Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jacob's Journal

                 We have often heard that there is no condemnation in Christ. It is found in Romans 8:1. I think this is one of those verses we either forget about, don't grasp, or don't truly believe. At least that is the way we live most of the time. If we truly believed that there is no condemnation in Christ then it would set us free like verse two of Romans 8 says, " because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."

                  We, I am including myself in this, tend to beat up and berate ourselves over our past and present failures. We set goals, make resolutions, construct plans, edit lists all in the effort to better ourselves or become more. Or we set out to break a bad habit and find ourselves continually falling back in. Or it could be our pet sin. That sin that we just can't seem to leave behind. The sin we are always trying to find loop holes or justifications for so that our conscience will be cleared and our souls eased.

Whatever it is, we as Christians live our lives as if we are in condemnation, full of regret, anxiety, self-doubt, maybe even depression.  We are Christians, right? We are supposed to be stronger than that. We have Christ living in us (Rom. 8:10.) We should be perfect. Wrong.

Even the Apostle Paul struggled with this battle. That is why he wrote Romans 8. He wanted his fellow Christians to know that they where free, not because of anything they had done or not done, good or bad, but because of Christ. Paul just got through laying out his own struggle with his inability to do the right thing. I like to call Romans 7:15-21 the do be do be dos, because it can be a complicated jumble of do's and do not's. Paul is basically saying that there is a war going on inside of himself and he does not always to the right thing even though he wants to. Sound familiar? We have all been there. He ends the section with, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" and goes on to say in the following verse, "Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus."

It is not that we should not try to do good it is that we should not focus on the bad but on Christ who lives in us and find that "the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace." (Romans 8:6)

Giveaway (Gift Card!), Trivia, and a New Book!

Okay, so I know I've been more AWOL than intended on this blog. But I've been spending a lot of time at Regency Reflections, and it's been great. I've also completed a synopsis for a new story I'm working on and finished edits on another.

So the new time focus is really paying off. I hope you will subscribe to this blog so you'll catch it when I write something that I actually find interesting and think will be of benefit to you.

In the meantime, get on over to Regency Reflections because we're having a contest! There's a brand new book out and we've got trivia, author interviews, and a chance to win an Amazon gift card. Yea!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Catalyst of Death

Very little makes you think and re-evaluate your life more than death. The ending of another's life makes you take stock of your own. Maybe it's the realization that everything that person said they'd do tomorrow won't ever get done. Perhaps the thought of no more Christmas mornings or birthday parties is what hits you in the heart. It could be as simple as knowing you'll never hug their neck again this side of Heaven.

Whatever the reason, death, even of someone not particularly close to us, makes us think.  Are doing what we need to do? What things clutter my life that add little value? What kind of legacy am I leaving behind if I'm the one that up and dies tomorrow?

There's been a lot of death on the fringes of my life in the last two weeks. I've been blessed that those closest to me are in good health and still with me, but for many that I care about, death has touched their lives in penetrating ways.

The biggest thing about all these deaths is that none of them were expected. A car accident. A heart attack. Sudden kidney failure. Some within days, others within hours, another almost instantaneously. Gone from this world.

I must say it's led to a lot of introspection. There's a few things I've decided.

1. My time needs to be better spent.

I waste a lot of time. I am my own worst saboteur. I could create a lot more value by allocating my time better. One thing I'm doing is cutting this blog down to once a week. I have a limited amount of blogging time a week. While I love my readers, there's only about ten of you. My other blog has about 200. My limited time is better spent over there, for now.

Another thing I'm doing is reinstating my daily routine. I've let it slip with the doctor's visits and such that we've had in my family lately. It's time to bring it back. Get things under control so I can maintain them and do the special things I really want to do.

2. Tomorrow isn't a guarantee.

I know this. It isn't a new concept, but it's one I forget all too often. I want my book published. I want a writing career. But I've tarried in taking the next steps because I'm afraid - Both of rejection and success. I'm not guaranteed tomorrow. If there are things I want to accomplish, they have to be done today.

That includes things with my family. If I want to be the one to teach my daughter how to handle her rioting emotions or bake a cake or count money, I have to do it today. I may not have tomorrow with her.

3. My legacy is in jeopardy.

I've joked about my lack of housecleaning skills before. But the truth is, if I were to die today, the first thing a lot of people would notice is the wreck of my house when they came to visit my family and I would be remembered for the absence of that skill. I don't want that to be my legacy.

Too often the last thing my daughter heard before she went to school was me urging her to hurry and get her stuff together. What if she didn't come home? Is that the last of my words I want in her head? I'm taking time now when I part from my family - whether they are leaving or I am - the last words we say are caring and uplifting. I love you. God loves you. Things like that.

Time is short. Sadly, in a few months, I'll probably forget these lessons. But today I'm writing them down in an attempt to make them stick. Because one day death will hit a little closer. And then it will be too late to learn them.