What I Do Is Not Who I Am

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Genesis 1:26 (NIV), “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.””

We all have something that we do. I sew, crochet, and love to read. My husband is handy with any tool, can fix everything from cars to blenders. I write, he runs a splitter at a plastics factory. I have a friend who is a nurse and one who makes jewelry. These are all things we do. We also tend to have some bad habits like leaving the toilet seat up, putting off chores, watching too much TV, or spending too much time on the computer. All of these things I have mentioned, both good and bad, both helpful and harmful, are only things that we do. They are not who we are!

In the world we live in people frequently ask this question, “What do you do?” I am aware that they are referring to our line of work; however we have adopted the answer to this question as our identity. People say, “I am a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, a childcare provider, etc.” Then those same people have an identity crisis when it comes to knowing who they are. There has been some work in trying to get past this issue. You can watch people, especially cute little children, on YouTube saying things like, “I am strong,” “I am gifted,” “I am healthy,” and so on. All good things. What we think about ourselves is important. Yet, am I just that list of character traits? God has a call on each life. He has a purpose and a plan for them that will benefit their own lives and those around them. Some are called to be doctors, to take care of children, or to run a business. Those are specific calls. Before we can even begin to walk on that chosen path, we have to surrender ourselves to Him. Then, after we find ourselves (by acknowledging our need for Him as our Heavenly Father) then we begin this journey.

Each one of us also has a general call on our lives. It includes many aspects of being a child of God, but today I am focusing on this one.

“Our general, primary call is to be Christ like.”

Romans 8:29 (HCSB), “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

First, before anything else, we need to be like Him.

That’s who we are not something we do.

Then we go into the world, on our jobs, doing those things that we do, and we represent Him. We show the world what He looks like, how He loves them, and what it means to belong to the Family of God. We love, first each other, and then those who haven’t joined our family yet.

I John 4:17 (ISV), “This is how love has been perfected among us: we will have confidence on the day of judgment because, during our time in this world, we are just like him.”

His love is perfected, made perfect, in us during our time in this world. We can be confident! Of what? That we have been conformed to His image and that we are just like Him.

When we walk on this earth just like Jesus did, things happen. Lives are changed. Nations are humbled. Peter tells us what happens when we set our hope on the grace that came through the revelation of who Jesus is.

I Peter 1:13-22 (ESV), “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”

Will we do everything right? Heck no. Does it matter? Not a bit.

Learn from your mistakes, stay humble (teachable), repent when needed, and move on. It will take the family of God to change the world. Jesus already gave us everything we needed to do this. Let’s get moving.

Book Review “The Oneness Cycle Series”- Christian Fiction

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About the Books: Book One- “When Tyler fishes the girl out of the bay, he thinks she’s dead. She wishes she was. For Reese, life ended when the supernatural entity called the Oneness threw her out. For Tyler, dredging Reese out of the water means life is nothing he thought. In a world where the Oneness exists, nothing looks the same. Dead men walk. Demons prowl the air. Old friends peel back their mundane masks and prove as supernatural as angels. The Oneness changes everything. And getting Reese home, making her One again, will change Tyler–and his roommate, Chris, whose connections with the Oneness have been buried most of his life–forever.”

Book Five: “When the battle with the hive ended in flames, the village Oneness expected to pick up life where they left off.
But fire does not leave anyone unscathed. Haunted by images of the fire and desperate to know the truth about her destiny, April wrestles with inner demons that threaten to cut her off from those she loves most. Meanwhile, Andrew Hunter faces the reality of life with a wife and daughter he does not know–a wife whose resurrection has made her more than a stranger to him.
Six hundred years before, Teresa is equally embattled as questions of life, death, and revelation bring her to the edge of the greatest war of all: the war for humanity’s soul.
As their stories converge, the Oneness across the ages must press into the Spirit they hardly know, with only one certain promise: From the ashes, truth will rise.”

My Review: I received the first two books as a gift and right of the bat knew this was some good writing. The characters are fleshed out and flawed, just the way I like them. Though at first I struggled with talk of “the Spirit” and nothing about God, Church, or Jesus. So I read the information about the author and ordered (paid for) the rest of the series. I am glad I did. The books unveil more about where their power comes from and how the enemy got such a strong hold in some lives.

These remind me of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti’s writings. And now that I am finished with all five of them, I am sad to say goodbye to the characters I came to know. There is fighting (with demons) and some content that I think make these best suited to ages 16 and up. I do believe they are written for YA crowd, yet I m 52 and loved them. I give the complete series 5 stars.

About the Author:Rachel Starr Thomson is in love with Jesus and convinced the gospel will change the world.

Rachel is a woman of many talents and even more interests: she’s a writer, editor, indie publisher, singer, speaker, Bible study teacher, and world traveler. The author of the Seventh World Trilogy, The Oneness Cycle, and many other books, she also tours North America and other parts of the world as a speaker and spoken-word artist with 1:11 Ministries.

Adventures in the Kingdom launched in 2015 as a way to bring together Rachel’s explorations, in fiction and nonfiction, of what it means to live all of life in the kingdom of God.

Rachel lives in the beautiful Niagara Region of southern Ontario, just down the river from the Falls. She drinks far too much coffee and tea, daydreams of visiting Florida all winter, and hikes the Bruce Trail when she gets a few minutes. A homeschool graduate from a highly creative and entrepreneurial family, she believes we’d all be much better off if we pitched our television sets out the nearest window.

LIFE AND WORK (BRIEFLY)
Rachel began writing on scrap paper sometime around grade 1. Her stories revolved around jungle animals and sometimes pirates (they were actual rats . . . she doesn’t remember if the pun was intended). Back then she also illustrated her own work, a habit she left behind with the scrap paper.

Rachel’s first novel, a humorous romp called Theodore Pharris Saves the Universe, was written when she was 13, followed within a year by the more serious adventure story Reap the Whirlwind. Around that time, she had a life-changing encounter with God.

The next several years were spent getting to know God, developing a new love for the Scriptures, and discovering a passion for ministry through working with a local ministry with international reach, Sommer Haven Ranch International. Although Rachel was raised in a strong Christian home, where discipleship was as much a part of homeschooling as academics, these years were pivotal in making her faith her own.

At age 17, Rachel started writing again, this time penning the essays that became Letters to a Samuel Generation and Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord’s Prayer.

In 2001, Rachel returned to fiction, writing what would become her bestselling novel and then a bestselling series–Worlds Unseen, book 1 of The Seventh World Trilogy.

A classic fantasy adventure marked by Rachel’s lyrical style, Worlds Unseen encapsulates much of what makes Rachel’s writing unique: fantasy settings with one foot in the real world; adventure stories that explore depths of spiritual truth; and a knack for opening readers’ eyes anew to the beauty of their own world–and of themselves.

In 2003, Rachel began freelance editing, a side job that soon blossomed into a full-time career. Four years later, in 2007, she co-founded Soli Deo Gloria Ballet with Carolyn Currey, an arts ministry that in 2015 would be renamed as 1:11 Ministries. To a team of dancers and singers, Rachel brought the power of words, writing and delivering original narrations, spoken-word poetry, and songs for over a dozen productions. The team has ministered coast-to-coast in Canada as well as in the United States and internationally.

Rachel began publishing her own work under the auspices of Little Dozen Press in 2007, but it was in 2011, with the e-book revolution in full swing, that writing became a true priority again. Since that time Rachel has published many of her older never-published titles and written two new fiction series, The Oneness Cycle and The Prophet Trilogy.

Over 30 of Rachel’s novels, short stories, and nonfiction works are now available in digital editions. Many are available in paperback as well, with more released regularly.

The God she fell in love with as a teenager has remained the focus of Rachel’s life, work, and speaking.

Do What You Can

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Mark 14:3-9 (NIV), “While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

This woman did what she could for Jesus. To some it seemed a waste, to Jesus it meant everything.

I read the story of Fanny Crosby who was blind from shortly after birth and she wrote over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs. Her personal life wasn’t great, marital rift, death of her only baby, and living destitute in the slums. Yet, at age 60 dedicated her life to serving in Rescue Missions. She wrote “Blessed Assurance” and “To God Be the Glory.” Her tombstone read: “Aunty Fanny, She hath done what she could.” Her songs are still blessing people today.

Then there is Irena Sendler, a Polish nurse who smuggle over 2,500 babies out of Warsaw ghettos during Hitler’s reign. She used her imagination smuggling them out in suitcases, mechanics tool boxes, and even coffins. Keeping detailed information of where she put each child, she did what she could to reunite the families after the war. She couldn’t stop the war, but she didn’t let that stop her from doing what she could.

Victoria Soto, hid her students during the school shooting at Sandy Hook, and died protecting them. This teacher couldn’t save the whole school, or even her own life, but she did what she could.

What about Jael, in the Bible. Sisereas was attacking Israel and Deborah and Barak were leading the charge against him. They finally got him on the run and this unknown, unimportant woman invited Sisereas into her tent. When he asked her for water, this smart woman gave him warm milk, hid him under some blankets and when he dozed off drove a tent peg through his temple. In those days women didn’t go to battle. It was already a miracle that Deborah was along for the ride. (Judges 4) Yet this one woman won the war. She did what she could.

There are literally millions of stories about people who changed the world, or changed a life, by their actions. Most didn’t plan to do it, but when the opportunity came, they took it. Had Irena Sendler rescued only one or two children, her accomplishment would have been no less. If you have ever read Chicken Soup for…they are filled with stories of people who did small things and changed lives.

Sometimes the battle looks too big, circumstances huge, and like there is no way one person can help.

This unknown author says, “Instead of doing nothing because I am overwhelmed, today I will do something, even if it is small, because it will be one step closer to the goal.”

Mother Theresa said, “In this life we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

I love J.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. One of my favorite saying from Gandalf is this one, “Some believe that it is only great power that an hold evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found. I have found it is the small things. Everyday deeds, by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness away.”

Think about that. Kissing our kids goodnight, giving someone a ride to church, smiling at the girl in the checkout, leaving a larger than expected tip at a restaurant, reading your bible, not letting the world get you down, or laughing and sharing a meal with friends. These things are the opposite of darkness, and when we do them the light of His love drives the darkness away.

Our society is obsessed with long life and anti-aging, but it isn’t the duration of a life that matters, it is the donation!

Luke 16:10 “”Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

If we are faithful in these little things, God may use us in a big way, or He may just want us to keep heaping up these little things until they are all one big thing. My father-in-law loved to find pennies. He never did the “lucky penny” thing, but he would smile put one in his pocket and say, “pennies make dollars!” Small things turn into big things!

Can you share a meal, sew on a button, make a cake, babysit for a friend, spend some time in prayer, donate some time at school…?

Do what you can!

Blog Tour for “The Make-ahead Kitchen”- cookbook

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What the books about: Skip the hassle of last-minute meals and leftovers and replace them with simple, healthy, delicious, and easy-to-prepare make-ahead dishes! Your family will love these comfortable meals, new favorites, cozy drinks, and tantalizing desserts–all of them prepared ahead of time so you don’t have to worry! Enjoy simple, soul-filling foods without the chaos of preparing them at the last minute.

My review: I was given a copy of “The Make-ahead Kitchen” by Annalise Thomas in exchange for an honest review. I love cookbooks and was thrilled to get a copy of this one. Recently I have been doing some freezer meals and trying to save some prep and cooking time. This cookbook fit the bill. Though it isn’t all freezer meals that you put in a bag and pull out later, there are recipes that freeze well, some you make the night before, and some that are just plain time saving. The recipes are easy to follow, the ingredients are normal pantry items, and the pictures are enticing. The author gives her tricks of the trade and even explains her measuring methods.

About the Author: With 4 kids, a large extended family, and a passion for feeding others, Annalise is no stranger to finding ways to simplify life in the kitchen. There is nothing that makes her happier than hearing from someone who was once intimidated in the kitchen “I made this! It was great, and now I’m feeling more confident in trying more homemade recipes!”

Annalise spends her time in the kitchen and exploring the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington, where she lives, with her family. If you want to find her, look in her kitchen, or at one of the many beautiful beaches nearby watching her children play and combing for beach glass!

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Blog Tour for “The Time Key”

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About the book:
A simple act of kindness hands Stanley the ability to time travel. But to fully understand this power, he needs to find a mystical seer a hundred years in the future!

My Review: I loved this book. It was a touching story of one mans search for redemption. The characters are fleshed out and the story is well written. There is the whole time traveling aspect, as well as some characters from other dimensions, some are sweet and others are not. I give it five stars. There is no swearing or sexual content, there is some mild violence. Suited for teens and up. I will be looking for more from this author. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:
Melanie Bateman was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the United States at age nine. She has an associate’s degree in fine art from Utah Valley University, emphasizing in illustration. From a very young age she’s had a passion for drawing, specifically nature and the human figure. It is from this creative look on the world that she began to write stories.

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Two New Books

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I have recently released two new Devotionals. “Higher Up” will be the last of the “Walking With God” series.  “Look Up” is a short 21 day devotional to get your focus back on God. They are both available on Amazon, paperback and kindle version. “Higher Up” is also available on smashwords in every possible digital version available. Of course if you would like a signed copy, just let me know.

Higher Up Paperback

Higher Up Kindle

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Look Up Paperback

Look Up Kindle

Not currently available on smashwords