What we say matters!!!

It’s very important what we say and how we act. Our words, whether spoken or written, must reflect Jesus. This verse rang loud and clear in my heart this morning…“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”  Psalms 19:14 KJV.

As a writer, I realize my written words are a reflection of my inner self. If one writes smut and sinful living with no confession of sin to Christ, he or she is not a Christian writer. Author may classify themselves as a Christian, faith-based novelist, but if their ‘so called’ Christian characters go against the principles of the Bible such as the 10 Commandments and the words of Jesus, they are not a Christian writer. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Since I write Christian fiction, my characters who are born again believers, must reflect Christ in all their words and deeds. We all know we live in a sinful world and some of my characters are not Christians in the beginning of the storylines, but I try to present the way God draws them to himself.  They are true to life ordinary people who have been saved by God’s marvelous grace and power…yet, they are still human and live in a sinful world. We all know that we are surrounded by sin and debauchery every day of our lives; it has a definite effect on us. It’s evident that sin in this world affects Christians. In my stories, I deal with such things as sinful living, kidnapping, moonshining in the mountains of North Carolina, etc., but I show how the Christian characters deal with these subjects in a Christlike way.

We, as Christ followers, believe in the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross and the resurrection. It’s mandatory as a writer that my words point to Calvary and what Jesus can do in the life of a believer. If an author strays from the mandates in God’s word, they dare not call themselves a Christian writer. If we sin, we must confess our wrongdoings to God…and believing characters must do that as well. Since people around the world have access to my novels, my stories must portray the crucified,risen Christ.  As my pastor would say, “Jesus is enough.”

Carolyn’s Story

At the age of seven (1953), I caught varicella zoster virus or chickenpox and in 2005 I caught whooping cough (pertussis). Little did I realize these two childhood diseases could affect my life and intertwine…but they did. Not only did I have chickenpox, I developed a staph infection afterwards and was given massive doses of penicillin. The lesions from staph lasted about 2 months. My parents had to take me to have all the boils lanced, drained, and packed for several weeks. That was so traumatic for a seven-year old.

When I came down with whooping cough at the age of 60, my entire life changed. I was forced into retirement, developed COPD and asthma, lost my voice due to damage to my vocal chords, and developed fibromyalgia. My immune system became compromised and I’ve had shingles 3 times since 2005 (resulting from chickenpox), and I’m now dealing with chronic postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). I catch everything coming and going. I had to see doctor this morning due to an episode of the PHN. I had all of my vaccinations as a baby, BUT THEY WEAR OFF.

I will always believe I caught whooping cough in my workplace where I worked in the office that children from out of the country came through to get permission to attend Union County Public Schools. My office was in one of the most public places in the county…the courthouse. I was the third case in the county. I was at a school board meeting taking minutes when I started getting sick. These two childhood diseases have drastically affected my life and had a profound impact on my family. Once I contracted(pertussis) it weakened my resistance, therefore the chickenpox virus that was stored in my body reactivated and caused me to have shingles. I’ve had shingles three times and the PHN will never go away. The nerves have been compromised and damaged. Don’t let anyone tell you that childhood diseases are not dangerous. They have changed my life.

My children came along before the vaccine was developed and they both had severe cases of chickenpox. One of them was an adult when she caught it. That’s the sickest I’ve ever seen either of them. My prayer is that neither of them will develop shingles.

I am currently dealing with and episode or flair of shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. It has been going on for about three or four weeks. The pain is excruciating. Had an unvaccinated child or a person with a compromised immune system gotten around me, they most likely would have contracted chickenpox. Because of this situation, I’ve not even been able to attend church or go out in public. I would never want to be responsible for another human being going through what I’ve been through. I have several friends going through chemo, and they are prime candidates for the disease.

I think you can see why I have such strong feelings about this issue. The schools tell parents not to send peanut butter sandwiches to school so that children allergic to nuts will not be exposed to peanut butter. My belief is that a child should not attend a daycare or public school without vaccinations and out of respect for others they should leave peanut butter at home. I believe in medical freedom, but when it infringes on any other person, that becomes another problem. Like I said, had I come in contact over the last few weeks with a person undergoing chemo with a compromised immune system or an unvaccinated child I could have given them chickenpox. I care about my fellowman and I would never intentionally expose anyone to this disease. I developed a flu type virus six weeks ago, and due to my compromised immune system, the varicella zoster virus reared its ugly head. The only thing that will take this away is when I leave this world…so for now I just have to deal with it.

The measles has returned to America and next I look for smallpox and polio. I came along in the midst of the polio epidemic of the 1950s, in fact, I was exposed to it. I have a friend who had polio as a child, before the vaccine was developed. She is crippled even today and walks with a cane. I’m quite familiar with the ongoing argument about vaccines, but from my experience I wish I had never had the diseases and want to urge everyone to vaccinate. It’s your right to disagree with me, but my experiences have led me to feel the way I do. Only God Himself will change my beliefs on this issue.

So for now, my mission on this earth is to point people to Christ and promote vaccinations for all communicable diseases.  One way I have been able to deal with life’s issues has been through music. Sometimes when I can’t pray, I go to the piano and play an old hymn and go over the words in my mind. I’m a proponent of the old hymns of the church. I guess you might call me a traditionalist, and yes I still use the King James Version of Scripture, especially in my writing. That version has stood the test of time since 1611. Under the auspices of King James I of England, we were given this great translation. Even though I can’t sing anymore, there are many old hymns that have sustained me over the last few years and this is one of my favorites…God Leads Us Along by George A. Young…written in 1903. I can close my eyes and almost hear my mother singing these moving words.

“In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along; Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet, God leads His dear children along.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along; Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night, God leads His dear children along.

Though sorrows befall us and Satan oppose, God leads His dear children along; Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes, God leads His dear children along.

Away from the mire, and away from the clay, God leads His dear children along; Away up in glory, eternity’s day, God leads His dear children along.

Refrain: Some through the waters, some through the flood, Some through the fire, but all through the blood; Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song, In the night season and all the day long.”

Trudging Through the Mud

I’ve been confined for three weeks plus with a flu type virus and have had many opportunities to think about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We in North Carolina have been inundated with tons of rain over the last few weeks. As I looked out my window this morning, I asked myself, “Could these drops of water be God’s tears of sadness?” I know His heart must breaking as He watches His highest creation (mankind) behave in such an abominable way. During my lifetime, it has never ceased to amaze me just how low mankind has sunk. We are definitely sinking deeper and deeper in the muck and mudhole of life. The longer this old world stands, the deeper humanity sinks. According to the philosophy of this present world, it’s okay to rewrite scripture to suit our lifestyles, have no morals, kill babies, and force our opinions and beliefs on the world around us. Our freedoms in America have overstepped God’s intention for mankind. But I have to stop and remember one thing…not everyone is a Bible believing Christian. In our society today, Christians are an offense and an annoyance. Today’s world sees Christ followers as being nothing more than archaic, obsolete, out of date, old-fashioned, behind the times, antiquated, having seen better days, and oldfangled. But that’s okay, the truth will stand when the world’s on fire. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen to this earth as we know it. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10”

CHRISTIANS, hold fast to the principles and precepts of God’s Holy Word. We all know and understand the fact that everyone will die someday, and it’s important how we live. Where do you stand? It’s mankind’s choice. God never forces himself on us…he gave us all a freewill. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve. Joshua 24:15 b” KJV

“Warts, Carbuncles, Blemishes, and All”

I often say, “I am just what I am…warts, carbuncles, blemishes, and all.” It has always bothered me how I was perceived by other people. I grew up in a fishbowl atmosphere as a “preacher’s kid,” but as of today, I have resolved to try to be just me. I’ve decided that I cannot please everyone. I’m weary from trying. I’ve spent my entire life trying to please people, when the only one I’ve needed to worry about is my Creator. God formed me in my mother’s womb and created me in His own image, and that’s good enough for me. My desire is that the radiance of Jesus will always reflect on my face.

I’ve never proclaimed to be perfect and I never will be. That night on May 22, 1946, for one instant I was perfect, a creation of the Heavenly Father. As soon as I hit the air in the delivery room at Cabarrus County Hospital in Concord, North Carolina, I entered a world of disease, sin, and decay (warts, carbuncles, and blemishes). So, no! I’m not perfect. Even though I entered this old sinful world as a perfect little creation, my life over the years has become a conglomeration of warts, carbuncles, and blemishes.  But there will be a day when this life will be over, and I will obtain that perfect body again. It will be a glorious body…just like His. I like to refer to my failures and sins as warts, carbuncles, and blemishes, but God will make me perfect again someday and take all of that away.

me

When I was born that warm night in 1946, obstetric medicine had not progressed to the point it is today. In fact, Cabarrus County Hospital was still in its infancy. The hospital was only about ten years old. According to my birth record signed by Lance T. Monroe, M.D, I entered the world at 8:35 p.m. Prior to my birth, Doctor Monroe had come to the waiting room and informed my father that something had gone wrong during the delivery procedure. Daddy was informed that I would probably not survive. I was born frank breech and the delivery had progressed too far to do a caesarian, which they rarely did in 1946. Daddy was devastated when Doctor Monroe also told him that there was no way I could survive and probably not my mother. He then gave my father a choice, “Preacher Digh, do you want me to try to save your wife or the baby? We may have to take the baby (and these were his words relayed to me by my father) piece by piece”  Daddy’s reply was loud and clear, “That’s not my choice to make. I want them both.” So, my father turned to God through prayer. He went out behind the hospital and fell on his knees, and when he returned to the waiting room, I had arrived…screaming my lungs out, I’m sure. I haven’t hushed since that day.

Yes, I came into this world sitting down and I think that makes a strong statement regarding my character and personality. I have remained seated in my faith and beliefs. I will not be moved. I’ve experienced times when I’ve failed God and created many warts, carbuncles,  and blemishes on my testimony, because I’m not perfect. But…God has remained faithful.

So, here I am…seated as usual at my computer…warts, carbuncles, blemishes, and all…just typing away. I haven’t hushed yet. As long as I live, I will share Christ and what he has done in my life. I’ve always known that God has had a purpose for my living, therefore, I plan to fulfill that purpose.

Can you imagine the pain I would have felt if Dr. Monroe had taken me from my mother’s body…piece by piece. My brain was already formed, as was my nervous system. So I guess you can understand why I don’t believe in abortion. A child is a gift from God…created in his image, and we are commanded to value that life as my father did.

 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 

I’m reminded of some of the lyrics of that great old hymn by Horatio Spafford…It is Well With My Soul

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Stories of Faith

Throughout the month of January, all my books will be available on amazon.com or $0.99 (Kindle Version).

If you enjoy clean, southern, faith-based fiction, I urge you to dive into them. Each book is a mystery mingled with romance and history. In my writing, I attempt to portray life in the south through each plot and every characters. I include some dialect in the stories and even include a few pictures and recipes. But above all, Christ and His redemptive work on the cross is presented as a source of strength for each character.

The titles are Hope Returns, Terror on Waxhaw Creek, Fireflies on Waxhaw Creek, Family Secrets, and Unfailing Love.H was first published in 2008 and again in 2015. The storyline takes place in Rutherford County nestled in the foothills of the mountains of North Carolina. Hope Logan, the protagonist, returns to her grandparent’s old homeplace and finds a baffling mystery that had haunted her family for nearly sixty-five years. Anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness toward God consume her when she sets out to tackle the mystery. Because of three senior citizens and a handsome young pastor, her anger begins to fade as she discovers the meaning of faith and hope in Christ in the midst of adversity.

Hope Returns was first published in 2008 and again in 2015. The storyline takes place in Rutherford County nestled in the foothills of the mountains of North Carolina. Hope Logan, the protagonist, returns to her grandparent’s old homeplace and finds a mystery that had haunted her family for nearly sixty-five years. Anger, bitterness and unforgiveness toward God consume her when she sets out to solve the mystery that had surrounded her family for over sixty-five years. Because of three senior citizens and a handsome young pastor, her anger begins to fade as she discovers the meaning of faith and hope in Christ in the midst of adversity.

The Waxhaw Creek Trilogy includes Terror on Waxhaw Creek, Fireflies on Waxhaw Creek, and Unfailing Love. These stories revolve around a family, a church, and a group of Christian friends.  A mystery and a puzzling crime unfolds in each of the books as the characters learn the meaning of true friendship and Christian love. In the series, each character encounters many daunting issues. A police chief and his family, a Native American teacher, a self-made business woman, and a pastor live their lives to the fullest in the Land of the Waxhaw, birthplace of Andrew Jackson.

Family Secrets takes place in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, in the little villages of Mint Hill and Wilgrove. The protagonist, Faith Simpson, returns from New York City to the place of her roots for the reading of her great-aunt’s will. Because of the stipulations of the will, she has to move into her great-aunt’s huge O’Gallagher mansion where she encounters a secret that is mind boggling. Since Faith had been a detective with the New York Police Department, she puts her skills to work as she sets out to solve the mystery surrounding the old house. Her quest for the truth takes her to Ireland to unravel it. Because of a handsome young Native American man and other friends, she is able to attack her problems. All the while, her faith in God is renewed and strengthened.

Disappointments

I have had a great life and am so grateful that God has blessed me in so many ways, yet throughout my life I have suffered disappointments. As a child I was never disappointed by my parents…they were the ones who were always there for me. I’m sure I disappointed them many times, but they always stood by me, no matter what. As a teenager, I was excluded from certain events because of who my father was…the pastor. I learned early in life to grit my teeth and deal with it. As I think back over my life, my first major disappointment was when my father took a different church in a neighboring county. I felt like my heart was being ripped out when we pulled up stakes and moved from one town to another. That first year at my high school was torture. I didn’t fit in anywhere. Then the next year a new school opened, and I seemed to carve out a place for myself and somewhat found happiness. My high school years were not a happy time for me. The year after I graduated I started dating my husband. Little did I see the hand of God on my life when we moved to that little community, but that handsome young man I was dating was my neighbor. It was a whirlwind romance, and soon we were married. The major disappointment that surpassed anything I had every experienced was what happened not long after the wedding…he was drafted and sent to Vietnam. Still, I failed to recognize the hand of God during that time. God protected him and he returned home safe after a year from that war-torn country.  

After being married for 53 years, we have experienced many disappointments as a family over the years. With the help of the Heavenly Father, we have managed to press on. Yet through it all, my husband has never disappointed me, nor have my children. When dealing with hurt caused by disappointment, Jesus always steps in and heals our broken hearts. I’m reminded of this scripture, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5″ No matter what our disappointment is, Jesus is always there for us…that constant abiding friend who never lets us down.

Staying in God’s Word helps us overcome anything.

What’s Really Important ???

Fall has left us and winter is here. The blanket of leaves in my yard have been blown, piled up, and burned. No longer do they cover the earth as if to keep the ground warm for the coming cold weather.  I watched my husband as he diligently piled the dead leaves in heaps and prepared to burn them a few weeks ago. Isn’t that just like our lives? Yes, things that were once beautiful in our lives become less important and fall away just like those autumn leaves. Before we know it, those really important things in our lives are things of the past and are tucked away in our memory bank   forever.

As I have grown older, I have come to realize just what’s important in life…Jesus, family, and friends. I spent my entire young adult life wrapped up in the organizations of the church…music, mission organizations, and Sunday School teaching. Now my life has slowed down, and most of those things are only distant memories. As I ponder those things my life was so controlled by, I realize I didn’t do all of those activities for the right reasons. I have to admit that many times I did them because it was expected of me, and much of it was done for self-gratification and not for the Lord. It’s taken me a lifetime to come to grips with that realization. I can’t go back and change things, so I will press on in the name of Jesus doing what He wants me to do. Age has slowed me down so much, but I know in my heart that  God’s not finished with me. I have self-published five faith-based novels and am working on the sixth book. All of my writing centers around Christ and His unfailing love for mankind. Scripture tells us in “Little Is Much When God Is In It.” So, I will continue to bloom where I’m planted…writing and blogging. 

Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth to those things that are before…Philippians 3:13.
Lora B. Create & Ponder

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