The Sin We All Ignore…

We all know what sin is, right?

Murder, gluttony, adultery, lying, stealing, etc. The list could go on and on.

But did you know there’s another one that we rarely consider?

James 4:17, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (ESV)

This one little statement encompasses a lot more possibilities of sin.

I mean murder is murder. How many of us, truly, are going to go out and kill someone, either in a fit of rage or premeditated? It’s not something I plan to do in my lifetime.

Of course, we all have probably been a little gluttonous, or told a lie, or maybe even stole something (like that pen you’re using that came from your workplace, hmmm?). But we’ve asked for and received forgiveness for those. Or at least we should have.

But do you remember to ask for forgiveness for the things you DON’T do?

Did you see that man on the side of the street begging and feel the urge to give him some money or food, but you were in a hurry and didn’t want to bother with it?

Or maybe the elderly person in front of you in the grocery store was a little slow about getting something high off a shelf, and you zoomed around him or her or took a different way?

Or maybe you had the opportunity to serve at your church (or promised to serve), but decided you had something else to do and didn’t go?

Do you remember the last time the Spirit prompted you to do something GOOD for someone? Did you do it?

If not, you sinned.

And to be sure, I am not only pointing a finger at you. I have several pointing back at me. I have bypassed the beggar on the street corner or at the stop light when I’ve been prompted to help him. I have ignored the opportunities to serve others at church because I didn’t “feel” like it. And probably a myriad of other things that the  Spirit led me toward that I ignored. And to me, those were sin.

No, I didn’t commit murder or adultery, I didn’t lie or steal, but I didn’t do the good I knew to do.

Sin is sin is sin.

Thank God for forgiveness and new mercies every day. Let’s do the good that God has set before us today.

Blessings,

 

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Faith or Doubt?

As I was driving home the other night from a church function a song came on the radio about faith. I don’t remember all of the words, but I remember thinking, “I wonder if this is how Elijah felt.”

When I was going through the prep for my surgery in September, I had tons of faith. Don’t get me wrong, I did have moments of doubt, but in general I knew God had the situation in hand.

Fast forward a few months… to, well, now. As you’ve read in previous posts by me, my word(s) for 2017 were DREAM BIG. I also felt that God wanted me to publish EIGHT books this year. I have four complete or partially complete manuscripts, but that meant/means finishing those and writing four new ones.

It’s already April, and I’ve published ONE. How will I manage seven more?

And this is where I feel like Elijah. After he killed the prophets of Baal, he went into the wilderness, sat down by a tree, and fell into a “woe is me” attitude  because Jezebel threatened his life. (1 Kings 19)

He was tired. His faith faltered. Then God told him to get up and eat and basically to get on with life. Move forward. Take the next step.

And so, despite letting this blog slide to the wayside, neglecting my social media accounts, and having a hard time writing, I’m going to eat (delve into the Word) and take the next step.

If I don’t get seven more books published, at least I’ll know I tried and had faith that if God called me to do it, then He has a plan for me to accomplish it.

Postscript…

One day after writing this — which I did while taking a multi-level blood test to evaluate my ability to handle adrenaline — God sent me to James 1. Guess what I found there?

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6; NIV)

Then I asked myself… Do I doubt?

Of course I answered with a resounding yes. But then qualified it with my best logic (said tongue-in-cheek)… But I don’t doubt that God can, but that He will.

And then this dropped in my spirit…

Does it matter? Doubt is doubt.

Oh my!

So obviously my faith journey is ongoing. But as one of my pastors said the other night (paraphrased), “None of us have made it to perfection yet. We’re still on the journey to being Christlike.”

And I think that as long as we stay on the path, God will help us, either by carrying us or guiding us, over the rough places in our faith and through the deep valleys where nothing is visible except the next step in front of us. The psalmist wrote that God’s Word is “a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”(119:105) Just enough to light the next few steps, but not enough to see the end of the trail. That’s where faith comes in.

I need more faith and less doubt. Even if He does not answer my prayers the way I want, still I will trust, so why doubt?

I don’t know about you, but when I doubt, I continuously worry the issue. I toss it around in my brain constantly, wondering if I made the right choice, or if I could do something differently. But when I experienced such a profound faith regarding my surgery, I rarely thought about it. I wasn’t stressed. My stomach wasn’t upset (like it would be if I were on a wind-tossed sea). I rested in the security that HE had it under control — no matter what.

Our God is faithful. Oh, so faithful. He deserves our trust, which is the basis of faith. Don’t you think? The Greek word for faith is pistis. It also means belief and trust. Where do we base our belief/trust/faith?

Why not put it in the ONE who deserves it most?

Have faith. That will be my mantra right alongside dream big.

Have you ever felt like Elijah? Been full of faith one moment and then full of doubts the next? When the doubts came, did you feel like you were being tossed around on the sea like the waves? Or have you experienced times of profound faith as you went through a trying experience?

Blessings,

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Priorities, Choices, and Doing the Hard Thing

Life is about making choices, setting priorities, and sometimes doing the hard thing.

Such has been my days this last month. While my tumor was successfully removed (mostly–there are remaining fragments that will have to be watched in the years to come), the fatigue still plagues me.

Most of that is due to my poor eating habits and consequently my weight. So not only will I be doing lots of writing in 2017, but I will be doing less eating and more moving (ie exercising).

The hard thing. Shew. I hate exercise. I hate eating right. I like soda, chips, and cookies. They make me feel good. Temporarily. But in the long run, if I don’t cut them from my life, I will suffer the consequences of allowing them too much access to me and too much control over my future.

Sin is the same way. It seems pleasurable for the moment (and it is), BUT it separates us from our rightful place as a child of God. In the long run, if we don’t cut the sin from our lives, we will suffer the consequences.

Except the consequences for sin last for eternity. The consequences for my bad eating habits are only temporary, though much more obvious.

But it’s ALWAYS our choice. God is a perfect gentleman. He may nudge you once in a while to do the right thing, but He will not force Himself upon you.

I have never made good eating a priority. Exercise either, for that matter. It just wasn’t important to me. But my children are getting older (I’m not, btw, haha), and soon I’ll have grandbabies to love on. I want to be here for them, to spoil them (and then send them home) and love them like only a grandmother can. In order to do that, I have to take care of myself. And that starts now.

I would love your advice or just a note on your experience with losing weight when over 40. I realize not every eating plan works for every person. I’m really looking for something that I can maintain long term. And if you have an idea on how to make exercise more fun, I’m all for that, too. 🙂

PS. My latest book released yesterday. It is a step in a different direction, as this one is a historical novel instead of my normal contemporary. It’s still romance, though, so I hope you’ll take a chance and give a read. Here’s the low-down:

Desperation drives Neva MacKinnon to marry the handsome, but fierce Alexander Chisholm, Chieftain of the Chisholm Clan. Without him, she won’t survive the harsh Scottish winter. With him, she fears for her heart.

Alexander Chisholm needs a wife to provide an heir, and soon, in order to remain chieftain of his clan. He’s not looking for love, but his bride has to be someone he can trust. A song in the woods draws his attention and when he sees the raven-haired beauty with the eyes of pearl and full of fire, he knows she must be his.

Can Neva and Alex overcome their trust issues to admit their love for one another or was their marriage doomed the moment he invaded her life?

Available at Amazon. For now, it’s only available on Kindle. I hope to have it in print soon.

Blessings,

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Silence is Golden… or Is It?

I’ve been quiet here for most of 2017. It’s not that I have nothing to say, but that I’ve not been led to say it.

I’ve been very open about my health issues. God has been gracious to me, and my doctor is astounded at my recovery. I think I mentioned it here, but after discovering the type of tumor I had, he did not expect my sight to recover, much less completely. Which it has. I had an MRI a few weeks ago, and he said it looks better than the one taken six weeks post-surgery. From his tone, I expect that is not the norm. God is working.

He’s not only working in my health, but in my writing. I felt led early in January to set aside writing for a time. I thought maybe a week, at the most two. Two turned into six. While I have written off and on in the last week or so, I have gotten out of the “habit,” so I am struggling with my schedule. That is something I’m working on today. Maybe you can help.

Here’s my tentative schedule…Most of my days are consistent (ie boring), but my biggest issue is that I write BEST in the morning–not just in the morning, but FIRST THING in the morning. But that’s not possible. I get up and fix my husband’s breakfast and lunch (prior to the schedule start time). THAT precludes me writing first thing. Clear? Probably not. My mind has to go STRAIGHT to writing. If anything else comes first, then I have a hard time directing my thoughts to my story. I try. SO hard. I just know if I START writing first thing, I can get words down near to twice as fast as at other times.

I’ve considered getting up early, like 5am early, but then I feel like I need to have my time with God first, which means I’m not writing FIRST THING. Does God understand if I write before spending time with Him? Yet is this not the way HE made me?

Do you see my predicament? Writing, God, and exercise are all things I NEED to do first thing in the morning or they won’t get done. BUT I can’t do them all at the same time. Thus my struggle. EVERY DAY!!!!!!!! And to be honest, the exercise and writing haven’t been happening–which then leads to my need for a schedule. ARRGGHH!!!

Anyway, I’m aiming to do better. That’s the first step, I guess.

And what does any of this have to do with SILENCE? Well, now you know PART of why I’ve been so quiet these last weeks. And you’re probably wishing I’d have stayed that way.

Many blessings,

 

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Review: Fatal Mistake, Shadow of Suspicion, and Time Search


Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it.
Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan–to stay alive for another day. She knows he’s coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months–to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf’s bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they’ll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

Review: As always, Susan writes an excellent story. Lots of suspense and danger, hints of attraction, and a wonderful happily-ever-after. Twists and turns kept me reading long past my bedtime and anticipating the moment when I could pick up the book again.

Rating: 5 roses


FRAMED

First, computer specialist Laney Ryan’s accused of kidnapping her neighbor’s daughter—and now someone’s trying to kill her. The police don’t believe Laney’s story…except for Detective Mark James, whose instincts say Laney isn’t guilty. Together, Mark and Laney must figure out who really abducted the teen and uncover why they’re framing Laney. But when their search for the truth turns deadly, Mark realizes his feelings for Laney aren’t strictly professional and that he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe. With a dangerous suspect swiftly closing in, can they find the missing girl and clear Laney’s name…before their possible future together is fatally cut short?

Review: I love Christy Barritt books. And this one is no different. Laney’s life turns upside down, and she reacts the way most of us would–for a minute, and then she pull up her big-girl pants and fights back. Thankfully, she has someone on her side. They figure it out, but a few twists and turns in the middle, and a touch of attraction, took hold of me and wouldn’t let go until I finished the story.

This is, of course, another novel ending with a happily-ever-after, ‘cuz if it’s romance, I want happy in the end stories.

Rating: 5 roses


In the wake of a recent wave of violence, TEMCO employees are left reeling. While some of the staff are put into hiding, others are left behind to discover the true identity of the mysterious nemesis who is determined to destroy them all. While Crystal, Marc, and Zeke search for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for TEMCO’s missing leaders. It’s a race against the clock! And as the hours and seconds tick away, it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first. It’s a classic battle of good versus evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher!

Review: This is a new author for me. I enjoyed the story a great deal, but because it is part of a series, I was often confused as to the dynamics of character relationships (of which there are many). And while it ends with a satisfying discovery, it was NOT the end of the story, which sort of bummed me out.

It took me several chapters to get into the story, probably because of jumping in mid-stream of the series. I highly recommend getting the first two books before trying to delve into this one.

If you like sci-fi/fantasy/time travel stories, I do recommend this series (though I’ve only read the one book). It is clean and well-written.

Rating: 4 roses

~I received these books from the authors/publishers for the purpose of review, which was not required or compensated in any other way. The above reviews are my honest opinion.

Happy Reading,

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