Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Excuse Me, Can I Get A Blessing?

I read the following encounter between a mother and daughter and thought, how many times do I do the same kind of thing as this little girl!

"It was a busy week night. I was caught up in the whirlwind of coming home from work, preparing dinner and helping my son with homework. In the midst of all the activity my four year old sneezed. I was busy in the kitchen. I felt a tug on my  shirt. I looked down to see my daughter staring up at me, hands on her hips. She had an expectant look on her face. She was so serious I had to smile and ask "What is it K?" To which my cherub replied "I sneezed. And, excuse me, but can I get a 'bless you?'

I find myself busy with this, that and the other, and after a while I go to Father God and pull on His robe with, "Can I get a blessing here?" It seems I have this expectation when certain things happen certain other things should follow. After a while the blessing feels overdue. If God "is too busy" and doesn't play accourding to my scripting of events I feel compelled to make my presence and my needs known. I want my blessing and right now would be nice, thank you. As if a blessing is something I deserve! It's all grace! As if any of us deserves the outrageous love, salvation, and yes, blessings He gives day after day. (Insert shaking head!)

Every now and then something like this little girl stops me short. I realize that I tend to think that just because I'm a grown up chronologically that I am also grown up spiritually. Guess the Lord just wanted to remind me that I am young beyond my years! And that I can be grown up without having grown up!

The beautiful thing in the way God points out an area of weakness is that there is no condemnation, no chiding. He simply presents the parable and waits for me to figure it out. My spirit stops short and then my mind asks, "God, why am I looking at this?" That's the open door He was looking for and the awareness floods into my mind. I'm busted. Amazing!

Let me know how "Jehovah Sneaky" sneakes up on you and teaches truth.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Melaise

We took a vacation over Thanksgiving thinking this would be our family time and then we would have the whole month of December to do the Christmas thing--the parties, the baking, the letter know. Oh, ya, the gift giving!

Upon our return I had a horrible time with the differences in time zone. Added to that was the crunching effect of the lack of daylight during the week in Alaska. My days and nights have been horribly confused. I'm still waking up at 9:30-10:00 a.m. I have been ineffective as far as Christmas preparation. Today as Hannakah begins the light dawned on me. Part of the problem is Christmas melaise!

I've learned that from the 10th to the 30th of this month we have a special window in which to align with God's time. If satan can distract us with the busyness of preparation, refocus our attention on giving and getting, and wear us out with "holiday cheer," he can subvert the Lord's plan for us to reposition ourselves in His will and His timing! All this time my spirit was trying to get me a message and my soul was in a fog! I am so grateful the light came and scattered the darkness...and the fog!

This season I am celebrating that God came and lived among us. God came and saved us and continues to save us. He had a plan and He is sticking to it! Instead of feeling bad about what I have not gotten done I look at it as a piece of cultural baggage that I don't have to carry! I'm dropping "Christmas obligations" as fast as I can to have more time with Jesus, enjoying Him and coming into His timing!

I encourage you to think through all the activities and sort out what is just cultural "stuff" that can be easily dropped in preference for time our Savior!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Family, My Tribe!!

A copy of Chuck Pierce’s latest book, A Time To Advance came in the mail. I bounced around in the book and ended up reading a chapter on the order of the tribes of the children of Israel. The tribes of Asher, Naphtali, and Dan brought up the rear. They were at the back of the lineup when moving or in battle. Okay with me—I’m not a fighter either! Let the big rowdy guys go first and take all the flack!

Dan was a tribe of skilled craftsmen—these were the guys who worked with Moses to construct the tabernacle. They were tapped by Solomon to oversee the craftsmanship and construction of the temple—they were good with wood, metal, stone, fabric, leather—you name it. Asher had a special ability to make the land produce and from this tribe come the farmers, bakers and chefs. He worked the land and cooked the food. Naphtali brought forth “beautiful words.” Here we have the poets and writers. He was also like a deer let loose—these were the worshipers and dancers. (I wonder if they had a special relationship with Judah since they were warrior dancer--worshippers, hmmm.) Not exactly the kind of guys you want watching your back if an enemy were to come from behind!

Then the author (Linda Heidler) went on to say that these tribes were tasked with expressing the glory of God which actually was the rear guard! Scripture tells us that creation is the handiwork of God, it expresses the craftsmanship of God and that is what Dan was doing—taking the patterns he saw in the heavens and nature and expressing them in/by his handiwork and craftsmanship. Asher causes the land to flourish. “The fullness of all the earth expresses the glory of God.” There is something about the land flourishing that is a reflection of the glory of God. “Naphtali had the ability to bring forth beautiful words. The word beautiful means “to glisten.” His words had the glory on them. They were to shine.” Naphtali was also agile and nimble like the deer leaping. He brought glorious words accompanied by glorious movement into worship in the sanctuary.

The reason the highlighted words struck me was that when I was writing the manuscript for The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity I showed it to a friend for feedback. After reading it she sat for some time, looking for and choosing her words carefully—she wanted to express how it had affected her. She finally said, “Your words are beautiful. They are like sunshine on the water—you know, how it skips and moves? They glisten; they dance; they are lively!” As I read those words I remembered her words and my eyes widened; I gasped! It was almost verbatim!

Being Christian means my roots are Jewish; I have often wondered what tribe I would belong to if I were Jewish. Perhaps I have found my tribe? And my people?

If I have found my tribe, what does this mean for me personally? It brings a sense of belonging and of being “home” where I can let my hair down and really be me. I think it also means that I must hold closely to my calling so I do not lose sight of my assignment in all the familial hubbub! The calling is to make plain (understandable) the mysteries of God which necessitates having time away with God to delve into whatever mystery He chooses to expound upon. My assignment for the time being is to learn the tools of the age (ugh, computer) and walk one step behind Jesus so that I can hear what He is saying and write it down. I have His word to me that He will provide. I have not figured out if there is some way that I need to position myself differently so that can actually happen. I seem to be supporting my own habit rather than the books supporting themselves . . . why is that?

Specifically, what does finding family and tribe mean in relationship to John 3:16 marketing network that I’ve joined this year? I think being part of a tribe is a noisy, busy, distracting enterprise. At this phase of my life, that equates to overwhelming and exhaustion. I believe God wants me to be part of this group but to allow the life of the network to swirl about without it distracting me. That’s a tall order. How exactly does one do that? Firstly, by acknowledging that I cannot do everything. I think, for me, it is by finding my niche and sticking with that without guilt or condemnation. From that place of freedom I can look up from my work and applaud someone else’s performance. Perfectionism would condemn and foster guilt and shame—that is not to be part of the picture! They are foreign elements—rude Philistines not to be long entertained!

How I see the purpose of John 3:16 Marketing Network.

· To nurture the spirit, and soul (mind, will, and emotions) of our brothers

· To fill them up so they do not become discouraged and languish

· To keep them encouraged so they can complete their assignments without falling away in unbelief

· To foster awe and love of God

· To come alongside those who are discouraged and languishing to bring comfort and point the way out—to be the evidence of the hope they once had.

· To repair emotions through laughter and unwinding of the mind with the enjoyment of a good book of one’s favorite genre

· To do what we do with excellence and to call others to excellence by example rather than dictum

· To find the heart, spirit and life of God so that our words are infused with His essence; they cause life to spring up—faith to spring up

Oh, ya, there is that bit about doing our part in changing the cultural environment by flooding the secular market with good, clean Christian literature—quality literature!

When I look at Jewish families and culture I see that they work hard, study hard, practice diligently, perform for each other regularly and enjoy each other immensely! Well, mostly. Sometimes the study is grueling, the practice tedious and the performance terrifying—ah, but we get over it! So we push and cajole and exhort and support because we know we are chosen, special, and are here to express the heart, nature and craftsmanship of God. This is our part in bringing heaven to earth!
What about you? Have you found your place, your niche?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Party Time!

Today, I'm featuring author April Gardner as she celebrates the release of her second novel Warring Spirits. There's a party going on over at her website, and you're all invited!

As a special thank you for visiting her site, she's extending an invitation for you to enter six different drawings with a total of 15 different winners!!

On top of that, she's giving away a personalized, signed book plate to everyone who buys Warring Spirits today. One for each book purchased!

Wounded Spirits, the first book in the series, garnered wonderful reviews, won the Grace Award, and on its launch day last year, thanks to the John 3:16 Marketing Network, hit #1 in Christian fiction and #2016 in Books!

Help Warring Spirits reach #1 too, and buy your book TODAY!
LeARN MORE!! (link--

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Night of the Cossacks—a review

I downloaded the first chapter of the Night of the Cossacks and that was it—I ordered copies for my teenage grandsons far enough ahead of Christmas that I could read the story before I gave it away! Tom Blubaugh has researched the type of life the Cossacks lived and woven a fascinating tale of Nathan, a sixteen year old Jewish boy kidnapped by a Cossack soldier and forced to become a Cossack. He is renamed Stephan and learns to completely suppress his Jewish identity.

Night of the Cossacks is a story of loss and perseverance—he first loses his father in an accident and then the rest of his family and his way of life when he is kidnapped. He adjusts to the ways of the Cossacks and quickly earns his place in the unit he is a part of through his marksmanship. As the unit’s “hunter,” responsible for getting meat for the unit. He appears to be progressing in the Russian army when he loses Nikoli, his mentor/captor whom he had grown to love. Then he loses again when his apparent promotion turns out to be a betrayal and he must flee for his life from his boyhood friend and the Russian military. Nathan/Stepan’s wits, his ability to discern and think his way out of a jam, the innate eye-hand coordination and the skills learned in the military keep him alive through a series of life threatening, harrowing circumstances. Through it all he perseveres; he doesn’t give up hope, and struggles to not become bitter and resentful toward God.

The Russian secret police has a reputation for always finding their man. Once they are on your trail they will pursue wherever you go, so Nathan had a knowing that he would be a hunted man for the rest of his life. However, in his flight he learns of far away America and decides to go. This decision means he must say a gut wrenching goodbye to the horse who has been with him since boyhood—a difficult decision. He perseveres, hops a ship as a laborer and works his way to his new homeland. Even on the ship a Russian soldier appears to take him in! So close to escape and yet so far! Only quick thinking on the part of the captain saves the day. Nathan succeeds in his attempt to escape to America and begin his own family. After all the losses, finally he has the opportunity to have love and family once again.

Thomas Blubaugh’s characters are strong; a reader quickly identifies with Nathan and cheers for him all the way. Scenes are vivid and emotional; a strong story line pulls the reader in. You have to find out what happens! With all the adventure, the suspense of life and death close calls and Nathan’s quick reflexes—you can see why I immediately bought copies for my teenage grandsons! They would love the adventure and suspense, and identify with the main character who flees from Russia, all across Europe on his way to America. There is a hint at romance but no torrid love scenes; just enough love to hold the interest of girls! I appreciated the fact that Nathan’s character, ethics and principles were guided by his early childhood training as a Jewish boy—which means that they followed biblical principles. A believer can see that God was watching over this one to keep him safe, to ensure that he would live to do the good works which God ordained for him to do! The ending hints at what may have happened next . . .This is a good, clean story and suitable for any teenager (or oldster).

The story behind the story is also intriguing. Tom’s grandfathers all died before he was born so he never knew them. When he became a grandfather himself, he had no model. There was a gaping hole in his life experience so he began to research with the little information he had—that his grandfather had been a Cossack. How could a Jew be a Cossack? This book answers that question and paints a vivid picture of life as it was a generation or two ago. He researched to leave a legacy for his grandchildren and somewhere along the line it morphed into a novel!

Bravo, Tom! I join you in wishing I could have known your grandfather! I've read some comments about Tom's book that people have been encouraged to research their own heritage. I think that is a good thing. . .it's as though we fit more solidly where we are when we know who we came from and how we got here.

Anyone buying a book through Amazon on the 8th can also receive free gifts. Look here to choose:

Friday, December 2, 2011

If you care, dare!

I know the Sassy Pants series of books are written for children but every now and then I feel the Lord grin and say, "uh, huh..." Every now and then when I am feeling particularly old and decrepit The Ancient Of Days puts it all in perspective. I realize that, like Moses, at age 80 I will just be getting started! In comparison to The Almighty, I am a mere babe in arms. So what's this little ramble about?

Sassy Pants Makes Amends is about her deep repentance for her bad behavior. The natural consequences of her actions resulted in the loss of friends and relationships. She was deeply sorry for what she had done, but her changed attitude came too late. The damage had been done to the relationships and trust was destroyed. That is just the way the mop flops. Jesus warned us this would happen (Luke 6:37).

When we do wake up to the consequences of our choices, what then? How do we fix the relationships we broke? How do we rebuild trust? I didn't write this story for adults--really! God just plopped the story line into my mind and we keep unpacking it! It may be a kid's story, but even adults can hear the truth of the lesson in it. Sassy Pants and spoiled rotten kids of all ages who seriously want to repair what they broke will find that amends works. Amends--finding what is important to the one you hurt and making that important to you too--and keep doing it for as long as it takes for trust to grow again. It goes way beyond sorry. It gives the hurt one a reason to trust again. It repairs what was broken; that is if you have the courage to dare to try to make amends.

If you care, dare. I'd like to hear the stories of those of you who cared enough to dare to make amends! Drop me a comment and share how amends works.

Blessings, Carol