Saturday, September 28, 2013

It Matters

© Foto.fritz |

Have you ever wondered if people care? If anything really matters?
You wish you could shout from the rooftops. Scream at the top of your lungs. In the end, you walk away. Or settle for a whisper. You know that all you’ll receive for your effort is a sore throat.
After all, nobody really cares, nothing really matters. Right?
Wrong.
God cares. You matter.

I remember the moment I was saved.
No, not the day I heard of Jesus Christ. I’d heard His name my whole life. That name didn’t mean much to me. It was just another name in a book.
Now that I’ve made some ears burn and caused a few deep gasps of horror, stay with me.
As I said, I’d heard the name, Jesus, my whole life, even before I could talk. It joined a long list of other names in the scheme of things. I knew when to use it, when not to, and most important of all, how to use it.
In other words, I could talk the talk. I even managed to improvise on a few occasions and walk the talk, so to speak. Right down the aisle into the baptistery. After all, that’s what a good ‘christian’ does, right?
Then came adolescence. Acne, glasses, braces…all in one year! The world hit with a bang. We’d moved to a brand new one too. World, that is. From the bayou of Louisiana to the high plains of Wyoming, culture shock rocked me to my very toes.
So, I did the only thing I could. I rebelled in my own way. I didn’t drink or race fancy cars. I didn’t do drugs or gamble away my life savings. No, I was a good girl.
I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday, even to camp when I got the chance. I excelled in my studies. I threw myself into weight-lifting, and helping with the wrestling team. I didn’t even date that much.
On the outside, I was the model ‘christian,’except for one detail. I had the mouth of a gutter rat. I actually had a verbal agreement with my high school principal. “Keep it clean in the halls. Free reign at the games.” No, I’m not joking.
After the strain of adolescence snowballed into high school, (Appropriate connotation for Wyoming, wouldn’t you say?) life took on new challenges. Migraines, my father’s business issues, and family health crises made days in my household interesting, if not dangerous. A lot for a teenager to handle, but unavoidable.
Through some hard struggles, a few nosedives into depression, and a bout with suicide, the Lord never left my side. I realized he’d been there the whole time, but I still didn’t understand Him.
Action, action, action. That’s all it took, right? I graduated and threw myself into church with a passion. Choir, Sunday Worship, Wednesday Night Bible Study, Singles’ Group, all to no end. I was still confused. Then it happened.
One cold Thursday night, at Singles’ Group, we were studying Galatians. It was like a two-by-four to the head. All of a sudden, the years of Sunday School, all the children songs, hymns, sermons, everything—made sense.
I asked Jesus into my heart that night. I was saved. He may have been at my side, waiting…knocking. But that night, I let Him in.
I was, finally, a Christian. My life has never been the same.

If you’re asking yourself if God cares? He’s standing by your side right now. Waiting.
If you’re wondering if anything matters? Ask Him into your heart and find out. You’ll always matter to Him.

Gal 2:20 (NKJV)  “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

In Christ,

Renee

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Coffee Corner: A Chat with Mary Ball

http://www.flickr.com/photos/halasi_zsolt/7639234910/

Welcome Mary Ball to the Coffee Corner. Grab a cup. Pull up a seat and stay a while. We’re talking about life, writing, and her new book, Stone of Destiny. Leave a comment for a chance to win a e-copy of her book (see details).

Interview:

Thanks for coming today, Mary. They always say, ‘home is where the heart is.’ For those of us who’ve never been to North Carolina, what can you tell us about your beautiful state?

It’s the best of both worlds.  We have glorious beaches and wondrous mountains.  I’m lucky enough to live in the middle of these two scenic areas. I can take a three-hour drive in either direction and be walking in the surf of Carolina Beach or hiking at Grandfather Mountain.  

Wow, I love the beach, and since I’m from Wyoming, who knows? I just may need to visit that wonderful place. And soon, especially since one of my favorite things to do is fishing. The other is classical guitar. What do you do when you’re not writing? 

I also share a fondness for fishing. Last year I caught a forty-pound Red drum. That is the biggest fish I’ve ever hooked. Another thing I enjoy is singing Gospel music with my husband.  We praise the Lord in song as our time allows.

Time can be an issue in a busy life, that’s for sure.  I see you have a new release this month. Would you share a little bit of Stone of Destiny with us?

Can a mysterious ring change lives?
Taylor Harrison has given up on everything but her work. The youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, her life is complete. That is, until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home and find the missing heirloom.
First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn't understand; thoughts that should remain unspoken, voiced. 
Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself.
Is this a fairy-tale or her soul, reaching out for a life she can only find through faith and trust in God?

This book seems quite interesting. What’s your favorite part?

When Taylor finally realizes the one thing she has been denying, even to herself. Then sits out to make her life complete.

Mary, I’m so glad you stopped by the Coffee Corner today. Before you leave, can I pick your brain? Do you have any advice for the new writer?

Keep on sending out those queries and rewriting (if necessary). Always believe in yourself.

Thank you! I’ll remember that. Now for all those hungry fans out there…what’s next on your agenda?

My work in progress is a story about a man who has fallen prey to an addiction and the struggles he has to find faith and the strength to overcome.

Now that sounds interesting indeed. Thanks for coming, and the chance to win a free book.


♥♥♥♥Giveaway♥♥♥♥



The winner receives a free e-copy of her book, Stone of Destiny. Leave a comment about the interview with your email address. In a week, I'll draw for the lucky winner (with any entries from my website).

**********WINNER*********
Barbara Thompson
Congratulations!


About the Author:


Mary Lou Ball lives in the south and writes novels and Christian articles. Her passion is weaving together inspirational romantic suspense and mysteries, which show the imperfect lives of everyday characters as they face hardships and struggles while discovering the real meaning of grace. Her books will encourage you to see the magic of love, hope and a divine guidance that often lies dormant, waiting to be found by each of us. When she’s not writing she enjoys family and singing Gospel music with her husband. Some of her Christian Articles are found on Examiner.com at: http://www.examiner.com/christian-living-in-greensboro/mary-ball. Learn more about Mary at http://MaryLouwrites.weebly.com.

Lead photo credit: HalasiZsolt via photopin cc

Saturday, September 14, 2013

GUEST: Elizabeth Maddrey's Serenity to Accept


Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16


In high school, when I started dating, this was a passage that seemed to get quoted more than seemed reasonable at the time. I remember thinking about it, and the “every date is a potential mate” that usually came along with it, and just rolling my eyes. I’ll be honest, I didn’t date any Christians until college, even though I’ve been a Christian since I was very young. A large part of that is because there never seemed to be much difference between the guys at church and the guys at school – except the guys at school were nicer. It’s a convenient excuse, and when I look back now I see it as just that – an excuse – and I’m grateful that God brought me together with my sweet, Christian husband in college, because I don’t know what I would have done in the post-college dating world. Judging from what our single friends say, it’s a scary, hard place to be, particularly if you want to avoid the temptation to become unequally yoked.

It was a conversation with a single friend that got the story idea for Serenity to Accept cooking. He, like my main character Jason, had found himself attracted to someone at work. They’d gone out casually with some work friends a few times and he realized that she had no interest in God. Could he still date her or was that just playing with fire? Ultimately he chose to try and continue the relationship, but as time went on, it got more complicated and distracting until, as he says, God thumped him on the head and he broke things off.


In the book, Jason tries to balance being “salt and light” to Karin with his attraction and his desire not be unequally yoked. And I do believe we can (and should) be friends with the non-believers in our sphere. The thing that escaped me, and a number of my Christian friends, in high school (and what I strive to remember today) is that we need to avoid being polluted by the world through our relationships (platonic or romantic) and keep at the forefront of our minds that fact that we are the temple of the living God.

♥♥♥♥♥GIVEAWAY♥♥♥♥♥

The winner receives a copy of her book, Serenity to Accept. Would you like a Kindle copy? What about a paperback? It's winner's choice. Leave a comment about the blog with your email address. In a week, I'll draw for the lucky winner. 

*************************WINNER*************************
Elaine Stock
Congratulations!

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.  Elizabeth is a member of ACFW and lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.  Visit her website at www.ElizabethMaddrey.com



About the Book:

Is there an exception to every rule?
Karin Reid has never had much use for God. There’s been too much pain in her life for her to accept that God is anything other than, at best, disinterested or, at worst, sadistic. Until she meets Jason Garcia.
After his own mistakes of the past, Jason is committed to dating only Christians. He decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she comes to church with him.
As their friendship grows, both will have to decide if they’ll accept the path God has for them, even if it means losing each other.

Release date: September 9, 2013.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-938708-23-7
Ebook ISBN 978-1-938708-24-4

Contemporary Christian Romance.
“Serenity to Accept” by Elizabeth Maddrey is book three of the ‘Grant Us Grace’ series

Friday, September 6, 2013

The God View

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 Corinthians 5:15-16 “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view…


Why should I forgive her? Why do I care if he’s sorry? Why would I even bother doing this job? Why, why, why…
A good question in today’s world. Have you ever asked? No, not your boss or best friend. Or even spouse. You know, the one you reamed out for no apparent reason when you walked in the door? No, I’m talking about the one Person that matters most. What does He think?
Or is He only for the good times? Like at church on Sunday morning or with family during Christmas dinner. Dressed in your fancy clothes, or cooking from all hours of the day. Or is everyone important on those days?
But is that just an illusion? Whose attention do you yearn for when you walk through the door? Do you cry for the Father’s guidance, or your own? Is there a difference? How many times has the sin raged in your heart without a petition of forgiveness? And is the Lord the only one you should petition?
So many questions... Have you ever asked Him? What does He think?
The Christian life isn’t just for the pew on Sunday morning, but for every second of every day. We’re under the world’s microscope. Whereas it inspects God’s children for any iniquity to exploit, we must remain vigilant. And take on God’s view.
If you’re willing to listen, He has the answers.
Stand firm, be ready. Rise to the challenge.

In Christ,

Renee


Isaiah 45:7(NKJV) “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”