What Is Your Bait?

Romans 4:2 (BSB), “Or do you disregard the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?”

Matthew 4:19 (NIV), “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

If we look at these two scriptures it is clear that Jesus want us to be a witness to people. He wants out lives to be a shining example of the Father’s love and goodness. Why? Because people will see how kind and caring He is and want what we have… the love of a Father.

If we think a minute about fishing in the natural. We find out what fish like to eat and then we “bait” our hook or traps with it.

We don’t fish with a frying pan.

Neither can we “catch” converts by telling them they are sinners and treating them like they are sub-par to us (Christians).

The end of that fish may very well be the frying pan, yet we don’t show them one and expect them to want to get on the end of that hook. They are gonna run from us.

If we spout hell and damnation to the lost… yep, they’ll run.

The goodness of God turns hearts to Him. Is He good? You bet. Has He been good to you? Tell someone.

That folks is our bait.

Come Home

Art work by Charlie Mackesy

Luke 15:20 (Berean Study Bible), “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still in the distance, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

In Luke 15 we can read about a man that had two sons. The younger wanted his share of the inheritance before his father had passed. This can tell us a lot about this young man. Normally an inheritance isn’t given until there is a death. In those days the oldest son got a double portion and it is possible he resented this. People who dream of getting their inheritance early usually dream about losing the person early. But this man begs his dad to give it to him now. He was tired of working his father’s land, he was tired of being the second son, and he obviously didn’t respect his father.

The father, in his love, gives the son all that is due him. What does this selfish son do? He leaves everything behind, the work, the family, his social standing, his home. Then he proceeds to fulfill every lust of his flesh. When you have a lot of money, people suddenly want to be your friend. When you are “paying for the next round” or drive the fancy car with all the bells and whistles, when you throw your money around like it will never run out, people use you.

Before long, this young man who was always provided for, who had a family and a home, had an inheritance waiting, had absolutely nothing, and because he had run so far from it all, he found himself alone and starving.

Good thing he finally “came to his senses”. He remembers how good it was back home, he thinks about how his father even treated the servants pretty darn good. It took all of this for him to realize dad wasn’t such a bad guy after all, and his life was a whole lot better than it was at the end of the rope. He began to miss his old life and says to himself:

I will get up and go back to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ (Luke 15:18-19)

Then while he was way down the driveway his father sees him. That means dad’s been watching and he can recognize this son he loves from even very far away. Does he wait for the prodigal to come to him with his tail between his legs, rehearsing the “did you learn your lesson” speech? Nope, he runs to his son and kisses his neck. To this father, it’s like his son had returned from the dead.

What a love. I want that kind of father, don’t you? Well, it’s time we “came to our senses” as well. We have that Father. He recognizes us better than anyone, He is looking for us to come up the drive, He is ready to give us a party in Heaven. He loves us no matter how we have behaved, disrespected, and squandered what He has already given us. He loves you!

Won’t you come home?

Book Review for “The Return of the Guardian King” Series- Christian/fantasy

About the books: “Book 1 of Legends of the Guardian King which follows the life of Abramm Kalladorne in his turbulent search for truth and self–a search that will transform him from a sickly, head-in-the-clouds youth to a legendary hero of strength and courage. Set in a world of swords and cloaks, of glittering palaces and mystical temples, of galley ships and ancient, mist-bound cities, his journey illustrates how God pursues and how He uses suffering to mold His children into something greater than was ever thought possible.”

My review: The whole series is great! “Light of Edion”, the first book, I read years ago. I don’t remember thinking it was so great, but I had just read Hancock’s  “Arena” and it was a totally different genre (Sci-fi, which I loved). So I re-read the first one again, and just loved it. I borrowed the next two from the library and ended up purchasing the forth from Amazon, because I had to know the end! Great writing, and it goes to prove that an author isn’t stuck in one genre. Hancock has written two Sci-fi (Arena and Enclave), both were great, and this epic fantasy of four books, Light of Edion, Shadow Within, Shadow Over Kiriath, and Return of the Guardian King. I hate to say good bye to the characters. However, like Lord of the Rings, or the Narnia series, I will probably be reading these again. My rating is 5/5 stars. There is no swearing, implied sexual content, between married couples, there is some violence. I can recommend for teens and up.

 

 

 

 

Ever Onward- Originally Posted March 26th

Philippians 3:12-14 (BSB), “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been perfected, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.”

Life can be tough, struggles long and hard, but as long as we don’t sit down or back up, we are constantly moving through these situations. Going through is the key. Pressing toward the goal is what Paul calls it. Something we always have to remember to do is to forget the past. Forgetting the old struggles, pain, hurts, failures, bad choices, mistakes, and sin. Forget about it. It’s ok to remember God’s goodness, deliverance, and love through those things, but don’t dwell on the ugliness, but on the beauty. He loves you!

We never get to say, in this life anyway, “I did it. I am perfect.” Paul had it right. We haven’t yet obtained perfection. However, instead of saying, “I never will” he pressed on. Ever onward. Forward march. Wagon’s hoe. Forget that your best friend just buried an ax in your back, that your spouse gambled away the house payment, that you fell off the wagon, again. Remember God will give you the strength to take that next step forward. Sure your knees might be knocking louder than a drum solo on a cyberpunk song, but so what! Take that first step toward better, toward sanity, toward, provision, health, deliverance, toward Him! It gets better, this too shall pass.

Grab your boot straps, quite like a man, stand firm in your faith, if you feel lacking in the faith department, ask God to help your unbelief. He is faithful even when we aren’t. There is always hope and help! Stop complaining, blaming, and making excuses. You choose to live different. You choose to let God mess with your life. He will work for you! He is able!

Take that first step and when you are weary take the next one. When you want to sit down, stand up. When you want to give up, give in to Him. Move forward. Walk on!

Ever onward. Let this be your mantra.

Book Review for “The Noble Fugitive” – Christian Historical Fiction Romance

What the books about: Heirs of Acadia Book 3- Serafina, daughter of a Venetian merchant prince, is desperate to be reunited with the dashing tutor her father banished. As her family sets sail for America, she secretly abandons ship. Alone in England, she finds herself as a lowly chambermaid. A world-weary ship captain is also forced to seek refuge, hiding from henchmen determined to silence his shocking revelations about the slave trade. The lives of these two characters become intertwined, and a place that once seemed only a dreaded detour becomes a sacred venue for the unveiling of God’s Providence.

My Review: This is book three of the Heirs of Acadia series. I really liked the very first book. It is written about a time in history that I always found interesting. Book two was still good, but in my opinion not as good as the first one. So when book three came around I waited. Then about two chapters in I was hooked. I thought it was the best so far. This one adds some new characters to the series and takes place mostly in America during slavery. The main characters are fighting to free those who have been in chains.  I am loving this series. Christian Historical Fiction at it’s best. I give it five stars.

 

Book Review for “Fatemarked”-Fantasy

What the book is about: In the spirit of fantasy epics like George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, The Fatemarked Epic promises immaculate world building, an ancient prophecy, a mysterious source of magic, interesting characters, war, political intrigue, and romance.

The Hundred Years War has ravaged more than three generations of kings, queens, and citizens across the Four Kingdoms. Corrupt rulers dominate. Religious intolerance runs rampant. The cycle of vengeance continues to turn with the seasons.

An ancient prophecy by a legendary oracle has been long forgotten. The prophecy promises the return of peace to the Four Kingdoms on the backs of a chosen few, the fatemarked, individuals marked at birth and blessed with specific magical powers. One shall be the Kings’ Bane, and will bring death to the warmongering rulers, using fear to force peace; another shall be the Peacemaker, bestowed with the rare ability to heal. Opposite sides of the same coin, dark and light, death and life, the Kings’ Bane and the Peacemaker are responsible for the fate of an entire continent.

As they fight to achieve their destinies, adversity will hinder them in every realm: in the frozen north, assassination attempts and a brutal power struggle; in the holy west, a vicious queen and her self-righteous army of warriors; in the mysterious iron-clad forest of the east, revenge and glory rule the day; and in the southern empires of Calyp and Phanes, maturing dragons, slaves, and a civil war.

To truly fulfill the oracle’s prophecy of peace, both the Kings’ Bane and the Peacemaker, as well as the other fatemarked, will need to overcome those who seek to destroy everything in their pursuit for power.

 

My Review: I am a huge David Estes fan so of course I joined his mailing list to hear about all of his new books. In one mailing he was giving away some ARC copies of his newest book. Most of his books, and my favorites are dystopian for YA. “Fatemarked” is the first in a series of epic fantasy. I entered the drawing and won a copy. I was a little nervous due to the different genre of this one. I so loved it! I do enjoy a good fantasy and this one does not disappoint. One of the things I like about Mr. Estes’ writing is he has a tongue in cheek type of humor. He understands people and relationships. So my rating is a strong five star. I can recommend for teens and up. Now I have to try and be patient for the next one.

 

 

About the Author: Get the David Estes Starter Library (FOUR books!) for FREE when you sign up for his mailing list: http://s.privy.com/0yzhuRA

David Estes has written more than 20 science fiction and fantasy books. He has a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), is a mad-skilled ping-pong player, an obsessive Goodreads group member, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table. He loves chatting with his readers, all of whom he considers to be his friends. David lives in Hawaii with his beautiful Aussie wife, Adele, his asthmatic cat, Bailey, and his rambunctious son, Beau.

 

Get your copy: Here

 

The Delivery Business

Colossians 1:13 (Weymouth New Testament), “It is God who has delivered us out of the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us into the Kingdom of His dearly-loved Son,”

God is in the delivery business. I know, in the past I have said that He is in the “Family business: saving souls” but this is still a branch of the family business!

We recently started a business of our own. We specialize in expedited (you needed it there yesterday) delivery. People contact us because they have a load that the customer wants ASAP and we can get it there fast in our little sprinter van. So maybe I have had delivery on my mind. However, the month of January our church always goes on a corporate fast (and prayer time). During one of those times of praying and listening, this thought popped into my head, “God is in the delivery business” followed by this scripture in Colossians. Soon I couldn’t even stop the thoughts that bombarded me. I am going to share a few.

God has delivered me!

Out of darkness and into the light. II Corinthians 5:1 (NIV), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

From my past. “Philippians 3:13 KJB), Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”

From fear. I John 4:18 (NASB), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

From sickness (including tumors, anxiety, and some ugly stuff you don’t want to hear about.) I Peter 2:24 (NIV), “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

 

God has delivered to me:

Forgiveness. I John 1:19 (KJB), “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Blessings. Ephesians 1:3 (NASB), “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”

Mercy. Jude 1:2 (NLT), “May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.”

 

Grace. I Corinthians 15:10 (NIV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

Wisdom. James 1:5 (KJB), “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

I am sure there is more to be found. I sure love to think of the Father hand delivering all of these wonderful things to me. A personal gift. Free of charge.

Now, our company, JW Expedited LLC, delivers for money, our purpose and motivation is to please the customer so that we get paid well.

God’s motive? Love.