Thursday, July 30, 2009
We've been praying, working with house churches, doing the dream team down town, but this week Tony recieved an invitation to teach a few math and Bible classes at a private school. He'll still be on staff at Church On the Rock, but he'll be teaching in the mornings.
He's excited about this opportunity. It got us talking: was he called to pastor youth for a season? Is God calling him back into teaching? We're not sure but we're open to whatever God wants to do. He is Good! We can trust Him.
Because this opportunity came up so late, he doesn't have much time to prepare and teachers go back to work on Monday.
We had to cancel vacation and Tony's trip to his class reunion, but it's all good. I have a lot of work to do anyway. Rewrites! Those are hard to do on the road.
I'll miss seeing family, but am excited about this phase for Tony. God provides. Period.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
While natural storms don't frightening, political and economic ones put me in the frame of mind as my mini Schnauzer. I lift my head, perk my ears, tremble a bit inside. What's going on? Where's it coming from, where's it going? How bad will it get? Who can stop it?
And like my dog, I must move as close to my Master as I can. I'm sure He reaches down to stroke my head like I do hers, reassuring her everything is going to be all right. I'm sure He speaks peace to my heart and mind like I do to hers. I'm sure He's praying for me like I pray for her.
But unlike my dog, I know I will endure hard times. The Bible guarantees us of it. Our home church as been studying Revelation and End Times to prepare our hearts for both the good and the bad ahead.
Did you know there are over a hundred chapters in the Bible dealing with the End of the Age. That's more than the entire New Testament.
We can't ignore what God is doing in the earth. The days of "it'll all pan out" are fading away. The mind set of "Well, I don't know but I'm trusting God," is foolishness. We can know, we should know, we must know. (No, not the day and hour, but the times and seasons!)
Understanding what is to come changes the way I live my life now. Beyond the signs of tribulation, beyond the horrors of an anti-Christ government, it's amazing to understand how God will care for His people. He'll pour out His Glory. Even more, how we live NOW ushers us into our millennial kingdom "reign."
This life is an internship to the next. Let's live well. Humbly with forgiveness in our hearts, esteeming others higher than ourselves. Our reward, our beauty, our fame will come. Better in the next life when Jesus reigns on the earth than now.
Pray. Seek wisdom. Run with endurance.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Here's a bit about the book: The Grant family's exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation -- not murder! When Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, everything falls apart.
The salon's reputation is at stake. . .and so is Naomi's freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect -- Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim's ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn. . .and whom can she trust?
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service.
On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own. . .), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away fourteen boxes of books and 24 copies of her latest release, DEADLY INTENT.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Today I flew home from the Romance Writers of America conference in Washington DC.
I went without any of my buddies, but left with many new and improved relationships. My roommates, Jane Thornton, Nancy Hines and Cecelia Dowdy were strangers on Wednesday but friends by Sunday.
I visited with the lovely and kind Siri Mitchell, unable to stop bragging on her book, Love's Pursuit. Oh man, what a GREAT book. You have to read this story. Siri went to a new level in her writing and story telling. As if she wasn't awesome already.
While I missed the vivacious and bubbly Susan May Warren, I had a great time kind of floating. I could go with whoever. . . whenever. It was fun. God seemed to provide the right friend at the right moment. For both them and me. I went to the conference thinking I would not see many if any people I knew. I left hearing Leanna's voice in my ear, "You know everyone."
I visited with my local RWA Star sisters, too. It was good to connect with them, especially JoMarie DeGioia and Lee Duncan.
The most amazing moments were the God encounters - having opportunity to tell two women, one a major super star author, that God thought she was beautiful. The other, a young woman looking to one day be a major super start author who needed to hear Jesus was real and she could have assurance of faith.
Both Susie and I were up for the Rita Award for best inspirational fiction. I told Leanna during lunch, "I feel nervous like I'm going up on the stage."
But, I didn't have the same feeling about winning. Oh, I wanted to win. Prayed to win. But above all, I prayed to love the person who one with the love of Jesus.
Susie won the Rita. I walked to the stage with a broken shoe (let's not talk about the weekend's wardrob malfunctions) and accepted the award for her. The moment I hit the stage, my heart was overwhelmed with love and joy. Tears hit my eyes. My own disappointment was a thin, pale shadow on the far wall of my heart.
My "gold statuess" for me last Saturday night was what the Lord did in my heart. I'm not going to go into great detail, but let me just say sometimes the highest prize is not the obvious one. Saturday was Susie's night to win the Rita, but it was my night to have some thing deposited in my heart that will go far beyond this life. The Lord answered my prayer in a way I never imagined, then applied a thick layer of grace to keep it in place!
Sunday Jane, Nancy and I, along with an old friend of Jane's, toured the War Memorials in Washingtong. As Nancy and I walked the WW II memorial, we paused to take pictures, tearing up. Please, don't let their sacrifice be in vain!
I ate too much junk food. But who's counting? :)
If I left anyone out, please tell me! After all, I did know "everyone!" How can I keep them all straight.
I'm home now, ready to get to work on rewrites. Take time to thank the Lord for a blessing that you didn't expect. A friend. A family member. Speak graciously of someone who wronged you. Set your eyes on the prize of Christ Jesus!
How has the Lord blessed you in a way you didn't expect, but know it will linger throughout all of eternity?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Caught your eye, didn't I? I've been thinking about this topic for awhile, then last night I learned Heidi Montag from MTV reality shows, most recently, The Hills, is a Christian. Well, so I discovered after following a Twitter rabbit trail where I ended up on her husband's, Spencer Pratt, Twitter.
Not knowing much about her, I Googled her and "Oh, MY EYES!"
Wow, Heidi boobs and butts abound in cyberspace. Then, I discover she's all set for a fancy Playboy feature (the word spread just has too many other connotations) this September.
My heart is breaking. Heidi, you say you love Jesus yet you behave in such an immodest, lustful manner?
Jesus writes, "My sheep hear my voice," and "If you love Me, why don't you do what I say?"
The Apostle Paul writes to not behave in sensuality and immorality. To not be driven by our fleshly lusts. (Gal 5:19)
Heidi, you have so much beauty and by that power. You can influence young women toward purity (not prudity,) respecting themselves and their bodies, therefore causing men to respect them.
Sweetie, do you realize what men and boys will be doing when they view your naked body, alone, say, in their bedroom or bathroom. They are not going to be thinking, "Great work of art, let's go throw some football."
You're causing husbands, brothers, fathers to lust and sin in their hearts betraying the wives they love.
Why not use your platform to raise the bar. Song of Songs 2:15, "... do not spoil the vine while it is in bloom."
Impressionable young women are watching you. I know it's hard to be put on the role model pedestal, but it's too late. You are there.
The same with Carrie Prejean. Google her and see the pictures that come up. Beautiful girl, but how can her Christ message be taken seriously? How does she really look different from any other beauty queen or model. Her faith is just some value she has like one would believe in Buddah, or Mohammad.
Being nake for the world to see invalidates her message. "Hey, adore my body, now love Jesus."
The only way the Gospel can ring true if she turns, if she repents.
I know we don't talk much about repentence these days, but beloved, we need to be on our knees, repenting of our compromise, our embrace of sin.
To a church without mixture, God will pour out His Spirit without measure. Healings, deliverances, miracles, love and grace, peace!
I'd rather have those things to minister to a hurting world than to embrace sexual immorality and the "right" to parade around naked.
What power Carrie's beauty could bring for good if she raised the bar for women and preached self respect and purity. Education, humility and love.
I'm not against beautiful Christian women being in the market place or Hollywood. I am challenging the embrace of nudity and sensuality.
Being naked does not empower anyone. I hear that from Hollywood all the time. "I took my clothes off for the camera, it was so empowering."
Really? Then why aren't you naked now, or when you shop down Rodeo Drive. Because being naked is not empowering, but weakening. It makes us vulnerable.
The only "naked" we need to be is "naked" before God, letting Him change us from the inside out.
Carrie, Heidi, RAISE THE BAR!! Use your beauty and power truly for God's kingdom.
What is it with beautiful women who have perfect white teeth, long blonde hair, awesome bodies?
Friday, July 10, 2009
Can we look around our lives and see what we don't need, what we can do without and take the time and money we spend on them to give to the poor, or aid a family member or friend?
My friend wrote to me: "There is an entitlement mentality that exist in the church and we're devoid of self sacrifice. Once we do a little bit of sacrifice we buy into the lie of "well I've sacrificed, so I deserve some me time." The latter bites me in the rear all the time and gets my soul in some kind of trouble. We need to preach the good ole fashion self denial again with clarity and without apology and or prefacing."
I'm often bitten by the "me time" bug. Are you? Man, that's a hard one. But I feel it when I focus too much on "me time."
The fasted lifestyle is about the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle. It's about being meek and humble, compassionate and lovers of God and others. Being gentle, not getting revenge when people revile and slander us because of what we believe.
Take some time to read Matthew 5 and let me know your thoughts on Jesus's sermon.
There are promises to all His conditions. If you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you'll be satisfied.
How often do we hunger and thirst for pleasures of this world, and not the righteousness of the kingdom? I'm guilty of that, I know.
Because living a Sermon on the Mount lifestyle, a fasted lifestyle isn't about giving up for giving up sake. We see many in the world who don't know Jesus who live meek and lowly, not pursuing money and things, but that is their god.
Giving it up now as an act of voluntary weakness shows our devotion to the Lord, turning our hearts toward wholeheartedness. When I fast food, I'm weak. When I give sacrificially of my money and find myself in need, I'm weak. I need the Lord to intervene. When I don't speak up or defend myself by checking my words, then I am vulnerable and weak, standing only because He sustains me.
And the rewards will come. If not in this life, in the one to come. This life is an internship. What we do now with our time, money and words has repercussions for all of eternity. Can we wait a few minutes to have "things" so that in ETERNITY (Ecc 3:11) we have ABUNDANCE?
I'm wrapping my mind about it. It's my hearts desire. What about you?
Monday, July 06, 2009
I read the verse a second and third time, then I wrote it down in my journal, and prayed over it, making it personal and about me, and my family.
God is doing a good work in me. Yay, I need it.
God will perfect His own work. Sigh of relief because I'm pretty sure I'm incapable of perfecting anything, let alone myself.
God will be with me, working in and through me until the day of Jesus. This means I'm never abandoned no matter what my circumstances look like. No matter how I feel.
This is Good News!
I've observed over the past decade that many make rules, laws, exceptions to life, to the Gospel based on their experiences and feelings rather than truth.
We embrace sin because of something we did in the past. Or because of someone we love. Beloved, this cannot be.
Our President wants to take over heath care because of what his mother went through. While I'm sympathetic to suffering, there are so many extenuating circumstances to health care, why people do or do not have provision. We must ask all the questions. Consider all circumstances.
We can't run this country based on emotion and I fear we are. That, and a thirst for power.
But God who began a good work in me, also began one in my country. He will perfect it until the day of Christ!
I am comforted by the enormous perfect of His heart and love.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Siri graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.
But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.
Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.
A Constant Heart was her sixth novel. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. She has been called one of the clearest, most original voices in the CBA.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems.
In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Love's Pursuit, go HERE
As I was driving home from prayer and running a few errands this morning, I surfed radio stations. I came across a couple of Gospel sistahs preaching-speaking about worry!
I knew! That was me. Worried.
The more I listened, the more I started praying and repenting. Why am I worried? God is my God, He's in control, He's Good, He's love, He's holy!
But I'd let my heart and mind get caught up in the world around me. Not my family, or my work, but politics and all the craziness going on.
Do you know our congress just passed a tax on AIR!? It's cleverly called Cap and Trade, but it's an air tax. It's a hoax, and based on the most controversial science since blood letting.
But, I've written my letters to my representatives, and I've addressed my concerns to the Lord. Now I have to let go.
It's hard, I admit, to watch my country go down the tubes, but all the more reason to press my cheek over Jesus heart and hear what He's thinking and feeling.
Tears streaming down my cheeks, I gave up my worry to Jesus. I so appreciate those women who spoke the truth of the Word over the radio. So glad I channel surfed. It was the perfect kiss of God on my heart.