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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Encouragement From Bible Gateway

How to Finally Stop Procrastinating

GLYNNIS WHITWER

"The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied." Proverbs 13:4 (NRSV)

My husband and I used to laugh and say if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done. Then we’d stay up all night to finish a project due the next day, or make the whole family stressed because of our stress. It wasn’t funny.

I laughed it off at the time because I didn’t really think it was a problem. Everyone procrastinates on something, I reasoned. Plus, what more could I do? The problem certainly wasn’t with me.

On the surface, there were always reasons why I couldn’t get everything done. Good, solid reasons. Like I’d taken on too much work. Or my family needs were too demanding. And the technology which should have made my life easier, actually made it harder sometimes. Who couldn’t understand that? I reassured myself.

Then faced with a deadline, I snapped at everyone, stayed up late and rushed to finish what needed to be done. Consequently, everything suffered. My family was shortchanged, my work was sub-par and I became a person I didn’t like very much.

Those issues affecting me were all legitimate. But there was still another issue afoot. One that took some soul searching to identify. And that was an internal desire for ease rather than challenge.
This truth about myself hit hard when I read Proverbs 13:4, today’s key verse: "The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied."

At first, I didn’t think this verse applied to me. How could I be lazy when I’m always busy?

In fact, I didn’t know any woman around me who was lazy. So why did we all tend to complain about not being able to get important things done?

But then it hit me, faced with a choice between two tasks, my tendency is to choose whichever seems easier. I tend to put off what’s difficult until I "feel more like it." But that day never comes because I never feel like organizing my tax information or tackling projects that highlight my weak areas.
So my days were filled, but filled with less challenging work.

And my to-do list got longer, overflowing with tasks and projects I’d much rather avoid. The crazy thing is I will even avoid good things if I think it will make me address an issue I’d rather not face … like clothes shopping and having to admit my size isn’t what it once was.

Eventually I got around to doing my work, but usually with a wrong heart, with a shadow of the quality I could produce or with so much frustration that it affected everything else. Some fabulous opportunities I just abandoned, because how could I follow a dream if I couldn’t even keep my kitchen counters clear?

I even realized I was disobedient to God in some areas. Of course, they were the hard things God asked me to do. I’d much rather obey God in the easy areas … but step out and take a risk? I’ll do that another day, thank you very much.

Sometimes an "aha" moment is exactly what we need to change. When I realized my tendency to avoid discomfort, to choose ease over challenge, I felt like I could finally address my procrastination.

Read the rest here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

LoRee Peery on Writing and Her New Release


Waiting, while Working and Writing


Therefore, the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are those who long for Him. Isaiah 30:18 (NASB)


God waits to have compassion on me, while I live and work and write.

What? God waits? He’s a God who speaks and thing happen. He slows down and waits for me?

I’m familiar with waiting as part of a successful writing journey. Waiting while I work is part of never giving up. Keeping at it is considered perseverance. I was tempted at times, but I didn’t stop writing for long. A prolific writing life consists of several stories in various stages simultaneously. When one story is finished and in the mail, another project is in the works.

Writers do a lot of waiting in all stages of the process.

I’ve had days a session at the keyboard ended with multiple pages, and I’ve had times I produced one page or a single paragraph. I’ve submitted a story and not heard a word back from the publisher for months on end.

I didn’t grow up in an instant-gratification society. I’ve waited in the valleys of life when a circumstance, problem, situation, or trial seemed to go on forever. There are things I still wait for, such as answers to my father’s forty-year-old unsolved homicide.

Waiting on my part can be a continual blessing, an eager expectation, as long as I relax my impatience to focus on God. As Zoe M. McCarthy claims, the Lord is my Co-Author, so I better enter projects with Him at my side. He is a sojourner right along with me. He waits to bless me at the right time. His time.

Longing goes hand in hand with waiting, on my side and on God’s side. I wait and long for results of my labor. God waits for a faith moment, an Aha moment on my part, from my heart to His. This waiting on both our parts is to shape me so I’m fit for the place He has prepared for my eternal home (John 14:2).

As He waits for me, I continue to work. If I invite Him along, He grants me grace for the journey. My goal is to bring Him glory.

I can’t do this, whatever “this” may be in life, or writing, without Him.

Prayer:

Oh, my gracious, patient Father. You are the Author of creation, the embodiment of all the writers compiled in the Bible. Increase in me a longing for you, while at the same time You grace my writing for your glory. I thank You eternally, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.






Christian romance author LoRee Peery writes to feel alive, as a way of contributing, and to pass forward the hope of rescue from sin. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. LoRee clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. She has authored the Frivolities Series and other e-books. Her desire for readers, the same as for her characters, is to discover where they fit in this life journey to best work out the Lord’s life plan. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author. She’s been a reader since before kindergarten. One day she slapped a story in her lap. “I could write better than this.” (Lofty assumption, eh?) Her dear hubby challenged, “Why don’t you?” Thus her writing journey began many moons ago. Connect with LoRee through these links: www.loreepeery.com https://twitter.com/LoreePeery      https://www.facebook.com/LoReePeery



Shattered by the loss of her parents, Deena pours her love into her patients at an assisted living facility. When the son of one her charges starts showing up to spend time with his mother, Deena's wary heart is warmed by his attention to his mother...and to her. Simon is plagued by his ex-wife's disappearance years before. When he meets Deena, who closely resembles the woman, he fears his attraction is based only on Deena's looks. But she exhibits a warmth his ex-wife never had. Dare he risk his once broken heart? As two lonely souls pursue a tentative, budding love, secrets and lies come forward to tear them apart. Can Simon and Deena overcome loss and allow their hearts to mend?



Where Hearts Meet

Excerpt:

Deena strained to catch what he’d said. “I’m sorry. I should have been more sensitive to your reunion with Angelina. I don’t mean to pry.”
“You aren’t prying at all. I consider you close enough to confide in. We’ve already shared a lot of who we are. And my ex is no longer my focus. You came into my life because of my mother. You mean something to me now, aside from that professional service, based on your own merit.”
She’d think about all that later, when she was alone. Then she’d dwell on the subject of her growing love for Simon.
But wait. A short time ago she’d thought of friendship as her only option. She had to sort this out. Later. Right now she was blessed by a few moments of time spent with this wonderful man.
Their walk had gone fast.
She pointed to the full color poster outside the yogurt shop window in front of them. “I’m all for paying attention to food, as in a banana split. How about you?”
“Double fudge sundae with all the trimmings has my mouth watering. Shall we sit outside?”
At her nod, he pulled out a wire back ice cream chair for her and went in to place their orders.
Her mind drifted while he was inside.
Giggling teen girls circled one table and a dark-complexioned girl of mixed race sat across the table from a woman Deena took for a grandmother.
Simon would be the only male seated outside when he joined her.
She observed him through the window as he stood at the counter. Her gaze traversed the caramel colored leather boots, the casual fitting light denim jeans topped by a tangerine button-down shirt with rolled cuffs, past the corded neck and whisker shaded jaw on up to his finger grooved hair. Her heart beat ever faster and her chest visibly rose and fell.
Then he turned and caught her eye, slanting a smile that turned her blood molten.
She needed ice-cold yogurt to cool her down. No doubt about it, she had it bad. Oh, if she could shout to the world that Simon Hart was her one true love!
He used the back of his hand to push through the door. Every female watched him approach her table. His wide shouldered swagger, his pure physical appeal probably had them salivating and inwardly sighing. But the macho man was with her.
She cleared her throat, focused on the cherry atop her banana split, and willed her system to simmer down. “This looks delectable. Thank you so much.”
“You’re very welcome. I almost gobbled up that whipped cream topping.”
“Hey, you’ve got enough chocolate there to coat your arteries.” She set the cherry aside to savor last. “And it looks like a handful of pecans.”
“Reminds me of your lips,” he said, leaning low across the small table to place paper napkins near her hand.
“Uhm…Hmm?” she murmured around a bite of banana.
“The cherry is the color of your lipstick. You know it just begs for me to taste it and make it fade.”
“My lipstick wore off hours ago. But you’ve got chocolate on the corner of your mouth.” She pointed with her black plastic spoon.
“Want to kiss it off for me?”
“You are talking way too crazy, unless you want to give those girls at the far table something to drool over.”
“No thanks. There’s only one girl out here I want to drool over me.”


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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Today's Reading-- CS Lewis


[One of the most unpopular of the Christian virtues] is laid down in the Christian rule, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Because in Christian morals ‘thy neighbour’ includes ‘thy enemy’, and so we come up against this terrible duty of forgiving our enemies.

Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we had during the war. And then, to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger. It is not that people think this too high and difficult a virtue: it is that they think it hateful and contemptible. ‘That sort of talk makes them sick,’ they say. And half of you already want to ask me, ‘I wonder how you’d feel about forgiving the Gestapo if you were a Pole or a Jew?’

So do I. I wonder very much. Just as when Christianity tells me that I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death by torture, I wonder very much what I should do when it came to the point.

I am not trying to tell you in this book what I could do—I can do precious little—I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And there, right in the middle of it, I find ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.’ There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms.



From Mere Christianity

Friday, June 19, 2015

New today! Writing Devotional by Dianne J Wilson

                                                        He’s a Keeper!

Over a decade ago, God leaned down and nudged me… maybe you should write a novel. I argued with Him, “But Lord, novels are not important. They don’t have the power to change lives. I want to write words that matter!” His answer surprised me, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.  Jesus told stories.

Jesus told stories. That was enough to launch me into wrestling eighty thousand words into submission.  Much like stuffing an octopus into my mailbox, I grappled with character arcs and plot, themes and sub-themes. When the first one didn’t find a publisher, I wrote the second. I faced my nemesis daily: doubt, fear of rejection. How does one take so much time away from your family in the hopes that a publisher will take a liking to it?

And then one did. And that brings us to today – release day for Finding Mia from Pelican / Harbourlight. 

 As I look back over the last decade of writing, hoping, polite rejection letters and tears, there is one thing that stands out to me through it all. Jesus is the keeper of my heart. From that first whisper, through all the times I quit writing (and then came back) He kept me on track. He kept the dream alive long after I was ready to take a shovel to it and bury it out back beneath the daisy bush.

 Friends, He is a keeper! 

He kept me hoping. He kept me believing. He kept me writing. And He will do the same for you. He is well able to tend the dream He planted inside you until the day shoots break the surface and become visible to those around you. He will coach you, teach you what you need to know, fling wide doors of opportunity in the right place, at the right time. Take courage, He can keep you beyond where you can keep yourself.



Dianne J. Wilson is a freelance writer and novelist from East London, South Africa. She is mom to three girls and wife to Scott, who, being the only male other than the St Bernard, is horribly outnumbered and has learnt to dodge flying hormones. Her first 'official' novel, Finding Mia, releases from Pelican / Harbourlight today.



Isobel is on the hunt for her missing muse. What she finds instead is an abandoned toddler who is sunburned and close to death. Dr Liam Brigham keeps little Mia alive, but needs Isobel to save the girl from a far greater danger--a killer with an agenda for kidnapping.
 
With Mia's life next in line, Isobel and Liam have to put aside their differences, face their past and throw their trust at the only One able to save. 









Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Morning ----Charles Spurgeon    


"The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."
Psalm 126:3




Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them. But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, "I will speak, not about myself, but to the honour of my God. He hath brought me up out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad." Such an abstract of experience as this is the very best that any child of God can present. It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our corruptions, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Saviour, who overcomes these corruptions, and delivers us from their dominion. In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond, and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader, who has brought us "out into a wealthy place." The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life's song, "He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."

Friday, May 22, 2015

New Fiction From Dana Pratola

The Voice of Truth

Seeking the truth brought them together. Finding the truth may tear them apart.


Sophia is an extremely private, yet world-famous singer. She wants to share her God-given gift with the world while trying to keep her secrets to herself. That’s made difficult when her publicist talks her into allowing a biographer to research her life. Cade is an expert investigator, determined to meet the real Sophia, the self she hides from the world. Yet she gradually finds herself interested in learning his secrets as well. Theirs is a beautifully written love story that kept me reading straight through to the end.




EXCERPT: 

“What does your book entail, exactly?” she asked.
“That depends on you.” He could see her bristle. “Look, I’m going to write the book, anyway,” he told her clearly when she arched one perfectly sculpted brow. “We can do it my way, where you let me in your life for a while, give me exclusive insight into your mind, your past, your dreams.” He paused. When she did no more than quietly stare at him, he continued. “Or we do it your way, where you resist me, I tail you, probably misinterpret some things, get half-truths from jealous no-talents, and draw my own conclusions. My way’s best for both of us.”
Sophia stopped twisting the chain on her neck and eyed him evenly. “Can’t you just tell me what you want so we can discuss it, and find mutually acceptable ground?”
He couldn’t stop the laugh any more than he could stop reaching for her hand and pulling her to her feet along with him. She was absolutely charming, in a quietly indignant, difficult sort of way.
“That’s funny. Really.” He kept her hand in his as he walked with her to the door, taking his jacket as he went.
She was something, even when she used her eyes as daggers as she did now. Despite being glossed over with a palate of makeup, her face had only come by way of genetics. She shared some traits with another famous Sophia of Italian movie prominence, with the almost overly large mouth and dark, sultry glare that could skewer a man at thirty paces.
But, it was there the resemblance ended, for her body was tight and compact, with softer curves, but that was another matter, and one he wouldn’t dwell on.
“I know you don’t trust me,” he told her, unperturbed by the way she tried to tug free. “I can respect that. I don’t trust anyone, either. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to argue with you. I have a meeting with my publisher in less than an hour.”
Her brow raised again, and it gave him the impression of a queen, pronouncing sentence on a lowly peasant. Now that he thought of it, there might be some imperial affiliation in her lineage, maybe a monarch or two. He would add that to his research.
“Well,‛ Sophia said, dislodging her hand at last. “I won’t keep you.”
“Sophia—“ Kitty began.
“I’ll think it over and get back to you,” Sophia said, making no effort to disguise her annoyance.
Cade had to admire her spirit, even as she opened the door and backed him into the hall. “I need an answer by Wednesday.” He still admired it when the door closed in his face. He grinned when he heard the snap of the lock.



Available Now! 


Visit Dana here...






Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Today's Reading-- CS Lewis


Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups—playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

Now, the moment you realise ‘Here I am, dressing up as Christ,’ it is extremely likely that you will see at once some way in which at that very moment the pretence could be made less of a pretence and more of a reality. You will find several things going on in your mind which would not be going on there if you were really a son of God. Well, stop them. Or you may realise that, instead of saying your prayers, you ought to be downstairs writing a letter, or helping your wife to wash- up. Well, go and do it.



From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.