Fiction In Rather Short Takes

FIRST Day means that we get to take a peek at the first chapter of most excellent Christian Fiction on the first day of the month...

Available September 1: To order click the name.
Squat by Taylor Field, pastor of East Seventh Baptist Church in New York, NY

The book takes you through a 24 hour period in the 1980s streets of New York just a few blocks away from Wall Street. Field says, "Most ofthe squatters I knew from that time are already dead. My prayer would be that perhaps this novel would open a reader's eyes to things happening in their own neighborhood, to the forgotten people, or the ones who live in twilight." Find out more at or see Taylor Field talk about his ministry and the book at YouTube

Chapter 1
Calmly, the girl on the sofa reached out and pulled up a flap of skin on the little boy’s thin arm. It could have been a gesture of affection. But then she pinched the skin and twisted it. Hard.

“Ouch!” He whipped his pencil in front of her face once, like a club, and then cracked it on her forehead. He pulled the pencil back, ready to strike her again, crouching against the back of the couch like a cornered weasel.

The little girl wrinkled up her round freckled face but did not cry out. She looked toward her mom, who was talking to the receptionist. The boy’s mom, seated across the room, didn’t look up. She continued to look through the pages of her magazine, snapping each page like a whip.

“You could have put my eye out!” the freckled girl hissed.

The boy rubbed the two blue marks on his arm. He looked her steadily in the eyes and growled.
His mom called him over. “Come sit by me, honey, and stop making so much noise.” She patted his hair down in the back and smiled at him. She wore lots of eyeliner and widened her eyes to make even sitting in a waiting room seem like an adventure. “You’re such a big man, now,” she had said this morning as she combed his hair and helped him put on his best shirt. She was humming “Getting to Know You” even though her voice quivered just a little. She had put a lot of extra perfume and sprays on this morning. She smelled like the women’s aisle in a drugstore.
Once the little girl’s mom finished with the receptionist and returned to the sofa, the little girl started crying with one soft, unending whine.

The boy rolled his eyes and looked for a book to bury his head in.

“What’s wrong, honey?” the mom asked as she swept her little girl up.

“That boy hit me.”

A stuffy silence reigned in the waiting room except for the sound of the bubbles in the aquarium above the magazine table. The girl’s mother glared at the boy and then at his mother. The boy picked up a children’s book with some torn pages and began studying it seriously. His mom hadn’t been listening to the girl. She was still snapping through the magazine’s pages.
Finally, she threw it down with disgust and looked at her watch again. “I’m going outside to smoke a cigarette, honey,” she said, oblivious to the stares of the mother and daughter across the room. She stood up, adjusted her dress with an efficient tug, and stepped outside the office. They gaped at her departure with their mouths open, like two goldfish.

The aquarium continued to gurgle. In the following silence, the little boy became dramatically interested in the book in front of him. It had been pawed over by a lot of children waiting in this doctor’s office, and the first few pages had been torn out. The pages that remained had rounded corners and smudges along the edges. The little boy squinted his eyes in exaggerated concentration. He preferred the smudged pictures to the astonished fish eyes of the adult across the room.

He studied a picture of a man who wore a robe down to his ankles. He had a beard and a sad look in his eyes. In front of him was a young man with no beard, lying on a stone with his hands tied. The man with a beard had a knife in his hand and had his hand raised high up as if he were going to stab the boy. Out of a cloud an angel was reaching out to grab the hand of the man. The angel hadn’t touched the man yet, but his hand was getting close. The man didn’t yet know that the angel was there.

The boy forgot about the girl and her mother. The color of the man’s robe was so deep and blue. The angel’s wings were more gold than his mother’s best bracelet. The boy on the stone had a robe that was silvery-white like clouds. The sun in the background was redder than any sun he had ever seen. It was as red as a hot dog. The little boy felt he was swimming in this world of rich colors and robes, a sleepy world tempered by the sound of the bubbles in the doctor’s aquarium. The boy put his finger above the picture book, to the right of the book, and then to the left of the book. “One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three,” he whispered to himself, touching each of the three points three times.

His mom opened the door and came back in. The summer heat from outside reached in to bathe him in warmth. She shut the door with exasperation. She sat down beside him, reeking of cigarette smoke and hair spray. She adjusted his collar and gave him a nervous smile. “You’re such a big man now,” she said and patted his hair again.

The boy pointed to the man in the robe in the picture. “Mom, is that boy that man’s son?”
“I don’t know, honey.” She picked up the same magazine again and started ripping through it at lightning speed.

“What’s he doing with the knife, Mom?”

His mom gave a half smile and looked at the picture absentmindedly. “He’s protecting his boy from someone who might hurt him. Stay still, honey. Why is the doctor making us wait so long? If he doesn’t see us by twelve, we’ll have to leave. He ought to pay us for making us wait.”
The boy studied the picture again.

“That’s Abraham, stupid,” the little girl stage-whispered from across the room.

The boy looked at her and scowled. “Yeah, like you know.”

She stuck her tongue out at him and turned it upside down.

His mom backhanded a few more pages, put the magazine down, and looked him in the eyes. She beamed. “Honey, I have a surprise for you. I’ve been waiting to tell you, and I’ve been looking for the right moment. I guess no moment is really the right moment. At 12:15 today we are going to see Sammy again. He’s come back. He’ll be waiting for us at our place. Isn’t that exciting? Everything will be different. You’ll be nice to him, won’t you? Honey, don’t bite your thumbs, you’ll make them bleed again.”

The boy wouldn’t look at his mom. He stared down at the picture of the man with the knife. Then he looked up at the clock above the receptionist. The little hand was close to the twelve and the big hand was on the eight. He turned the page of the book and another page was torn out. The next page after the torn one had a picture of a man sleeping with his head on a rock. He didn’t have a beard and he looked scared. His robe was a dull gray and looked dirty, but in the background, angels were coming up and down out of the sky on a shimmering stairway.
“I want to camp out on my own like this guy does, away from everybody, away from the house,” he told his mom.

“That’s sweet, honey,” she said as she finished the magazine again and looked at her watch.
The little boy’s lips moved as he carefully scrutinized the words beneath the picture of the man camping out. His eyes got wider. He traced a word with his finger. He almost forgot where he was. “I want to be like this guy,” he whispered.

A man in a suit breezed in and talked to the receptionist. Immediately his mom sat up straighter. The man finished with the receptionist and turned around and looked for a seat. His mom widened her eyes and smiled at the man. He smiled back.

The next page of the book was also torn out. On the following page was the best picture of all. A youth was wearing a beautiful robe with many different stripes of colors. He seemed so happy and looked as though nothing bad would ever happen to him. A man with a white beard was smiling next to him in the picture. The boy stared at the colors in the book for a long time. If he focused his eyes beyond the page, the colors blurred together like rainbow ice cream. Somehow looking at it kept his stomach from hurting so badly.

“Mom, I want a coat like this one.”

His mom looked at the picture for a moment. Her tone sounded much more patient with him now that the new man was in the waiting room. “Everybody wants a coat like that, honey. You’ll get yours one day.”

The little girl stretched her freckled face up as high as she could so she could see the picture. “That’s Joseph, you toad,” she said hoarsely from across the room. “Don’t you ever go to church?”

Her mother pulled her back close to her lap and said, “Hush.”

The boy looked at the clock. The big hand was on the nine. “Mom, let’s just stay here. It’s nice and cool and our air conditioner doesn’t work at home. I like looking at the books here. I like the fish. Let’s just stay here and not go back home. It’s too hot there.”

His mom looked at her watch again. “Why are your hands so clammy, sweetie? You’re making the book wet. What’s wrong with you? Stop biting your thumb or you’ll make it bleed right before we see the doctor. Do you want to get me into even more trouble?” She smiled at the man as she got up and walked past him to the receptionist. “Could you tell me how much longer it will be until we can see the doctor? I have another urgent appointment.” She conferred with the receptionist for a few minutes in hushed tones.

The boy found an envelope in the back of the book with all the colorful pictures. It had bright green writing on it and a red border. The envelope said you could send off for more books with other stories. The boy looked up at the little girl across the room. She was yanking on her mother’s sleeve and whispering something in her ear. She was probably talking about the boy’s mom. While making sure the girl was still looking at her own mom, he carefully folded the envelope once and put it in his jean pocket.

The girl was staring insolently at him again. He wanted to do something to the book. He wanted to add a character to protect the boy from the father with the knife. He reached in his other pocket and pulled out half a red crayon. He wanted to draw a picture in the book. He wanted to put someone in there to help that angel keep that boy from getting cut, but he knew that the girl on the opposite couch would never let him get away with drawing in the book. He pulled out his stack of baseball cards as she continued to stare. He carried only Yankees. He pulled his prize Reggie Jackson card from the stack and began to place it in the book but decided against it. He pulled out a relief pitcher, Dick Tidrow. He would be a good enough guard to help the angel. Then he put the card carefully in the page where the sad man was dressed in the long robe and holding the knife. He made sure that the edge of the card was exactly parallel to the edge of the book. He knew the girl was watching him. He closed the book very slowly and with great respect. Very quietly, with just one finger, he touched three sides of the book again, three times. “One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three,” he said under his breath. He put the book down gently on the table and then put both hands on his stomach and doubled over until his head touched his knees. A groan came out of him before he knew it.

The little girl sneered at him, “You’re nuts!” Her mom held her closer and made a shushing sound.

The boy looked at the clock again as his mom plopped down on the sofa with a snort. The big hand was already past the eleven. “Mom, let’s stay here. We’ve already waited a long time. Let’s stay.”

“Straighten up, sweetie. Why are you bent over? Everything is going to be fine. Soon we will see Sammy and everything will be different. It won’t be like last time. You’ll see. Everything will be fine.” She looked at her watch again then got up to talk to the receptionist. She seemed to be talking faster and faster. Finally she marched back to her son and said firmly, “We’re going now. We’ll have to come back another day. Let’s go, honey. Straighten up and stop frowning.”
She grabbed his hand, but he grabbed the arm of the sofa with his other hand. The arm of the sofa had padding on the top, but a metal support on the side. It was just right for grabbing. She pulled and his knuckles whitened. “Come on, sweetie, don’t be silly.” She smiled at the man and the other mother. She was petite and could not get her son to loosen his grip. He was small for an eleven-year-old, but his grasp was almost as strong as his mother’s. She reached to loosen his grip with her hand, but he simply grabbed the arm of the sofa with his other hand.

She smiled sweetly to the man and said, “Would you mind helping me, please?”

He hesitated, got up awkwardly, and began to loosen the grip of the other hand. The aquarium began to rumble like a volcano, and both the receptionist and the other mother stood up. The boy was stretched out like a cartoon as the mother pulled and the man pried his fingers from the sofa. In the middle of the hubbub, the little girl came up to hold his torso, as if to protect him from falling. Where her mother couldn’t see, she grabbed the sensitive skin next to his ribs and pulled and twisted at the same time as hard as she could.

In the tussle, the book with the men in robes fell to the floor and the little girl slipped on it. The baseball card slid underneath the sofa. The receptionist picked up the phone to call someone. The other mother grabbed for her daughter. The little boy squealed a high squeal; he was a desperate guinea pig grabbed by many hands.

Finally, the man got both hands loose, and his mom dragged him by the torso and opened the door. He clutched at the frame of the door but couldn’t hold on. By that time, some people in white coats came out with the receptionist and shouted as his mom dragged him out to the steaming parking lot. His mother roared back at them with a curse. He cried and whimpered for help as he got one last glimpse of the girl looking out at him from the waiting room window. She stood with her hands on her hips and her tongue sticking out.

Until he ran away from home, a number of years later, the little boy never went back to a doctor.

I was FIXIN' to...

Y'all do know what that phrase fixin' to means, right? It means:

Announcement, I am about to gear up into action so watch out and get out of my way...

So I was fixin' to cry on your shoulders and ask for prayer and tell you that my world had just exploded into tiny little pieces because my beloved doesn't want me and doesn't want to marry me. Sigh... But, then I decided that God's Will be done and God always, always , always, always turns the bad into something wonderful for those who love Him. So... I decided I wanted to make you smile, instead :)
I think, I now have a smattering of an understanding of Jeremiah 22:10

Weep not for the dead, nor moan for him; weep bitterly for him who goes away, for he shall return no more, nor see his homeland.

I know what you are thinking...

Gina! This post and the pictures don't match! Well, of course they don't match because within myself I am so conflicted. I am at wonderful peace and I can laugh about so many wonderful things. But, I am crying at the same time. Now... how can that possibly go together in a perfectly blended picture?

It can't. Therefore I laugh and I weep for him who has gone away. It was his choice. I must deal with it and I know that whatever happens, God will make it good.

Are you smiling yet? Posted by Picasa

Violet Dawn

Here is something really different. But really cool.

Author (and blogger) Brandilyn Collins has written a novel that comes out in August called Violet Dawn. It is part of a new series she has started called the Kanner Lake Series. She sent out Advance Reader Copies to those who requested them and asked them to choose a character that they liked. Then she asked the readers to send her a make believe post from the character for a make believe blog by the 'Kanner Lake' make believe residents. This is going to be an actual blog, called...Scenes and Beans, full of ficticious bloggers written by real bloggers who liked Violet Dawn. Confusing? Well, it began July 5th! Go check it out by pressing the button for Scenes and Beans!

I thought this excellent advice....

Nancy Evans, The 20 Wisest Things Our Mothers Taught Us, MSN, retrieved April 30, 2005

1. "'You aren't getting anything done just sitting there.' This is what I am now telling my teens! It applies to everything. You want something? You've got to get up and go get it -- a job, success, a glass of soda, whatever -- take charge and just do it!"

2. "'Appreciate all the blessings that you receive in life, and don't bemoan the things you can't have. Focus instead on things you have influence in.' Despite all the challenges and sorrows that have come my way I don't despair. I celebrate all that life has to offer and continue to grow and learn."
3. "My mother always told me that the one thing I should do was get an education. She said: 'Almost anyone can take just about everything away from you -- but your education, once you have it, no one can take it away from you.'"
About Men
4. "'If a guy really wants to talk to you, he'll call.' This advice stopped me from spending a lifetime waiting for the guy to call back."
5. "'You can't change someone who doesn't want to change.' When I started dating, I kept that in mind with every new boyfriend. If he wasn't the guy I wanted, I got out of the relationship instead of trying to change him. Because of this, my husband is all the things I wanted in a man. My mom's advice helped me find the man of my dreams!"
6. "'Never count on a man being around forever.' This is kind of one-sided, but I learned from my mom that I should always be able to take care of myself. Although I love having a man, I can do just fine without him. I am my own person and independent."
7. "'If you settle for less that's all you're going to get.' I will always remember my mother's words, and will not settle for a man who does not deserve my love."
8. "'Don't marry the man you can live with - marry the man you can't live without.' "
About Marriage
9. "'Don't sweat the small stuff in your marriage. Respect one another and express your respect daily. Pick your battles by level of importance to you.' All of this advice stopped me from setting up a pattern that sounds -- and feels -- suspiciously like nagging.
10. "'When you marry, you marry the whole family.' The two times I married I did not heed her advice, and I am so regretful. I truly believe that having a healthy extended family makes a huge difference in a person's life! I talk to my children about this often and hope they learn from my mistake.
11. "'Never shine your boyfriend or husband's shoes.' As a teen, I thought it was one of those meaningless old sayings, but in 27 years of marriage, I have discovered that her real message did get through to me. It is about being a real person in your own right, being a partner but not a servant. It has enabled me to keep a sense of myself and a certain amount of dignity in difficult times and I am sure it has helped make my marriage successful."
About the Kitchen
12. "'Always organize yourself before any big occasion.' Make a written menu, shopping lists and a time schedule for getting things done and tick off each thing as you do it. Plan serving dishes and utensils, refrigerator space and how you will manage the oven and stove. That way all the food is prepared on time, nothing is ruined from keeping it warm too long, and you won't feel rushed."
13. "'If you ever want to know what's going on in your daughter's life, make stuffed grape leaves.' They take a long time to roll and it gives you all the time you could ever need to chatter about anything! This is also why we weren't allowed to learn how to roll them until we were 11 or 12. That's the age when we stopped talking as much to our mother. My daughter and I just rolled grape leaves together a few weeks ago; we had a great talk!"
About Looking Our Best
14. "'Wash your face every morning and every night.' I have never deviated from that bit of advice, ever! She also was always after us not to frown -- and, boy, I'm glad she did because I see so many women with frown lines between their eyes and on their foreheads!"
15. "'Makeup should enhance what you already have; learning to play up your best features is always more appealing than trying to plaster on a look that's just not you.' Less really is more! Also, my mom always said that your hair should frame your face, not shield it! (Remember the late 60's and early 70's!)."
16. "'Stay out of the sun.' I am 56 but look 42-ish -- not a wrinkle present on my face!"
About Being a Mother
17. "'I am the best advocate for my children.' She taught me to not to be afraid to speak up for what they need."
18. "'If you let baby cry for a couple of minutes while you take care of your first child, the baby won't remember waiting.' My mother told me this the day I brought my newborn daughter home and introduced her to my older daughter. If I always responded to the baby first, she explained, the oldest would resent it."
19. "'Make hay while the sun shines.' What she meant by that was, 'get things done while the baby sleeps or is otherwise content.' Words of wisdom such as these can be very helpful when you are a new parent and everything is turning your world upside down. To this day, during my daughter's naptime, I have my seven-year-old son take 'quiet time,' too, so I can 'make hay while the sun shines.'"
20. "'Always provide unconditional love for your children, no matter what the situation. Even if they seem to have turned against you and say mean things, remember that a mother's love is eternal, and one day they will come back to you with the same love you have given them throughout their lives, and that love will be given to their children as well.'"

I am intensely jealous

I am not envious. I am intensely jealous. There is a distinction, there.

Being envious means that you want what someone else has and really don't care that you would be depriving them of it while you acquire it. Being jealous means that you either want something like it or you are guarding it so the wicked won't steal it.

I am jealous because this morning a sweet and dear friend got to hug my beloved Jesus and to hug my daddy.

I've forgotten where I heard this story (or read it) so I can't give any credit for it where credit is due, I am sorry...

A missionary and his wife had spent all their years in service to the Lord in a very dangerous situation. Always walking on egg shells lest they say something that would land them in prison or get them beheaded... but, ever so carefully they witnessed for Jesus, guiding others to the cross so they, too, might enjoy the Joy beyond that dear sacrifice.

After years and years of service, they finally were able to retire. They got on plane after plane to make it home and wound up in an airport in New York stepping foot on American soil for the first time in several years. On the same plane was a fellow who had won a medal of some kind. The press were estatic to see him, fawned all over him, asking questions, camera lights flashing and he was carried out to a parade. People lined the streets cheering him as he was carried down the street.

The missionary put hands on hips and grumped. All the while they were finding a place to live he grumped. Finally, after several weeks, his wife said, "What is the matter with you?"

"After all the years we sacrificed and worked for the Lord, there wasn't even one person there at the airport to welcome us home. Not one person to cheer us for all the work we did. I just can't get over that!"

"Well, go talk to God about it. Tell Him how you feel, because He knows already. Just talk to Him."

"All right. I will."

The next morning, "Well, what did He say?"

Sheepishly, the missionary grinned at his wife, "Well, hon, He said that we aren't home yet."


I know that my dear friend got a ticker tape parade. I know that Jesus was so very glad to see him. I know that he has no more tears, no more pain (he was in very severe pain from the cancer). I know that he has a huge smile on his face and that he is rejoicing with friends and family that went on before him. I want that, too. Life is so much better there than here. But, I must endure the pelting rain for a while longer.

 Posted by Picasa

Rain blessed rain

After weeks of scorching heat and baking sunshine, I lifted my head at the faint scent of moisture in the air. I wasn't wrong because a tree frog began an anxious croaking.

And then the thunder cracked with an earth-shaking boom. The first drops of rain tickled my arms, but I was too weak at the moment to do anything but thank God for the rain.

It began lightly enough, refreshment for the parched ground and sending up a wonderful fragrance that perfumed the air... a glorious perfume of ... oh, you know what that smells like and how good it is. Then it came down harder, not so hard that it hurt, but it was beating me down, as weak as I was, I couldn't stand against it. My feet were rooted to the ground and I couldn't run for cover like the cat did when it thundered.

"God! Oh, God! Why are You pelting me like this? The refreshing water is wonderful, but why so much? Why so hard?"

"Trust Me, child," He replied. "I know what I am doing because I created you. If I do not give you enough rain, your roots won't go deep into the ground where it is safe and healthy and moist. Too little rain and your roots grow along the top of the ground and they would burn in the sun; they would wither and you would die. It has to be just enough rain to soak deep into the ground. Just enough so when some evaporates, that won't deprive you of My life giving water.

"This rain may seem like a trial to you now... but, soon, your roots will drink, strength will come back and you'll stand proud in the sun and the breeze may bend you, but you won't break. One day, Little Oak, you will stand proud with your arms reaching toward Me and you will point to Me, be a witness to Me. Just like the heavens recount My glory and the expanse proclaim my handiwork there will be no speech and no words where your voice is not heard. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and the fullness of it. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then the trees of the forest shall rejoice for the Light has come and the Son shines forth."

Psalm 19 and 96

Satan's Ploys

Let me just say that Satan is truly playing havoc in my life right now. I attribute it to Satan because God warned me this morning at 5:39 AM this is what would happen. Satan is trying to find a chink in the Whole Armor of God.

First thing he does is sit on my shoulder and whisper out right lies into my ear. I know they are lies, but there's just enough truth there ... and that is enough to get the mind working in top gear going through the

Wounded Pride, Poor Me, Woe Is Me, How Dare He Do That Cycle... When there isn't a shred of truth in any of it but of course there is a problem in a different angle... so long as Satan has me in that washer cycle going round and round, I'm not praying about the true problem and Satan wins.

Well, he's not going to win this one. God.

Let me say that another way. Satan can't win because God.

If I do not allow Satan the power to spin a web, then he cannot immobilize me because God.

That is personalized. God and I, me and God, together make a perfect combo and that is the most healthy relationship possible. I must remember that God is the force, not me. Without Him, I am nothing.

It still doesn't stop the pain right away. It doesn't help the heart ache. But, that too will pass. As I was telling my dear friend just a moment ago. The day of Joy will be the day that Jesus holds out His hand to me saying, "Shall we dance?" Boy OH Boy! That will be the joyous day. Come, Lord Jesus, Come... I am weary of this world.

Vastness of God's Grace

I never really thought about it before this morning.

Being a Christian since I was six years old, I guess it was inevitable that I should take God's Grace for granted. I know absolutely that God has a purpose for everything and that includes me. So, I was sitting this morning feeling incredibly sorry for myself... trying to pray and realizing that they were going no where. Not, because there was unconfessed sin, but because I was focusing on my depression rather than on God's grace.

Have you heard of Tony Evans? He wrote a most enlightening book called Totally Saved.

I think this is a must read for every Christian because we really DO need to know why we believe what we believe. A Christian can't have a casual, long distance relationship with the Savior and then expect to find grace in [the] time of need. So states Tony. What? God is always there uplifting those bent beneath their loads and lifing the fallen!

Yes. But it isn't the same thing at all. Think about it a moment.

Our personal relationship with God is a Two Way street. It begins, truly, when we draw near to God. It is possible to have salvation and still be casual with God. That happens when we are still very immature in Christ. Some folks never grow up which is why Peter tells us in his last letter, his last words,

2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Grow in grace and knowledge. This is because without a solid understanding of what Grace is, we can't live the Christian life. Without Grace, we can't Live... really live.

It is impossible to try to live the Christian life under our own power. We just can't do it.

This is where freedom kicks in. Because we can't do it, God steps in with all His grace, all His power, all His might, all OUR willingness to allow Him free reign in our lives and that is the only way we can really live the Christian life.

Resting in Him is not sitting on our duffs eating bon bons and watching soaps all day. Resting in Him is letting go of the ungodliness, the worldly sirens and living through Christ's power, energy, holiness, strength, humor and blessings and Grace. Total Freedom! Is that hard to do? It is unless you decide to do it.

What does that mean, exactly?

God made an irreversible decision to love us. It had nothing to do with feelings and everything to do with a decision because we certainly were not worthy of love, didn't deserve it. Yet, while we were yet sinners, Christ decided to die for us so that we might live. He looked beyond the shame of the cross to the joy beyond (Heb 12). It was a decision.

We cannot earn it. It is a gift freely given and a gift that is offered to all.

So... what does election have to do with all this? Well, the first thing to look at is that God shut us all up in sin. (Rom 11:32). That means that there is no way out for any of us on our own. We can't work our way out, we can't jump out and if we die there, we stay in sin.

Grace happened. Grace was the plan all along. Compare Ezekiel 33:11 "God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked," and Psalms 116:15 "God takes great pleasure in the death of the saints." [shock] Now... 2 Peter 3:9 God didn't purpose that all should perish but that all should come to repentence.

Jesus said in John 3 that the Light came into the world, but men loved darkness better than the Light for their deeds were evil. This is why they fail to believe Jesus. They just don't want to. There is all kinds of evidence God means what He says, but men love their own selves, their own pleasure more than they do the Light. The Lost are not lost because God chose for them to be lost... the Bible never says anywhere that the lost are lost because they are NON-elect. They are lost because they choose not to believe. John 3:18 "the one believing in Him is not condemned; but the one not believeing is condemned already."

That is... those who respond are placed in Christ. Ephesians 1 emphasizes this quite explicitly. The election is centered in the perfect life, the death and the resurrection of Christ. It is His work that benefits us and it came to us through God's Grace. In fact Grace is a Person, not an action or a thing or a feeling. God never sat in Heaven creating babies one for heaven and one for hell. The gift freely offered must be freely accepted.

The message of the Cross most definitely is foolishness to those who are perishing because they put their faith in worldly things rather than in godly things. They do not understand. This does not mean that God is withholding understanding, it means that the lost do not ask for understanding...actually, that isn't it, either. The Lost are not even interested in understanding because their faith is focused in a different direction. Their faith is focused on stuffing everything of this world into that God-sized hole trying to fill it when the only thing that will fill it is God Himself. James is explicit: if you do not have wisdom, ask for it; you do not have because you do not ask.

The Bible is unmistakable. God loves all peoples. He loved the world. He gave His Son. Whoever believes will have eternal life. The quality of life begins when one believes God. It does not begin after physical death for we are created eternal creatures (our souls are eternal) to live with Christ or to live in torment. It is your choice. Choose Life.


Well, we have hope.

It is an amazing thing how hope can transform attitudes into praising and how hope can take despair and shred it, refold it and unfold it into joy.

Dr. Meyer gave Mom hope about her eyesight today when he said he thought he could help her. Doesn't sound like much, but those words moved a mountain. The trouble with her sight is some fluid buildup and it is not macular degeneration in her left eye. It is in her right... but, not the left so that means this...

Her eyesight can come back!!!

With macular degeneration, once sight is lost for any significant length of time, it cannot come back.

So now, we will put drops in her eye for two months and come back to Memphis for a check and for an injection of a new type of medication. We are praying that this will help her to keep the sight in her left eye and that will mean she can keep her independence and that is such a good thing for her. Praise God... He is so good and He answers prayer and it is all for His glory! AMEN.

Don't Quit

Don't quit when the tide is lowest
For it's just about to turn.
Don't quit your doubts and questions,
For there's something you may learn.
Don't quit when the night is darkest.
For it's just a while until dawn.
Don't quit when you've run the farthest,
For the race is almost won.
Don't quit when the hill is steepest.
For your goal is almost nigh.
Don't quit, for you're not a failure
Until you fail to try.

©Gerard Haughey wrote this poem while he was working at a psych hospital.

I am afraid to go to sleep

I don't know whether you noticed, but I dusted and cleaned my place out today. So clean that I lost every single one of my links. I have no idea where they all went ... out in cyberland somewhere. Therefore, I have had to try to recreate my links. I still have not figured out how to put back Beth Moore studies and Experiencing God Bible studies.

I know that I have left off some favorites because my list looks a lot shorter than it used to, I'm thinking. So... if you are left off... please, email me or post a comment! I am old and I just don't have the brain power I used to have so... please, help me out here.

Btw... How do you like the new place? Does it load to slow? Can you read the posts okay?

I cannot tell you the frustration and the joy, the headaches and the fun that I have had trying to find the right graphics for my blog. I would really like to hear your comments! Truly.

A Letter To God

Dear God...

My heart overflows with everything you have given me. Lord, you know my needs...I've brought them to you. You also know the desires of my heart. This, my dear Father, is a love letter to you.

I love so much the way you answer prayer, the way you keep me aligned with you. I love the way you remind me when I'm being selfish, Your gentle chiding. I love the way you reach out and fix things for the ones I pray for and for answering the prayers of others when they pray for me. I love the way you open each wonderful day whether with rain or shine with such radiant color. Thank you, Father for putting that mourning dove outside my office window!

I love the way You take seriously the times when little irritating things happen and You help me find my keys or that time I lost my necklace and especially that time I locked the keys in the car with a huge pot of gumbo in it. Thank you for making all the lights green when I was late for work! Thank You for helping me with my selling skills so I could put food on the table.

I love the way You helped me during my divorce and the 20 years that led up to it. Most especially, Father, thank you for healing me from it. Thank you for the forgiveness through me that you extended to him.

Oh, dearest Father, I love the way you touch my heart when someone is hurting... I love the way You nudge me awake and put someone on my mind to pray for, those moments are so precious. I love the way You do not hold it against me when I slip back into sleep.

I love the tears that come to my eyes when I in awesome wonder at the beauty of song and worship of You. I love the words you gave David in the Psalms... especially the ones where he got mad at you and the ones when he was in despair because almost immediately after that comes the Praise and Joy of knowing You. And, dearest Abba Father, thank you so very much for the gift of this new and wonderful Sunday School class. Thank you for trusting me with the teaching of Your Word, for the Spiritual gift and motivation and the sheer Joy that You shower on me as I prepare and as I teach.

Lord, only YOU could have known how much I needed these past few months…
No matter how needy I am, You supply. That is so incredibly wonderful. You never tire of me, even when I tire of myself. I get so teary-eyed when I think about how blessed I have been this past year. I so much love the way You work in my life. Thank You, from the bottom of my heart. Thank You for the beautiful gift of love You gave me, I treasure it and him. Thank you for those refreshing waters that continually pour from the Rock!

I love the way you looked down on me, a little six year old and gave me the understanding that I would never be able to live without You or Your love. I love the way you talk to me when I read and study Your Word and Your love letter to us all. Thank you Father for telling me to "Be still and Know that You are God..."

I love you for the gift of discerning Satan's lies. I pray Lord, that You touch each person's heart that comes to my blog.... Thank you for giving me the time to go there and to witness for you as well as minister to your children. I pray, Lord, that You shower them with Your blessings, that you open the windows of heaven and showers of blessings pour out upon them. I ask You to touch them with Your gentle hands and draw them closer to You. Let them know You are there, holding them up in the hard times and rejoicing with them in the good times, ever stretching their soul to fit Your eternal purposes. Keep them safe until I can finally meet them in the air, forever together with You.

Your loving servant and daughter,
Gina Posted by Picasa


Because I love books and this is one of my passions, and because Trin is a really sweet fellow, I decided to accept Trin's tag.

Book Meme
So apparently I was tagged by Trin.

There is One book that literally answers every one of these and that is my beloved Bible. I cannot go a day without reading it because I get so much from it that my soul overflows. But, in the spirit of this thing, I shall congitate on this and give you some books that I have truly enjoyed.

1. One book that changed your life -- My Bible

2. One book you've read more than once--The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Jane Aiken
It is a children's book and I read it about 7 or 8 times when I was 8 or 9 years old, then I read it a couple of more times when I was 10 then I read it again when I was an adult. I enjoyed it as much when I was an adult as when I was a kid. This book taught me lots of wonderful words and that I could do anything that I set my mind to do. I have also read every book written by Georgette Heyer at least twice and most of them 3 times and a few 4 times.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island -- My Bible

4. One book that made you laugh -- All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriott. This series is just about the best written books that I have read. Classic! Witty, full of life lessons and outstanding insight into human nature. Great books! I can hardly wait to dive into Every Living Thing -- But THE book that made my cheeks hurt and tears run down and my sides hurt from laughing is -- I'll Trade You An Elk by Charles Goodrum. This book is so good that it could be a TV series. It's a true story. Young Charles is faced with a father who is laid off during the depression but wrangles the job with the city as the "developer". He gets the brilliant idea to revamp the local zoo and it is one mishap and adventure after another. I do not think it is still in print, but you may find it on someone's old book list. It was printed back in 1959 or 60 I think.

5. One book that made you cry -- The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas and Though None Go With Me by Jerry Jenkins. Taught me two things... you can't run from God and it is absolutely the best thing in the world to remain within God's will. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee made me laugh and cry.

6. One book you wish had been written -- Life After The Beast by Nebchadnezzer

7. One book you wish had never been written -- Anything by Jackie Collins or Elizabeth Lowell

8. One book you're currently reading-- I have just finished All Things Bright and Beautiful and tonight I'll start All Things Wise And Wonderful by James Herriott.

9. One book you've been meaning to read -- The Revelation Record by Dr. Henry Morris

10. Now tag 5 people-- not going to do that. If you want to join in, please leave a comment with a link to your blog and we'll all go check out your answers.

11. The most interesting non-fiction book (besides the Bible) was Rising Tide by John Barry. It is about the 1929 Mississippi River Flood and it is tremendous. I wish someone would do a documentary of it. If we'd only learn from our mistakes!

Please note that in a year, my answers to the questions will have changed. I didn't even mention Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Count of Monte Cristo, Emma, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Martha Stewart, Georgette Heyer, and a host of other authors which I do not have time or space to honor.

Be more perfect

I promise I did not peek ahead to see what our Bible Study was going to be about tonight.

We are doing Daniel by Beth Moore. (I am beginning to wonder if there is anyone else who writes Bible Studies... don't get me wrong. I really like Beth, but I'm starting to read the Bible with a Texas accent!)

I highly recommend this study!

Have you thought about the Babylon we live in today? Our culture is so anti-God and pro-satan, it makes me shudder.

We are fascinated by Image. We must be thin as those anorexic models and we do not have the luxury of the airbrushed photos to take away those wrinkles or those age spots or those zits on the tip of our nose. No wonder we ask, "Is that real?"

We are called out of the darkness and into the Light. We have been saved from the darkness and we should rejoice in God's power and might. We are Holy because God is Holy and He has called/declared/consecrated us Holy. And therefore, we should act like it, don't you think?

I am still a Christian under construction... but... I am still Holy... or, as the Bible puts it I am a peculiar person. A saint. Set apart. Perfect because Jesus willingly stayed on that cross all the while looking at the joy beyond. Not on-my-own-perfect as Samantha and Pia pointed out, but perfect because of what Jesus did. He filled in the God-sized hole when He sent the Holy Spirit to us and I am sealed with, by and through the Holy Spirit. Consecrated. Justified. Through absolutely nothing that I did or am doing. Isn't that the most amazing thing? What could be more perfect than that? Posted by Picasa

Be perfect

A difficult saying is found in Matthew 5:48:
Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

How can we possibly be perfect?

Τέλειος teleios (tel'-i-os)From G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness: - of full age, man, perfect.

I like that "complete" part. Jesus makes me complete. No man, mom, dad or sibling, husband or wife can make a person complete. Oh... how long it took me to understand that.

Why depend upon anyone for my (your) happiness? Humans are fallable and will always fall down somewhere along the line. But, Jesus never will.

Paul laments: Phi 3:12 Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to those things before, 14 I press on after a mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Okay, so we're not perfect. But, wait!

Peter says: 1Pe 1:15 but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct; 16 because it has been written, "Be holy," "because I am holy." (Lev. 19:2)


How? I'm willing, but how? Then I find:

Deu 18:13 You shall be perfect with Jehovah your God. Ah HA!

I get it. I cannot be perfect when I'm trying all on my own. I can only be perfect because of God, through God and with God. But, we are not perfect here. That is because of this human frailty and physical body and the sinful nature that Adam passed down to us. Jesus came and Jesus conquered and Jesus lives within and Jesus perfects.

The catch is that we must let go and submit to Jesus. That means let Him have rule over every corner of our heart, hold nothing back. That's a huge thing.

Being holy in all conduct... That means letting the Holy Spirit's fruit love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. (Gal 5:22-23) take root in our hearts. Easier said than done, I say. Which is why Paul assures us that God will continue to perfect His work that He began in us. That's a promise that we can treasure. Posted by Picasa

A challenge...

My sweet sister in Christ, Laurie, has issued us a challenge...

Oh Gina,There has been a renewed meaning in my heart for the "Love Expressions".
I can hardly contain my emotions when I think of Christ's unconditional "dying"
love for us. I don't want to confuse people when I say, "I Love...", but I know
I do. Can we come up with some knew terms..:D, I know you are so
eloquent at words. :) Do I adore, am I fond of, do I like or am I infatuated
with, maybe it's ardor or zest, maybe just appreciation. I wonder how many words
we can come up with for the thoughts we really have...With deep affection
towards you my sister my friend!!Laurie(can I still say love? :))

What are some other words for love? I started a little search and came up with several...

Be in love with
Be devoted to
Care for
Find irresistible
Be keen on
Be fond of
Feel affection for
Be mad about
Be passionate about
Be stuck on
Be crazy about

Any more?

The Greatest Of These Is Love

I was thinking about the Character of God today and was reminded of these words...

1Co 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophecies, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I be burned, but I do not have love, I am not profited anything. 4 Love has patience, is kind; love is not envious; love is not vain, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave indecently, does not pursue its own things, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. 7 Love quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But if there are prophecies, they will be caused to cease; if tongues, they shall cease; if knowledge, it will be caused to cease. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect thing comes, then that which is in part will be caused to cease. 11 When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I thought as an infant, I reasoned as an infant. But when I became a man, I caused to cease the things of the infant. 12 For now we see through a mirror in dimness, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will fully know even as I also was fully known.
13 And now faith, hope, and love, these three things remain;
but the greatest of these is love.

How often we use the word love in our speech.

I love spinach. I love that T.V. show. I love__________.

I love church. I love Sunday School. I love that story. I love Jesus.

How wonderful the Greeks had several different words for Love. I think I shall be a bit more careful how I use the word, for I dare not cheapen it when I speak it to those that I love here on earth and also in Heaven.

How precious that our Bridegroom felt this kind of love for us, for while we were yet sinners, He died for us. I can hardly wait until He comes, for surely the Father will soon say, "Go get your Bride, Son, go get her and bring her home!"

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

Praise Him -- There are times of grief and there are times of crying.
Praise Him --There are times of praying and there are times of answering.
Praise Him -- There are times of waiting and there are times of rejoicing.

Yesterday was such a day for me.

Up at 5:30 AM (normally I get to sleep until 7:00 AM--call me sluggabed if you like, I don't care.)
Drive an hour and 20 minutes to Monroe to Mom's eye doctor. Work on a project on my laptop while Mom sees the doctor. Mom's eyes are stable, no bleeding, we go to see another specialist in Memphis, TN on the 15th. Okay. I can handle that... trusty laptop in tow, I can work anywhere! Thank you, God for giving me the wisdom to give myself a laptop as a graduation present. Thank you, God for making Mom's eyes stable. Thank you, God for putting me here so I can take care of her and for taking care of me in Your own wisdom and for Your own glory.

9:30 AM Cracker Barrel breakfast... nuff said.

10:30 AM Go to hospital and see wife of dying friend. I know the friend is going to Heaven. No crying there. But, as we visited in the hall, Carl can't have visitors, Linda almost broke down and cried. I wanted to weep. I understand that kind of grief! It just broke my heart. It brought back so many memories that just flooded my soul. As we walked down the hall to the elevator, I wept. I told Mom it was all I could do not to cry like a baby right there in front of Linda. I ache for her, because I know the loss. A fellow was walking in front of us and went down the same elevator we took. As we headed out the door, he patted my shoulder and said, "We'll be praying for y'all."


"We'll be praying for y'all," he said. A brother in Christ that I had never seen before, nor likely to see again until Jesus comes to get us, and the Holy Spirit in him, reached out to comfort the Holy Spirit in us. What a beautiful hug from God!

Our music director, Glen Roberts, got a call last week from the doctor's office concerning a couple of spot on his liver that showed up in the MRI done because of his stomach problems and chest pains. Many anxious days latter we find out that the spots are nothing and he gets "the little purple pill" for his stomach problems.

You guys in the big city or in non-agricultural parts of the country don't have a clue as to the sheer lethal properties of all these chemicals we are subjected to. It is supposed to be non-hazardous, but the crop dusters have been spraying the air with these chemicals since the 50s. More cancer per capita than any other area of the country is why we are dying like flies around here. WHICH is why we cringe and fall to our knees every time a doctor finds a "spot" anywhere on anyone. We forget modesty when things like this happen.

But... we also remember there are worse things than death, so we trust in God, love our siblings and we pray, knowing that God will answer. He's never failed us yet.