Friday, April 29, 2016

For a Man's Ways are Before the Eyes of the LORD

For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD,
and he ponders all his paths.
(Proverbs 5:21. ESV.)

In continuing with thoughts from yesterday, have you seen the movie “Becoming Jane”? It is about the author Jane Austen. Anyway, the movie is a marvelous work of fiction, and here is why. I recently read one of the many biographies written about Jane Austen. It was Jane Austen by Carol Shields. Yes, I know, biographies can be boring but I really enjoy them and memoirs. But, I am getting off track. The book does mention the relationship between Jane and Mr. Tom Lefroy, as is what the entire movie is about, however it is but a page and a half long. Nothing more than that. The relationship between them was rather short, four weeks, and relatively uneventful. He arrived somewhere between December 1795 and January 1796. They “met only a few times” (Shields, Carol. Jane Austen. 2001. New York: the Penguin Group. p. 49), attended “three or four” balls together (Shields, Carol. Jane Austen. 2001. New York: the Penguin Group. p.51), discussed the book Tom Jones, and then Tom Lefroy left or was sent away. His family, presumably, intervened and Jane never saw him again. Sidebar: A fun fact: Tom’s full name was Thomas Langlois Lefroy (1776-1869 ).

The Jane Austen, UK website
states there are only two letters remaining from this time in Jane’s life. They are both printed on the site. In one of her letters, Jane does say of Tom Lefroy, “I rather expect to receive an offer from my friend in the course of the evening…” So, Jane obviously believed there to be “an attachment”, as one of her novels would read. Lefroy’s oldest daughter is named Jane. Though the movie suggests it is after Jane Austen, the UK website states it is most likely after his mother-in-law, Jane Paul.

In this regard, the movie takes great liberties at filling in the blanks. And, therefore, I feel is a wonderful work of fiction…to be able to build a whole love story around two letters and fragments of history as told by others!

So, what does all of this have to do with God’s word? Nothing directly, exactly. However, for me, it is encouragement. I love how when I need to be encouraged the most, God sends it. All things are His servants (Psalm 118:91) and it comes by way of His own word, biographies, and even notes from dear friends. It’s like running a race, and getting tired out, when along the way there stands someone cheering and inspiring me to continue onward. It’s so lovely.

4 Does not he see my ways
and number all my steps?
5 "If I have walked with falsehood
and my foot has hastened to deceit;
6 (Let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!)
(Job 31:4-6. ESV.)

13 The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
(Psalm 33:13-15. ESV.)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brain Dump: Purify Our Conscience From Dead Works to Serve the Living God

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I used to try, as a young child, writing manuscripts. A young child, of course, has no idea what in the world she/he is doing as far as formatting, etc. But, I tried none the less. Each time I received the opportunity to take a creative writing class, at school, I jumped at it! The first one I can remember the clearest was in fifth grade with Mrs. J. Davis. I even won a writing award in high school through FHA, Future Homemakers of America. Don’t let the name fool you, we weren’t practicing “homemaking” skills. I pursued it for a long time but then gave up on it for a while. I’m an artsy person focusing mainly on writing and ballet. Two of my biggest passions, or obsessions.

Life has a way of moving you, as if you jumped into a swiftly flowing river and the current carries you along. Some seasons it meanders gently, lapping against the shore. Others, it is a class five rapids threatening to drown you. I do not know where I am now, somewhere between the two I believe. But the current is ever pushing…there is no stopping. Where do I go from here?

22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:22-25. ESV.)

Why write regarding my faith? Why have faith based posts? Because it is my life. Because I would much rather walk in the spirit than walk in the flesh. Because being in the word and doing an in depth reading and study of the word leaves a person feeling like they have never felt before. Don’t believe me? Try it sometime. Read to dispute, if you wish but I’m telling you, when you finish you will not be the same person you were when you started.

I do not even have any ideas for a novel. Although I do have a character who, like Athena, bursts from my mind at times. She will not be contained, I suppose. So, from time to time I let her out. But I cannot spend all my time with her. I have things to do. Maybe sometime during the summer I will take a couple days to see where she would like to go. Her adventure I have over at www.Matt5verse6blog.wordpress.com.

14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:14. ESV.)

Friday, April 22, 2016

And So, The Plot Thickens...

And so, the plot thickens…

In literary terms, this is often an exciting phrase. When reading a book and the storyline takes a dramatic turn or when things all of a sudden become more complicated for the hero or heroine, it keeps us on the edge of our seat. In the real world, however, it may not be a welcomed thing.

It can be so frustrating when something seemingly so simple or with an easy answer spins out of control or adds to itself time and again and becomes exceedingly difficult, challenging, or complex. A straight path becomes an intricate spider web labyrinth nearly impossible to execute and achieve a desired goal.

So what, then, should one do when things get hard? What’s that saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” But what if I am tired and do not want to do what it takes to meet the challenge? Should I just be still and know everything is in the hands of God (Psalm 46:10)? His word tells me I will never come up against something that is not common to man. He is faithful, He will not allow anything beyond my ability, and He always provides the way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). I must always put on the full armor of God and fight the good fight well (Ephesians 6:10-20).

1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" 6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:1-8. ESV.)

And so, the plot thickens…


(Photo information.)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Are You More Loyal Than a Brother?

Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers. (Proverbs 18:24.)

I love being a part of a family: a biological family, an extended family, a family of friends, and most especially the family of God. While searching the word of God for supporting scripture for this piece I fell in love with 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 1 Corinthians 13:13. Though I do not wish to print the entirety of the text here, I would like to highlight a few pieces.

Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:12 & 13.)

For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be. There would not be a body if it were all only one part! As it is, there are many parts but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:14, 18, & 19.)

God himself has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honor to those parts that need it. And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. (1 Corinthians 12: 24-26.)

All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27.)

I especially like the part about if one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. Truly they will know we are Christians by our love! And what good is a one sided and/or unbalanced friendship? Perhaps you are wondering where I am going with this. Just bear with me for a moment and hopefully I will successfully tie it all together.

When I go to work I do not expect the people there to be interested in my personal life, my trials and tribulations, nor to say they will pray for me. I do however need my family, whether it be my biological family, my church family, or my family of friends (believers or not) to be my support group. But has the world become too self centered? Do we truly share in each other’s suffering, praise, and happiness? I look at myself and the way I currently live my life and think, “I can do a lot better”. If I am not there for my family and friends then they will find comfort in someone else (perhaps an enemy of Christ) and do I really want that? Do I want my family member or friend to feel let down or alone because I chose not to be there for them? No, I do not. But how do we know how we can be there for those who need us? For this I look to 1 Corinthians 13. Again, I do not wish to print out the whole thing so I will highlight a few things.

I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned – but if I have no love, this does me no good. (1 Corinthians 13:3.)

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8.)

When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am a man, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete – as complete as God’s knowledge of me. (1 Corinthians 13:11 & 12.)

Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13.)

Perhaps I am still like a child growing into the mature adulthood of my Father’s word, but I feel I need my family and friends to support me when I am weak, exposed, and/or uncertain. I need a voice of reason when mine might be trying to betray me. I need a gentle gripping of my hand by someone more “adult” than I to guide me through the child like haze of lessons. And, I feel I should be available and joyful to lead another when they are feeling weak, exposed, and/or uncertain, hence the sharing in suffering and happiness.

I leave you with this question (perhaps a challenge if you will) to look at your life and to ask yourself, “Am I truly there for my family and friends?”

I love you and I will be praying for you, my friend.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer… (Romans 12:9-12 NKJV.)

(Originally posted: 5 December 2006)

(Photo information: Bing Images)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How is My Child's Spiritual Health?

‘How is my child’s spiritual health?’ This is a question that far too few parents ask themselves. In a world where we want our children to excel in their physical, scholastic, and social development, not near enough focus is put on a child’s spiritual development. (The Fellowship)

This is a message I received months ago and it got me thinking, more so than usual, about faithful parenting. How are my children doing spiritually? When my kiddos were younger I loved books like Ginger Plowman’s Don’t Make Me Count to Three and Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart…among some others. I also enjoyed Jerry Bridges’ Respectable Sins for my own heart and to make sure I was aware of the plank in my own eye as I was trying to teach my children. This one, of course, is still a very good book for me!

I think it is fair to say I am ready for the summer. A change in the schedule will be a welcomed breath of fresh air! Generally, we do bible study in the mornings before I take the young ones to school so a summer schedule will require me to find a new time for bible study. We cannot very well miss it the entire summer. We could probably move it to afternoon time around lunch. We will, of course, continue church each weekend and the kids have their youth group mid-week. Their sports schedules will change, however. Technically, they do year round sports however a small break here and there in the summer is probably not a bad thing.

30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30. ESV.)

I do not wish for my children to scatter. I desire them to stay close to our Lord and trust in Him with their lives. While studying Sociology of the Family in America, it was reiterated that our spiritual health is, in fact, very important! In the current chapter, regarding stress and family crisis, “spiritual values” are addressed.
‘Spirituality, however the family defines it, can be a strong comfort during crises’ (Thomason 2005, p. F11). Some authors have argued that strong religious faith is related to high family cohesiveness (Lepper 2009) and helps people manage demands or crises, partly because it provides a positive way of looking at suffering (Wiley, Warren, and Montanelli 2002). (Lamanna, M.A. & Riedmann, A. (2012, 2009). Marriages, Families, and Relationships: Making
Choices in a Diverse Society 11e. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.)
Spiritual health is further addressed throughout the book including research and statistics in favor and support of it.

9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:9-13. ESV.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

She lifted her glass, signaling the barkeep she was ready for a refill...

Fiction
Characters: Josephine and Dalton

She lifted her glass, signaling the barkeep she was ready for a refill. When, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Dalton standing in the doorway behind her. She gave him a wide smile before turning to face him. “Mr. Dalton,” she said. “I had no idea you were here, tonight.”

Morgan looked around Dalton to see her.

“And who is your friend?” she asked.

(Click here to continue reading.)

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Like This, and Like That, and Like This...and ah

Currently, I am a direct seller for a publishing company. I guess I figure, being I have not been published yet, why not sell for a publisher? I will still work on my writing in the meantime. Which, I have to say, getting top marks on my papers at university gives me encouragement!

I just finished reading a biography of Jane Austen and am now working through Pride and Prejudice. I have to admit, I love literature---Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, Harper Lee, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Homer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle---I could go on and on. Though, admittedly, I am not as big a fan of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

Perhaps I should start entering writing contests. Or not. Upon further research I found there are enough scams out there to warrant a warning. It was exhausting just reading all about it.

For now, I suppose, I shall just stick with what I am doing at present. Not to mention, there is a piece of property here that we may begin to use for business…well, not I personally but our family could go there on the weekends, or whenever. The property, and current family ownership, dates back to the 1800’s! I thought that was interesting and worth mentioning.

This morning I did not do our usual bible study with my children. If I had, however, it would have covered James 3:5-12:
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Uh oh, my time is up. Must run… for now.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Hello My Name is...Blog Hop

It's Saturday!!! And that means, among many other things I'm sure, it's time for "Hello, My Name is..." blog hop/ comment day!!! I have fallen off the wagon BIG TIME, the last TWO MONTHS, with this blog hop! I hope you will forgive me! Now, without any further ado...

If you are not sure what to do: 1. Visit some blogs. 2. Leave a comment. 3. And, leave a comment on this post, as well. Tallyho!

1. The Traveling Praters
2. Urban Servant
3. Michael Hyatt
4. Just the Clay
5. Think Tank12
6. Pyromaniacs
7. A Stroke Survivor Story
8. Boundless

If any of the blogs listed do not have a comments section, please feel free to "share" them instead!

(Photo Information.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

His heart pounded as he opened the door. She had to be here….


He ran from across the street to the hefty oak door of a Victorian building as the rain bombarded him. He found relief from it under the rounded overhang of the building. Gas lamps lined the street. Their light splashed against buildings, statues, parks, trees, people and anything else on which they could cast their light. His heart pounded as he opened the door. She had to be here. It was a popular night of the week to be in the gas lamp district and this club in particular....

To continue reading, please visit Matt5verse6blog.wordpress.com. Today's post is over at Wordpress.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Created for a Purpose

21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." (John 20:21-23. ESV.)

I love that God’s word tells us why we were created. I don’t know about you but I often times wonder what I should be doing with my life or if I am on the right path, heading in the correct direction. Not only does scripture tell us to go out and tell everyone the good news of Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20), it also gives us John 20:21-23. We are to continue what Jesus started. We have been sent out and given the Holy Spirit who forgives sin. We can ask the Holy Spirit to forgive our own sin as well as that of others.

I am so humbled and overjoyed to know I am but a servant. I can do all things through Christ, not myself, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). And the Holy Spirit, not I, forgives sin (John 20:23). I am the temple for the Holy Spirit and do not wish to offend Him, at all!

When I do not write about God’s word and Christ Jesus, when I do not teach my children about Him (Proverbs 22:6), when I am not in His word each day, or fellowshipping with the body each week, or talking to God daily, etc. I feel a great void. It is as though I am lost, unfocused, searching, restless, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and discontent. Nothing on this earth can fill it.

Some say they are waiting and watching for signs from the universe. I am similar but being still and looking to God. He directs my steps. When I walk in the Spirit, all is as it should be for me. When I walk in the flesh, which sadly I have done this more times than I would like to admit, I mess up everything and make terrible mistakes...lasting ones that leave deep scars. I am reminded I do not need to feel like I am in control. I have a loving Heavenly Father who not only provides for me all that I need but who also protects me, reigns over me, relieves me, etc. How wonderful is that?

Do you know God, His precious Son, and the Holy Spirit? Do you feel Him calling to you? Have you responded?

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant hears."
(1 Samuel 3:7-10. ESV.)

Friday, April 01, 2016

I Support Small Businesses

I support friends who sell stuff. I do! I would much rather buy from them than go down to the local store to get what I want. I am a HUGE supporter of direct selling, small businesses, and entrepreneurs…especially if they are my friends!
It used to be 90% of all Americans owned their own business. Now most of the working population is employed by others. Thanks to the internet home based companies have increased their capabilities. Statistics indicate the average home based business now earns approximately $50,000 annually. 20% of all home based business households earn more than $75,000 per year. (Hodgetts, Richard and Kuratko, Donald. EFFECTIVE SMALL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT 7e. 2002. Hoboken, NJ. P. 151.)

Further, I highly recommend their excellent customer service!

Art: Paintings, Drawings, Commissions, etc.:
Cyndi Browning Art
Kellee Art Design Studio, LTD

Body, Skin, and Greens
Laurie Dee Wraps (ItWorks)
Marci A. (ItWorks)

Books
Me (Usborne Books & More)
Heidi M. (Usborne Books & More)
Teresa T. (writer)

Clothing:
Jeanie Madsen Gallery and Design
Lularoe by Lisa M.

Cosmetics:
Jordan (Younique)
Janelle H. (Younique)

Dance and Choreography:
Deanna Clover, Entertainment Consulting
Rising Stars Dance Studio
DanceWear Corner

Health and fitness:
Tamera Chapman Fitness (Beachbody)
Jared Chapman Fitness (Beachbody)
Amy K. (Arbonne)
Kim H. (Advocare)

Home Care:
Sarah T. (Norwex)

Martial Arts:
Tracy’s Karate and Mixed Martial Arts (Northern California)

Photography:
Addie Marie Photography
Richard F. (MaxPreps Sports Photography)

Purses, Storage and Utility, Totes, Wallets, Accessories:
Chrissy L. (Thirty-One)
Irene R. (Thirty-One)

Scentsy:
Mia

Spa, Beauty, and Personal Care:
Katie S. (Lemongrass Spa)
DH Signature Skin/ Azul Dreamspa

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