Saturday, November 3, 2012

Making the devil smile...

Will you work for the Kingdom of God today or help promote the evils of the devil?

The Lord has recently reminded me that if I'm not actively working for Him, I am (by default) working for the devil. It's not enough to not be evil--that's relatively easy to accomplish (aside from that sinful nature of ours). We can be as good as we want, we can smile and wave and say sweet things to strangers, we can obey the Ten Commandments on a daily basis and still work for the devil on the side.

How?  

Simple. Well, it wasn't so simple until God impressed upon me the sinfulness of my daily routine, but in thinking about His leading, I've realized that I can do evil, spread evil, and make the devil smile just by waking up in the morning.

And then doing nothing.

It's that doing nothing thing that had me stymied for a while, but once it hit me, it hurt. I've been given a gift by God; a gift I am to recognize, work to improve and make as perfect as a human can, and then find ways to use that gift for the glory of His kingdom. It's my belief God has given me the gift of writing. He's also given me the time and resources to use for the purpose of writing, allowed me to retire early with a pension and insurance coverage, and given me a roof over my head and loved ones to live with. I have a wonderful agent, successful work, and a great writing family to hang out with. I have no excuses, no hardships, no reason not to be cranking out two books a year. But how do I repay Him for all His blessings?

I procrastinate. I stall. I hem and haw. I rewrite instead of "new-write." I redesign my blog sites, rearrange my office, hang pictures, tidy up my desk, check my email, cruise the internet, stare out the window, brew another cup of coffee, take a nap, play Freecell (trying to fool myself by thinking I'm "plotting" or "developing my characters"). I have the audacity to tell myself I'm not good enough, when the whole time, I have the Creator of the Universe sitting beside me. Encouraging me. Loving me. Shielding me. Inspiring me.

But still I find excuses. And when I do nothing for the Kingdom of God, I work for the devil. Plain and simple. All the while I'm doing nothing in my "preparation" to do good, God is saddened and the devil is rubbing his beastly hands together, licking his lie-infested lips, and grinning. Yep, I've come upstairs to my office to write for the glory of our Heavenly Father and instead I've made the devil smile.

Yes, there will always be legitimate reasons we can't do as much writing (or whatever other gift we have) as our hearts and minds know we should. Life does get in the way. Responsibilities to our loved ones or employers or even our church often keep us from being as productive as we know we can be. I also have to market my published work and my fellow writers all know what a chunk of time that takes from writing new material. But carrying out those responsibilities in a loving, efficient manner is much different from wasting valuable time by simply doing nothing--time we could be using to increase His flock. There are no "time-outs" in this game during which both teams rest. The devil and his henchmen never rest and thinking we can plays right into his greasy little hands. Procrastination is one of Satan's most valuable and effective tools. If he can't make us sin purposely, he'll find ways to make us do it without our realizing whose bench we're sitting on.

Without a doubt, I write. I make progress every day, but usually not as much progress as I should and with far more procrastination than even remotely permissible. While I don't have the urge to kill, lust after others, steal, cheat, or bear false witness, I still sin in a way that's hurtful to the cause of our Lord. It's not what I do, but rather what I don't do that saddens God and makes the devil smile.

From now on, I'm going (with God's help) to wake up every morning with the express purpose of making Him smile and causing Satan great anguish. No more devil smiles directed at me. No more glee in the camp of the demons. No more ammunition handed over to the enemy.

No more doing nothing.

Until the next time...



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Days!


All good things must come to an end. True enough, I suppose, but I'd prefer the old adage said, "All good things must come to an end, but more often than not, something even better is on its way." I don't suppose my version will ever catch on, but in my experience it's the truth.

We've moved from the Air Force base in Anchorage, Alaska, to a beautiful house in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. My experiences in Alaska were lifechanging and I wouldn't trade my four years in the Last Frontier for all the tea in China (or coffee in Brazil, for that matter). But it was time to move on, to get back to the lower 48, resume our civilian lives, and be much, much closer to our loved ones.

Since we're now a part of the "real" (versus "military") world, there are some adjustments to be made--nothing major, but you know how those old habits are hard to break! For one, we don't have to haul out our identification cards each time we enter the gate to the base. Secondly, we don't have the commissary to go to for groceries, but happily, we've discovered that the higher prices in Alaska (even at the commissary) make any significant price change in groceries a moot point. So, we have easy access to our neighborhood and stable food prices. Not a bad start.

On the writing front, things are hopping. My first book, Laramie on the Lam, is now in print and available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online sites. I'd appreciate it very much if you'd take a look at it and think about buying copies for your children or grandchildren. The holidays are right around the corner and Laramie would make a wonderful Christmas gift. (And don't tell the kids, but it's educational, as well as funny, wild, full of danger, bad guys, a loyal dog, and interesting places.) You parents and grandparents, as well as your kids and grandkids, will love it. I promise.

And finally, my adult Christian novel, Misstep, is in the process of being published too! I expect to be signing the contract soon and hope to have a tentative publication date at that time. Please stay tuned. I'm particularly pleased about Misstep because it was a finalist in the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel competition. While I didn't win, I did find my wonderful agent, Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency. I'm looking forward to lots of non-stop marketing of both Laramie on the Lam and Misstep, as well as finishing up the sequel to the latter.

Happy days are here again!

Until the next time...
 
 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea Party Movement

In yesterday's post (please see below), I promised a review of Jonathan Wakefield's latest book, Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea Party Movement. With the ongoing backlash against the Tea Party, this book is particularly relevant. Jon has done an astounding job of laying out the facts, aligning them with biblical principles and the intent of our forefathers when they crafted the Constitution, and explaining how far (and why) we've strayed from what our country was intended to be.

As I explained yesterday, I was about as far from politically-minded as are our five hermit crabs. In fact, I'd buried myself under a thick "what can one person do?" attitude. I'd given up any hope that our elected representatives (collectively, at least) were serving us in the manner we expected them to when we put them into office or abiding by the oath they took when they accepted the responsibilities of that office. I knew things weren't good, but I had no idea just how bad they were, nor did I have the slightest idea how to fix our country's ills. It was overwhelming.

At the beginning of his book, Jon clearly admits he didn't want to get involved in politics, but was driven to it by the downward spiral of America's economic, moral, and world standing and God's leading. Thank goodness he heeded both calls to duty. I learned more about our government from reading Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea Party Movement than I'd learned my entire life. Thankfully, Jon has methodically, accurately, and truthfully researched the situation. He not only points out what's wrong, but also who's to blame (and believe me, it's all of us), and how we can rectify the situation.

This next point is important: While Jon's book points out the danger of allowing BGDs (Big Government Disciples) to continue their reign, he also shows that the roots of big government extend a century into the past. This is not a "Bush vs. Obama" finger-pointing session, but rather a close look at how the proponents of big government have been at work through many periods of our history and with the help of (or despite the disapproval) of numerous administrations. That's why I feel it's so important that every American read this book; we must be made aware of how insidious this movement for government's control over the people is, has been, and will continue to be unless we, the people, take back our country.

This book not only addresses both major political parties, but present and potential Tea Partiers, Christian and non-Christian voters/non-voters, minorities, celebrities, and the church. Mr. Wakefield doesn't pull any punches and divvies out the blame or accolades as they are earned. There's something for everyone in this book--pastors who are brave enough to spread the word, politicians who do carry out the responsibilities of the job they were put into office to do and who covet the trust their constituents invested in them (and politicians who do neither), and Americans who are just plain confused. While they know something is horribly wrong, nobody has told them just what it is that's wrong and (this is very important), how to correct it.

In this case, the old adage "ignorance is bliss" doesn't hold true. "Ignorance is deadly" would be more like it. Jon's book enlightened, infuriated, entertained, educated, and scared the living daylights out of me. Saving America is the one book every American voter, politician, and Christian should read before, during, and after our elections. I guarantee it will open your eyes to the REAL condition of our soon-to-be not-so-great country.

Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea Party Movement: Please buy it, read it, recommend it, talk about it, and most importatly, heed what Mr. Wakefield is saying--and act on it.

Until the next time...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Who's up for Saving America? Raise your hands and your voices!

If you were to search for the least politically-minded woman in the known universe, you'd probably end up with me. I cringe when the talk turns to politics because I've distanced myself (at least until lately) from the topic as though it were a deadly supervirus. As a result, I am nearly useless when it comes to debating my views because I'm awash in the garbage that passes these days as campaigning and frankly, my views aren't particularly popular with a lot of people.

I wasn't always like this; there was a time when I believed everything our president or senators, representatives, and their staff members told us. After all, they were chosen by the voters to do what was deemed best for these United States. Why wouldn't our members of Congress be truthful, honest, God-fearing, and true to their oath? After all, they promised the following:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

See? When they accepted the office to which they were elected, each senator and representative promised to defend the Constitution, bear true faith and allegiance to it without mental reservation or evasion, and to faithfully attend to the duties of his particular office.

And then they said, "So help me God." Not "So help me Groups of Lobbyists"; not "So help me some other god/idol/favorite constituencies/people I owe." No, when they took that oath, they said to God Almighty, "I'm promising to do this, God, and if I fail to do what I'm promising You I'll do, I'm guilty of lying to You and deserve punishment by You."

So what happened? Apparently, some of our government's leaders either don't understand the seriousness of the oath they've taken or aren't worried about promising God something they have no intention of actually doing. To say that I'm disillusioned with United States politics is akin to saying it's breezy inside a tornado and my disappointment is a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to God's.

I'm sure the majority of our elected officials don't ignore their oaths of office, nor do they all take bribes, misuse funds, play favorites, cheat on their spouses, trash-talk one another, or (and this is a big one) vote along party lines merely because they fear the backlash from their fellow __________ (fill in the blank). Granted, some of this is just the nature of the nasty political animal, but remember, God gave man dominion over the animals. Let's start dominating.

So what happened?

Well, for one thing, I (and millions like me) grew up. When I was a child, we held the President of the United States in absolute awe. He was above reproach and no one would dare think badly of him (at least in my circle of 8-year-olds). I'm sure presidents back then also were reviled by a segment of the population, but without 24-hour news coverage on television, uncounted political radio programs, and the faster-than-the-speed- of-light internet, most things died down before they had a chance to gain momentum. Only the most important issues remained. Nowadays, the Plain Yellow Tie Advocates cry foul when he wears a tie endorsed by the Green Striped Tie Advocates. That's the second thing that happened--the world shrank, technology grew, and our awareness (whether we wanted it to or not) grew exponentially.

Even so, I was remarkably adept at remaining ignorant. I've done my level best to be a member in good standing of the huge number of Americans who feel they have no say anymore, who leave the decision-making (aside from voting, which was usually done on a "lesser of two evils" basis) to those who liked that kind of stuff.

And then my friend, Jonathan Wakefield, wrote a book that changed all that. It's called Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea Party Movement. Tomorrow I'll be reviewing it on this blog. I hope you'll read Saving America, recommend it to anyone you know who even remotely cares about the future of our country, and even more so to those who really care. Tell young people, who have a bigger stake in this than any of us who can remember JFK; tell old folks who want to preserve this country and its Constitution for their kids, grandkids, and generations beyond that; recommend it to book clubs, Bible study groups, your pastor, your kids' teachers. Contact your senators and representives and show them not only what is WRONG with today's government, but how we can fix it.

It is my sincere hope it affects you in the same "ice water in the face" way it did me.

Until the next time...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Good golly, Miss Molly!

It's definitely been a while since I last posted. I do, however, have a good excuse for my laxness. Her name is Molly Deborah Ackerson (notice the middle name?) and she arrived  sixteen years to the day of her parents' wedding. Having been told they couldn't have children has made the birth of Molly Deborah just that much sweeter and sharing their anniversary date with her birthday is the icing on the cake. She's my sixth grandchild and the only girl in the bunch. Her five boy cousins have yet to meet her, but then neither has anybody else, with the exception of her Aunt Dennae who flew up to Alaska from Kentucky both before and after her birth. That will happen eventually, though, and I'm sure the rest of her family will fall in love with her at first sight just as I did.

Welcome to the world, dear, sweet Molly! Here's hoping you're as excited about the rest of what humanity has to offer as you appear to be with your first bite of rice cereal!

***
On the other hand, I have stayed busy with my writing and am happy to announce the availability of my sixth and final installment of my Laramie on the Lam kids' adventure series on Amazon (http://tiny.cc./emnqn), Barnes and Noble (http://tiny.cc/6jhte), Omnilit (http://tiny.cc/uqa9s), Smashwords (http://tiny.cc/ydx83), and Quakeme.com (http://tiny.cc.kzgod). It's called Laramie Conquers the Last Frontier and it ties up all those loose, mysterious, funny ends I left dangling from the other installments. I think your kids will like it. I'd be pleased if you'd take a look if you have a chance. 

Another happy note: Echelon Press will be publishing my Laramie on the Lam series in print! I don't have all the details as yet, but I do know the stories will be combined into one book and I've incorporated study guides at the end of each story for those homeschool parents (or any parents, for that matter) who may want to quiz their kids on the educational tidbits I threw in there.

Until the next time...