devotionals, spiritual

Notorious Bad Judgment

dandelion-stevepb-pixabay
Photo by stevepb @ pixabay.com

We humans are notorious for having bad judgment.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons Jesus told the parable of the weeds. In Matthew 13, Jesus tells the story:

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

We have an enemy (the devil) who is trying to destroy what God is doing. He is the one who sows the weeds in the owner’s field. The owner’s servants ask if they should pull up the weeds. What is interesting is the owner’s response:

Nope, he says. Don’t pull up the weeds, because you might pull up the good wheat along with the weeds. 

Friends, we need to get off the throne of judgment, because we cannot judge intelligently. We cannot know a person’s heart.  Think about Peter and the three times he denied knowing Jesus. Had God judged Peter for that one night, well, let’s just say the rest of the story would be drastically altered.  Peter was definitely not a weed to be pulled and burned up in the fire.

Humans are notorious for their bad judgment. So often we elevate and celebrate a “devil”, believing they are good. And then we condemn and criticize a “good person”, believing they are a devil.  In the past, the norm has been to protect our self and community from evil at all costs. But so often we have failed in our judgments, abusing those who are powerless. We judge those who are “less than” and give leniency to those in power.

Friends, we need humility in the face of our mixed-up churches, our mixed-up world. 

We need to learn to live with the Spirit of God flowing through us, leading us to have compassion on those who need us to share His grace and mercy. 

Let’s not judge. Leave it to God. 

**This post is taken from the notes I took from John Ketchersid’s sermon 2/17/2019.

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writing

First Line Fridays -The Deputy’s Holiday Family

First Line FridaysHere’s another First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books!  It’s a fun way to share good books and spread the love of words on the page.

I won this book from a Seekerville blog post by Mindy Obenhaus. While I haven’t read the book yet, it is next up in my TBR pile. It looks to be a fun holiday read:  The Deputy’s Holiday Family 

About the book:

thedeputysholidayfamily_mindyobenhaus

Lacie Collier is determined to give her niece, Kenzie, the best Christmas! But Lacie’s got her work cut out for her when they spend the holidays at her Christmas-averse mother’s home. With his focus on keeping his own mother’s holiday traditions alive, sheriff’s deputy Matt Stephens is surprised to see his old friend Lacie back in Ouray. He’s always regretted that their friendship became strained after he started dating her sister in high school. But it’s pure shock he experiences when he sees Kenzie, whose uncanny resemblance to Matt is undeniable. This Christmas will bring new memories for Lacie and Matt…if they can open themselves to the possibility of love.

First Line:

Coming home had never been so bittersweet.

flourishFirst Line Fridays_Hoarding BooksNow it’s your turn! Grab the nearest book (or the book you are reading) and share the first line in the comments. Then head over to Hoarding Books and check out the linky with more First Line participants. 

Have a great weekend!

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writing

First Line Fridays – Walking Shoes by Lynne Gentry

First Line FridaysHere’s another First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books!  It’s a fun way to share good books and spread the love of words on the page.

I have had this book on my kindle for over a year and embarrassed I haven’t read it yet. I’ve been told it is fabulous. Given that it is about a preacher’s wife, I can’t wait to dig in and see how much of it I can relate to. 🙂 The book is Walking Shoes by Lynne Gentry.

About the book:

walking shoes by lynne gentry

Sooner or later everyone encounters a fork in the road. When Leona Harper crashes into tragedy, the shocked pastor’s wife is forced to summon her estranged children home. But parenting young adults in this nosy, small, southern town may prove more difficult than reinventing herself. Determined to give her broken family a shot at a second chance, Leona begins to put one foot in front of the other. Reconciliation and healing won’t come easy in this zany, trouble-filled, walk-through-grief adventure. Tear-jerking candor. Fast-paced humor. Hope in the darkness. Fans of Jan Karon, Ann B. Ross, and Philip Gulley will enjoy exploring the dusty town of Mt. Hope. Escape into this delicious Mt. Hope Southern Adventure.

First Line:

“Living in the parsonage is not for sissies.” Leona Harper’s husband planted a kiss on the top of her head. “If you want to wear fancy red shoes, wear ’em, darlin’.”

flourishFirst Line Fridays_Hoarding BooksNow it’s your turn! Grab the nearest book (or the book you are reading) and share the first line in the comments. Then head over to Hoarding Books and check out the linky with more First Line participants. 

Have a great weekend!

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book review, giveaway

Review/Giveaway: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, Laurel’s Dream

A British Missionary Meets a Chilly Welcome in a Remote Appalachian Community. 

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About the book:

Laurel McAdams is well acquainted with trouble, but her dreams keep her hopeful that life can improve on her mountain in the Blue Ridge. Still, trouble does come in the form of an outsider.

Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins his uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination.

Faced with parents angry over his teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom

Journey into North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where a young woman’s dreams are held captive by rugged landscape and long-held traditions.

My thoughts: 

Pepper Basham has done it again! While I love her contemporary “kissing books”, I was captivated by this story set in the Blue Ridge mountains, rich with Appalachian culture and lore. From the quaint Appalachian speech to the lusciously painted setting, each page drew me into a world I’d never experienced, yet came to love.

This is one of the sweetest love stories I’ve read in a long time. Laurel is tenderhearted and kind while being amazingly strong in the face of difficult circumstances. Her wisdom and spiritual insight combined with her innocent faith make her a compelling character that you grow to love and want to protect. Jonathan is not unlike Laurel in his good-natured personality and innate sense of right and wrong. He, like Laurel, is a kind soul who learns to love the foreign culture of the mountains even though he is like a fish out of water.

The growth of Laurel and Jonathan’s friendship is sweet and delicately blooms into a  beautiful love that satisfying and very swoon-worthy. Yes, Pepper writes kissing scenes that rivals that of Julie Lessman.

I highly recommend this book to any reader of historical romance. It’s rich in history and culture while giving a fantastic romance that will put a smile on your face.

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I’m giving away a print copy of  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream! If you would like to enter, please leave a comment below.  Giveaway ends Friday at midnight. Winner will be drawn using random.org. Only US citizens eligible.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on it, you can purchase a copy HERE.

UPDATE: Winner of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge is:

Caryl Kane

book covers, books

Cover Reveal for Lord of Her Heart

cover reveal _lohh

Opening up my email and seeing the cover of my debut novel, Lord of Her Heart, has been one of the most exciting aspects of this publication journey. Yes, getting the contract was HUGE, but seeing the cover made it seem real. My book baby got all dressed up and looks amazing! I’m so excited to reveal the cover to you today!

Writing a romance set in the middle ages was such fun. Throwing Jocelyn, a high-born lady disguised as a boy, with Malcolm, a fierce knight looking to make a name for himself, ended up being more fun to write than I originally thought. While they both want the same thing – a sense of home and security – they must deal with their trust issues in order to work together to reach their goals.

Here’s a sneak peek at Lord of Her Heart‘s back cover copy:

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.

Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite
of her conniving ways.

Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only way either of them survives.

I gave my newsletter subscribers an early peek yesterday, but here is Lord of Her Heart‘s cover!

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I think Elaina Lee and the team at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas did a fabulous job. I love the way he is holding her, the sword in his hand, the purple-tinged mist and clouds, and the castle in the background. And check out that long name at the bottom of the cover! Somebody pinch me!

Lord of Her Heart is scheduled for release May 14, 2019.  You won’t miss it. I will be sharing more about it as the day draws near.

What do you think of Lord of Her Heart‘s cover?

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one word, personal, writing

My One Word for 2019

One Word 2019My One Word for 2018 was CULTIVATE. As I look back on what I wanted to cultivate last year, I’m amazed at how I was able to work on the different areas of my life, cultivating and growing those areas to where I was able to accomplish more than I thought possible. True, some of my ideas didn’t come to fruition, but I grew in my writing, my home, my relationships, and my beautiful garden. It was a good year.

As I prayed over what my word for 2019 should be, I kept seeing the word WHISPER show up in different writings I was reading. I thought that was a weird word to choose, but after many confirmations, it is the word I ended up with.

WHISPER:  to speak very softly using one’s breath without one’s vocal cords, especially for the sake of privacy.

VERSES FOR 2019: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you, a voice will say, “This is the way you should go”, whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 NLT

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I want to be still enough to quiet my soul from the world’s chatter so I can hear His whisper. I want to hear his directives for my life and step out in faith to follow Him wherever He leads.

I also want to whisper Him to everyone in everything I say and everything I do. I don’t want to shout about Him and turn people away. I want to whisper Him…a subtle thing…a tantalizing whisper that makes people lean in to hear.

One of the beautiful things about the word whisper is that you use your breath to speak. The English word ‘spirit’ comes from the Latin word ‘spiritus’, which means breath. The Spirit of God is the breath of God.

I want to feel God’s breath move over me…to know Him, experience Him. I want my words (spoken or written) to breathe His Spirit into all aspects of my life. I want to be fruitful for Him.

So that is my word for the year. Do you have a word for the new year? Resolutions? Goals? What are your hopes for 2019?

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books

My 2018 Book Challenge (Failure)

I had grand plans to read 40 books in 2018. Alas, I failed at reaching my goal. BUT…I’m choosing progress over perfection, so I am celebrating the fact I read 25 books during 2018. This was the year I got a publishing contract and spent months editing my manuscript. So, yes, I’m celebrating the books I read!

I keep track of my reading at Goodreads. You can check it out here.

2018 book challenge 12018 book challenge 22018 book challenge 3

Because I didn’t reach my 2018 goal, I decided to lower my expectations for 2019 and read 24 books. I want to read one non-fiction book on the craft of writing each month, as well as one fiction book a month. I’m sure I will surpass my goal, but that is much better than not meeting my goal.

Did you make reading goals for 2019? I’d love to hear!

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