Fear Not! – even when voting

My dear Christian friends,
The ones who keep repeating some version of “We have to vote for Trump or else Clinton will get in!”:

Oh ye of little faith! Stop living in fear!

God can use the few to conquer the many – and has.
God can take down a giant with one stone – and has.
God can divide a body of water to allow His people to cross on dry ground – and has.
God can keep His people safe in a fiery furnace – and has.
God can create something from nothing – and has.
God can conquer death itself – and has.

Remember, nothing is out of God’s control. If we allow fear to lead us instead of God, we are giving our own emotions a place of preeminence above God. We are finite beings, while God is infinite in knowledge and power – He is sovereign! We need to place our trust in Him and make decisions that will honor and glorify Him. Decisions based in fear of this world rather than trust in Him do not honor and glorify Him. Actions based on fear are sin. To say “so-and-so can’t defeat Clinton because they don’t have enough support” is to detract from the power of God. If each of us would truly trust in the Lord and vote accordingly, I think we would be amazed at what God can do! When we limit ourselves in our fear, we will face the consequences of that. We reap what we sow. Each of us is responsible for our own decisions and actions. We do not have to vote for person A to avoid person B – we should be voting according to the principles set forth in God’s Word, and for the person who will best obey the law and honor the Constitution.

You will answer for how you vote; you will answer to God and also to your fellow Americans. Be sure you are prepared to give that answer.

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

“God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.” – Psalm 47:8

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2

 

(Sidenote: If you honestly, genuinely support Trump for who he is and not just because he “isn’t Clinton,” this post is not directed at you, although I would still respectfully and ardently challenge your decision.)

Be Not Dismayed

(One of the definitions of “dismay” is “to dishearten thoroughly.” That is the definition I always think of and use.)

Sometimes it can be easy to feel dismayed. This most often happens to me when there is a lot of bad news at once. It doesn’t even have to be something that affects me directly. If I hear too much bad news at one time, I begin to feel thoroughly disheartened. With everything going on in the world lately, I have been struggling with dismay over the past week or so.

But then I read this verse: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10). In context, these words were spoken as encouragement for Israel, but they certainly can apply to all who belong to the Lord. We have no reason to fear or be dismayed because He is our God! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and he has promised never to forsake us. He will give us the strength we need, He will help us, and He will uphold us.

Such a simple thing to say, but sometimes we become so fixated on other things that we almost forget it. Just like Peter when he began to sink after walking on the water, we focus on the turmoil and trials around us rather than on the Lord. But, also like Peter, we have a Lord who will not leave us to deal with the turmoil on our own.

It isn’t our responsibility to fix everything. This is a sinful world, and with it comes pain and heartache and death. There isn’t anything we can do to fix that – and yes, it is a sad thing. But we know the One Who defeated death and sin! He has everything under His control. Our responsibility is not to fix things, but to trust, follow, and obey Him. We can rest in Him, be still and know that He is God.

So, Christians, don’t become disheartened. Be not dismayed. The Lord has your heart and He will never let you out of His grasp. Cast all your cares on Him. Think on the things of the Lord and receive the peace that passes understanding. Keep an eternal perspective. This is not our home. Our hope and joy are in the Lord!

(Even when we feel dismayed, we need to remember that our feelings are not to be our guide in this world – God’s Word should be.)

DIY – Red-Bottomed Shoes

One afternoon I was lounging around at home with my sisters and my boyfriend. I don’t remember how the topic came up, but shoes entered the conversation. I’m very much a tank-top-and-flip-flops, cheap, maintenance-free sort of girl when it comes to fashion, so I know very little about name-brand…well, anything. My sisters are more fluent in the name-brand language than I am, which I’m used it. It came as quite a surprise, though, when my boyfriend joined in the conversation. He and my sisters were talking about these things called red-bottomed shoes, apparently made by a person named Christian Louboutin. What caught my attention most was when my boyfriend mentioned that he thinks they are cool-looking shoes (red and black being his favorite colors, it makes sense). I like to do what I can to make him happy, so when a special event was coming up I decided to look into these mysterious but awesome red-bottomed shoes…

AND YIKES THE PRICE TAG

Remember I like cheap? I don’t like to spend more than $20.00 on a pair of shoes – $30.00 if they’re really nice, or MAYBE a little more for the right pair of boots. So I’m sure you can imagine my reaction when I saw the prices of these Christian Louboutin shoes. CRAY-ZEE.

Then, as is natural for me when I see something I want that I don’t want to spend the money for, I thought, “I bet I could do this myself.”

And thus began my journey to acquire my own pair of red-bottomed shoes (which everyone likes and no one knows they were DIY until I, in my excitement about the project, tell them all about it as I’m about to tell you).

 

DIY Red-Bottomed Shoes

My Materials:
Shoes – I got a decent, but inexpensive pair of black heels from Payless
Flexi-Dip in a spray can – I went looking for Plasti-Dip at Home Depot, but they only had Flexi-Dip in red. Whatever, it worked.
Tape – I had painter’s tape but I’m sure anything would be fine.
Newspaper

First things first – tape up the part of the shoe you don’t want to be red. I didn’t tape the inside because I would be lying my shoes upside down, but I taped everything else but the sole and the heel. I opted to color the entire heel to give the shoes more color and make it easier with less to tape up. Plus the heels I got were not super tall and I wanted to make sure people could see the red.

Shoes, taped up and ready to go

Shoes, taped up and ready to go

After the shoes were ready, I set up a place in the shed to work on the project. Ideally, this should be done outside or somewhere with excellent ventilation. Let me tell you, Flexi-Dip vapors are strong. I made it work in the shed because of weather and time of year, but would have preferred to be outside. One good thing is the smell goes away overnight for the most part. I covered the area I was using in newspaper and laid the shoes upside-down.

The painting has begun

The painting has begun

After you have everything set up, get to spraying! Read the directions on the Flexi-Dip can. I had to do several coats over the course of a couple days to get the shoes really red. I still would have liked to do a couple more coats but I ran out of time. It also probably would have worked better for me if I did lighter coats and more of them. But I’m still pleased with how they came out!

Painting is finished - time to remove the tape

Painting is finished – time to remove the tape

When you’re satisfied and everything is dry, you can remove the tape. Be careful you don’t pull off any Flexi-Dip with it because the Flexi-Dip all wants to stick together. I had some red get under the tape, but it rubbed right off just with my fingers. Again, if you have to do this, be careful not to take off any Flexi-Dip you don’t want to.

After I rub off the red that leaked under the tape, the shoes will be finished!

After I rub off the red that leaked under the tape, the shoes will be finished!

This is where I stopped. In the time since then, it’s been recommended I look for a top coat/sealer type of thing that is used over Plasti-Dip/Flexi-Dip. I haven’t tried that yet, but I imagine it’s probably a good idea. The red did start wearing off the bottom where the shoe touches the ground after only a couple of wears. But most people don’t see that part of the shoe anyway and since I like low-maintenance, I haven’t done anything with it. The rest of the shoe and heel still look good and red. I wore the shoes to work and got a lot of comments on my cool red-bottomed shoes. It was exciting for me to be able to tell people I did it myself! See, I can be stylish if I try!

Probably this would be a fun project to try on different shoes in different colors. It’s not likely that I will, but it’s nice to know that I can if I want to!

Have you ever tried something like this? What did you do differently? Or what do you WISH you had done differently? What other fashion DIYs have you tried?

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Come in 50 Shades of Any Color

Many of my Facebook friends are boycotting a certain movie that’s coming out this weekend (and, presumably, the book that inspired it). They are, in turn, encouraging all of their Facebook friends to do the same thing. They don’t want to promote and support sexual assault/abuse, they say, and that is what they claim the story is all about. That’s why they have a problem with it.

I have also been boycotting the same book/movie, and will continue to do so. In fact, I have been boycotting it so much that I wasn’t even going to acknowledge its existence. But the things I’ve been seeing and hearing lately on the subject prompted me to address it.

Just as some of my friends plan not to, I of course will also not be supporting this book/movie. But my perception is slightly different from theirs. I’m not boycotting it because of whatever the story is all about. I’m not even entering that debate. My line of thinking didn’t even go that far when I was presented with the book/movie material. My line of thinking stopped immediately upon the realization that this work of fiction is nothing short of pornography. From what I can tell, the entire story line revolves around the intimate and explicit details of a couple’s physical relations – an unmarried couple, at that.

What a mark of where our society is. A book/movie is built entirely on lewd content and people don’t have a problem with that.

Wait, what? When did this type of material and behavior become okay – even welcomed in polite society?

What we see, hear, think about has an effect on us, one way or another. The more we give in to pornographic material, the more we compromise our character. We lessen the value of (real!) relationships, we entertain sinful thoughts which can lead very easily to sinful actions, we contemplate things that we should never be dwelling on, we accept certain behavior that should not be accepted. It’s disrespectful to ourselves and every human being around us. Why are relationships are in such sad shape and falling apart? Because if this is the kind of trash we consume, then we are not going to appreciate the true worth of something valuable when we are presented with it.

Christians, I’m speaking directly to you now – God has graciously provided instruction on what love is, how relationships should work, how to respect one another, how to bring glory to God. Too much of what we seek and too much of the way we live is exactly the opposite of this, and is harmful to us.

So forgive me, but I will not boycott this book-about-to-be-released-as-a-movie because of whatever assault or abuse you think is contained in it.

I will boycott it because it flies in the face of everything I should stand for as a Christian, because of the rank pornography and sinful lifestyle it promotes, because THAT is the real issue here, not my opinion of one fictional character’s intentions toward another fictional character.

When There is No Peace

Early this week, a well-known, self-professing atheist killed himself.

Cue the plethora of Facebook posts, memes, tweets, and comments about his now being at peace or at rest or free or “in a better place.” When bad things happen, especially suicide, we look for comfort. It’s only natural to want to make ourselves feel better. Death is hard enough to deal with, but at least natural death we can understand. Even then unbeliever can understand death. It’s a part of life, after all (the “Circle of Life” for those of us who grew up with Disney movies). Suicide we can’t understand; the people who are left behind cannot make sense of it and the only person who might be able to explain things a little bit is gone. None of us likes to be sad or confused or frustrated or upset. So we look for comfort.

But is there comfort to be found in lies? Is it okay to tell people, “This atheist, this person who utterly rejected God, is now at peace in a better place because he killed himself so don’t worry about it”? Maybe I will come off as harsh or mean but my answer, and I believe the Biblical answer, would adamantly be most absolutely not.

Here’s why:

1 – Someone who rejects God does not have peace. He might find temporary comfort in this life, but that is not peace. Peace only comes from God, and an atheist has rejected God and so rejected peace.

2 – This life on Earth is the best thing an atheist has. When an atheist leaves here, he is not in a better place. He is in hell.

3 – This is not what I want to address directly, but it’s still a fair point: Suicide is never the answer. Just because a person has killed himself does not mean he is at peace.

In short, it does much more harm than good to comfort people with empty assurances made up of lies – lies, moreover, that go completely contrary to the Word of God.

This is the verse that keeps coming to mind in this context: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly [a.k.a. superficially], saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” – Jeremiah 6:14

We are strongly cautioned against false teachers and false prophets, and I believe this kind of thing falls under that category – which is why I so strongly believe it is important to contradict this false teaching when it arises, rather than allow it to continue simply for the sake of not offending or upsetting people. If people aren’t confronted with the reality of sin and death, they will not understand why they need to turn to Christ. Therefore, simply telling them to “turn to Christ to find peace,” and ignore the part about hell and sin (as more than one Christian has told me to do) is not fulfilling our responsibility as Christians, in my opinion. Especially when the rest of the world is telling them a multitude of other places they can go for (empty, meaningless, fake) peace, including suicide.

So, in a situation like this, when people are claiming there is peace/rest/hope/something better in anything other than Christ, let’s correct them. Let’s tell them, “No, actually, that’s not true. What you’re pointing to is utterly hopeless. But I can tell you where to find hope.” We are to treat people with love. Isn’t it more loving to show them the Truth than to encourage them to continue following a lie that would ultimately lead to their destruction?

(Please note: I am not judging an individual’s heart, because only Christ can do that and Christ has the power to save anyone He pleases. But anyone who goes to his death an atheist will not find peace or rest in eternity.)

Envy vs. Jealousy

Two things I enjoy studying are people and words. When I can study them in connection with each other, it’s even better. I like to think about how people use words – what they are actually saying and what they really mean. For example – in our language these days, people tend to use the words “envious” and “jealous” interchangeably.

This is one of my pet peeves.

Because, the truth is, these words are not the same. Sure, they have some similarities. But they are not identical. Language (and the proper use of it) is important to me, and I don’t want someone to say something he doesn’t mean simply because he doesn’t know what the true meaning of the word is. And I hate for that to happen to me, too.

(Sometimes people don’t understand my passion for words…but that’s a story for a different time.)

People who are jealous are concerned mainly with those things they have or perceive as belonging to them. A jealous person is careful to protect what he has and wary of anyone he believes to be a rival. In relationships, someone who is jealous will not tolerate any disloyalty.

Envy pertains more to the way we look at other people. If someone else has something I want, I can grow envious of that person. An individual who is envious perceives that someone else has something good and instead of being happy for that person, begrudges that he doesn’t have that same good thing (or something better).

Rarely do I hear anyone use the word “envy” – usually people are talking about envy but use the word “jealousy.” Over and over in the Bible, envy is portrayed as a bad thing, something Christians are to stay away from, something that causes major problems. We should not be focused so much on what other people have. God is looking out for us and giving us what is best for us. It isn’t necessarily wrong to wish for something, but envy is stronger than wishing – it is malice toward an person. This is never a healthy or good thing.

Jealousy usually carries a negative connotation when people talk about it today. However, as you can see from the definition, jealousy isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. In fact, the Bible says in many places God is a jealous God. God does not sin, so jealousy is not a sin.

BUT!!!!

Just as with anything else, how we deal with our thoughts and our emotions will reveal our hearts. If I am jealous of something (meaning I have it and don’t want to lose it), I must be careful not to let that become consuming. I can be protective of something I own without allowing it to take precedence in my life and become an idol, something I place above God in importance. That IS a sin.

I readily admit I am a jealous person when it comes to people. I am jealous of my friends – I don’t want them to leave and especially don’t want someone else to steal them away. There isn’t anything wrong with that. But when this jealousy affects my trust in God and causes me to become controlling and put my friends in a place of higher importance than God, that is a major problem and something I must guard against.

What are your thoughts? Are you a jealous person? An envious person?

(I used the definitions from Mirriam-Webster.com.)

Angie Brashear – Christian fantasy

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the beautiful cover of Never Let Go by Angie Brashear!

Never Let Go

Never Let Go

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In celebration of this cover reveal and in anticipation of the release of the novel on June 3, Angie is posting today with a little more information about the story, the reason she writes fantasy, and (of course!) how we can get our hands on our very own copies.

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Christian Fantasy: A Life-Saving Genre

Definitions of literary genres can be…well, complex. Even tricky. Attempts to define Christian fantasy vary, though I’ve spent little time fretting over an official definition. I mean, Christian fiction typically illustrates a Christian world view within its plot, characters, or both. And the fantasy genre commonly uses myths and legends as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. So, in my opinion, Christian fantasy embodies fantastical elements in an internally consistent setting all the while reflecting aspects of the Christian world view.

But the debate (at least for some) surrounds who writesChristian fantasy. Writers who are Christians, writers who claim to be Christians, or writers who believe Christianity is a fantasy to begin with? It’s not a debate I choose to enter, for the truth lies outside the discussion: the genre influences nonbelievers. My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world.

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher readThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis aloud to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.

I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves.And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers.

And Never Let Go was born.

In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth.

Back Cover Blurb:

Captured by the Rendow Clan, who seek to slaughter those with faith in the Maker, Laila Pennedy awaits death. Moments before her execution, she is rescued from the gallows by Lars Landre and his dragon. Marked as The Chosen by his blue eyes, Lars is destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution.

Lars guides Laila on a harrowing race across The Woodlands to Tuveil, where the Faithful are preparing to fight a rebellion. But the secret location of the village is betrayed and the RendowClan’s army will soon be at the gates. Faced with this impeding peril, Laila trains for battle, but the struggles in her mind and heart may be as overwhelming as the war to come. Will she prove herself an asset or is she condemned to forever be a burden to those she loves?

Pre-order Never Let Go here.

Angie Brashear

Angie Brashear

Author Bio:

When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s an avid reader and runner, both of which perplex her husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.