Monday, November 25, 2013

Do You Have Desires? From "Am I Okay, God?" by Lorilyn Roberts


                                

 

Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of the heart.

—Psalm 37:4


Have you ever wanted something and thought it would never happen, but then it did happen? God puts longings in our hearts so he can fulfill them.

 



*~*~*~*~*~

 

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

“Can you read that stuff?”

“Sure,” Rachel laughed. “But I don’t know what it means. You could too if I taught you.” Rachel flipped to the first page. “You start on this side.” Her finger pointed to a line of Hebrew and she ran her finger across the page from right to left.

“Really?”

“Yes.” Rachel giggled. “So who reads backwards, the English or the Jews?”

“I’d say the Jews. I can say that since I’m not Jewish, right?”

“Why not?”

“Writing would sure be easier if English were right to left. I wouldn’t smear my words.”

Rachel nodded. “I forget you’re left-handed. It’s crazy, isn’t it—like the Brits drive on the left side and we drive on the right.”

We walked for a while not saying anything. I glanced at my friend with her striking olive skin, almond brown eyes, and brown hair. “Do you like being Jewish?”

“Yes, I guess. I don’t know any different.”

“I wish I was Jewish.”

“Why?” Rachel asked.

“It would be neat to be able to say I was something.”

—Shale Snyder and Rachel Franco, chapter one

 

*~*~*~*~*~*

 

Oftentimes, we’re not aware of the depth of our longing until fulfillment. Then we realize, that’s what we wanted.

God fulfilled Shale’s longing by taking her to the homeland of the Jewish people. She met the king firsthand; not only that, she met a man with whom she fell in love.

When I graduated from high school, my senior class took a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. On the last night, the band played into the wee hours of the morning, like the band did on the Titanic the night it sank into the Atlantic. When the party began to wind down, the musicians started playing Jewish music. The tourists who weren’t Jewish cleared out and congregated around the edges of the dance floor to watch the Jews sing and dance.

What would it be like to be Jewish? I found it astounding that Jews from the entire world shared so much in common through their culture—their music, their dance, and their language.

The Jewish people have survived thousands of years of persecution in many countries and near annihilation in World War II. Yet they still make a joyful noise unto the Lord. More than that, my Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ, was Jewish. I cried in my heart, “I want what they have—I want to be part of something greater than myself. I want to be part of a spiritual family. I want to be Jewish!”

In early grammar school, I attended Margaret Mitchell School in Atlanta, Georgia. My classmates were predominantly Jewish—and wealthy. My Jewish friends faithfully attended Hebrew classes a couple of times each week. I felt spiritually deprived. My family wasn’t Christian or Jewish. What did that make me?

I sometimes wonder if I am Jewish and don’t know it. Names have been changed through the centuries, so it’s possible. Often when I am around Jewish people, my spirit quickens.

That night so long ago, as I watched the Jews celebrate, my eyes were opened to a spiritual and cultural relationship for which I longed.

Twenty-two years later, I had my opportunity. I was finishing my senior year of undergraduate studies and had an opportunity to travel to the Holy Land. While there, I scuba dived in Eilat, but I didn’t get to dance.

Then, one day I was sitting in the Jewish Student Center with a University of Florida student who was helping me with my Hebrew language class. Celebratory music wafted through the walls. I soon heard shouts and cheers.

My student friend paused and said, “Every Thursday night, all the Jewish students come here to Beth Hillel to dance.”


“Can anyone join them?” I asked

She replied, “I don’t see why not.”

Guess where I was the next week? I introduced myself, made it clear I wasn’t Jewish, but I loved Jewish music. For the next few years, every Thursday night, I danced with my Jewish friends. Only when the rabbi and his talented wife/teacher moved away did my Jewish dancing end.

Sometimes when we want something that’s worthy of God’s love, he gives us more than we ask because he is a God of love.

 

 
 

Thank you, Jesus, for answered prayers. And those that you don’t answer the way I had hoped, thank you that you know what’s best for me. Help me to know myself the way you know me. Help me to give you my desires so that you can sanctify them for your glory. Amen.

 

 


 

 



Friday, November 22, 2013

What About Me God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension



When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
—John 21:21



You’re unique. If you were the only person God created, he would have sent Jesus to die for you. God has given you many talents. These gifts were not given to make you great or famous. They were given to you for one purpose: to glorify God.

*~*~*~*~*~*

From Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy:
Why would the king want to heal him? My life hadn’t changed. What about me? A voice spoke to me, “Don’t let others steal your joy. Don’t be jealous of others or concerned about not receiving their blessing. Think about the good things the king has given you.”

—Shale Snyder, chapter thirty-two

*~*~*~*~*~*

Instead of comparing yourself to others, thank God for the blessings he has given you. Envy is considered one of the seven deadly sins. A person consumed with jealousy is angry and dangerous. Covetousness kills—more than once I have captioned the news where a person was murdered by a maniacal person filled with rage, often fueled by jealousy.

Someday all the material possessions we claim we can’t live without will come to an end. Hollywood stars decked out in glittery jewelry will be long forgotten. So will worldly fame and fortune. Heaven has no need of those things. In fact, gold is so “worthless” that the streets of heaven are paved in it.
Will you be there? Remember: God doesn’t create junk—he creates beauty—despite the sin that so easily entangles. That’s why we need to be redeemed.

Do you know who you are in Christ? Have you forgotten something God did for you? Have you taken your eyes off of the king of kings?

As long as you have a beating heart, you have time to change direction. Don’t delay. Today 150,000 people will die. You only have this moment, this second.  Act now.




Help me, God, to listen to that voice inside of me—to allow your joy to touch my soul and melt my hardened heart. Help me to see your face and let go of all that holds me back. Help me to know you more and more.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving me second chances and third chances and seventy times seventy chances. Thank you for never giving up on me—as your daughter, your son, your child. 







Am I Okay, God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension is only 99 cents November 22 through December 25, 2013, on Amazon Kindle.  Get your copy of this great devotional book for teens that accompanies the Seventh Dimension - The Door.









Thursday, November 21, 2013

Growing Faith, Stories with a Message for Today's Youth, edited by Cheryl Rogers



Excerpted from Chapter 2: Visit from God in Growing Faith: Stories with a Message for Today’s Youth. The short story is by Cheryl Rogers, who edited and compiled the short story collection encouraging young people to live for God.

Sara was in her new blue-and-white Sunday dress and white patent leather shoes, skipping on the clouds. In the distance there appeared to be an old man with white hair and a long white beard, sitting on a throne. As she approached, she stopped and stared. Who was this, she wondered.

As she stared, he noticed her and called to her. “Oh, there you are Sara, my dear. Come see me,” he said with a smile. His eyes seemed to be dancing.

Sara approached him slowly, wondering how he knew her name. “Who are you?” she asked quietly. “How did you know my name?”

He smiled even more broadly and seemed to stare right through to her insides. “Sara, I named you. I made you. How would I not know you?” He reached for her so he could boost her onto his lap.

She raised her hands toward him and he lifted her and placed her gently on his lap. “Now there, are you comfy?”

“Yes, sir,” Sara nodded.

“I am so glad you came,” he began softly. “I wanted to have a little chat with you.”

As Sara looked into his face full of love she was reminded of the jolly fat man who sat on a throne in the malls at Christmas time: Santa Claus. “Oh, I think I know who you are,” Sara began. “You’re Santa, right? Is this where I get to tell you the toys I want?”

He broke into hearty laughter. “Well, I don’t mind if you tell me about the toys you want,” he said. “But that’s not exactly what I had in mind. First, let’s talk about who I am.”

He seemed to caress Sara with his glance. “You are every bit as beautiful as I planned for you to be,” he said.

Sara squirmed.

“Do you know who I am?”

“No-oo,” Sara replied, shaking her head.

“I’m your father.”

“I already have a mommy and daddy,” Sara replied.

“Of course you do. I gave them to you. I am their father too.”

“So are you my grandfather?” Sara asked.

“Well, no, but you are getting the right idea,” he answered. “I am your spiritual father. I am the father of mankind – your father, your mother and father’s father, even your grandfather’s father.”

Sara’s face shined suddenly, with understanding. “You are God?” she asked. “God the father? Like in the Our Father?”

*****

A former newspaper reporter, Cheryl Rogers came to know the Lord as an adult through a devastating illness. When she surrendered her life to God, he healed her. Finally, she knew what she was supposed to write about.

Cheryl has since dedicated herself to spreading the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ. She writes both fiction and nonfiction for all age groups, but delights in telling stories to encourage young people to surrender their lives to God.
 

 

Growing Faith: Stories with a Message for Today’s Youth is Cheryl’s latest project. It is a compilation of six short stories from four authors, including Edith Edremoda, author of Entangled-The Path of Choice; David C. Russell, author of Winds of Change; Kim Leatherman, author of The Hapless Housewife blog; and Rogers, author of Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery. Growing Faith encourages young people to surrender their lives to God and do what he says. It is available from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GRB1UYG

 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Guilt - "Am I Okay, God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension"

 GUILT

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
—Romans 12:2


Guilt is feeling responsible for a wrong, real or imagined. If we have committed an offense against someone, the Bible tells us we need to go to that person and ask forgiveness.

*~*~*~*~*~*

From Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy:
After the accident, the closet became my friend. I wanted to avoid Judd, who came over to visit Chumana. She was not my sister but we lived together.
Guilt overwhelmed me.
—Shale Snyder, chapter one

*~*~*~*~*~*



Guilt will keep us from experiencing a close relationship with God. Sometimes it’s difficult to know if our feeling of guilt is justified. Satan wants us to feel guilty—all the time. As long as we feel guilty, we’re self-absorbed.



First, determine if the feelings are from God. Ask God, did I commit an offense against you or another person? Ask God to forgive you and/or help you to go to the person you offended and seek forgiveness.
 
In Shale’s case, she did something wrong. While she made a partial confession to Rachel, she never apologized to Judd.
 
The guilt grew and became like a cancer, allowing hate to fester until God miraculously healed her—when she confessed.
But suppose you are stricken with false guilt? Someone or something is making you feel guilty when you shouldn’t feel that way.
 
Guilt can draw you towards a loving God or drive you away. How does guilt affect you? If it’s making you feel distant, go to God.

 
Sometimes our pain is so great we can’t get past it without counseling. Find someone you can trust and talk to him or her. Have someone pray with you. God never intended for you to walk the Christian life alone. You have a whole body of believers who are the discerning eyes, the patient ears, the loving arms, and the caring souls who want to help you.
 
Remember, you have an enemy who wants to destroy. He is real and powerful, but God is more powerful than he is. Allow Jesus to take control of your life. Don’t give the devil a foothold, lest the small foothold on the side of the mountain becomes the whole mountain. Allow God to set you free from guilt. No sin is so great that God can’t heal you from its effects—and even use your story of redemption to glorify him.



Only you, God, can set me free from guilt. Please help me to accept your freedom, and to let go of those things that are not from you.
Help me to let go of false guilt and be set free to accept your forgiveness. Help me to be renewed and filled with your perfect peace.




Use a free QR code AP to watch on your iphone.









Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why Write a Book About Celibacy? Guest Post by Comedian Tranea Prosser


 

 

Deuteronomy 6:5

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

The topic selected me; it was not the other way around!  What do we hear stories about all the time today? There’s not much out there about self-love, that is for sure. I can count on one hand and not use all of my fingers how many people have mentioned that they are celibate and waiting on God to deliver their mates.  There must be a need to raise the topic so that people won’t feel guilty or pitted for their choices. I think Celibacy should be celebrated just like all other special days like your birthday, valentine’s, and anniversaries.  It is ok to celebrate yourself if you are celibate. I am having a time trying to type both words (celebrate and celibacy) on the same line! LOL!

You should celebrate celibacy because you are strong minded and focused on what you want. You are living with high standards that will make a person either mature or run off and leave you alone.  You are letting people know that you are serious about your life and livelihood. You have developed into a bold force to be recognized and respected . You can’t be easily fooled by people. Yes, you are worthy of celebration. Are you single and celibate? Have a glass of wine and kick your feet up.

Celibacy is a word that the church folk don’t hear from the pulpit. Practicing celibacy is honoring God with your body.  True Love Waits classes were not around when I was a teenager.  There aren’t any single’s conferences held in my state so I chose to be an encourager to any person of any age and gender who has made a commitment to God to remain chaste until they are married.  That’s what my book, Celibacy: What Was I Thinking?  is basically about.  It lists steps on how to begin and maintain the celibate lifestyle. It also shows you that being celibate is doable and it’s not a noose around your neck. Celibacy is not a bad word. But we can be a great supporter of each other in helping remember our first love and the promise we made to ourselves while living a celibate lifestyle.

Tranea Prosser is a comedian and author. Celibacy:  What WasI Thinking? Is her first publication. To find out more, visit her website at www.miztcomedy.com. 
 
 ~*~*~*~*
 
Ecclesiastes 3:1 states "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."

Among the 27 purposes listed is a "...time to laugh."  And so it is for audiences exposed to the comedy stylings of the fabulous Tranea Prosser aka MizT.  From her trademark opening dance routine, to her infectious laugh, MizT knows how to bring "the funny" with purpose, ferocity and freshness.

Until fairly recently, MizT’s "side-splitting" comedy routines was shared primarily with folks in Texas.  She is becoming a comic force as clips from her comedy album "Back at 'Ya Lord!" are now airing on Internet radio stations across America and overseas in London.

MizT is multifaceted; aside from her comedy, she's also a singer, along with being an accomplished MC.  She has published her first book, Celibacy: What Was I Thinking? In March 2013.


And her website www.miztcomedy.com