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BEYOND THE BREAKERS

Originally posted on DiAne Gates:

Splashing through puddles carved by the tides. Wiggling our toes in the coarse sand of Little Talbot Island. And chasing Mama and Daddy down the beach to their favorite fishing spot, was my brother’s and my delight each Wednesday afternoon when we were kids.

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Daddy loved to surf fish.
And Mama? Well, I think there must’ve been a little competition between those two—you know—who would catch the bigger fish before the colors of sunset bled into the horizon.
Atlantic waves pounded the shore of this wild and tiny island between Mayport and Fernandina Beach, Florida. Many of this nation’s aircraft carriers were stationed just across the inlet at Mayport. The waters were deep and the waves majestic, making this lonely stretch of beach a fisherman’s paradise and a kid’s gigantic water park.

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The roaring waves, beach sand, and sea breeze, coupled with the security of the carriers in the distance…

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BEYOND THE BREAKERS

Splashing through puddles carved by the tides. Wiggling our toes in the coarse sand of Little Talbot Island. And chasing Mama and Daddy down the beach to their favorite fishing spot, was my brother’s and my delight each Wednesday afternoon when we were kids.

DSCF1294
Daddy loved to surf fish.
And Mama? Well, I think there must’ve been a little competition between those two—you know—who would catch the bigger fish before the colors of sunset bled into the horizon.
Atlantic waves pounded the shore of this wild and tiny island between Mayport and Fernandina Beach, Florida. Many of this nation’s aircraft carriers were stationed just across the inlet at Mayport. The waters were deep and the waves majestic, making this lonely stretch of beach a fisherman’s paradise and a kid’s gigantic water park.

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The roaring waves, beach sand, and sea breeze, coupled with the security of the carriers in the distance shouted freedom and joy. Though my brother and I had no understanding of anything but delight as we played in the breaking waves.
Our parents challenge, however, was to propel their lines into deeper waters—beyond the breakers, to catch fish.
I watched Daddy cast his salt water line, time and time again, only to have it wash back and swirl around the waist deep water where he stood. So he spent much of his time reeling in and recasting to keep from being snagged by the razor-sharp hook. But the more he fished, the stronger his casting arm became. And my brother and I would bet how many casts before that hook and bait would land beyond the waves, into the gentle swells of the ocean’s current.

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Mama was another story. Try as she might, she spent most of her afternoons casting. Reeling in and recasting, in an attempt to get out of the shallows and into those currents beyond the breakers. Her casting arm wasn’t as strong as Daddy’s—unless she was applying the rod of discipline to our backsides. Hmm, guess she got more practice on our fannies.
How about your casting arm? Is it strong? It takes muscles—spiritual muscles—and practice to cast our troubles, our pain, and our sinful habits on Jesus. But isn’t that what He instructs us to do?
“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV).

Notice the Word says casting—it’s more than a one time thing. It’s an ongoing action. But we lack patience and the stick-to-it perseverance to build the strength to cast our cares out of the shallows and beyond the breakers into the current of God’s love.
Yep, we squench our eyes shut in the midst of distress, toss up a prayer in the chaos, and wonder why God doesn’t wave His magic wand to remove the problem. And the turmoil washes right back over us, sometimes hooking and harming whatever or whomever it snags. Our arms and our spirits are weak. No strength. No aim. And no ability to see beyond the current crisis.

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More often, the consequences of our sins knock us down in the shallows where the waves crash and keep us floundering in the shifting sand of habits. Our hope is rescue. Immediately. But perhaps God’s greater purpose is building spiritual muscles—muscles that will allow us to cast our troubles beyond the back-wash into the currents of His grace and forgiveness and leave them there.
Just this past week, I experienced those swirling hours of hook dodging. I didn’t take the proper precautions to insure a smooth move from one apartment to the other. I was too busy to begin the few days before the move with the Lord. Oh, I’d tossed up a generic prayer while mentally reciting my to-do-list. And when things fell apart my response was anger—a severe verbal thunderstorm that leaped from my mouth and struck with lightning zaps on everyone in proximity.
By dark, the cement wall of consequences loomed in front of me. And I spent a sleepless night before I humbled myself before the Lord. Admitting a long list of failures and sins, and releasing—yes I said releasing. Releasing and accepting the consequences of whatever God allowed.
So often we continue casting our pitiful, ping-pong of pathetic, wanna be prayers toward the ceiling. While the consequences of our disobedience to stop, humble ourselves, and be quiet before Him, crash and break around us and we flop like stranded fishes in those shallow-water waves.

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Stopping means cease striving. Humbling means searching my soul. Admitting means holding nothing back—being honest with God about what He already knows. And releasing means a willingness to accept beforehand whatever consequences God deems appropriate.
Remember, the longer the striving, the heavier the consequence.
But the rewards of learning to cast our cares out of the shallows, beyond the crushing waves of life, into the deep swells of God’s love brings a harvest.
Fish—the ability to become fishers of men!
Until I learn to abide in the deep currents of God’s will, rather than enduring the pounding of chaotic waves, why should anyone want to be like me?
God challenges and instructs me to live life beyond the breakers. But it’s my choice—struggling in the shallows or learning to sail in the gentle swells of His love.

“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

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Too Late

dianegates:

Truths and warnings by my friend and brother in Christ, Ernie Carrasco. All I can add is, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Oh please, please, hear ye!

DiAne

Originally posted on Ernie's Musings:

Torah ScrollSefad’s 500-Year-Old Torah Scroll

And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart … Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah …  (2 Kings 23:25-26)

I hear many well-intentioned Christians exhorting us to pray for our nation and for our leaders. The call seems to have increased in intensity since the recent foolish ruling by the United States Supreme Court declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right. Such a ruling places this nation in the death throes of social order described in Romans 1:32 “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” At this juncture our nation finds itself near the bottom of the sucking vortex…

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My son and his roommate won a trip for two to the Islands at a college concert a number of years DSCF0861 033ago. They were excited as I drove them to the airport, laughing and contriving the fun they would have the next three days.
Conjured horror stories raced through my mind like the clickety-clack of an old steam engine, but with their new-found university maturity, any words of warning from me would slam into cement ears.
The attendant announced the boarding call. I hugged both young men and the words “Remember who you are,” popped outta my mouth. I caught my son’s gaze and repeated, “Son, remember who you are.”
They hurried down the airbridge, I’m sure eager to be free, and I turened to tuck myself in a quiet corner and watch their plane roar down the runway and life off. ‘Cause tears were already rimming my eyes.
An older gentleman, obviously watching and listening to our conversation, rose and stepped toward me. “Those were very wise words, ma’am.”
I stammered an acknowledgment, embarrassed, and certain he heard my mother’s words of fear screaming in my heart.
He tapped a salute to me with his folded newspaper. “Yes, wise words indeed.” He smiled and walked away.
Since that early morning flight, my prayers for my son ask God to remind him daily who he is. And remind my son who God is.
But what about sons who don’t know who they are? Sons who’ve never heard the Word of God? Sons who have no moral or faith based conscience? We’ve seen the answer to that scenario along the beaches in America during the 2015 spring break.
Yet why are we surprised, stupefied with the outrageous behavior exhibited by young people in HD, every night, on national news?
DSCF9127A grand majority of them have nothing of value to remember.
Saturated by a culture we’ve allowed to consume our children’s hearts, a culture we’ve accepted and confirmed by our actions or lack of actions, why should we expect a different outcome?
Think how hollow your life would have been had their been no lessons in the home of how to live a fulfilled and productive life. No correction given by your parents to change bad behavior. No Word from God teaching what He requires. Lessons, corrections, and Words adding flavor, value, and meaning to life—defining who you are.
Young people today, even yours and mine, have become self-centered, self-gratifying, oblivious to consequences. Young people who demand their right to be right in whatever they choose. Young people focused only on their moment in time. Denying. Deceived. And destroyed. No thought given to the consequences of their choices.
The message of 2 Peter shouts to us to remember, act, and stand firm.
Peter’s voice rings through the millennia: “I write to you, to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance…”

What does Peter want us to remember?
“…that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.”

Why would Peter address them in this manner? They were living in desperate times. The Roman government was confiscating property of Christians. The storm of hatred had overtaken them. Some Christians became human torches to light Nero’s highways. Others died in the arena. Ripped apart by hungry lions while thousands cheered.
Could Peter’s message be pertinent to us today? Sure looks that way, doesn’t it?
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, followingDSCF9133 after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4 NAS).

In today’s vernacular they might say: I’ve heard this stuff all my life. All this hell, fire, and brimstone garbage. And what’s happened? Nothing. And nothing’s gonna happen. I can do what I want, when I want, and nobody’s gonna stop me. This God stuff’s a lie. Now get outta my face. I’m not interested. I don’t believe in your Jesus.
And your son or daughter might be the one who has said this to you.
Or perhaps you’re reading this and asking, If God’s so real why haven’t I seen Him or heard Him? Evolution makes perfect sense to me. There’s no divine plan, no divine creator. All the text books verify that’s truth. So it must be right. It can’t be both ways. We just need to learn to love everybody.
But Peter answers that too.
“For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:5-7 NAS).

We learn early in our lives to neutralize anything that makes us uncomfortable. Like Eve, many have listened to satan’s words—did God really say that? And they’ve fallen prey to the dragon’s old tricks. He blinds minds, causing them to refuse to believe God destroyed the whole world by the flood—a worldwide flood. A flood from which only Noah and his family survived. So they pervert the truth by reasoning it’s always been this way since creation.

No, at a point in time God said, “Enough!” And He wiped ‘em out. And promised us, next time I’m gonna take’ em out by fire.
Scoffer and mocker time is here folks. A wicked time. A storm gathering time. And if you saw the pictures on FaceBook, Tuesday of this week, depicting Jesus as a homosexual on the cross—A blasphemous time.

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But on one day certain, at one precise moment, God is going to say again, that’s it! I’m done! Son, go get my children. And all hell is going to break loose on this earth —for seven years.
Now is the time to remember who you are. Are you a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
Or are you uncertain whose you are?
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38 KJV).

All Photographs by: Richard Farmer

“Therefore, brethren be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

I turned onto a dark and dangerous road one night many years ago. Too busy having fun. Thinking of the next day’s opportunities. Not paying attention to the mechanics of reaching my destination, I turned onto Alligator Alley—a two lane toll road that runs across the Everglades in South Florida from Miami to Naples. A road that wasn’t safe in the daytime, much less at night.

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And several miles later, the car ran out of gas and we were stranded. Unable to see in the darkness, listening to the terrifying sounds of the Glades at night.
But how many times have we all done that exact thing on our journey through life? Too enthralled in the moment. Too busy with the problems at hand. Giving no thought to the road we’re traveling. Paying no attention to a change in direction. Never bothering to check our spiritual gas gage, ‘til the voices of peril and fear echo in our ears. Unable to find our way out of the gnarled mess we’ve made.

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God was gracious to answer my frantic cries that frightening night. He delivered two silly women—I’m convinced, by sending angels to our rescue. The amazing story can be found on page 34, in Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk’s book, Heavenly Company, Entertaining Angels Unaware.

I’d love to tell you those terrifying hours on Alligator Alley taught me a life lesson I’ve never repeated.
But I’d be lying.
_MG_9600_1_2What nightmarish road do you find yourself trapped on today? Stuck alongside or mired in treacherous swamps full of snakes, gators, and getchas threatening your sanity and safety. Is your mind filled with if only self rebukes? Precious one, you don’t have to remain ensnared—God is waiting for you to cry out to Him.
He is your Deliverer.
Or do you have a life-pattern of shoving the pedal-to-the-floorboard, paying no attention to or perhaps not even considering your destination? Just bent on accomplishing the task screaming do me first? And then the next one, and the next one—until you’re lost and out of gas. Entrenched in the quagmire of your own choices.

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That’s where I found myself this morning. Exhausted. Full of regret. Idling on fumes. Having run at mach speed for several weeks from morning ‘til night. Oh, I’d mumbled thank you prayers and asked for guidance at the beginning of each day, but I had failed to stop and refill my spiritual tank—until this morning. This morning when I looked back and saw the litter of missed opportunities and muddy trail of wrong choices behind me and smelled the fumes of empty.
But in my despair, God was there. He didn’t rejected me. I cried out to Him that dark night on Alligator Alley and He delivered us. And I cried out to Him this morning, when I came to my senses, and His Word was there to rebuke, refresh, and restore me.
And He promises to do the same for you. If you will trust Him. And then obey His Word.

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In the Book of 2 Peter I read those ancient words and thought about what was going on in Peter’s life as he penned them—sometime around 63 or 64 A.D. Christians were driven from their homes and slaughtered for their faith. And this was mere months or a year or two before Peter was crucified. Upside down, for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to his words and see how much he had learned since that infamous night when he also took a dark and dangerous turn down the road of destruction—the night the rooster crowed.
Perhaps, like Peter, we can learn through God’s Words to avoid those faithless detours in the swamp and those mired-in-the-muck dead-ends. Choosing instead to chart our course of travel—from faith to faith and filling to filling—rather than fooling ourselves into running toward ultimate destruction on the fumes of a know-it-all, prideful heart.

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…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11 NKJV).

Meet my friend and fellow Prism Book Group Author, Gay LewisCC_4 (1)!

DiAne: How did you start writing romance?

I started out writing women’s fiction, but my stories weren’t going anywhere. Deciding to try my hand at romance was difficult because I’m a minister’s wife. How could I write love scenes that wouldn’t cause my parishioners—and me—to blush when we saw each other in church? A difficult question and one I study each time a love scene is due in a book. God created romance and intimacy between a man and woman, but detailing it in such a way to bring honor to Him is a challenge. It is also fun.

DiAne: Tell me about your character, Sarah.

My title character, Sarah, is dyslexic, clumsy, and inexperienced. On her first assignment, she blunders often—like the time she appears as a biker in black leather, silver chains, and tattoos. People in the Burger Barn think she is one of Hell’s Angels, and Sarah hyperventilates over what the Superiors in The Heavenlies might say. She wonders constantly if she’ll be called up to Cloud Number Five for a reprimand.

Having never used human disguises before, choosing one is problematic for the novice angel. She is only to materialize in dire circumstances, yet when she does, her selections often bring trouble. She loves the colors and textures of women’s clothing—and she especially loves shoes—red, high-heeled ones—and that’s trouble waiting to happen!

Sarah takes on a few of the characteristics of earthlings as she helps them. She discovered she can cry while on Earth—a new experience, as tears don’t occur in The Heavenlies. Her assignments are to connect a woman and man for marriage, but this is tricky since angels don’t experience sexual passion or romantic love.

DiAne: I understand your eighth book, Sarah and a Midnight Cruise to Catalina Island is here featuring her. Would you tell us a little about it?

Sarah is assigned to assist Carolyn Baker find a mate on a cruise ship. Oh horrors! She can fly but can she swim? Dyslexic and bumbling angel, Sarah, comes to earth to unite Carolyn with a mate. Poopty doopty! She must do it on a ship while Carolyn cruises to Catalina Island. Sarah fears falling into the ocean, and she’s horrified soggy wings will drown her. On this mission, Talen, an evil spirit is assigned to thwart Heaven’s Little Love Angel’s efforts. Tomas, the Warrior Angel, must protect Sarah. Can Tomas succeed without Sarah goofing up the war between the holy and unholy spirits? Will Talen succeed in spoiling Carolyn’s romance?

DiAne: So you are writing about holy and unholy angels in this book. Was that difficult?

Oh my yes! I have several theological books about both kinds of angel, but writing about the wicked ones was scary. I prefer sweet, holy ones such as Sarah.

DiAne: Would you give us an excerpt?

Thanks for asking. Sarah has called upon her mentor, Mother Goodness for advice. This scene is from Chapter Four.

Mother Goodness smiled. “Because of free will, the Holy One allows earthlings to choose wrong partners, but with Carolyn, such a mistake will not transpire.” Mother Goodness sighed. “Humans often interfere with God’s plans. Many fail to seek Him, but not so with your charge. Her heart is in the right place and her relationship with the Father is solid. She is a virgin who has waited and prayed all her life for a prince charming, and the Almighty has answered her prayer. The evil one knows this and wishes to thwart the Powerful One of Heaven. He desires to damage her life by having her fall in love and marry the wrong man. You and Tomas will see that God’s plan is carried out.”

Sarah’s stomach quaked. “This assignment is scarier than the Ferris wheel.”

Mother Goodness laughed. “And that turned out well, didn’t it?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Sarah sighed. “One more question. Why couldn’t I practice walking in those cute shoes?”

“What were you thinking before you tumbled off the roof?”

Sarah frowned as she remembered her thoughts. “I was proud of them and thought my feet looked adorable.”

Smiling, Mother Goodness nodded.

“Oh…now I get it. Pride goes before a fall.”

DiAne: Are more Sarah books planned?
Yes. Prism Book Group has me contracted for two more Sarah books. I’m working on them now. The process of writing and publishing can be a slow one. The next two books are due by September, 2015, but I’m not sure when they will appear.
DiAne: Is waiting for a book to come out tough for you?
Yes! People can read faster than we authors can get books out.
Thanks DiAne for having me on your blog. I’m happy to introduce your readers to Sarah.

Sarah_CatalinaIsland copy best selling authorGay’s links

dianegates:

This blog is by my friend and edit partner, Kathleen Brown. If you aren’t caring for someone with Alzheimer’s I bet you know someone who is. Please share this blog with them.Going through difficult times are made easier when we learn from those who’ve walked that road before us. Kathleen’s new book, “A Time for Miracles” is available at Amazon.com.

Originally posted on Alzheimer's: Hope and Help for Caregivers:

Often it seems nothing we can do or say will bring happiness to our loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Since they gradually lose the power to choose their own pleasure, caregivers are left to use trial and error to guess what might bring a smile.

angry bluebirdFor me, when often became even more often, and even more often became ‘way too often, I re-discovered a happiness strategy from back before I was a daily caregiver…back when I was a daily mom. What I remembered is this:

Sometimes it’s what we don’t do that makes the difference between sullen and happy in those we care for.

I remembered the occasional evenings when I allowed my sons to skip a vegetable at dinner time…and decided maybe Mom didn’t need to wear fresh clothes every day. Some days I didn’t insist she drink a full glass of water at every meal; if she wanted…

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