Friday, February 27, 2015

Musings on First John (2:1-2)

Wordle: Musings
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

John says he’s writing to us so we will not sin and that’s a pretty awesome motivation, but I’m so glad he continues with “but if anybody does sin” because you know that’s inevitable. What do we do then? Call on the best defense lawyer ever: Jesus Christ. John tells us that Jesus will speak to the Father in our defense. What will he say? He’ll say he’s already paid the price for our sins. Notice that he’s also already paid for the sins of the whole world. The whole world! That includes the terrorists, every person in prison, every single person who has been born or ever will be born on this earth. What an unbelievably amazing gift, free to all, but accepted only by some.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Musings on First John (2:12-14)

Wordle: Musings
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

This is poetry. There is a rhythmic repetition as John gives his reasons for writing to you: children, fathers, young men, children, fathers, young men. He writes because your sins are forgiven, you know God, you've overcome Satan, you know God, you know Him, you are strong, God’s word (Jesus) lives in you, and (again) you've overcome Satan. John has quite a lot of style in his writing, doesn't he?

Musings on First John (1:5-10)

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

It is important to note that the apostle John makes it clear that this message is not his but Christ’s. And what is this message? God is light and we are to walk in this light. “Light” and “love” and “life” are key words in this short epistle. I took a highlighter to my Bible to emphasize these important concepts. Re-read verse 7 and consider the awesome promise there. Then do what it says in verse 9 — you don’t need to confess to a priest or anyone else, just confess to God and he will forgive you. It's pretty awesome to know you can be purified from all unrighteousness.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Musings on First John (1: 1-4)

Wordle: Musings
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

This short book was written by the Apostle John around A.D. 90 to refute the ideas of Gnosticism. The Gnostics denied Jesus’ deity. The first verse gives authority to John as an eye witness. Notice that he references the “Word” of life — in the gospel of John he begins by saying that the “Word” was with God, and the “Word” was God. Here he reiterates that fact with his own personal testimony. See how adamant he is? He has heard the truth, seen it, touched it and he now repeats that three times. Why is he so passionate in trying to convince the reader? He tells us in verse three: so that we may have fellowship with other believers and with God and Jesus. The word fellowship here is from the Greek “koinonia” meaning to have all things in common. The best part of my week is when I have fellowship with other believers. How about you?

Friday, February 6, 2015

How God Spoke Then, How God Speaks Now

This is pretty interesting. In the Old Testament God spoke mainly through the prophets, but he also used dreams, visions, angels, miraculous signs, and other ways. Most of the time each event was totally unique and unrepeated. So if you’re waiting to hear God’s voice in a burning bush (like Moses) or see fire flare from a rock and consume meat and bread (like Gideon), or hear a donkey speak (remember who?) it’s not going to happen again.

When Moses, Gideon, David, Noah, Abraham, Joseph and others heard from God they all were absolutely positive that it was God and they were absolutely sure of what He told them. Actually you can have a personal experience like those, but it will be unique to you. You will know it is God speaking (maybe through prayer, circumstance, another person, your Bible) and you will understand.

In the New Testament God spoke through Jesus Christ. Read the whole New Testament if you want to know what God said.

Today God speaks through His Holy Word, i.e. the Bible, and He also speaks through the Holy Spirit. If you’re looking for truth you won’t ‘discover’ it, instead God will ‘reveal’ it to you through His Word or through the Holy Spirit.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Honorable Disgrace - blog tour

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Hey, I'm helping an author friend of mine on the release of her new book Honorable Disgrace.

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Angie Adams joins the power-lifting team her junior year, but she has more in mind than just toning up—like getting closer to her crush, football star Cory Jacob, who, as luck would have it, is assigned as her spotting partner. When Angie’s feelings are unexpectedly returned, her life is suddenly filled with the giddy electricity of first love. But why, then, does Angie get a little flutter when her older and very hot boss, Brad, looks at her?

Angie seems to have everything going her way, until her world is torn apart by her sister’s betrayal which leads to a brutal rape.  Heartbroken and reeling in the aftermath, Angie has to find an internal strength to rival her record-breaking power lifts if she ever wants to feel worthy of love again.

Stephanie N. Pitman has taught preschool for over 12 years and is a motivated entrepreneur, currently operating two successful businesses with her husband, Travis. She writes fiction and nonfiction.

Her first novel, a YA Contemporary, Honorable Disgrace, is based on her own story of overcoming the ugly side of life, betrayal and rape. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and an active member of the SCBWI. Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years, and their two boys, visiting the beautiful splendor and diversity of their home state of Montana. Along with being an avid reader and dedicated writer, she enjoys pushing herself to her best by competing in triathlons, relay races, and half marathons. She is also a Zumba and Yoga Instructor.

You can find Stephanie on Facebook  , Goodreads, Twitter , Amazon and Pinterest.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

God's Nature, God's Law

I've said it before but it bears repeating: God is not our personal genie.

He loves us. It is His nature to do so. Within that love He disciplines us, passes judgment on us, and even shows His wrath against those who continue to sin and to rebel against Him.

If you really believe that God is perfect in His love for us then you must also believe that His will toward us is also perfect. God is omniscient (all-knowing), omni-present (is everywhere), and omnipotent (all-powerful).

When we hear words like commandments, laws, and judgments we naturally have a negative reaction toward them, yet we know those are the most necessary things in raising our own precious children. We are precious to God and He has put in place those ‘rules’ for our good. 

It is God’s nature to want the best for us, because He loves us. Do you want to know the real purpose of God’s laws? Here it is in the fifth book of the Bible:

“In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?’ tell him: … ‘The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness’”

Friday, January 16, 2015

God's Name

I've explained before the symbolic meaning of the four Hebrew letters that make up God’s holy name (yod, he, and vav). Here’s what we are supposed to do with that name:

1. Give thanks to His Holy Name.
2. Bring glory to His name.
3. Rejoice in His name.
4. Trust in His name.
5. Love His name.
6. Praise His name forever.
7. Bless His name.
8. Call on His name.
9. Declare His name to others.
10 Fear His name.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Answering Questions About LOVE

1.  How do we know what LOVE is?
Answer:  1st John 3, verse 16:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

2. How do we determine who LOVES God?
Answer: John 14, verse 21:
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.

3. What can separate us from God’s LOVE?
Answer: Romans 8, verses 38 and 39:
… neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4.  How should we LOVE God?
Answer: Matthew 22, verse 37:
Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”

5. How should we manifest our LOVE toward one another?
Answer: 1st Corinthians 13, verses 4 – 8:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Does God Interrupt Your Life?

God has a right, you know, to interrupt your life any time He wants to if you’ve given your life over to Him. He made you. You are His. He has plans for you. Jeremiah 29: 11 says:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Imagine your boss at work giving you multiple assignments throughout the year. What if you only did half of them? Would you get a poor performance review? Probably, and you can forget about a raise. Worse yet, what if your actions get you fired? What then?

If God interrupts your life with an assignment, do it. If you don’t think you have the skills necessary, think again. He will prepare you. If you are faithful to obey Him, your reward will be wonderful.

Here are some assignments He may interrupt your routine with:

 1) Witness to someone 
2) Give your time to help someone
3) Visit someone in the hospital (or prison)  
4) Travel somewhere you don’t want to go to
 5) Stop doing something sinful in your life

Can you add to the list?

Friday, December 26, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Winner

The 12 Days of Christmas giveaways presented by  Creative Prose Publishing have finished and Michelle W. won Day 4 which was also posted here on my blog (A Log Cabin Christmas).

During this time of year many of my Kindle books are only 99 cents so take a look at My Author Page . And please keep all of us authors at Creative Prose in mind when you're looking to purchase good books. We are dedicated to writing clean fiction.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Log Cabin Christmas

Merry Christmas and Hello! I’m Debra Chapoton, author of A SOUL’S KISS, and I have the honoring of guest posting on day 4 (Four Calling Birds) of The Twelve Days of Christmas over at the Creative Prose Publishing website. I thought I'd show you what Christmas is like when you live in a full log home. To decorate our place, Big Pine Lodge, there are four fundamental elements that are indispensable — think four calling birds — and they are: a giant wreath, railings that drip with greenery and lights, a sentimental display of Christmas music boxes collected over many years and a big tree decorated with rustic ornaments.

Editors are always telling authors to “show, don’t tell” so here are a few pictures:

The wall in the sunroom, right behind where I write, is 26 feet tall and needs a large wreath to fill the space. My husband and I made this one ourselves, decorating it with outdoorsy ornaments featuring a moose, a canoe, a birdhouse, fishing gear, and more. But one wreath isn't enough. We hang them by the front door of the lodge, the guesthouse, and the bunkhouse, and we also have to have one over the fireplace.

You can’t have a log home without a massive fireplace, right? Hubby and I found every one of those rocks on our property, over six tons worth.

We have a wide bridge between the loft and an upstairs bedroom so I have about fifty feet of railing, plus stairway railing, to drape with garland, lights, and tiny decorations. You can see some of it in the last picture. The railing continues into the loft which is open over the kitchen.

You may have noticed in those pictures that the tops of my kitchen cabinets are safe places to display 22 Christmas music boxes. I started collecting one per year when the kids were little. Each one holds a special memory of Christmases past. And yes, I have favorites.

The great room and dining room flow together so at Christmas we can tuck a nine-foot tree into a corner of the dining area and enjoy it from the first or second floor.

Yup, this is a log cabin Christmas. There’s a lot more, too, like Christmas tapestries, handmade Santas, bugles and ice skates and, of course, the prominently displayed manger scene. I could go on and on, but let’s keep it at these “four calling birds.”

Oh, and I guess I have four other birds, that is, I've written four young adult  novels that would make good Christmas gifts for anyone, any age. They are A SOUL’S KISS, THE GUARDIAN’S DIARY, SHELTERED, and EDGE OF ESCAPE. You can also find my chapter books for kids HERE and I've written a couple of non-fiction works: BUILDING A LOG HOME IN UNDER A YEAR and CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES.

By the way, did you know that the four calling birds represented the four gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? The story of Jesus’ birth is in Luke chapter 2. We always read it before we dive into those presents under the tree. Speaking of presents, I have a $10 gift card for one of you. Please enter below for a chance to win it.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

How Do I Know If That's God's Voice?

The key to recognizing God’s voice is to have an intimate relationship with him. You’d recognize your spouse’s voice on the phone, right? But what about someone you’d only spoken to once twenty years ago? Not likely. It is of utmost importance that you spend time in worship and prayer EVERY DAY, not just once a week or, worse yet, Christmas and Easter. What if your spouse said he loved you, but only spent a couple hours with you twice a year? Not much of a relationship, is it?

Once you have a regular relationship with God that little voice in your head (your conscience, you think) will clearly give you the answers you seek. Don’t ask God for a sign. Asking for a sign is a huge mistake; it shows your unbelief. When the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign he condemned them as “wicked and adulterous” so don’t be like them. Stick to reading the Scriptures and praying. A lot.