Conformed, Transformed and Knowing

As Christians, we are supposed to be different from the rest of the world, not conforming to their beliefs or standards. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell who is a Christian because some proclaim to be believers in Christ, yet they live exactly the same way as those who don’t know the Lord as Savior. It can be confusing, but not to God. He knows who is truly is and who is trying not to conform.

The next part of this verse is to be transformed. I can’t help it. Each time I read this verse I think of the toys that my sons had when they were younger. The “Transformers” changed shape from a regular vehicle into a mighty super hero vehicle. I don’t think of myself being transformed into a super hero vehicle, but I would like to stand up for my faith in the face of some really strong adversarial positions these days. In a world where the norm is not God’s norm at all, dare to be different and stand up for what is right, regardless of ridicule. What is acceptable to mankind is not always right before God. A case in point is the homosexuality controversy. Current culture wants us all it accept the perversion as normal but God says it’s sin. I’m going along with God.

I think that the most important part of the verse is overlooked. After the not conforming and being transformed, there is a “then” statement. After you have chosen NOT to conform but to be transformed instead, THEN you will be able to discern the perfect will of God. It’s hard to know God’s will if you are living in the world and accepting its standards instead of God’s. So many people say that they want to know God’s will for their lives. Well, start by NOT being conformed and by being transformed. Then, you can stand before God and ask for Him to show you His perfect will for you. The whole thing is a process, but many of us try to put the cart before the horse. We want to know God’s will but we don’t want to change ourselves as He requires. First things first! God is a God of order, even concerning what He wants us to do before He reveals His will to us.

Have a blessed and glorious day! Be blessed to be a blessing.

God Doesn’t Lie

You have a signed contract and yet somehow the contractor managed to put something in small print that you missed and the contract isn’t even worth the paper that it was printed on. You kept your end of the bargain but the other person didn’t. You bought a rather expensive new television and paid extra for the warranty. Then when it stops working, you blissfully go to the store to exchange it for the new one that was promised. But the small print says that you have to pay a certain amount of money that you never realized was an additional fee. And perhaps the worst offense: you are married for over two decades when your husband who made a covenant with you to love you forever tells you that he has “fallen out of love with you” and is leaving you for his best friend. Heartbroken and in total despair, you try to take your own life. (This latter event actually occurred to my best friend.) Promises made, promises broken. But there is One whose promises you can always, always count on.

Mankind will generally disappoint you at some time in your life, but don’t let the fallible and sinful world turn you away from the unfathomable love of a perfect God who always keeps His promises. Always!

Have a blessed and wonderful day as you ponder all of God’s promises, especially the fact that He is always there for you.

Spotlight on COLD LIGHT OF DAY by Elizabeth Goddard

Releases on February 7, 2023! Check out the Synopsis and the First Line!

Synopsis:

Police Chief Autumn Long is fighting to keep her job in the quiet Alaska town of Shadow Gap when an unexpected string of criminal activity leaves her with a wounded officer, unexplained murders, and even an attack on her own father. Despite her mistrust of outsiders, she turns to Grier Brenner, a newcomer who seems to have the skills and training Autumn needs to face this threat to her community.

Grier is in Alaska for the same reason so many others are—to disappear—when Chief Long enlists his help. He emerges from the shadows and proves his mettle, but his presence in her life could be a deadly trap for them both. If his secret is exposed, all will be lost. And he’s not sure even Autumn could save him.

As the stakes rise and the dangers increase, Autumn and Grier must rely on each other to extinguish the deadly threats.

First Line:

Southeast Alaska August “Autumn Long had no plans to give up without a fight, even though it might be killing her a little every day.” (From Chapter 1)

My review is coming next week, but if you’re enticed, and I hope that you are, just follow this link and find out more about freebies from Revell for preordering this engrossing book:

http://www.missinginalaskaseries.com

God Is Faithful

God’s promises always amaze me, but none more so than those I read in my devotional this morning.

My hope is in God, so I am blessed. He is the Maker of heaven and earth and all that in is them. And, best of all, the promise is that He remains faithful forever. Not just for today when things may be difficult. God is there for the good times, the bad times, all the times.

And in case I am wondering how I will get safely from point A to point B, God graciously reassures me that He takes me by the hand and tells me not to be afraid. Just as I hold the children under my care and cuddle them and tell them that it will be alright. God does the same for me. It’s up to me to listen. God is there and promises His help.

God’s Word is always lighting up my path and He always seems to know when I need a brighter light shone or when I need to see something new that I haven’t noticed before. I pray for each of you to find the help and hope that you need in the Lord God, the Maker of Heaven and earth, and the Creator of YOU!

May God bless you with a new revelation from His Word today!

Living for Christ

I have heard this short phrase most of my Christian life (over five decades), but it has only become more real to me recently as I have pondered what it really means to live for Christ. Does it mean that I cease to exist and that all that matters to me is no longer important? God is slowly revealing to me that He wants all of me dedicated to Him but He does not want me to be a Christ-figure. He wants me to be walking around, doing what I do and be Christlike in my attitude, words and choices. Christ died for me, so the least that I can do is live for Him.

In other words, I should not be making choices to gain something for me, but to expand the Kingdom of God. My own happiness matters to God so I need to let go of trying to make myself happy and start trying to do and say what would please the Lord and lead others to Him so that they can find true fulfillment in a relationship with Him. It’s frustrating being around people who don’t serve or worship God. Imagine how difficult it must be for God, our Creator, to constantly deal with people who refuse to acknowledge Him in spite of all of His blessings to them! I don’t lose anything by serving and living for Christ, but I lose everything if I just choose to live for myself.

I don’t know if I want length added to my years or not unless it is for God’s benefit. I just want to do what pleases Him and to stay here on earth for as long as he wants me to. Sometimes, I get weary…bone-weary, spiritually exhausted. Then God tells me to get up and keep going because He isn’t finished with me yet. If I am living for Christ, I need to be willing to keep on keeping on until God tells me that my race is done.

This is a prayer I say often and not just as a thing to say to appease God. I say it because I truly want to please the Lord. He is all to me, my reason for being, so I want my life to reflect His. My prayer for you is that you will grasp hold of the concept of living for Christ and know that it means turning over your words and your heart to Him completely. He is worthy and capable of giving you the words to speak and a changed heart to show others.

May your day be filled with the wisdom that comes only from the Father, the joy and comfort from the Holy Spirit and the compassion and love of the Son.

Review of DON’T OPEN THE DOOR by Allison Brennan

About the Book:

Publishing Date: January 24, 2023
Publisher: Mira
ISBN-10: 0778333620
ISBN-13: 9780778333623

Synopsis:

US Marshal Regan Merritt never bought the FBI’s theory that her ten-year-old son’s murder was tied to her job. Yet as leads went cold, she’d had to walk away from the marshals, the case and her now ex-husband, Grant, who blamed her for Chase’s death.

After Regan receives a chilling voice mail from her former boss, Tommy, claiming new information about Chase’s murder, she can no longer stay away from her pain-filled past. Especially when Tommy’s murdered before she can return his call.

Now more than ever, Regan’s determined to find the truth, but the more she digs, the more evidence points to Grant as the killer’s true target. But Grant isn’t talking. As she tries to pin down her ex, Regan discovers something much bigger and far more sinister is at play—and she’s running out of people she can trust.

My Review:

I love Regan Merritt’s tenacity and boldness, but mostly I love how real she is. This is the second book in the series but can definitely be read as a standalone. Regan thought the worst pain she could ever endure was when her ten year old son Chase was murdered. But she finds out that there is pain that is equally hard to endure when a close friend and mentor is killed and she is determined to follow the clues no matter where they may lead. All of the characters are relatable and realistic although not all of them are likable. The villains are definitely not on my “I would like to meet this guy” list unless I have Regan backing me up with her Glock. The pace is fast and maintained my interest from beginning to end. There are some real unexpected twists here that I did not see coming and I really enjoyed them. I liked finding out more about Regan’s current situation and her quest to find peace with her past. The mystery is real, the red herrings are numerous and this is a well-written whodunit that had me on the edge of my seat. Loved it and look forward to the next book in the series!
Disclaimer
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

I would rate this book PG due to content (there are murders involved in the plot).

Meet the Author:

Bio
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year. Reviewers have called her “a master of suspense” and RT Book Reviews said her books are “mesmerizing” and “complex.” She’s been nominated for multiple awards, including the Thriller, RWA’s Best Romantic Suspense (five times), and twice won the Daphne du Maurier award. She lives in Arizona with her family and assorted pets. (From Author’s website at http://www.allisonbrennan.com

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

BAM

Poisoned Pen

Indiebound

Google Play

IBooks

Kobo

Audible

Other book in the series:

Book #2 can be read as a standalone, but if you are like me and like to read books in order, here is Book #1! It’s also a riveting read and introduces the character of Regan Merritt.

Just Right

I have been working on being content in my life, with the things I have, the people who are around me, with life in general. Today’s Scripture in my devotional brought to mind the old fairy tale about “The Three Bears.” I’m sure that you remember it. Goldilocks kept trying out things and finally found what was just right. I think it’s an analogy for my life sometimes. I kept trying one thing after another, seeking happiness in things, and then I found the real secret. What God has already given me is “just right.” I may not have a big home, but it’s big enough. I may not have a fancy car, but it’s good enough. And I certainly don’t have a gorgeous body, but it’s good enough. I want to be pleasing to God, not to man and the constant quest of mankind for more things, more toys, more to show off to the world. I want to be content and know that what I have is enough and it’s just right for me.

May your day be blessed with contentment, knowing that your possessions and everything about you is “just right” because it is your inheritance from the God who loves you!

Review of Kidnapped in Texas by Virginia Vaughan

About the Book:

Author: Virginia Vaughan
Series: Cowboy Protectors, Book 1
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Tag: Love Inspired
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Publication Year: 2023
ASIN: B0B4B5KL7G
ISBN: 9781335587534

Synopsis:

After witnessing an abduction, FBI agent Luke Harmon vows to return the teenage victim safely to her aunt, his ex, Abby Mitchell. But Abby has a secret—the girl is their daughter. To rescue his child from a human trafficking ring, he’ll partner with the woman who deceived him. But can he forgive the past before Abby becomes the next target…and his family is lost forever?

My Review:

This book has a pace faster than a speeding bullet and it kept me engaged from beginning to end. Beginning with the terrifying kidnapping of a young girl named Kenzie off the streets of a small town in Texas, this book deals with the difficult topic of human trafficking in a realistic and gut-wrenching way. Abby, Kenzie’s guardian and aunt, witnesses the kidnapping but can do nothing to stop it. Enlisting the assistance of FBI Agent Luke Harmon, her former boyfriend, Abby is determined to do whatever it takes to get Kenzie safely home again. The story of Luke and Abby’s former love and how they need to trust each other again is one that touched me deeply. Luke not only lost his love but he also lost his faith in God and needs to find his way back. I enjoyed the realistic portrayal of the characters and all of the feelings that I experienced as I read about them. I especially enjoyed the twists in the story and the way the author kept me guessing about the bad guys until the ultimate revelation at the end. I love a good mystery and this one fit that perfectly! I also liked how the fast pace continued throughout the book, as new details were added about the case and the predicament that Kenzie was in. Abby’s faith was important in the story but it does not overwhelm it; it’s just part of who she is and this makes her more realistic as well as admirable. Luke is a likable character, flawed and vulnerable but strong when the occasion demands it. He is a hero to emulate and a dynamically complex male protagonist. The fact that the book is a clean read in spite of the difficult topic it deals with was a bonus for me. The entire book was an enjoyable, quick read and I highly recommend it to all who enjoy suspense, romance and faith all mixed together to make a remarkably cohesive story.
Disclaimer
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This is LIS and is a clean read. Rated PG due to content about human trafficking.

Releases tomorrow, 1-24-23! You can order the book by following a link below:

https://amzn.to/3FAF0uA (Amazon)

http://bit.ly/3h1ViUd (BN)

http://bit.ly/3Y8Xudg (Google Play)

http://bit.ly/3iL9q4A (Harlequin)

http://bit.ly/3FABCjJ (Powells)

http://bit.ly/3FCCe8t (Book Shop)

About the Author:

You can visit the author’s website at http://www.virginiavaughanonline.com

Not by Works

I am and always have been a person who seeks the approval of others. I want people to like me, to appreciate what I have done and to notice that I am helping. I don’t think that I am alone in this desire, but I do know that this need to work towards acceptance isn’t necessary with my relationship with God.

I have read these verses, memorized them, taken notes from numerous sermons about them. But they are now settling into my heart. I spent years trying to please my mother, but there was nothing I could do to make her happy with me. I just was never good enough. I had straight A’s on my report card, but my mom brought up the fact that I had gotten a C on a test recently. I was just not good enough. I knew from a young age that my mother cried when she had me, stated repeatedly that she never wanted me and even refused to name me. (My dad names me, ironically, for my mother.) In spite of a less than welcoming childhood and all kinds of physical problems, I grew and matured and at the age of twenty-one, I became a Christian. I didn’t have to do anything special for God to love me. I just had to be me…a sinner saved by grace. There was and is absolutely nothing I can do to make myself more acceptable to God. He loves me just the way I am. That has been a freeing truth in my life. I still like to please people, but if I don’t, I’m not totally devastated. I just keep trying to please God instead by serving others. Not because He requires it, but because He doesn’t require anything of me except for me to believe and accept Him as my Lord and Savior. I have been changed from the inside out and it’s freeing to know that I can’t earn grace!

May you, too, find the freedom that comes only from accepting God’s free gift of salvation. And may your day be blessed with finding others to tell about His love, mercy and grace!

Just As I Am-The Vagle Brothers