Friday, May 30, 2014

I DON’T WANT TO FORGIVE, Devotional by Lorilyn Roberts, from "Am I Okay, God?"

I DON’T WANT TO FORGIVE




Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
—Matthew 18:21-22


Everyone agrees forgiveness is something we should do until we are confronted with the unforgiveable.


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

I stood frozen as if shot with a stun gun. How could he be here? Memories hijacked me—the curse he put on me two years ago, the attack in the hallway, shaming me with the worm, and all the things too numerous to mention. He had made my life hell. I hated him. How dare he follow me here! I began to hyperventilate, feeling my way behind me with my hands.
“Don’t come near me or I’ll kill you.”

—Shale Snyder and Judd Luster, chapter twelve

*~*~*~*~*~*

Did Shale have the “right” to hate Judd? After all, he had tried to put a curse on her when she was young, physically attacked her in the hallway at school, and bullied her relentlessly.

How about Judd? Was he justified in how he treated Shale? Shale had hurt Judd when she accidentally killed his puppy. Do two wrongs make a right?

I have been a Christian since I was twelve years old. At thirty I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ when I read the book of Romans in the New Testament. My desire to read the Bible was prompted when my husband left me for another woman.

At the core of my struggle was the fact I didn’t want to forgive my husband. I wanted to hold on to my pain because it was familiar. I had been in a lot of pain for a long time. I didn’t know how I would live without him and I didn’t feel like he deserved to be forgiven.



Besides that, I was grieving. Emotionally I was too distraught to be rational about the concept of forgiveness. My sorrow was like a stranglehold, deep and relentless.

Once I realized I needed to forgive, I wasn’t sure I could. I’d died a thousand deaths and there was no way I could forgive anyone who had hurt me that badly.

Has someone done something to you and you can’t seem to let go? Have you ever done something to someone that caused that person immense pain?

Over the course of time, the raw memories will fade. The pain may ease, but will probably always be there. Despite the hurt, forgiveness brings acceptance and peace.

Hate is one of the strongest emotions of the human psyche. Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Shale’s hatred toward Judd  spilled out into other areas of her life, particularly in her relationship with God. She angrily blamed him for sending her broken toys, taking away her best friend, giving her parents who didn’t understand her and teachers who hated her. Most of all, she was angry at God for teasing her with a stray dog she couldn’t keep.

When you refuse to forgive, you harbor bitterness. You can’t compartmentalize your feelings. Being unable to forgive will eventually take over your entire personality. Have you ever met a vindictive or bitter person?

Thoughts, emotions, and actions will be affected. Just as cancer invades a person’s body, hatred knows no boundaries.

Preoccupation with hate can become a full-time job. It takes a lot of energy to stay angry—energy that could be used for more constructive purposes. Satan is the only winner when you refuse to forgive. Is your inability to forgive worth it?


Dear Jesus, I want to forgive, but I don’t know how. Help me to let go of my pain. Help me not to hate. Even if I were willing to forgive, it wouldn’t change what has already happened, but I don’t want to be separated from you. Please help me to forgive.




To read more devotionals like this one, get your copy of "Am I Okay, God?" at Amazon.

Monday, May 26, 2014

In That Moment - Guest Post by Estelle P Shrum

IN THAT MOMENT
~~Estelle P. Shrum






The moment you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior – was the exact moment you became righteous by God through the blood of Jesus Christ.

The moment you opened up your heart and mind to the “Son of God” you became redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

The moment you believed the Word of God you became a child of the King.

The moment you asked the Holy Spirit to enter into your life you were washed as white as snow.

The moment Jesus entered your heart you became a new creation of God’s elect.




That moment in time made all things new and your life was no longer yours.

That moment you were made reconciled by God through the sacrifice of Jesus.

That moment death no longer held you captive for eternity.

That moment all things were new.

That moment was not done by anything you did or didn’t do, but by grace.

That moment was because of the love of God’s Son dying on the cross.


That moment washed you, redeemed you, saved you, and made you righteous by your acceptance of Jesus Christ.

That moment changed your life, in all you do, in all you say, and all you are.

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Titus 2:14

*~*~*~*

Being born in the "Big Apple" New York City in 1946, Estelle P. Shrum was at the apex of the baby boomers.  She is a retired hospice nurse, Red Cross volunteer, and does health fairs. Ms. Shrum also volunteers for ESL, English as a second language, and volunteers at a food bank. 

Ms. Shrum says, "Everyone has a story to tell and my story has a compelling testimony of how you can come from a violent alcoholic family and still conquer all your fears, insecurities, and nightmares.  It was not an easy journey for me.  I had a real struggle with trusting anyone, especially God.  Then I had a divine encounter with the Almighty and I was never the same.  My whole purpose in life is to serve the Lord.  Praise God, indeed!"   


Estelle P. Shrum - Author He Is The Word 



Monday, May 12, 2014

WORLD BOOK BLOG TOUR - Christian Fantasy Author Lorilyn Roberts




The Author’s Writing Process and the Discovery of New Books
May 19, 2014 Stop

When Emma Right asked if I’d be interested in following her on the World Book Blog Tour, I thought this would be a fun way to share how different authors write. I am thankful for her invite and hope you enjoy my few comments. Perhaps I might inspire you to write or curl up with a good novel and enjoy the world of reading and writing books—of which there are never enough.

First, if you want to read about some previous bloggers on the tour, click on Emma Right’s blog here. She followed Diane’s blog which you can follow here. If you wish to go back further, you can visit Marion’s blog, who had tagged Diane.


WHO AM I?

I’m Lorilyn Roberts. My closest friends would probably describe me as the brave woman who went around the world and adopted two beautiful daughters as a single mother. Now that one daughter is almost raised and the other one thinks she’s raised (and I won’t say which is which), I have more time to write. I went back to school at an old age (but still young at heart) and received my Master of Arts in Creative Writing last year.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

I am 55,000 words into the first draft of the second book in my YA Christian Fantasy Series, Seventh Dimension - The King. The total length will be 65,000 words and I should finish The King in about a week.





HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?

First, I research. Second, I think. Third, I come up with the plot points – the beginning (problem), the middle (the process), and the end (the crescendo and the resolution).

After I do the above, I am assured I have a skeleton for a future book. Then I will use an online program called Hiveword Online Fiction Organizer
and James Scott Bell’s Knockout Novel aid. The two programs work in tandem and help me to organize my thoughts and begin writing. I think in terms of scenes and outline all my scenes first.

The Hiveword Organizer allows me to move the scenes around. It also has other features, options for multiple plotlines, character development, writing prompts (even suggestions for names if I can’t come up with one) and scene summaries that can be stored for future reference.

After my scenes are titled and loosely described, then I do more research for those I’m less sure about. I keep an excel file with a link to all the sites I visit that I might want to revisit when I actually write the scene. I will insert notes from the website into the scene organizer for quick reference.

Once I have all the characters, scenes, and plot lines developed, then I write each scene. This is when I add the spiritual component, foreshadowing, symbolism, emotion, et cetera. In other words, I give the scene life. A love scene is not like a rose by any other name. It’s my unique love scene. The protagonist is not just facing life or death—he must face other issues that will worry the reader, like honor, truth, and sacrifice. I raise the stakes. If I’m not engaged in the scene, I rethink it through or I remove the scene entirely.

I allow myself the option to change things, but more often than not, each scene I’ve outlined grows and becomes even more than what I meant it to be. Since I know where I’m going, I can work on the boundaries of the scene—how far can I go with this idea? I let my mind create, create, create. This is my favorite part of writing. I put no limitations on where my mind takes me.

Real change happens at the boundaries of life, and therefore, it should be that way in books. As God our Creator chisels away on our rough edges and refines us into the person He created us to be, I refine each scene (even in the first draft because I love to edit), and hopefully make each scene unique and memorable.

As an aside, I could never do the Nano Challenge. I can’t think in terms of outcome so early in the process—or worry about a word count. I enjoy the process of writing too much to rush it.

I do the actual writing in one of two ways, depending on my mood. I either type the words directly into Microsoft Word on my laptop, or if I want to write a lot of words in one day, I type the words directly on my stenograph machine and then make a text file and copy and paste it into Microsoft Word later.

I provide closed captioning for television and if I’m on the air several hours at a time, it would not be unusual to write close to 200,000 words in one day. Perhaps that sounds grueling but it’s not. When you are writing 200 to 250 words per minute, the words add up quickly. 

The stenograph machine works well for writing a lot of words in a short span of time, but if I have the time and luxury, I’d rather sit on the sofa in the living room and type on my laptop, drinking coffee. I enjoy the process of writing, particularly if I’m writing difficult description or an emotional scene. The stenograph machine is very mechanical,  too much like work, but it’s a nice way to get a lot of words written that I can edit later if feel like I’m getting behind in my word count—those days when I set one, which is not every day.

After the first draft, I will take a break for at least a few days to two weeks and then come back and edit. I love the editing process. I am surprised that most writers don’t, but my first draft of anything is so beneath what I’m capable of when it’s polished that I can’t wait to edit. I also belong to Word Weavers and will frequently take in scenes for critiquing.

The editing process takes longer for me than the first draft. After I’ve reached the point where I can no longer be objective, I’ll submit the manuscript to beta readers.

I’ll give the readers some general questions to answer based on what I feel might be weaknesses, confusing scenes, or some other point that’s important to me.

After I receive their responses, I’ll make changes. This can be quite time consuming, but this process is critical, especially for indie authors. Beta readers can take your “average” book and make it a “good” book or even a great book. I can’t imagine publishing a book and not having beta readers critique it first and tell me what needs to be fixed. At this point, I cannot be objective. I need readers to help me see any weaknesses, and I want that to happen before my book is published. One and two-star reviews can hurt a book’s future popularity. I don’t want those kinds of negative reviews because I was too much in a hurry and published my book before it was ready.

After I’ve gone through the beta process, I give a copy of my manuscript to my first editor who reads my book for content. After I make her suggested corrections, I then submit my book to a second editor who goes through the manuscript again. This editor also reads for content, but she focuses more on copyediting that has been missed. Things like leaving off a quote or having two periods at the end of a sentence.

Once I’ve finished this final edit (hopefully), I upload my specially formatted Mobi file to Amazon, but I don’t tell anyone. I want to download my book on my Kindle before anyone else. Sometimes I’ll find weird things, like a formatting error on the copyright page. You don’t want an error on that page screaming “amateur.”

Sometimes when I fix one thing, I inadvertently mess up something else. After all the work that’s gone into my book at this point, I want it perfect. I might do several uploads to Amazon before I announce my book’s availability. I usually raise the price when I first publish it, like to $9.99 – no one will buy my Kindle book at that price. Once I feel like everything is fixed that has been missed, then I will reduce the price to $2.99 and promote my newly published book. Then the real work begins. Marketing a book is much harder than writing it.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS?

I don’t know. I try not to compare myself with others. How similar or different my writing is from other authors is very subjective. Contemporary fantasy authors I like to read are Randy Alcorn and Lois Lowry. An Undiscovered Christian fantasy author who I like and predict someday will be well known is Janalyn Voigt. Classical fantasy authors I enjoy are C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien. My favorite book of all time is Pilgrim’s Progress. After reading books by these authors, I find myself admiring their talent—and inspired. I hope someday to write a book that will touch others the way their books have touched me.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I have a story to tell. The Bible says in Luke 19:37-40, as Jesus neared Jerusalem, the multitude of disciples rejoiced and praised God with a loud voice. When the Pharisees asked Jesus to rebuke His disciples, He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

If I don’t write, I will go to my grave with regret. I know God made me to write and writing draws me near to His presence. I must write or I’ll feel like I missed out on God’s perfect will for my life.

He has redeemed too much of my past not to share it—either through fiction or nonfiction. When God blesses us, He expects us to give those blessings away. If we don’t use the talents He gives us, He might take our gift or gifts and give them to someone else. I would hate to stand before my Savior and see His scarred wrists and confess, “God, it was too hard. It was too heavy a burden to bear.” Never! As long as I am breathing and not demented, I will write and share what God has done—through whatever story or means He imparts on my heart. Whether anyone reads my books is an outcome I don’t control. I can only control the process—writing, and that’s what I love doing most.

*~*~*~*

WHO IS NEXT ON THE WORLD BOOK BLOG TOUR?

 **

Please visit Robin Johns Grant and Katherine Harms on May 26, 2014, for the next stop on the tour.

Meet Katherine Harms: Katherine and her husband Larry live aboard a bluewater cruising sailboat and cruise the east coast and the Bahamas. It is the perfect writing environment. In 2008, she published Oceans of Love, a collection of meditations based on biblical texts that refer to oceans and water. That same year she wrote her first blog post. She experimented with varieties of blogging topics and blog hosting options. Currently she writes four blogs, of which Living on Tilt is the flagship.

Katherine has published articles in several magazines including The Lutheran, Christ in Our Home, Cruising World, and Living Aboard. Her only novel, Hannah’s Journal, won third place in the Christian Writers Guild’s First Novel Contest in 2004. Since that time, she has focused primarily on nonfiction. She also writes materials for worship and faith formation such as guides for worship, prayer vigils and Bible study.

In addition, she edits book-length manuscripts and provides mentoring for writers. Internet and phone services maintain her availability to her clients in most locations.
Katherine’s current work in progress is Thrive! Don’t Just Survive: a Guide for Christian Interaction with a Secular Culture.

**

Meet Robin Johns Grant: Robin Johns Grant has been writing for most of her life. In fact, she's been following her publishing dream so long that she crowned herself The Queen of Perseverance on her blog, where she encourages other weary dreamers.
While waiting for her writing to pay off, she wrote and edited university publications, managed an office for a firm of private investigators, and worked as a university financial aid counselor. She also did a lot of crazy fan stuff and developed fascinations with books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars, which helped her dream up Jeanine and Jamie for Summer's Winter.
With a degree in English and a mid-life crisis coming on, she returned to school and earned a master's degree in library and information science in 2005. She now has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.
Robin lives in Georgia with her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral feline, Mini Pearl. She is also surprised to find herself part owner of a wonderful pit bull puppy named Pete who showed up as a stray at her mom's house.