Sinners and Saints—Revisiting a Quote


Oscar-Wilde (2)
Years ago I used a quote from Oscar Wilde’s, every sinner has a future and every saint has a past. While I’ve long ago forgotten the blog post, the quote stayed with me.

I remember how my interests drove me to look into Wilde’s life. After my research, I understood how these words came from the depths of his being. Both of Wilde’s parents had been successful. But the examples his parents offered him were filled with selfishness and narcissism. Reality had little importance; perception counted for more than anything. Following their example, he learned how to deal with living a double life—one presented to the public and the other that fed his desires.

His life knew no bounds until he was arrested and went to court to save his reputation. He lost soundly and his fall was precipitous, instantaneous, and very frightening.

Wilde had become a literary success. His matchless writing ability astounded his peers. But in truth, his life was tortured. Not because his lifestyle landed him in prison, but because he sought beauty first and then morality. He hid his true identity from others so he could seek pleasure. Continue reading

Book Review, Red Pen Redemption by Lori Roeleveld

Red Pen RedemptionWould you be bold enough to challenge God with your life? Helen Bancroft did in Lori Roeleveld’s, Red Pen Redemption.

It’s a story of Helen’s self-justification and self-indulgence. She is both hero and villain. I loved her and hated her. I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her by her shoulders, then I wanted to hug her close to protect her. Ironically, it wasn’t until I was closing into the end of the story that I realized I had seen myself—my own life—reflected in parts of this story.

Roeleveld’s use of scripture soothed, guided, and enticed me as a reader. She also expertly offered example after example how Helen tried to look God in the proverbial face, only to blink and turn away. Just as I had tried in the past, and if you dare to read this, you may see yourself, too.

I rarely give five stars ratings. I think five-stars are reserved for mothers to give their children. But this book has what it takes to change lives. A tall order for a piece of fiction. Lori Roeleveld’s, Red Pen Redemption is slated to be a beloved Christmas Season staple for years to come.

When Making Amends Isn’t Enough

doorI felt the clamminess of my palms as I rang her doorbell. She and I had been friends years ago, but the choices I had made now separated us. Would she entertain rekindling a relationship with me again?

I went to her house to tell her I was sorry for doing the things I had done—that I hoped she could forgive me for all my foolishness and sinful behavior. I wanted to tell her I realized I hadn’t taken into consideration how others would be affected by my actions. That I had made a real mess of things—my life. I wanted to say I was sorry.

I wanted to tell her there was good news! I had learned from my mistakes. I had turned the corner. I was on the way to becoming the person God intended me to be. I had hoped she’d be happy for me. I thought she’d celebrate a Prodigal Daughter finding her way back home.

That’s what I thought. But I was wrong.
Continue reading

Discovering Freedom in All the Things You’re Not

Having trouble wearing all the hats you own? Lori Roelveld’s blog hit me right between the eyes.  She offered that maybe I should sell some of those hats at the next neighborhood garage sale, because maybe they’re not meant for me to wear.

Ever feel like you’re not enough? Consider this, even Jesus wasn’t enough for some people. Check out Lori’s post as she offers insight on discovering freedom … in all the things we’re not.

And check out Lori’s latest book, Jesus and the Beanstalk (Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life) due to release September 20, 2016!

What Fills Your Cup?

Olivia - spaghettiWe are what we eat and drink. Maybe not spaghetti or iced tea, but we are what we take in. What do you hunger for, or put another way, what is important to you? And what does that have to do with having a blessed home?

All Christ-centered homes have at least one thing in common: Christ comes first. It isn’t the rules found in Scripture that makes a home Christ-centered. It’s the hearts of the people living in it. Reducing Christ to a list of rules leads to legalistic Christianity.

Help your family see God as loving, approachable and involved. Include God in your daily conversations in your home. Make attending church non-negotiable. And show how seeking and serving God can be fun. Remember, the only way to show it is to do it.

Try to put Psalms 63:1 into practice, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” You and your family will benefit when a heart—your heart—hungers and thirsts after God.

 

Courage to be Perfectly Imperfect You

Courage is not the absence of fear … it’s the presence of hope. Check out Shelly Beach’s latest blog. You’ll be blessed by it.

Writer, Know Thyself

Southern Writer’s Magazine contacted me a few months ago and asked if I’d be interested in writing a post in their Southern Writer’s blog, Suite T. Come over and check it out. How do you prepare for a new writing projects?

It Is Still Finished

gavelThe gals from Christian Women Online asked me, along with other past guest writers, to submit thoughts for their Resurrection Sunday blog. I realize Easter has passed, but the message is still strong. Check it out.

What’s Your Responsibility at Thanksgiving?

picture from Creationswap.com

picture from Creationswap.com

This is the season where families get together; celebrating the special closeness that you share. Yet so many families are splintered … feelings have been hurt over forgotten issues … that wearing a painted smile and staying close to the liquor cabinet are the best ways to deal. There’s more to Thanksgiving than sharing turkey. It’s time to make amends with one another; it’s a time for families to heal.

It wasn’t an accident that you were placed with your family. God’s plan put you there. Yet so many think they can improve that plan by putting walls of unmet expectations and hurt feelings around their hearts.

“I don’t want to be hurt anymore.”  “You don’t know what they did to me.”  “We have nothing in common; it’s best we just keep our distance and live our lives apart.”

All those sound good, right? But these statements are all self-serving … and wrong!

If you have hurt someone, apologize. If you have been hurt, forgive. It wasn’t suggested by God, it was what he told us to do:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35 (NIV)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matt. 5:23-24 (NIV)

“… If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

Did you get it? Did you see? Jesus died for the person you’re upset with or the person who’s upset with you. They have value. You have value. That value isn’t about you; it’s about our Heavenly Father. How would that Thanksgiving meal be if we sat at the same table as our Lord and our estranged family members?

Think about it, and don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Have a Happy … and Healthy … Thanksgiving!

Editing … the Bane of Writing

August updated_10daysI’m in the throes of writing a memoir, Ten Days: A Journey Back to God, and am overwhelmed by all the editing that’s necessary.

Do I need all those was’s?

What words can I replace it with?

I sound like a doofus . Will anyone even care? Is there anyone out there who will read my story?

Fledging writers … and you know who you are … what breaks your back as you’re editing?