Friday, June 21, 2013

Lorilyn Roberts Linky Blog Hop


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Que Sera, Sera, What Will Be, Will Be

by Lorilyn Roberts



Even though I don’t know my future, I will sleep well tonight. If I were a betting woman in my dreams, I’d make two predictions—I will not win a million dollars in the lottery—I don’t play, and I will never be President—thank goodness. You couldn’t pay me enough for that job. My older daughter used to tell me I’d make an excellent President—back before I became dumb during the teenage years. Fortunately, I have become smart again, since she turned twenty-one.

Now I get to go through being dumb all over again. My second daughter is at that age when boys flirt and cars excite. I worry once more—and remind myself God hears my heart-felt prayers. Maybe I’m a little wiser—certainly a little older. At least I know what to expect the second time around. I have to admit, I look forward to the day I become smart once again, unless dementia sets in. We won’t talk about that.

When I was nine, one of my favorite songs was Que Sera, Sera; Whatever Will Be Will Be. My dreams for the future did not include infertility, infidelity, and all the injustices that come from living in a fallen world. When we are young, we are closer to God—before innocence is torn from us by sin. Kids easily believe in miracles or magic—call it what you want. No wonder when we are old, we must become like little children. Are we redeemed enough to see our Savior through the darkened glass of shattered dreams? A child sees the glory of a risen king—and asks no questions.

In retrospect, I am thankful God did not give me most of the things I wanted. He gave me what I needed. God’s gifts don’t always come wrapped in pretty boxes. They arrive in more mysterious ways. Sometimes it takes time to see His workings, and for somebody like me who is impatient, that is tough.

It would have been much easier to go to a store and pick up a book that read, How to Get Your Life Straightened Out, or How to Fix Your Broken Marriage, or How To Be Dumb During the Teenage Years. Just kidding. I didn’t need a prompt for that. I could read the book in a weekend, and bravo, come Monday morning, I’d have my life all straightened out. That would be so efficient. So like me.

God knew better. He knew I needed time—only time would grow me into the Christian woman He desired me to be. Only through the years where wisdom seeds itself would understanding be revealed—to write the passion of my soul and feel God’s spirit through my words. God knew above all my heart and how I longed for children. Only He knew how to make that a reality (Lord knows, I tried).
       
Isaiah 55:8 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Someday I hope to fully understand what that means. It’s one of those “mysteries” that God will need to explain to me—if I still wonder after I see His scarred hands and feet. When I was married and shortly before my husband left for good, I read this passage and implored of God, “Oh, please, let not your ways include divorce. I don’t want a divorce.” I became paranoid. I trusted a husband who had been unfaithful more than I trusted my heavenly Father who died for me. I feared the ridicule of my family and church, the whispers, and that the ugly wounds from childhood would bite me once again. Was I not even good enough to keep a husband?

Now I chuckle. On any given day, I may not be good enough for the most mundane task. I have learned to laugh at myself—even when I am the only one laughing. My daughters will tell you.

I remember that the time is fleeting, the pain temporary, and the future extraordinary. So I peck away at the typewriter, certain that I won’t go to jail for not filing my taxes—I just finished them today, and am glad to live another day. Why? So I can get out of bed in the morning, go to work, and pay more taxes.

I will remember to feed the dogs in the evening (or they will yelp), set the air conditioner to 77 when I go to bed (or I will sweat), and will fill up the car with gas—usually it’s on empty. That makes life exciting. I won’t speed down 39th Avenue where that female police officer lurks behind a sign (I would know), and I will get my half and half at Publix so my coffee will taste almost as good as Starbucks. I am still working hard to kick that habit.

If your life is like mine, most of it boils down to the mundane, the ridiculous, or the absurd. Without my Lord and Savior to remind me that this is “my passion,” I think I’d go insane. God’s voice inside me removes the edge, lowers my blood pressure, and convicts me of what’s important. He helps me to remember to pray for those who are hurting, and I delight myself in His Word—and wonder why I fail to read the Bible more often. Or curl up on the sofa with my Kindle and get lost in one of the books begging to be read—and write reviews for authors who wait with baited breath. I would know that, too.

I’d fail to find goodness in the land of the living without my relationship with Jesus Christ. His Spirit brings me hope—for my daughters to marry Christian men and have a dozen kids; for my future—to live into my 90’s like my grandparents; and forgiveness for my past sins—even the ones I don’t remember.

God gives me the drive to live life to the fullest—work hard, play hard, and not to sweat the small stuff. The small stuff is what trips me up, but I remind myself I will never run out of stories. I just need to be careful I don’t trip over my seven-pound cat. Even our Border collie knows better.

Regrets—don’t play that game. You will never catch a glimpse of the marvelous future held in store for you if you keep looking back. Even though the future is not ours to see—we see through a glass darkly for a little while longer—thankfully, we have an awesome God who sees clearly—in colors we can’t imagine. And I bet even wrinkles, gray hair, and fat bellies look grand. Que sera, sera; whatever will be, will be.

****


Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian author who writes children's picture books, adult nonfiction, memoirs, and a young adult Christian fantasy series, Seventh Dimension. The first in the series, The Door, was just published.

Lorilyn graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama, which included international study in Israel and England. She received her Masters in Creative Writing from Perelandra College and is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature.

Lorilyn is the founder of the John 316 Marketing Network, a network of Christian authors who are passionate about promoting books with a Christian worldview.



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Monday, June 17, 2013

How Far Is Too Far? Devotionals from The Seventh Dimension

From Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy

How Far Is Too Far?

“Word is out about you. I’d hate to see your splattered body sprawled out on the road. It would destroy your father’s reputation; cost him his job, and my inheritance—unless Judd gets it first. If I have my way that won’t happen. I need to protect you. From now on, you’ll stay where I can see you.”
“Judd gets what?”
She didn’t answer me.
I had no idea what she was talking about. So Judd convinced her I was a tramp though Daniel had never once been alone with me. Even in the cave, he always insisted the door be open—probably why Judd overheard too much.”

***



How far is too far when it comes to relationships between young men and women? What does the Bible say about purity?

In Seventh Dimension, the Door, Shale was falsely accused. The fact that she had never been alone with Daniel made her statement she had done nothing wrong more credible.

The Bible in II Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

The most precious gift you can give your future husband or wife on your wedding day is your virginity. I will speak more specifically here to young ladies. Make that gift even more special by not allowing yourself to be touched by a man—not even kissed before you marry him.

This is a high standard, but it can be done. I recently went to a wedding where the bride and groom shared their first kiss on their wedding day. I marveled that a young couple could have that much self‑control and remain pure until they married.

I recently told my younger daughter, and I have told her this many times, a simple expression that goes like this: clothes on, hands off. One night, however, I made a silly mistake and said, “Clothes off, hands on.” She gave me a wry smile, catching my mistake before I did. We both laughed, but she knew exactly what I meant.

Society will tell you it’s okay to kiss, touch, and do things that are contradictory to the teachings of the Bible. Don’t do it. When you become like the world and see love and sex through the eyes of Hollywood movies, tabloids, and gossip magazines, you are cheapened. You have bought into Satan’s lies that these perversions will make you happy. They won’t. You cheat yourself out of what God meant for good between a man and a woman after they become one through marriage. Besides, do you really want those images in your mind on your honeymoon? How would you like your to-be husband to think about other women he has intimately known when he has just wed you?

It is very difficult to keep yourself clean in a world that is inundated with sex and skin and beauty. I recently went on Twitter to find some categories for hash tags for my book. I looked up a common, everyday word and was presented with pornographic pictures of young girls. I was shocked.

If you are normal, you will find these temptations difficult to resist. You are curious, you have hormones, and you are human. But every time you give in to those temptations, the lust of the flesh, you are cheapening your view of something beautiful. God made sex as something to be shared between a husband and a wife.

Your preoccupation before marriage with lustful thoughts will affect your relationship with the opposite sex. Pornographic images from the web or pictures from magazines will become imprinted in your mind. You will remember them at inappropriate times. The best way to avoid the temptation is not to allow yourself to be tempted. The Bible says in I Timothy 6:11, “But you, man of God, flee from all of this, and pursue righteousness…”

Daniel showed great respect for Shale. By opening the door so as not to be alone with her, Daniel respected her. He did not want to put himself into a compromising position with her, that there could ever be rumors spread about their relationship.

Some day you will probably meet a young man if you’re a young lady, or if you’re a young man, you’ll meet a girl to whom you are attracted. If that significant other tells you things like, “If you love me, you will do this,” or some other ridiculous statement, have the guts to say “No.” Don’t compromise. Believe in yourself, your value, and your self-worth.

Let me tell you something else. You might be tempted because you want it. Sin doesn’t feel bad, it doesn’t look horrid, and Satan won’t show up with pointed ears and a pitchfork in the car if you are “parking,” or lounge beside you on the sofa with your date. Unless you have blue blood, you will enjoy romantic relationships. That is normal. Wanting to engage in sexual activity it is not what gets you into trouble. Compromising is.

What greater gift can you give your future husband or wife than to be able to tell him or her that you have never shared yourself with anyone else? You have not kissed, you have not fondled, you have not slept, and you have not revealed your unclothed body to someone you have previously dated. Once you have given away that first kiss, you can’t get it back. It’s gone. Once a man has touched you, you have given away that part of your body. And once you have had intercourse, you are no longer a virgin.

I advise young men and women when they are dating not to even kiss. Once the juices start flowing, it’s difficult to turn off the passion. Avoid the situation in the first place. What Hollywood presents is a sordid picture of reality. I cringe when I see those glamorous pictures of movie stars plastered on the covers of gossip magazines and newspapers—in my heart, I believe them to be the most miserable people on the planet.

Perhaps the saddest tale is that of Lindsay Lohan. What a beautiful, young, talented girl she was in the Disney movie The Parent Trap fifteen years ago. I wondered how long it would be before she posed for a girlie magazine. She is the epitome of someone who had so much to gain and so much to lose. With great talent comes great responsibility and temptation to misuse it. What a waste.

On the other hand, I look at a young man, Tim Tebow, who has used his fame as a way to share his faith. I have watched him from the sidelines for many years because I live in Gainesville, Florida. He was the star quarterback for the Gators, a Heisman Trophy winner, and took the University of Florida football team to the national championship. He was drafted into the NFL and played a couple of seasons for the Denver Broncos and then a year for the New York Jets before being released on waivers. He was on his way to becoming a distant memory until he was picked up by the New England Patriots. What will people remember him for?  

With great faith and opportunity to share in the public arena comes great controversy. People have hated Tebow for no good reason except that he is a Christian. Others have looked for opportunities to destroy him. I doubt that history will paint him as a spectacular football player, but there is no doubt in my mind he will take the accolades of his Lord and Savior in heaven over any applause on a football field full of cheering crowds and sports pundits. Any six foot four athlete who openly admits he is a virgin and touches the lives of cancer-stricken children in the hospital is a hero in my book. He financially supports a foundation to help orphans in the Philippines where his family once served as missionaries.

I have no idea what else he does, but I know he is not covering the pages of those gossip magazines with unseemly stories. If he was living that kind of life, the whole world would know about it. Satan is alive and well, seeking to devour those who give in to the temptations of the flesh. Tim Tebow’s road has not been easy. He has been scoffed and ridiculed, but through it all, as of this writing, he has walked the straight and narrow path of his convictions.

My point is this:  You can do it. You can be like Tim Tebow or you can be like Lindsay Lohan, or somewhere in between. Be careful, however, about the “somewhere in between.” God doesn’t have good things to say about lukewarm people. In Revelation 3:16, Jesus said, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

You must be sold-out to Jesus Christ. You will not have the strength and endurance to overcome the temptations that your sinful nature will crave if you don’t. Satan and his demons are relentless. You can’t win this battle without becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. Being a fan of Jesus Christ is not sufficient. You will lose every single time. My mother used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions aren’t good enough. You need the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you to win the battle of sex and purity.

If you have messed up in this area, there is healing. There is forgiveness, there is redemption, and there is restoration; but there is also pain that comes with all of that work to fix things. Fortunately God is in the business of healing broken lives and offers forgiveness. But He doesn’t always remove the consequences of our poor choices. If you get a veneral disease, you will suffer. Those sores hurt. Herpes is ugly. Aids kills. What about if you get pregnant?

Do you want to put yourself in that situation? Do you want to have to explain to your future husband or wife about your sins from the past?

I Corinthians 10:30 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

That brings me comfort, knowing that there is nothing that Satan and his demons can send my way that God won’t provide a way of escape. Do everything you can to flee from evil. Don’t go to those internet sites. Don’t tempt yourself. Don’t put yourself into a compromising situation that you might regret later.

Remember, God loves you. You are His. Keep yourself pure for your future husband, and, above all, for yourself. Stolen fruit may taste good for the moment, but later, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Someone once said to me, “A moment of pleasure is not worth a lifetime of regret.” That person should have heeded his own advice. It was my ex-husband who told me that before he got his girlfriend pregnant—eight years into our marriage. His foolish mistake shattered me and destroyed our marriage.


Your sin in this area won’t just affect you. It will affect others—often tragically. Walk away—actually, flee. Get out of there. Ask yourself, what would Jesus want me to do in this situation? And then do it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Quick and Easy Recipes for Home-Schooling Families





BLACK BEAN TACO SALAD

2 cans (15 ounces each) of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (2 ¼ ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 ½ cups)
4 medium green onions, chopped
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups chopped spinach (6 ounces)
Nachos

Mix beans, olives, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and cilantro in large bowl.
Mix lime juice, cumin, and pepper. Toss with bean mixture. Add spinach and mix. Crumble a handful of nachos and sprinkle on top.




      BLACK BEAN TACO SALAD

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King
Civil Rights Leader and Christian Author






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