Monday, October 31, 2011
This is an exquisitely lovely story, told with a depth of passion that will carry readers along on a tsunami of emotion, yet leave them deeply touched and satisfied at its conclusion.
I highly recommend Reclaiming Lily (and anything else by Patti Lacy). Find out more about the book and the author at www.pattilacy.com
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4, NKJV).
I was talking with a friend the other day and mentioned how much I enjoyed my job and how blessed I was to be able to use God’s gift of writing and communicating. She responded, “That’s what happens when passion and purpose collide.”
Wow. What a profound statement! I’ve been thinking about it ever since and realized it lines up perfectly with Psalm 37:4. When we take our delight, our joy, from spending time with and belonging to the Lord, He brings to fruition the very seeds of desire He has planted in our heart. As He wove us together in our mother’s womb, He gifted us for His purpose; those gifts become our passion as we grow and explore and venture out into various activities. But when we submit those passions to God’s purpose, explosive things happen. Fruit begins to blossom and bud and ripen to an extent we could never have achieved or even imagined in our own efforts.
Every individual born on this earth is stamped with the image of almighty God, and each is gifted with a passion and ability to fulfill God’s purpose for our existence. We can choose to ignore God and waste our gifts and passions on our own pleasure…or allow God to direct us in the way He wants us to go, the things He wants us to do, the people He wishes us to touch. That choice will determine not only our personal fulfillment here on earth, but also our ability to lay an offering at the feet of our Lord when we cross the threshold into heaven.
And it’s all about what happens when passion and purpose collide.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I'm so excited to have fellow author and dear friend Donna Fletcher Crow as a guest blogger today. If you know her, you already love her--and her books! If not, let me introduce you. Take it away, Donna!
Those Valiant Victorians
I love history. Especially English history. All periods of it. But I have always had a special place in my heart for the Victorians. It’s easy to look back on just about any period of history as being a simpler time in which to live than our own. (I do love my rose-colored glasses!) At least it sometimes seems refreshing to think of dealing with different problems than our own and looking back on a period where morality and modesty and plain old goodness were popular concepts is, I fear, refreshingly different. It was even fashionable to overtly Christian!
The inestimable Wikipedia tells us that the Victorian Era comprised almost 64 years of “peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence.” The thing I find most endearing about the Victorians, however, was their energy and, in keeping with the aforementioned self-confidence, the belief that they could do anything and fix anything.
It wasn’t that their period was without problems. One need only point to urban poverty, child labour, conditions in mines, factories, prisons. . . Almost all a result of the practically overnight turn from being an agrarian culture to industrialization— certainly as major a turning point in human history, if not bigger, than our own technological revolution. Unprecedented economic and population growth, changes in farming, mining and manufacturing methods sent people flooding into the cities with all the accompanying social problems.
Problems for which many people blame the Victorians, but I rise to their defense and point out that, yes, these things did get out of hand, but as soon as the energetic, confident Victorians became aware of the problems, they set out to correct them, largely because they saw it as their Christian duty. Perhaps a supreme example would be Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the Earl Shaftesbury, that crusading Christian who worked unceasingly for improved conditions in mines and factories, to bring in child labour laws, to outlaw climbing boys and to promote model housing, as well as being president of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
This is the world of my Lord Danvers Mysteries. As a mystery writer, I have a special interest in crimes of the period and so in each book in the series my amateur sleuths Charles, Lord Danvers, and the lovely Lady Antonia, find themselves embroiled in two mysteries, one a true crime as well as one of my own devising which I have wrapped around the historical facts.
In A Most Inconvenient Death, the first in the series, Charles, Lord Danvers, still in mourning for his lost love, the delicately beautiful Lady Charlotte, hopes to find escape from his ghosts at the country estate of his oldest friend Sir John Boileau. The events surrounding the coming of age of Sir John’s son and heir have much of Norfolk astir— until the peace of an autumn evening is shattered by a brutal murder.
The police are quick to point to a quarrelsome farmer but Lord Danvers has his doubts. As the local magistrate, Sir John has an interest in the investigation. But is the real connection much closer to home? And does Danvers owe the greater loyalty to an old friend or to the truth?
Then Danvers is even more unsettled by the entrance of the alluring Lady Antonia Hoover.
The Stanfield Hall Murders were the sensation they are portrayed to be, the elaborate coming of age celebrations and the ensuing dramatic trial are all recorded history. Lady Antonia, Lord Danvers, his irrepressible man Hardy and their pioneering aeronautical adventures are my contribution.
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 37 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.
The Lord Danvers Mysteries feature historical Victorian crimes within fictional stories. A MOST INCONVENIENT DEATH is set on a country estate in Norfolk, GRAVE MATTERS begins with the opening of the Crystal Palace in London before Charles and Antonia fly off to Scotland in his aerostat for their honeymoon. TO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN finds the couple in Canterbury where Antonia has complications enough battling with the dark secret she has kept from her husband even before she becomes embroiled in a grisly murder and an investigation that culminates with a chase scene over the roof of Canterbury Cathedral.
To see more about The Lord Danvers series and Donna’s other books as well as pictures from her garden and research trips go to: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.
Her blog is at: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/articles.php
and you can follow her on Facebook at: http://ning.it/eLjgYp
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1, NIV).
I’ve been traveling a lot lately—more than I care to, actually, though I’ve so enjoyed reconnecting with existing friends and making new ones. Still, it’s good to be home, isn’t it? But one thing I noticed, as I crisscrossed the United States several times in the last few months: Regardless of where I was, when I looked up into the sky, I knew God was there, sitting on His throne, sovereign and kind and faithful.
The psalmist wrote that the heavens “declare” God’s glory and the skies “proclaim” His handiwork. The very fact that stars have been hung in place, and the sun and moon continue to rise on schedule, reminds us of God’s unchanging love for us. Whether we are standing in our own backyard or looking up from a hotel terrace thousands of miles away, God is as close to us as our own heartbeat.
That gives me great comfort. At times, during my travels and the busy schedules they entail, I grow weary—more so the older I get. But God has promised that if I will cling tightly to Him, He will use me to honor His name and to bless others, even in my old age and regardless of where I am or the circumstances that surround me.
The next time you find yourself thinking that perhaps you’ve outlived your usefulness or that you’re just too marred and flawed to be a worthy vessel in God’s hands, stop where you are and look up, and then remember the words of the psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” You see, it isn’t who we are but who He is that matters. Therefore, we can move forward with confidence into all that He has called and gifted us to do—right up until our very last breath on earth.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Thank God for those who are already living such sacrificial lives--and may the rest of us wake up to our true purpose as the Church and join with them while we still have breath and time. I strongly encourage you to get this book for yourself and one for someone else. The time is short, beloved, and we mustn't waste what we have left. Please do a cut-and-paste of the link below and check out this excellent book, will you?
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance (Psalm 16:5-6).
My mom passed away a couple of months ago, and I heard many glowing tributes to her at her memorial service. It seemed Mom touched many lives and left quite a legacy behind, though that legacy included nothing material because, when Mom died at 90, she no longer had anything material or monetary left to pass on to others. Her legacy was strictly that of fond memories, blessed relationships, and spiritual encouragement.
And that’s the point. As believers, we have the greatest heritage imaginable—God Himself! The psalmist says that the Lord is his inheritance, and He is ours as well. The psalmist also declares that his inheritance is a good one. Though some may inherit mansions or yachts or huge bank accounts when loved ones die, believers inherit the God of the Universe, the Savior of mankind, an unending life of joy and peace and light.
This is an inheritance that should not only cause us to rejoice but to do everything possible to impart that same inheritance to others. As Christians who desire to glorify God, this should be our main focus, our primary goal, each and every day, every moment that we walk this earth. We know the old saying that we can’t “take it [material things] with us” is true, but it is also true that the only treasures we can take with us to heaven and lay at the feet of Jesus are the lives we influence for God’s Kingdom.
The lines truly have fallen to us in pleasant places, dear fellow believers, for we have a good heritage—too good to keep to ourselves. Let’s resolve, while we still have breath within us, to pass it on to as many others as we can!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul (Psalm 25:1).
How many times do we say or sing the words listed above: “To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul”? Simple words, and easy to say, but not so easy to do at times—at least not for me. And yet, if I did, I would surely find myself less often scratching my head and saying, “How did I get here?”
The key is in understanding the word “soul,” which in turn helps us understand how we “lift” our soul to the Lord. If we remember that our soul is made up of our mind (thoughts), emotions, and will, the picture becomes clear. To lift up our soul to the Lord means that we submit our thoughts and emotions to Him, and choose (submit our will) to live according to His Word rather than by our emotions or thoughts. Simple…but not always easy.
Here’s another thought that might help. The devil is often referred to as the “enemy of our soul.” Though he can’t undermine or defeat the spirit of a born-again child of God, he certainly can try to use our mind, will, and emotions to deceive and harm us. But if we remember to submit or “lift” our soul to God, seeking His direction and protection, the devil will fail in his attempts to derail us.
The devil is smarter than we are, but 1 John 4:4 says, “He who is in you [believers] is greater than he who is in the world.” God in us is greater than the devil in the world. That gives me great comfort and assurance—and the perfect incentive and reminder to continually lift my soul to the Lord.