Saturday, December 15, 2012

Choices, Choices, Choices ...


When something terrible happens, we have a tendency to place blame. We blame parents, schools, facilities or the lack thereof, the law, law enforcement, drugs, guns, television, music … God. But what is really to blame?
“What causes the fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” – James 4:1
God gave us free will. We all have choices to make. We can either choose to do things God’s way … or we can choose to do things our way. Each and every time we make a choice that opposes God, whether we do something we know we shouldn’t or fail to do something we know we should, we sin. Such sin has consequences whether we realize it or not. All that we do affects something or someone else which, in turn, affects something or someone else and repeat … endlessly. In other words, the choices we make matter. They have eternal consequences.
Why is there such ugliness in the world? Because we bring it into the world with each poor choice we make. If we want to change it, to turn it around, we must turn to God ... each and every one of us. Ask Him what He wants us to do. Then do it.
His servant,
~Jenn



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Random Thought: Rejection

Have you ever tried to befriend someone who simply wanted nothing to do with you? Perhaps you were friends, something happened, and no matter how you tried to fix the situation, they turned their back on you. It may have even been a boyfriend or girlfriend … a spouse. Suddenly, after tremendous effort to salvage the relationship and many hours on bended knee in prayer, you finally realize you must let the person go. There is nothing you can do … except continue to pray.
Is it possible that one reason for such experiences and the heartache we feel is to give us a taste of how God feels when we reject Him? No one loves us more. Imagine how much we must hurt Him. Something to think about …
His servant,
~Jenn

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Review: Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze


Beth Rider has written a story. Unbeknownst to her, the novel is having a profound impact on an old race of beings known as the Rakum. Some are reading her book and being transformed by it, others who want to preserve their evil ways, want her destroyed. So, when Beth is marked as a rabbit to be hunted and killed by the Rakum, their order is thrown into a tizzy.
The Rakum who don’t wish to change … and those human beings who want the power and seeming immortality that they possess, parallels humanity and those who choose to ignore Christ’s teachings and continue in their sinful ways. Rabbit offers amazing insight into this mentality and the awesome redemptive power of Christ.
WARNING: This is not a book for those with a weak stomach. Rabbit contains disturbing scenes. However, recovered Anne Rice addicts and those who’d like to put blood thirsty creatures back where they belong—to be destroyed or, in Beth Rider’s case, redeemed—Rabbit might be just what you’ve hunted for.
His servant,
~Jenn
Check out these websites for more on Ellen C. Maze:

Owner/Founder of The Author's Mentor
www.theauthorsmentor.com

Editorial Director, Little Roni Publishers

www.littleronipublishers.com

Bestselling Novelist, Thrillers/Paranormal/Vampire


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Confessions of a Prayer Addict


I’m not gonna lie. The reason I began praying heavily is because I was so afraid of returning to the world Jesus saved me from. I never want to go back there—ever.
I continually fight to avoid sliding backward, like a fish swimming upstream, by being intentional about reading the Bible every day, praying and seeking Godly people to spend time with. But, over the years, I’ve found it’s no longer a struggle. I still have to be intentional, particularly when it comes to reading the Bible when my days are so busy. But my prayer has increased to the point that I don’t even realize I’m doing it at times. It’s a habit.
Does excessive prayer seem ridiculous to you? Well … tell me if you think this is a bit much. I pray in the morning with my husband before he goes to work, before my morning Bible study, with my daughter before our devotions when we start the school day, before each meal, with my daughter before she goes to bed at night and again with my husband after reading our devotions at bedtime. Those are just the regularly scheduled prayers. Don’t get me started on what it’s like when I’m at church. Splatter that with random prayers continuously throughout the day, and you get a taste of my prayer life.

There are many reasons why I feel so strongly about prayer:
  • Prayer keeps me close to God. Do you have relatives or friends who live far away? Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to stay close if you don’t make an effort to pick up the phone regularly? The next thing you know, they’re all but gone from your mind and the next time you see them, you’re amazed at all you have to catch up on. God is first and foremost on my mind the majority of the day because I’m constantly in communication with Him.
  • Prayer keeps me close to my family. When you pray regularly with someone, you get a taste of what is truly in their heart. It gives you new appreciation for them and strengthens the bonds.
  • It is difficult to be angry with people you pray for. When I’m hurt, I pray for the person who caused the damage and ask God to help me forgive him or her. Or, if I have already forgiven, I tell Him. It’s amazing how quickly anger fizzles away when confessed and, eventually, forgiven.
  • When I’m frustrated and don’t know how to respond to a certain situation, nothing helps like a quick, “God help me. I don’t know what to do.” Even if He doesn’t give me the answer right away, acknowledging my shortcomings and knowing He is there helps me simmer down. Plus, it has the added benefit of staving off a potentially unhealthy immediate reaction.
  • Prayer helps me love others … even people I don’t know. There’s something about talking to God on someone else’s behalf that makes me more invested in their well being. I find that I actually care … not bad for someone who, at one point in time, thought all of humanity was a plague upon the earth and should be annihilated.

Those are just a few reasons to pray. If given enough time, I'm sure I could come up with many more. What reasons can you come up with?
God doesn’t always answer my prayers, but He hears them. When I do receive a response, it’s typically in ways I wouldn’t expect. Sometimes the answer is no. That’s okay. I am close to my Father. That is all I need. I will continue to talk to him without ceasing. How about you?
His servant,
~Jenn

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blog Tour: Devil’s Hit List by Frank Creed

In my effort to help promote Christian speculative fiction authors and their works, I’m participating in award winning novelist Frank Creed’s Blog Tour for his most recent book, Devil’s Hit List: Book Three of THE UNDERGROUND. If you haven't already, be sure to check out book one, Flashpoint and book two, War of Attrition.


Devil's Hit List blurb:

The One State has contracted the Ash Corporation to produce virtual-e, a brainwave technology chip so highly addictive that it’s eventually fatal.

The chip is used in the hottest new entertainment product that will hook any who experience it.

Calamity Kid and his crew fight the production of virtual-e and get backing from the Body of Christ to run an operation to keep the chip from being marketed in North America.

But how far can the underground heroes get when the global government and a megacorporation work together?

Blog Tour - Excerpt 11:

Sure enough, about ten minutes later, some kind soul pulled out of traffic and curbed just ahead of us. We jogged up to the late model Chevy passenger van. The driver had opened the sliding door and turned down an oldies station. “Everyone hop in the back, I’ve got stuff up front here on the seat.”
“Sure thing,” said e-girl. “Thanks for stopping.”
The stranger waved a hand. “No problem. I’ve been stuck out in the rain myself before. You’re lucky I came along. Did you all have a bus break down or something?” He merged back into traffic.
e-girl looked to me, eyes crinkled with stress.
“Kind of. The guy who was driving us decided he just couldn’t finish the trip.”
“Well that stinks. Where are you headed?”
I answered quickly. “Just up to the next checkpoint.” Even with our changeable ID chips, e-girl had to be up front touching the console in order to hack pre-filed travel plans with the Illinois Department of Transportation. It would, however, be simple to make the crossing as individual pedestrians.
“You from around here?” This guy asked too many questions.
“Up in the city. Just off the lakefront,” I said.
The driver whistled. “Nice. Uptown, eh? High rent district. You can call me Bob.”
“Well thank you,” said e-girl, “for stopping and picking us up.”
“Are you from Chicago, Bob?” asked Legacy.
“Yep, born and raised,” He turned up the stereo. “I love this song!”
Bob’s karaoke accompaniment to Kid Rock’s Jackson, Mississippi put an end to any possible conversation. Things about Bob did not sit right with me, and I shifted on my seat to get a look at the belongings he had up in the front. One thing struck me right away, and I even zoomed in my vision to get a good look at it. I had to act, and hoped my fear wasn’t getting the better of me, but waited until the song was finished.
The radio station went to commercial, a fact for which I offered up a prayer of thanks, and Bob turned the volume back down.
“What model year is this van?”
“2036.”
“Looks like it’s loaded too. You got cruise control?”
He took his hands off the wheel. “I’m using it right now.”
“Good. It won’t matter…” I touched his neck with my left shock glove and discharged it. “…that I have to do this to ya. Sorry, buddy.”
Everyone looked at me with astonishment widening their eyes. e-girl’s mouth worked but no sound came out.
“Look at the security ID clipped to his dash. He’s an Ash employee. Call me silly, but I don’t feel good about him driving us to the checkpoint.
“Why do I feel like a giant net is about to drop on us?” asked Barren.

Hang out with Frank:
Devil's Hit List Amazon link (kindle):  http://tinyurl.com/92j7amx 
My publisher has other great Christian spec-fic:  http://www.splashdownbooks.com/

Blog Tour Links:

R. L. Copple                  http://blog.rlcopple.com
Ryan Grabow               http://www.egrabow.com/rm.php?e=Prime
Grace Bridges              http://grace.splashdownbooks.com
Caprice Hokstad         http://caprice.splashdownbooks.com/
Diane M. Graham       http://dianemgraham.com/blog/
Travis Perry                  http://travissbigidea.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Rogers          http://jfrogers.blogspot.com/
Greg Mitchell              http://www.thecomingevil.blogspot.com/
Paul Baines                  http://www.pabaines.com
Keven Newsome       http://www.kevennewsome.com
Kat Heckenbach         http://www.katheckenbach.com/
Timothy Hicks             http://fantasythyme.blogspot.com
Robynn Tolbert          http://ranunculusturtle.blogspot.com/
Fred Warren                http://frederation.wordpress.com/



Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: Prophet by R. J. Larson

            Prophet immediately pulled me into a unique yet familiar world. From references to Samuel and the foretold death of the Priest’s sons to the basic concept of a prophet, I found myself thrown into the Old Testament in a refreshing and fun way. Between the non-stop action, a beautifully detailed world full of strange creatures, humor, and a love interest, this story is never dull.

               Ela of Parne, the prophet, also gave me a new appreciation for those who attempt to spread God’s word only to be scorned, sneered at, jailed or worse …. All the while, she desperately wishes to save every single person from a torturous eternity separated from the Infinite, no matter how badly they treat her. She is a wonderful example of how we should treat others as Christians.
And I can’t forget my favorite: the Destroyers. These are not typical horses. From the moment the Infinite commanded Ela to tell a destroyer to be still in “My Holy Name”, she found herself with an unusual pet.
                If you’re looking for a fun, clean adventure … let Ela of Parne guide you.
His servant,
~Jenn

Check out this website for more on R. J. Larson's books: http://www.rjlarsonbooks.com

Christian Fantasy


               How many Christian fantasy authors are there? How many Christian fantasy books are published? Any clue? If you’re like me before I sought them out, you aren’t familiar with many. How sad.
Christian books are a tiny segment of the publishing industry. Within that small group, fantasy is seems to be on the bottom of the totem pole. The secular world doesn’t want to read them because they’re Christian and Christians don’t want to read them because they’re fantasy. No wonder most of us aren’t aware of these authors—or their books.
A while ago, I began a search for Christian fantasy authors. I had written a young adult Christian fantasy and wanted to find others like me. That required some serious digging. But guess what … they exist! You’re unlikely to find their works in a bookstore, but many are available online.
It’s a tragedy that these books aren’t readily available in bookstores. But, now that I’ve found that these books do exist, I have made it my mission to seek, read and review Christian secular fiction … one book at a time. I will begin posting these reviews on my blog. Sadly, I’m a slow reader, so they won’t occur too often. But here’s my current list:
Prophet by R. J. Larson
Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze
The Captives by Precarious Yates
The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson
Reality’s Dawn by R. L. Copple
The Duke’s Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad
Anyone care to read along with me? Or, if you know of any good Christian fantasies you would like me to add it to my list to review, comment here or contact me. 
Happy reading!
His servant,
~Jenn

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Marriage

I posted this blog yesterday and lost some friends over it, so I deleted it. I love my friends, and don’t want to lose them, but I must stand strong for my God and His principles, praying that someone will hear and reach out to Him. So it’s back.
First, I want to say that this morning is the first I heard of Chick-fil-A supporting hate groups. If that’s true, I do NOT support that. I want that to be perfectly clear. True Christ-followers love everyone as the Bible commands (at least, they try to). But we do NOT hate. It is wrong and goes against the Christian faith. I have to do some research on the Chick-fil-A issue. I don’t believe everything I read—much of what is printed is false.
If anyone is facing persecution for any reason, contact me. I will help support you in whatever way I can. Please know: God created each of us in His image. He loves us all. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~John 3:16. Cross out “the world” in that verse and insert your name.
HE LOVES YOU
Anyway…here is what I posted and deleted yesterday:
I felt the need to address this issue in light of the problems Chick-fil-A is facing for standing up for their beliefs. This is a tough topic, but if just one person out there hears this, understands the difference, understands the heart of a true Christ-follower, it’s worth it.
First, I want to define a Christian. A Christian is a Christ-follower. One who follows Biblical principles and tries to become more Christ-like every day, knowing it’s impossible, yet continually trying. It is not someone who goes to church on Sunday and ignores everything they’ve heard and does whatever they please the rest of the week. As I posted in my last blog, the most important commandments for Christ-followers are these:
““Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””
~Matthew 22:36-40
We are commanded by our God to love everyone whole-heartedly. We love the person, hate the sin. There is a world of difference between the two. Just like you can love a child, even when they disobey you. You don’t love the behavior, but you love the child.
Every single one of us struggles with something. We are all sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ~Romans 3:23 If God didn’t love us enough to send his Son to die for our sins, we’d all be in serious eternal trouble. But we have a way out. Jesus is the way.
Now, once you believe that and become a Christ-follower, you believe the Bible is God’s word and you try to follow it. Each and every one of us has something we struggle with. Not one of us is perfect. We all sin … even after becoming a Christian. Our sin looks different from one person to the next. But, we help each other. We pray. We continue to try.
God is perfect. His ways are perfect. It’s man that messes things up. God designed us. He also designed marriage. Instructions for marriage are littered throughout the Bible beginning with Genesis. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” ~Genesis 2:24
Now, I don’t expect a non-believer to understand all this. But I pray that you will before it’s too late. There was a time I didn’t get it. But I do now and I hold fast to my Father’s ways because they are right. I tried things my way and totally messed everything up. In doing things His way, I’m finding a joy and a peace I’ve never known before. I pray that everyone would experience that same joy and peace, and have ever-lasting life, because I love you.
If we’re following Biblical principles, as I hope all Christ-followers are, as I try to, then please understand that we love everyone, we’re merely standing up for those principles. Don’t hate us for upholding our beliefs, standing strong for our Creator, defending marriage as He intended it for us … we love you, no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done.
His servant,
~Jenn

Ring Shot Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breaking the Law Part II

Ever since my blog on Breaking the Law, I’ve been trying to go the speed limit. Do you know how hard that is to do—all the time? When is the last time you went 25 mph with no one in front of you? When I try it, I see nothing but headlights filling up my rearview mirror. There’s nothing like having impatient people on your you-know-what pushing you to move faster.
As Christians, we can relate to this, can’t we? Don’t we have outside forces trying to get us to break the rules we’re trying to follow?
We don’t even need those outside forces, do we? We do a good job messing up all on our own. We have our own pressure, within us, trying to get us to break the rules. I feel it when I try to drive 25.
Now, I try to keep it at 5 mph over. I still have problems with impatient people wanting me to hurry up. And I’m already breaking the law.
Here’s the problem with the path I’ve taken: I’ve already justified breaking the law. What’s to stop me from moving it up to 10 over? It’s just another 5, right?
We may not agree with man’s rules. We may justify breaking them the moment they seem unfair. But where does that lead? Breaking more rules? When does it stop?
We may not agree with God’s rules. But He is far…far…far… to the infinite power, greater than us. His rules are righteous. For our own good, we should try to follow them.
I’m sure I sound totally legalistic. But I’m not. Here’s the difference: Grace. Yes, we should strive to follow God’s law. No, we should never condemn others who don’t. Perhaps they see things differently. If it doesn’t affect their salvation, does it matter? What’s more important, being right or the relationship? Don’t forget the greatest laws:
““Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””
~Matthew 22:36-40
I might feel I should try to follow the speed limit. But I will never condemn someone who doesn’t. I will try to love them where they’re at, be a good example, and pray God convicts them before they suffer negative consequences—even as they tailgate me. Just as I will try to follow the speed limit.
His servant,
~Jenn

25 MPH Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Body of Christ


Many of you know I’m in the process of editing my manuscript. It has been an amazing experience—a long journey with many influences.
First, the concept of my novel changed entirely the moment I dedicated my life, and my work, to God. When it began as a secular novel, I had difficulty writing it at all. Once I returned to Christ half-heartedly, it came in bits and spurts. Later, when I dedicated myself entirely, it flowed. Conclusion—my first influence was Christ.
                More influencers:
My husband - As I wrote, I bounced many ideas off him. He played a significant role in helping me sort out the scenes in my mind. Praying together motivated me.
My daughter – Her over-active imagination sparked many ideas. Her patience with my time spent at the computer is a Godsend.
My Pastor – He helps me ensure I don’t misrepresent God in any way and offers prayer. I still bask in the glow of his fabulous feedback. Plus, his captivating way of speaking influenced one of my characters—the storyteller.
My Pastor’s wife – She sent me a message when she got to chapter four to tell me she was hooked. What an encouragement!
My neice’s piano teacher – I happened upon a fellow aspiring Christian novelist. She steered me toward ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), encouraging me to join the critique group. She continues to work with me, pointing me toward many blogs and articles to help me grow as a writer.
ACFW - I have made fabulous connections with people who know the industry. They are a wealth of information—always ready to lend a helping hand, or prayer.
My critique group – They play a significant role in shaping me as a writer. My manuscript is much improved and getting better every day. The privilege of critiquing their novels has strengthened my skills as well.

My church - Many members of my church family are interested in my book. They continually encourage me.
As I thought about all the people in my life who have helped me get to this point, it occurred to me. Many minds have touched this manuscript and continue to do so. From the moment I dedicated my work to Christ, I knew He was the primary influencer. But here’s today’s epiphany—He is in all who have helped me. Not only is Christ working directly in me, He’s helping me through all He placed around me.
Together, we are the body of Christ. Today, this has a whole new meaning to me and I am eternally grateful. Thank you all.
 Am I the only one with goose bumps?
His servant,
~Jenn

Body of Christ Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Discussion: The First Book


If you know me or read the about me section of this blog, you probably know I’ve written a book with the intent of making it into a series. If all goes according to plan, there will be a sequel and a prequel. Why didn’t I start at the beginning? Because I want events and truths to unfold in such a way that the reader learns as my protagonist does.
Like me, any author of a series can tell you why they chose to begin where they did. It was not an accident. It was planned.
Many believe the first book of the Bible was Job. If this is true, have you ever wondered why God started here? Why didn’t he start at the beginning? What was written that was so important that He needed to begin here?
In reading Job—again—something jumped out at me. While God and Satan are chatting, God is the one who brings up Job…not Satan. Chapter 1 verse 7 shows God and Satan engaged in small talk. Satan tells God he’s pretty much just hanging out—walking around on the earth—boring stuff. Verse 8 says this, “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Satan basically tells God to take away the blessings He’s given Job. Surely without all his riches, Job will curse God, right?
But God doesn’t do that. Instead, in verse 12 he says to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
Gulp. God is telling Satan to use the power God gave him to throw a serious hurting Job’s way. And it’s His idea.
Why do you think God did this? Why did He suggest Satan hurt Job? Why did He enable him to do it? And, of all the books in the Bible, why do you think God chose this one to share first—before the beginning?  
My thought: God wants us to know where all the power truly comes from. He wants us to know who is in control. He wants us to love him, to refrain from sinning, despite our circumstances. He wants to help us grow. He wants us to trust him.
What are your thoughts?
His servant,
~Jenn

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breaking the Law


This morning I was driving along, following the car ahead of me, not paying attention to the speed limit when I looked in my rearview mirror to find a police car following me. My immediate reaction was to ease my foot off the gas pedal then look at my speedometer. I was going ten miles per hour over the speed limit. Oops!
Fortunately, the officer didn’t pull me over. But he followed me for quite a while. I was a picture of the world’s best driver after that, following the speed limit to a tee. I’m not going to lie – it was stressful. I had to remain vigilant, something I was not accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a habitual speed limit offender (anymore). But, I have been driving for many, many years. It’s become quite automatic and I’ve developed a bad habit of not paying close enough attention to the speed limits. I may fall in behind someone else and allow them to dictate the speed whether it’s within the limits or not or, if left on my own, find myself going too fast because it’s all too comfortable.
Do we do this as Christian’s? Do we fall in behind others to find that we’ve strayed from our path allowing things into our lives that we shouldn’t? Or do we do it of our own accord when we fail to pay close enough attention? What if we were constantly aware of the presence of God behind us? Would we be more careful to follow the rules?
By the way – He is always there, watching us. Just sayin’
I’m not trying to be overly legalistic. But, the rules God has given us are for our own good. There is a reason for each one and we should be intentional in following them. Imagine God behind you, keeping tabs on you. The more you follow His rules, the easier it becomes and the less likely you’ll be caught breaking the law when you look in your rearview and find Him right behind you.
His servant,
~Jenn
POLICE LIGHTS Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tear Down the Walls


There was a time when I wanted nothing to do with God. At times, I felt Him tugging on my heart. He placed people in my life to bring me to Him. But I resisted. I constructed walls to divide us.
Wall #1 – I wanted to live for myself.
                I knew some of the Bible. I knew some of the rules. I didn’t want to live by them. I wanted to have fun, to live for the here and now - for me.
                Tear it down: Living for yourself leaves you empty, hollow, constantly searching for something to fill the void. Ultimately, it leads to death.
Wall #2 – I wanted control.
                I was strong. I could do it all… blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back. I could raise a child, finish my college education, take care of the home, bring home a paycheck, etc. etc. etc. - Blah. Blah. Blah.
                Tear it down: Don’t mistake dependence for weakness. Quite the contrary - it takes strength. And if you think you’re in control…think again. Once you’re comfortable, God will throw you a curveball. He’s in control. His will prevails whether you’re with Him or against Him. Would you rather be in His good grace, working with Him or beaten up, haggard and tired from fighting for the wheel?
Wall #3 – I thought religious people were sheep.
                I didn't think Christians thought for themselves. I thought they blindly followed others. I was too smart for that.
Tear it down: There are people out there who haven’t researched their faith (just as many haven’t researched their unbelief). But many have. In fact, there are people who set out to dispel the “myth” only to become Christians themselves after discovering the evidence for rather than against Christianity. Take reporter Lee Strobel for instance. He set out on a two year investigation to convince his wife her newfound faith was unfounded only to become a believer himself. The result: he wrote “The Case for Christ” which has led to the salvation of countless people, including my husband.
Wall #4 – I thought Christians were hypocrites.
                I've witnessed Christians behave in ways that fly in the face of their teachings.
Tear it down: If you hear a Christian say they’re perfect, go ahead - call him a hypocrite. Real Christians don’t say that. They know they often fall short. But they keep trying.
Someone once told me the major difference between people in church and those outside is that those inside know they need help. The church is like a hospital where sick people get well. We’re all human, we’re all flawed and we all make mistakes. But is that a reason to stop trying? True believers with the Holy Spirit within will forever walk the road to perfection, to Christ-likeness, until they’re reunited wholly with their creator in Heaven.
Wall #5 – Religion destroyed my family.
Before I was a year old, my mother joined a religious cult. So I was raised without a mother. I learned that people do stupid things and cause destruction…even in the name of God. Because of this early lesson, I didn’t trust the church. I didn’t trust people.
Tear it down: I've learned to place my trust in God. I love people, despite their inevitable flaws. I seek wise Godly counsel, then ensure it jives with God’s word. I pray for wisdom and discernment. I seek God’s will. I do my best and often fall short. Sometimes very… very short. But I pick myself up and try again.
Look into your heart. What walls have you constructed between yourself and your Creator who loves you? Tear them down. Ask Him to help you. Get out the sledgehammer and let the demolition begin…
His servant,
~Jenn
SLEDGEHAMMER Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Love Despite the Consequences


This morning, cuddled up to my cat, despite my allergies, I noticed something. There are choices we make we know we will suffer for. Yet we do it anyway. This can be good – or bad.
When it’s good: I think it’s a good thing to show my cat love despite my sneezing and itchy eyes. Every morning, eager for my attention, she flies down the stairs in front of me, stops at the bottom, drops, shows me her belly and meows. She might as well say, “Rub my belly.” I selflessly oblige.
When it’s bad: Take drinking to excess for example. The consequences: loss of balance, inability to think clearly, lack of judgment, throwing up, vertigo, hangover, blackouts, fights, car accidents, abuse, liver damage, alcoholism and the ultimate penalty – death, yours or someone else’s.
The list of poor choices we make despite the consequences is endless: Lying, cheating, stealing, temper tantrums, immorality, eating too much, road rage, being lazy, etc, etc, etc. I can’t list everything, but I can tell you what is at the heart of these poor choices – selfishness – love of self.
The source of good choices is the opposite – selflessness – love of others. These include things that involve some sort of sacrifice such as charitable donations, volunteering, sharing God’s word or, the ultimate sacrifice – giving your life to save someone else.
Since there are consequences to every action we take, how do we know if we’re making the right choice? Find out what the Bible has to say about it. All our answers are there if we take the time to look. The best thing we can do is follow the two greatest commandments found in Matthew 22:37-38:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
                When in doubt put others before yourself. The key is to love – the real, Godly, 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love – despite the consequences.
His servant,
~Jenn

Meet my cat, Molly. She loves boxes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day


When I was a kid, I loved Memorial Day. Why? Because I got to stay home from school and see a parade. I didn't get it.
Every day American men and women fight for our freedom. These soldiers are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. They don’t get a holiday. They don’t get a parade. They serve, away from their families, away from the comforts of home, placing their lives in danger 24/7. Some of them never make it home.
These men and women willingly offer their lives for us, for our country, for our freedom – whether we are grateful and deserving or not.
I am grateful that I can worship freely and share the word of God without fearing for my life. I am grateful that I can vote for my president. I am grateful that I am allowed to own a home, start a business and write a book without a forced political agenda. I am grateful that I can educate my child at home and choose the curriculum. Without the sacrifice these soldiers make, we would not have the freedoms we take for granted today.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on all that we have. Let us be grateful to God for blessing our country. Pray that He continues to bless us. Take a moment to express our gratitude to Him.
Please also pray for the families of fallen soldiers – for their comfort. If you know anyone who has lost a parent, child or sibling serving our country, take a moment to express your gratitude. Their sacrifice was not in vain. To those of us who finally get it - Memorial Day is much more than a day off and a parade.
His servant,
~Jenn

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Highway of Life


                A little while ago, my husband and I volunteered to chaperone a weekend trip with my church’s youth group. A trailer, with a giant smiley face painted on its back and sides, hitched to the lead car held most of the kids gear. A number of cars carrying leaders and kids followed. The caravan of us driving toward the Canadian border was quite the sight.
                My place in line was a number of cars back. It was not difficult to keep an eye on and follow the car ahead on the sparsely populated back roads. The highway was another story. I kept a sharp eye on the same car I’d been tailing from the beginning. When it passed, so did I. Wherever it went I followed like a baby duck follows its mother.
                For some reason, I decided to look up beyond all the cars ahead, in search of the smiley face. It was gone. I panicked, wondering how I got lost following the same car from the beginning. My husband didn’t know where it was either. He was just along for the ride – trusting me.
                I stole out past the car in front and gunned it, in search of the smiley face. Relief washed over me when my husband spotted it. Once it was in my sights, regardless of how many cars back, it stayed. There was no swaying me. I wouldn’t follow anything but the smiley face for the rest of the trip.
                 A few times, larger vehicles blocked the smiley face from view. Those moments made me nervous despite the fact that I knew it was still there. I kept an eye on the left as my husband kept an eye on the right, just to ensure it didn’t slip out into another lane without our knowledge. Relief washed over me each time the smiley face reappeared.
                During that trip, it occurred to me. My experience is much like our walk with Christ. When we take our eye off Him and follow others, even if we think they’re following Him and will help us stay on the right path, we get lost. Nor should you sit in the passenger seat, trusting you’ll get where you need to be without remaining vigilant. And if you do get lost, ask for help - others can help you find your way again. There is strength in numbers.
Keep your eyes on Him, always, especially when the highway of life gets congested.
His servant,
~Jenn
Trafic Pictures, Images and Photos