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WHERE IS THE LAMB?

The reflection shining in the night sky above the tree tops was nothing short of a thousand-watts of brilliance. I crossed the little bridge and rounded the curve where acres of pastureland opened to a blazing, blinking, gaudy extravaganza of everything from American flags, to Christmas trees, to castles and camels, unicorns and merry-go-rounds—all wrapped in multi-colored lights—and I wondered in all this would-be celebration of Christmas—Where was the Lamb?

A trip through my neighborhood offered a plethora of inflated figures from snowmen to Santa’s, lights wrapping and flashing over housetops, peppermint-cane lights lining walkways and I wondered if these decorations from planet earth magnified the deception of our generation before the Throne of God, or were they lost in the splendor of the Universe? Or do they scream in defiance at God like the sins of ancient Israel—we refuse to believe in You!

Having just come from the Mall where a jillion short tempered shoppers and clerks celebrated the season buying gifts they could ill-afford, the question again whispered in my heart Where is the Lamb? ‘Cause I sure didn’t find Him there either.

I recalled Abraham’s words to Isaac as they traveled up the mountain where God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son—his only son. The same mountain range where centuries later the God of all creation would willingly be crucified for our sins.

Isaac knew they were going to the mountain to sacrifice, he carried the wood. But there was no lamb. “My father,” Isaac asked, “…behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb?”

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Abraham’s answer to his son rings prophetic through the corridors of time. “God will see for Himself the lamb for the sacrifice” (Genesis 22:1-18 NAS).

And in Isaiah 52 and 53 God speaks again through His prophet to tell us about this Lamb who would come:

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before it shearers, so He did not open His mouth…But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand…By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many as He will bear their iniquities.”

In the 9th Chapter of Daniel the angel Gabriel delivers these words to Daniel:

“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in time of distress. Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:25-26 NAS)

Again in Micah God promises:

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“But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago from the days of eternity…And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God…Because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace” (Micah 5:2-5 NAS).

God left His words, time after time, even gave them the exact timetable when The Lamb would come. In the Book of Exodus God had given His people an illustration of what the Lamb would do and instructed them to forever celebrate the passing over of the death angel. But throughout the ages God’s people deliberately chose the deceptive rituals of bling and pleasure over believing and trusting in His name. And when Messiah actually came, as prophesied, they still asked—Where is the Lamb? Because they refused to believe Jesus was that Lamb of God.

John was baptizing and saw Jesus coming to him and he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And he baptized Jesus and saw the Spirit of God, descending as a dove out of heaven and the Spirit remained on Jesus. Again a few days later John saw Jesus as He walked and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

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But the Jews refused to look then and certainly aren’t looking now, but are still asking, Where is the Lamb?

What about you? Do you know where the Lamb is? Do you know what the Lamb has done? Do you understand the Lamb is the only way to God?

Buddha didn’t hang on a cross to give you access to the Lord God Almighty. Mohamed didn’t die so you could live—his message is to kill everyone before they kill you. And there are many man-made idols preventing those who are deceived from knowing and coming to Jesus.

There are not many ways to heaven and no, we are not all traveling many different paths to ascent to the throne of God. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The message there is more than one way is a lie from the pit of hell, first told in the Garden of Eden. A lie crafted by Satan to confuse and bewilder all who listen. And he continues to spew the same nonsense today—because it still works.

Time is short. That baby in the manger in Bethlehem is the Messiah, our Savior and soon coming King—The Lord Jesus Christ. Does the message of your life, your actions, and your words point those who are searching to the lights and lies of what we’ve allowed Christmas to become?

Or do you and your family bow in worship and awe over the true miracle of Christmas—the holiness of the conception of the Son of God who chose to be confined in the form of a tiny human baby—every bit God, but every bit man—born to die—your Passover Lamb sent to pay the price for your sins and mine, so we like Abraham, can teach our children, God indeed provided the Lamb!

 

Mow Me Down

Julie, God gave you these words for such a time as this! And all Prism authors said “Amen!” The past three days left all Prism Authors wondering “What do I do now?” And we all prayed in one accord…and according to His faithfulness God answered in a mighty way! Listen to Julie’s account and application. You’ll be blessed too!

Where Did You Find God Today?

I looked at the Psalm for the day and snickered at the appropriateness. He shall come down like rain upon the mowed field, like showers that water the earth.”  Psalm 72:6

This week I felt as if a giant lawn mower had plowed over me. My publisher gave official notice it would be closing. That meant all of my books published with them would now be as if they did not exist. I’d been an auhtor with this company for four years and produced seven fictional works, with two more in the works.

If I wanted to self-publish these works or seek a new publisher I could buy the edited, proofed and formatted manuscript and also the cover design– for a very fair price.  But, the two others I had under contract would not ever come to fruition. The two after that I’d queried in hopes of contracting…poof.

lawn-1812944_640Like a mowed field…

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

In light of the threat of President Obama signing the U.N. attempt to snatch Israel’s land and the terrorists burning of Israel’s land, this message in song is more important to share with the Jewish people this Christmas. Time is short. We must go and tell the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus, please come and save Your people Israel!

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

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I love Christmas Carols.  Well, who doesn’t, right?

Growing up Jewish, I didn’t get to sing the carols too often. But I did secretly love them.  I hid them in my heart and would sing them quietly when I was alone. I also hid the excitement and beauty of the Christmas season in my heart. I earnestly desired to know this Jesus around whom this holiday revolved. Who was He really? And why was He kept from me?

In high school I was in our school’s chorus. We were really good – good enough to be invited to the Mall in D.C. to sing at Christmas. I cherished that time. I could finally sing O Holy Night with the others .

I doubt whether the other kids knew what was going on inside of me.  I wonder if a lot of them took these songs for granted, having sung them…

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Hi friends! I’m glad you stopped by. After the last post (3 Reasons to Write to Your Future Husband), I thought it fitting to share some specifics about my journal to “Mr. Right.”…

Source: 10 Things I Include in My Husband Journal

Webbed Anchors

From my dear sister – I found God today in her email to me, and this story she shared: I read something this morning that reminded me so much of you I had just to let you know. The reading wa…

Source: Webbed Anchors

AUTHOR EXTRAORDINAIRE!

 

I’m so pleased to have author extraordinaire, and my friend, Renee Blare, visiting on my blog again today. Like me, I hope y’all want to know a little more about Renee. Where she came from and where she’s going. Her schedule makes my head swim. Don’t know when she finds the time to write, but write she does! Maybe it’s all that clear, clean mountain air.

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Renee, tell us a little about your early years. Where did you grow up? And about your family?

Believe it or not, I grew up in TWO places. I was born in the south and lived in New Iberia, Louisiana. That’s where I learned to appreciate good Cajun food and music. I also developed a fear of night thunderstorms which I still struggle with today. I have a couple of hurricanes and tropical storms to thank for that!

When I was eight years old, my dad was transferred with his company, and my family moved to Casper, Wyoming. Wow! What a culture shock! I discovered what life in the cold, wild west was like…really quick. I also found out that Wyoming was home. I lost my Cajun accent, learned how to stream fish, and hunt. (I’m not into winter sports, but I do love my white Christmas!)

When did you know you wanted to write and why?

I’ve written poetry and short stories since junior high school, but I realized I could write a novel about six years ago. My husband challenged me to do it when I bought a “Christian” novel on Amazon. I don’t know if it was mislabeled or what, but it was awful. It was the type of book I was trying to avoid! I tossed it in the cybernetic trash bin. After listening to me rant for an hour, he told me to write my own and cranked the television up to drown me out. So…I did and God took the reins. I realized soon after that He called me to put the pen to the page and He has been challenging me with story after story ever since. What an amazing privilege!

What about your family now? Husband? Where did y’all meet?

I’m blessed to be married to a wonderful man who loves the Lord. I married James twenty-seven years ago in Casper. We met in a Christian single’s group and went to the same church. Our son lives in Wyoming as well but not in the same town as we do.

Do y’all have any children? If so, which, what kind, and how many?

We only have one son but I call him our “Miracle.” In fact, Racing Hearts is based on my pregnancy with Sean. He’s the only child I could have due to the problems I had carrying and delivering him. That period of time in my life shaped and changed me in more ways than a child in the womb.

What motivates you to write?

As I said before, I believe writing to be a mission, not merely a story. The Lord has called me to write His words not mine. I don’t write what I want, but what He does. I also don’t know what will happen in my books. I don’t plot. I have a “loose” idea of the timelines of my stories, but God directs the story and spiritual battles through His word. It’s not merely a lesson for the reader but for me as well. The conflicts and roller coaster emotions aren’t imagined. They are real, and He teaches me the very thing my characters are learning. It’s quite amazing!

Are you a part of any writing groups, and if so, how does that help your writing?

Other than my online critique group, Rough Diamond Writers, I don’t have any local writing groups and I really miss them. It hurts so much not to have any input or fellowship. I am a member of ACFW and that helps though. I’m very busy and I wish that I had more time to even write!

How do you juggle all the hats you wear…author, wife, mom, employee?

It’s hard. I’m a pharmacy manager as well as a wife, mom, and daughter. My husband is disabled. He helps a lot…as much as he can…with the cooking and the house, but he has his good days and bad days. I love him so much and watching him suffer is hard. My parents have recently moved but they are always on my mind and heart. My son…well, you know! As for my job, I’m a manager. That’s like having two jobs. Add my writing and make it three. I write when I can, every chance I get. The marketing part takes a hit. It’s called time management and understanding friends and family.

What piece of advice would you give beginning writers?

Keep going. No matter what people say or do. Keep going.

Do you have a life verse that carries you through the good times and bad?

My life verse:  “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).

And I’d like to share my testimony with all of you. It’s in story form that I call “The Trek to Truth.”

“Christianity’s more than a word for Renee. It defines her life. After all, Jesus Christ’s not only her Lord and Savior, He’s her confidante…her best Friend.

She doesn’t remember her first day in church. However, those early memories of the large Southern Baptist chapel include her mother dancing before her as the director of children’s choir (yes, dancing…gasp!) and her father caressing the keys on the piano. And Sunday School.

One day in particular stands out in her mind. The teacher asked a question after the lesson and several of her friends raised their hand. Those light blue eyes swiveled to Renee and she lifted hers. Why? Oh, yeah…it was time to get wet.

 Several years passed. Heartache, pain, depression…good times, too. The family relocated to Wyoming. A fresh place, a different school, another church, and new friends. Although poles apart in culture from Acadiana, the high plains and mountains of the most sparsely populated state in the Union became home for a young lady.

But something was missing. She walked the meadows and valleys…gazed at the starlit skies. And even marched the aisle to be dunked in the baptistery one more time. Nothing filled the hole in her soul.

One night, surrounded by her Christian single friends, she waited while they prayed. One would pray for direction. Another asked for strength. Before the circle reached her, the last person lifted a petition that changed her life forever. He asked for help, not in pretty, preachy words but as a guttural, needy, tearful plea.

She realized in that moment the Person he was talking to was REAL. And she’d never met Him. Renee dropped to her knees and asked Jesus into her heart that very night. A few months later, she was baptized. Yes, for the THIRD time!

The Christian walk’s not always straight forward. Sometimes, the trek’s convoluted and the path’s very narrow. The trail winds here and there and if you aren’t careful, you miss it entirely.”

Can you share a little about the newly released book and the one that will be released in December?

RACING HEARTS: (New Release)

Racing Hearts is a Love Trusts novella. It’s Book 12 in Prism Book Group’s “Love Is” Series. It’s based on my pregnancy and early marriage.

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Full of hope for the future, a young couple sets off on an adventure and welcome their new home with open arms. The lakes sparkle, the mountains glisten, and deep within, the seed of life grows. But challenges arise in their newfound paradise and soon, their love faces a trial of almost insurmountable odds.

For the two Christians, placing the fate of their unborn child in the hands of God seems rather easy, but trusting each other? Now, that may prove to be the largest challenge of all…as hearts race in the Rocky Mountains.

Racing Hearts: https://www.amazon.com/Racing-Hearts-Renee-Blare-ebook/dp/B01LWSKOZR/

 

CRAZY WOMAN CHRISTMAS (RELEASES NOVEMBER 18):

Crazy Woman Christmas is a Cowboy Christmas Novella by Prism Book Group. It’s also set in Wyoming, but this time, instead of the Tetons, we find ourselves in the Big Horn Mountains!

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A prodigal daughter meets a grieving son…

During her move, back home, Bianca Kolceski takes a wrong turn in rural Wyoming and buries her car in a snowbank. Snow piles high outside until Devon Dawson knocks on her window. The quiet cowboy whisks her to his ranch to ride out the Christmas blizzard where Bianca discovers life is cold but also beautiful in the “Cowboy” state.

Christmas is the last thing on Devon’s mind, especially when a storm’s in the forecast, and “Joy to the World,” like his dreams, are ancient history. His world is the ranch, his parent’s legacy, and he labors day and night for it. But when he finds a lost Texan stranded on the side of the road, forgotten desires surface.

And Christ is born. It’s time to celebrate.

Crazy Woman Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Woman-Christmas-Renee-Blare-ebook/dp/B01MDQSZF8/

I’m delighted to have visited with you today, Renee. With the Holidays approaching let me be the first to wish you Happy Thanksgiving and then a wonderful and very Merry Christmas! And great book sales! And y’all these would make great Christmas gifts! I’m sure Renee would appreciate a review from each of you. You know, that’s the best way to say thank you to your favorite authors.

Listed below are the Amazon links to find and purchase Renee’s books. I’ve read both of her Snowy Range Chronicles, Book 1 and 2, and highly recommend them. And I’m in the process of reading the others as well.

 

Through Raging Waters, Snowy Range Chronicles, Book 2: https://www.amazon.com/Through-Raging-Waters-Renee-Blare-ebook/dp/B01HBSB9BM/

To Soar on Eagle’s Wings, Snowy Range Chronicles, Book 1: https://www.amazon.com/Soar-Eagles-Wings-Renee-Blare-ebook/dp/B00Z9U3ESG/

Beast of Stratton: https://www.amazon.com/Beast-Stratton-Renee-Blare/dp/1508606021/

 

UTOPIA

“Utopia, Texas?” My husband and I quipped in unison as we sped toward the sign pointing the road to Utopia was left at the next intersection.

“Hey…” I scrambled in my travel bag for my latest edition of Texas Hill Country magazine. “…I think that’s the place we were gonna eat lunch.”

“Are you hungry right now?” Without waiting for my answer, he turned where the sign indicated. “Utopia, huh? Wonder if it really is?”

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Who in the world would name a town Utopia? What town could possibly live up to that name? Roget’s Thesaurus identifies the word as meaning “good times, hope, paradise.” While I love the Hill Country, don’t think I would use those words to describe any town I’d seen there. Dry, rocky, scenic—sure! But Utopia? However, the picture in THC magazine of that gorgeous, mouth-watering coconut cream pie sent my taste buds into a shimmy. “Yeah, let’s eat before we go to Lost Maples.”

Have you ever set your heart on something you’ve seen in pictures only to be disappointed when the object of your imagination is placed in front of you? As we traveled the winding curves over the hills toward Utopia I hoped this place would be the exception to that rule.

Twenty minutes later my husband slowed to allow a car to pass. “This sure better be worth the diversion. I’m ready for a hike in the park.”

I gave his belly a pat. “After that scrumptious pie, you’ll need that hike.” Oh how I hoped The Lost Maples Café would be as good as it looked in the magazine. Didn’t want to hike with a grumpy husband.

As we neared our destination the landscape opened into a valley with lush ranches, lined with numerous rolls of plump, second-cut hay, a beautiful river and water fall that set the stage for our arrival in this quiet Hill Country town.

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The streets were neat, clean, and picturesque. Then we spied the café. The birds sang, the angels sang, and the peace of this quiet town filled my spirit—now if only the food were equally good.

A buzz of conversation filled the air as we walked into this quaint, but delightful place. The sound of  “Hello, sit wherever you’re comfortable” met us at the door. And we spent the next hour or so enjoying the benefits of country pleasantries as people who knew each other and strangers alike soaked up the friendliness, great food, and decompressed atmosphere.

This town was definitely Utopia! But what about the food?

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The hamburgers were homemade and grilled to perfection—no out-of-the-freezer patties or in-a-hurry waitresses here. Half-way through lunch I noticed our waitress cutting one of those lucious pies! And oh, my! The meringue was high and perfectly toasted, but I also noticed there were several other kinds of pies, each more mouthwatering than the last—coconut cream, cherry, pecan, and chocolate pecan. Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

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My husband chose cherry. I had to have the coconut cream with the mile-high meringue, but my mouth watered at the thought of chocolate pecan. So, we ordered all three! The chocolate pecan would hold for a midnight snack. Maybe!

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Those dancing taste buds of mine sighed “Ahhh,” with the first mouthful of the creamiest, yummiest, filling—but the meringue was special—creamy too. And the crust? Best ever! Oh, just wonderful!

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As we left Utopia I thought about two other destinations. Destinations each one of us will choose—one or the other—Heaven or Hell. The length of the trip for many is long and full of years. Plenty of time to make up your mind or change your mind over which path to take. For others, in our reality, the trip ends far too soon, no time for a change in destination.

Which direction are you headed today?

You can know for sure.

Jesus left His throne in heaven, came to this earth to sacrifice His life so you could choose to be with Him forever. He promises if we accept His payment on Calvary for our sins and believe He is the Christ, the Son of God, it’s enough, and like that thief on the cross, we will be with Him forever. And there is no wondering if Eternity with Christ will be good—it is beyond our ability to conceive.

But there are many Jesus tells us, a bunch more, who choose the darkness of hell. Cut off from God forever. Those who choose to live life their way. Those who mock and forsake the holiness and righteousness of God. Those who live for the moment and the pleasure sin provides for that moment.

The choice is yours.

God is not willing

I’m so glad Dick and I a glimpse of life in Utopia, Texas, a few weeks ago, and know because we love Him and obey Him, we have an eternal utopia with our Lord Jesus Christ. Forever.

“A glorious throne on high from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord. Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are my praise!” (Jeremiah 17:12-14 NAS).

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