About an hour after we brought the pizza's home, I had to move my mom's car for my sister-in-law.

Sliding behind the wheel, I was hit with the fragrance of pizza. Just a few minutes in the car, the pizza aroma still permeated the car.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

Like the pizza, the fragrance of Jesus on us lingers long after we've come and gone. A few minutes in the car left over an hours worth of pizza aroma.

What would thirty minutes, or an hour, in the Lord's presence leave on us? Then, wherever we go, His fragrance lingers.

If another person had gotten in the car, they would've wanted pizza. So, what would happen to someone walking into our presence after we've been with Jesus.

Maybe they would crave Him? Or their hunger for spiritual truth would be awakened.

Hang out with Jesus then look at what happens to those around you.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving memory

The fall of '76, we lived in Homestead, Florida. My parents had a large home group and we all gathered for Thanksgiving, outside, in the side yard of our house. There had to be thirty of us with kids and all.

I remember it was a breezy day with thick blue clouds hovering over us. And it was the day our family friend, Bill Hamilton, who's son Joe I crushed on for awhile, decided to teach me to drive stick shift in an old Chevy truck.

In those days, most stores were closed for the holiday but Bill was sent off to find cans of cranberry or something. I'd love to reminisce this story with him, but he's with Jesus now.

He invited me along. It's great to remember I had older male roll models besides my dad who cared for me in a fatherly way. We drove around a very quiet Homestead, streets deserted, looking for an open store. I think we finally found a Jiffy or 7-11 type.

On the way home, he said, "Want to drive?"

I didn't have my license, but I think Bill figured the population was tucked away with their own Thanksgiving celebrations and safe from any possible terror I might inflict.

I'd never driven before, let alone an old truck with a stick shift - three on the tree mind you, not four on the floor. We sat at one stop light for twenty minutes until I figured out the difference between reverse and second gear.

We finally ambled on home and I was all the wiser for having taking my first driving lesson on Thanksgiving day.

I have many wonderful Thanksgiving memories. This one happens to stand out to me.

Hubby and I spent most of the '90s celebrating with his family, and seems this past decade is a mix of his side and my side, and a few at home with friends.

I'm thankful for Jesus. The One who was, who Is and is to Come.

What are you thankful for this season?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Gorgeous Day

The fall days are gorgeous here. Cold, blue sky over green trees and grass. We don't get much color in Florida.

Yesterday and today were days that made me glad to be alive. I felt humbled by my blessings. I deserve none of them, but God in His mercy, gave them anyway.

As we go into the Thanksgiving holiday, meditate on your blessings. What are they. We can all find something.

What are your blessings? What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday

It's been awhile since I posted, so I thought I'd jot a few words. Have I jotted enough yet? ;)

Went to a conference in Orlando yesterday to hear a couple of seasoned men of God. I don't normally do stuff like this, but I wanted to hear their insights on our current state of politics and economics, and how they felt God would unit His Church in America. We seem so divided. 

No longer do we merely debate theological stuff - is tongues for today or not - but about social issues like abortion and homosexuality. It feels to me as if we've watered down holiness. We're thin skinned, wanting the world to like us. We've conformed God into our own image.

These men said many good things. I felt exhorted. And, I spent about an hour and a half in the prayer room by myself. Left me with an Ah and Awe sensation. And, ran into a woman we met in Poughkeepsie at the River Church in '97, Debbie Bryan! Good to see you, Deb.

So what was my take away? Get serious about prayer. I mean dead serious. And know the Word, be in the Word. Don't know about God, but know God! Perilous times are ahead, but we are the Light of the World and need not be afraid.

In the midst of trial, we must lean into Jesus. He will take care of us. We do not have to fear Wrath.

Pray for peace in America and Israel. Pray for President-elect Obama and his family. Pray for wisdom and the fear of the Lord. A lot of counsel is rising up that is not Godly. And not wise.

Pray for our hearts to be open to the love of Jesus!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eclectic Blog

It's been awhile since I've been eclectic. So, here we go.

Winners of Love Starts With Elle
Thanks to all who entered and responded to me by email. I'll pass on your thanks to Thomas Nelson for their generosity in supplying books.

Twitter
Have you all heard about Twitter? Check it out. I blogged about it on Faithchick, too. Sign up to be my Twitter friend. If you're on Facebook, updates on Twitter post to your Facebook page. It's fun!

Sunny Day in Cocoa Beach
Hubby and I met my youngest brother in Cocoa Beach. He's down visiting his wife's family in Daytona. We'll see them in a few weeks, but it was so cool to meet my new niece for the first time. She's gorgeous. I held her all through lunch. So sweet.

Also got to hang with an old, dear youth  member and her kids. Love you guys!

And now... 

Relaxing!

Friday, November 07, 2008

God in our own image

While reading a writing book, I came across this quote of a quote.

Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird speaking of the writing process and how writers do not create an elegant first draft.

"Not one of them (her writing friends) writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think she has a rich inner life or that God likes her very much.

"Although, when I mentioned this to my priest friend he said, 'you can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do.'"

The priest has spoken some of the most profound words I've ever heard. How often do we create God in our own image? He believes what we believe, He loves what we love, He excuses sins we excuse.

More and more we are basing our Gospel on what we've experienced or witnessed or felt rather than what is true in God's Word.

"I hate Jane, so God does." Or, "It's okay to hate her."
"I lust, so therefore God doesn't mind my sexual behavior. It's the way I am and He loves everyone, right?"
"I had to cheat or I'd have failed. God doesn't want me to fail."
"I've always believed this way and I know the Bible says different, but this is who I am."

Have you heard those sorts of arguments? I have. Some from my own lips in my short life time. Or similar excuses.

The moment you start redefining God's truth according to YOUR standards, you can safely assume you've created God in your own image. Then He is not God at all.

We think in these modern times we don't have the idols of the Greeks or Egyptians. No? Greed, selfishness, lust, celebrity, pleasure. . . Pretty big idols in this country, in the church.

Isaiah 44:15 - 17 talks about man taking a tree he's planted an using it to warm himself, bake his bread, then fashioned into an idol which he worships crying, "god, deliver me."

Be honest, don't we do much the same? Put our stock in men and things, jobs and money, political and church leaders over God.

What's the big deal about the counsel of men when we ignore the very counsel of God?

Let's strive to form ourselves into God's image, no matter how hard, instead of conforming Him into ours. God with a small "g" cannot save us. A god fashioned by our own imagination, mind and will has no power.

Maybe you are in church every Sunday, leading classes, a part of worship, hosting a home church, but your values are founded on the Word when it's good, your experience when it's convenient.

Let's pledge to be change from His glory to His glory. Not our own.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fear of the Lord

Final days before the election. I know of many who are praying and fasting. Seek the Lord what you can do.

A lot is in the balance this time.

I've heard many say, "Well, we can't know what God has in mind this election."

No, we can't completely, but we can look at the candidates and compare what the say and do with the Word of God.

We can ask the Lord to give us wisdom.

Two key verses stand out to me on this matter.

Proverbs 28:5 "... those who see the Lord understand all things."

Psalm 111:10 "... the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding have all those who do His commands."

We need to return to the fear of the Lord. We need to obey His commands.

This has really snapped me up and reminded me, "fear and revere" God." But to also seek His face. There so many verses about the Lord revealing Himself, giving knowledge and understanding, speaking to His Beloved about His plans.

Don't live your life thinking God is not involved, or speaking, or that you can't know what He's doing in you life and nation. You can.

Ask!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm here

Writing to meet a deadline. But have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2008

At rachelhauck.com, everyone is a winner!

Thanks so much to all the bloggers of the "Love Starts With Elle" blog tour. Applause, applause.

And a big thanks to all who signed up to win a free copy here at rachelhauck.com.

With so many entering, I just couldn't pick two so I went to Thomas Nelson with an idea and they heartily agreed.

EVERYONE IS A WINNER AT RACHELHAUCK.COM!

They are graciously supplying the needed books for the 63 who sighed up for the drawing!

Please send your name and address with "LSWE Winner" in the subject line to rachelhauck@gmail.com and I'll get those books mailed out to you in the next few weeks.

Congratulations everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

On A Sunday Afternoon

A good Sunday at church. Worship was good. Dave said, "Sorry I kept missing your queues."

And I said, "You did?"

We are sooo in sync.

Tony and I grabbed lunch at Quiznos then stopped by friends, a deaf couple we met in the down town neighborhood. They were able to move to a nicer apartment and we hadn't seen them in awhile. They had a guest who was also deaf but lip read well and also had some hearing, so we were able to talk through translation rather than writing on paper. They are a neat couple.

Then off to Lowes to use a gift certificate given to Tony for Pastor Appreciation month. He wanted to get chairs for the back yard, but he rocks in them so hard, they break. First he breaks his, then mine.

So, we got a swing this time. We had to pay a little extra over what the gift card paid. 

$19.78.

I said, "Hey, the year I was born."

Tony grinned. But the check out dude was hilarious. An older guy, probably our age, but wasn't too comfortable in his job yet. I could tell he didn't want to look right at me, so he rolls his eyes around the check out station, finally passing my face. "No way. She wasn't born in '78."

 "I'm kidding," I said, "I was really born in '75."

He laughed. The nerve!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jesus is in the Furnace

Most of us are familiar with the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three Jewish men in the service of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.

Neb built a big idol and evil men incited him to set a decree that for 30 days at the sound of a flute every one had to bow down to worship the idol. The evil dudes knew Shad, Mesh and Abed would not submit.

As a result, the three were thrown into a fiery furnace so hot it killed the soldiers who threw time in.

When the king looked into the furnace, I guess it had a window or something? He saw four men instead of three.

Jesus joined his beloved in the midst of their trial and protected them. Clearly this is a picture of Jesus being with us in the midst of trial, crisis or persecution.

But what other furnaces are there in our lives? Furnace of passion for justice, for Jesus to be real in our lives.

I'm hearing a lot about "prayer furnaces" being established around the nation and globe. Would not Jesus appear in these furnaces also?

We have a prayer furnace in our city. A small, weak, limping along gathering called Fire Dweller. For six years we've been meeting, a ministry of multiple churches, in response to a call of God. We wanted to be obedient.

But not many have maintained faithfulness. Some moved away. Some had schedule changes. Some became involved with more dynamic, "active" ministries. Others got bored and figured, "nothing happening here."

Yet, those who have stayed are stoking the fire. I'll be honest, when we started Fire Dweller it was a lot more "hot" than it is now. We had many nights with a tangible presence and fragrance of God, thirty people stuffed into our living room.

While we've lost participation over the years, our prayers are more focused and powerful than ever. Six people and a small worship team can keep two hours of prayer flaming well.

Jesus is in the furnace. I'd love to say we started off hot and only grew hotter. But instead, we've grown steady. A small, steady burn. 

Jesus is in the furnace.

What about our own private prayer lives. Do we get bored and frustrated. I do sometimes. I get busy. 

Jesus is in the furnace.

I have to be willing for the small low burn. Be willing for a flame at all to flicker and allow Jesus to dwell in the midst - when and where He chooses.

Jesus is in the furnace.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jesus said, "Let Your Light Shine."

We're studying the Beatitudes at our down town home church. We're there to reach out to the poor and neighboring "hoods." Some are poor in money and spirit, some just in spirit, some just in money.

But we are there because of God speaking to Tony's heart.

The Beatitudes don't end with Matthew 5:12. Jesus continues to speak for another thirty-six verses. In fact, He explains them further and the opposite of living according to His words.

Jesus says this: "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

This verse challenges me. Does it you? How do we let our light shine? Does it mean I always smile, never disagree, never share my struggles or successes?

Light exposes things, no? If the light of Jesus in me shines, does it not overcome darkness, or expose what's done in darkness.

Walk into a room and flip on a light. Everything his exposed. If the room is neat, we are happy. "How lovely." If the room is a mess, we moan, "Ew, this is a mess."

We've got to come to a place of maturity Church where we can say, "Hmm, this is a mess, let me help you."

Instead, we often feel bad for exposing sin, shut off the light and leave.

Jesus is saying, "Shine! So God can get the glory!" How does He get the glory? People's lives are changed by Him. They are saved and cleaned up, delivered.

Meanwhile, we should walk in a manner worthy of our Savior. Worthy of the Cross He bore for our sins and redemption.

I'm still trying to figure out how to let my light shine. I ask Jesus for understanding, for insight. I want to be a mature believer. I've been saved 41 years. It's time to grow up. ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jesus Safe Leadership

At the end of it all, I am loved by One who died for me. I can completely trust Him. Nothing is beyond His grasp, His ability, His love for me. For us.

Psalm 116, "I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplication. He's inclined His ear to me, and I'll call upon Him as long as I live."

He hears. Our God hears. Isn't that amazing. He's not off and away, distracted, mad or angry. He's near, and inclining His heart toward us.

Song of Solomon 3, "What is this, coming up from the wilderness? Behold, it's the traveling couch of Solomon (Jesus); with sixty mighty men around it, all expert in war and wielders of the sword."

Jesus is a safe leader. In this picture of Solomon traveling over the wilderness with a regiment of warriors is an image of how Jesus is fitted out to protect and defend us, His Beloved.

Sixty men is three times the number normally chosen to escort royalty or a leader. Jesus is taking no risks with our safety and "guarding against the terrors of the night."

Our hearts and minds are safe with Him, even in the midst of crisis and physical peril.

I'm bringing myself back to this. God is good. God is love. He hears my cries. Ah, beloved, He works all things together for good.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thoughts on this election - from my heart

I normally don't like to be political in the cyber world because I have many good friends who see things differently than I do.

And I respect differing opinions. Debate and reasoning is good. Proverbs tells us "iron sharpens iron." While political dialog can be painful, it sharpens all of us.

Cotton doesn't sharpen cotton. Cloth doesn't sharpen iron. Sharpness comes from learning, listening and debating, hard ideas against hard ideas make us strong and sharp. Speaking the truth in love.

So, I'm a bit vocal this election because I'm extremely concerned about the direction of our country.

I don't want to watch the death of the American constitution in my life time, but fear I am. And I admit it. I'm a patriot. I love my country.

My concern about this election is the very extreme liberal values and socialist ideas of Obama. I am concerned about his social and political associations. I am concerned about his upbringing and education.

I'm concerned he says, "I will not waver on Choice." Meaning, he will not do anything to restrict the murder of the unborn. In fact, at a Planned Parenthood banquet, he stated his first act as president will be to sign the Freedom Of Choice Act.

Many claim not to be a "single issue" voter. I can respect that - we all have our passions. But if you are pro-life leaning at all, or even pro-choice with restrictions, HEAR what Obama pledge Planned Parenthood. "First thing..." Apparently, abortion is a single and important issue with many, including the Democratic presidential candidate.

Obama has said he wants to redistribute wealth. Are you struggling financially? Are you pursing your own dreams? Starting a business, wanting to pursue art or writing?Where will the money come from if not our economy? If not from people with money wanting to spend it on your product?

The poor don't create job. Do you think the gov't in all its corruption is going to help you open a new business and succeed? Write and sell books? Become the next Picasso?

Being equal in this country does not mean we all earn the same paycheck, own the same number of houses and drive the same type of cars.

It means every one has a chance to make it! Work hard, go to school, learn. Education is available, jobs for hard workers are available. There are no social or legal restrictions that keep a person locked in a class/cast system.

Unless you choose to think the gov't is the answer to your problems. Then you imprison yourself.

Obama wants to be our "sugar daddy." A man we don't really know, have no relationship with, who more than likely has his own dreams and goals ahead of ours. For a communist government to work, there can be NO selfishness, no man or woman wanting power or glory or fame.

What an impossible feat for the weak human heart with out God, without the love of Jesus. Even then, our flesh will strive.

I'm vocal this election mostly because it feels different to my spirit. It's not just a Bill Clinton verses George H. Bush. It's not Al Gore or John Kerry against W.

It's not the Dems verses the GOP. It's more than that, I feel it. Winds of change blowing that make me feel uneasy, unsafe.

I guess that's it. I no longer feel safe in my country.

If you are undecided or ambivalent, please, go to God in prayer and ask for revelation. Isaiah 46 God says, "I've not spoken in secret."

Vote how He directs you, but do not be ambivalent. This election signifies a drastic change in our culture and who we are and who we claim to be.

If God is decreeing now is the time for change for His purposes, then so be it. I pledge my allegiance to the Lamb.

At the end of it all, my hope is in the Lord. I've seen what man can do, I want to see what God is and will do!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bon Appetit by Sandra Byrd

Please welcome my friend and fellow author Sandra Byrd who's new book is out, available for you to devour!

Bon Appetit

"In this sequel to Let Them Eat Cake, Byrd again entertains with descriptions of delectable food and, this time, with exquisite details of France as well. Foodies will delight in this novel, and anyone who adores romance will warm to the story. It's easy to identify with Lexi's struggles in life, because they mirror so much of what everyone experiences, no matter what their age." Romantic Times Book Club Review

Lexi Stuart is risking it all. Saying au revoir to the security of home, her job, and could-be boyfriend Dan, Lexi embarks on a culinary adventure in France to fulfill her life dream of becoming a pastry chef.

As she settles into her new home in the village of Presque le Chateau to study and work in a local bakery, her optimism meets resistance in the seemingly crusty nature of the people and culture around her.

Determined to gain her footing, she finds a church, meets a new friend, and makes the acquaintance of a child named Celine–as well as Celine's attractive, widowed father, Philippe. As Lexi lives her dream, the only thing she has to do is choose from the array in life's patisser ie display window. Lexi discovers that as she leans more on God the choices become a little clearer– and making them, well, c'est la vie!

Bon App├ętit is the sequel to this year's Christy Award finalist, Let Them Eat Cake.

Hungry? Enter to win a gourmet baking basket www.sandrabyrd.com

To purchase book, please visit Amazon.com

Merci!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pray!!!

Often we feel we can't pray specifics when it comes to our life, our church or our nation.

We say, "well, we can't know God, really." We say, "God is not a Democrat or Republican." We say, "we can't know God's plan."

God is beyond our understand and comprehension, but it's so very clear in His Word, "I have not spoken in secret." Isaiah 45:19.

Just reading His Word enlightens me. I gain His heart and mind by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living in me.

We must learn to discern, friends. With our hearts as well as our minds.

In the past, I've prayed for elections without true faith, without conviction. Because I am truly concerned about the direction of our nation, for us, for Israel, I no longer sit on the sidelines.

Take a football game. Who's the better player? The one who sits on the bench, cheering for the team to win or the one who runs out onto the field and makes the plays?

Ball players become skilled by routine training - we've all seen shots of a football practice field. As believers, we must also recognized we've become skilled in the things of the Spirit by routine training - worship, prayer, the Word, fellowship.

Game time, the coach calls in the plays from the sidelines. Yet, once the play goes into action, the men on the field MUST tap into their skill from training and advance the ball - even if the planned play doesn't work.

As a follower of Jesus, I must trust His truth in me. As I pray and fast, looking out of the landscape of our nation, I know I must pray specifics. How can I know the heart of God? By understanding Him through His Word.

God hates these things: haughty eyes, lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, an one who spreads strife among brothers.

I place this over our political system and my heart grows sick, even more so when I place it over our media. The media is worse than our politicians. They call evil good, and good evil.

But as I compare candidates, knowing that BOTH are weak, imperfect men, I must judge Biblically. I've listened, I've read, I've prayed. I've been for both candidates throughout this election, if not for just a moment. ;)

But we have to want to know truth. Not our truth, but God's truth. And it's is possible for us to know who God wants in power for this season of history. That's what I'm praying.

I pray for a specific man to be in office. No secret here, he first has to be pro life. And I go from there.

Pray, beloved, pray. Specifically. We have not because we ask not.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Waking up to the hour

One of the things we pray a lot in Fire Dweller, in our own lives, is to be aware of the hour in which we live.

All is not simple. All is not as it seems. Tony read two really eye opening books recently, Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg and Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. 

They are at the top of my pile to read when this latest book is turned in. 

This verse has been impressing me lately:

Isaiah 45:8

Drip down, O, heavens from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I,the Lord, have created it.

Let the earth open up, salvation bear fruit, righteousness spring up. I love those images, those lyrics of intercession.

Pray for our nation if you are one to pray. Pray.

Here's another great verse out of Isaiah 45:19

"I have not spoke in secret."

While God does not have to tell us anything, He chooses to tell us things. That is what we often cannot comprehend. 

"Speak, O, Lord, and we'll respond."