Looking for Beta Readers to read chapters of Fireflies of Switchmore Creek as they’re written. I need people who can give constructive criticism, critique, encouragement and prayer. You are essential to the progress of the book, so please contact me via facebook messenger (Dana Lynn Feero) or by email (email@example.com). Thanks and God bless you!
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
A song from Skillet, “One Day Too Late” got me thinking about my childhood in the ’70’s and the things I used to escape my clinical depression, the tension in the house, and my mother’s criticism. My family and I had no idea what clinical depression was back then, and those of us who suffered from it were often told to, “Get over it,” or “If you try hard enough you’ll come out of it,” which was quite discouraging, for no amount of trying can remove clinical problems like depression. But we found ways of coping:
Like me for instance, I escaped through the pop music on my little radio (before the days the internet and YouTube). I’d listen to WKY for hours while the music recycled, just to hear my favorite songs over again. Songs like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”, 3 Dog Night’s “Joy to the World, The Eagles’ “Hotel California” and more, trying to find comfort in the songs and some way of explaining why I felt the way I did.
My other ways of escape where reading and re-reading my precious books, or books from the nearest library (I probably read every book in the children’s, and youth section’s). Diving in to the stories. Living another person’s life or sharing the adventures with the characters. And my writing. I wrote stories; creating friends who didn’t berate me, or tease me cruelly, or put me down because of my perceived faults. I wrote to try to understand who I was and who I was supposed to be.
Like my son, many kids today seek escape through video games. Others find escape in drugs or drinking; self medicating to escape their own depression and the pressures and demands of being a youth, which worse now than it ever was. I must confess that I am a casual gamer, playing Solitaire or Jewel Quest on my tablet in my spare time.
But lately I’ve begun to seek comfort in my God more than anything else the world can offer. I found myself praying that God would show Himself in my life more and more, and have realized that having my Savior, Jesus Christ, in every area of my life is MY escape from reality. It’s time. Time to live life to the fullest. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 That’s what You said Lord in Your word and I hold to that promise. Equip me to face the rest of the world and cope with the harshness of reality, and the strength to pursue what God has in store for me to accomplish, which is His victory in my life and the lives of the people who follow Him.
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for giving my life purpose and meaning, the most important meaning of all; spreading the gospel in the unique way You’ve chosen for me to accomplish Your will. I pray for those in spiritual darkness brought on by depression and other worldly influences, that You in Your mercy will set them free by Your Spirit and Your word. Amen.
Statue of Liberty
I received this letter from a friend who had received it from another friend. Letter’s like these have to be spread by word of mouth, so keep it going!
For some reason, people have difficulty structuring their arguments when arguing against
supporting the currently proposed immigration revisions. This lady made the argument pretty
simple. NOT printed in the Orange County Paper …
Newspapers simply won’t publish letters to the editor which they either deem politically incorrect
(read below) or which does not agree with the philosophy they’re pushing on the public. This woman
wrote a great letter to the editor that should have been published; but, with your help, it will get
published via cyberspace!
From: “David LaBonte”
My wife, Rosemary, wrote a wonderful letter to the editor of the OC Register which, of course,
was not printed. So, I decided to “print” it myself by sending it out on the Internet. Pass it along if
you feel so inclined. Written in response to a series of letters to the editor in the Orange County Register:
So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this land is made up of immigrants.
Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren’t being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry.
Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today’s American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was
a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in
a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and
bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some
even changed their names to blend in with their new home.
They had waved good-bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No
free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.
Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought alongside men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy, France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people.
When we liberated France, no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the German-American or the Irish-American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.
And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a
guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I’m sorry, that’s not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900’s deserve better than
that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled
that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.
And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty, it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn’t start talking about dismantling the United States just yet.
KEEP THIS LETTER MOVING. FOR THE WRONG THINGS TO PREVAIL THE RIGHTFUL
MAJORITY NEEDS TO REMAIN COMPLACENT AND QUIET!! LET THIS NEVER HAPPEN!!
I sincerely hope this letter gets read by millions of people all across the nation!!
God bless America!
Focal passages: John 3:1-5, 14-21 This passage accounts the meeting Jesus had with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes a Pharisee as: a member of the Jewish sect of the intertestamental period noted for strict observance of the rights and ceremonies of the written law (laid down by God through Moses) and for insistence on the validity of THEIR OWN (emphasis added) oral traditions concerning the law. Self-righteous. Jesus described them in Matthew 15:8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me,” and in Matt. 23, Jesus calls them, “Whitewashed tombs…full of dead people’s bones.” Outwardly righteous but inwardly, spiritually dead.
I describe the Pharisees to show that this is the sect that Nicodemus came from, and yet he wanted to know the Truth. He was brave enough to want to know Jesus thoughts on salvation rather than trusting in his own traditions. Twice, Jesus chastises Nicodemus for his unbelief, but He also offered him hope in versus 14-21. Verse 16-18 are mostly quoted as stand alone vss, but in context, it appears that Jesus is still speaking to Nicodemus. Though the passage doesn’t confirm that he was saved that day, Nicodemus later stands up and bravely speaks out in the midst of the Scribes and the Pharisees in defense of Jesus, and was told to leave, which is recorded in John 7:50-51. He also brings 75 lbs. of burial spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial in John 19:39-40.
There is so much doubt, fear, and unbelief in the world today, that Nicodemus’ story gives me encouragement. We are trapped in a world where godlessness abounds and God is denied openly; arrogantly. Many people, including Christians, are plagued with doubt that God is even listening, and burdened with so much sickness of the body, mind and Spirit, that we are oppressed, even paralyzed. Some are convinced, like the Pharisees, that their must be something else to salvation, that they must do this and do that to earn their way into Heaven. But there is Hope, in simple faith–in Jesus who is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. He is our only, ONLY hope.
Father, God, please work Your will in our world and in our lives today. Draw us closer to You, and may we hear You. Have Your Holy Spirit touch our lives, and Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I began writing at the age of 12, partly from living in the country where the nearest neighbor was a 1/4 of a mile away, and partly because of depression. My home life was privileged but strained, with an overbearing father and a passive aggressive mother there was a lot of mental abuse. I was orphaned and abandoned very early in life, spent a year in an unstable foster home, and adopted at the age of 2 1/2. I loved to read to escape the stresses of school and life, and found I could become anyone I wanted to be in my imagination. A whole new world of alternative realities and alter-egos opened up to me, and in 1976 I began to realize that I could also write. I could make up short stories, and even tried my hand at writing a novel when I was in middle school.
A geek to the core, my free times at school were spent volunteering in the school library and hanging around with the other rejects like me. You know, the ones who didn’t have parents that could get them anything they wanted. We weren’t part of the cool crowd. We were the (slow learners), or the ones nobody else seemed to want to hang around with, but we had each other and stuck together. Kids around that age can be very cruel and heartless when you don’t fit in, so it was hard growing up. But I kept writing; kept pursuing my dream. And although I wasn’t the brightest kid in the school, there were a few things I excelled at: English, literature, and writing.
In my early twenties I finally had to face where my sin and running from God had brought me to–penniless, several thousand dollars in debt, 7 months pregnant, and trapped in an abusive relationship with a man I wasn’t married to. My parents had disowned me and I was on my own. I was a good kid, by today’s standards, but God didn’t and still doesn’t see it that way. Like the prodigal son, I finally surrendered to Christ on the floor of our dilapidated trailer home with holes in the walls and gaps large enough for small animals to come in. I guess you could say I was getting back to nature, ha, ha.
The year was 1988, and I discovered the saving grace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Sept of that year. I had sunk so far down that the only place I could look was up, and there He found me. He lifted me up out of that muck and mire my sin had brought me to, and in 3 days I was back home with my parents and away from the man who had kept me trapped for 2 years. If anyone ever tells you that God doesn’t work miracles, just send them my way, I have plenty of testimonies to show them otherwise. My sin may have been forgiven, but I still had to face the effects of them. I had to give my baby up for adoption. I wanted a better life for him than I could provide, and there was also the problem of his abusive father to complicate the issue. The fear of him finding us forced me to opt for a closed adoption, meaning that I could never visit him, see any photos of him growing up, or even know where he was. But it was all for him, and I would gladly do it again just to know he was kept safe and had the opportunity to be raised in a stable Christian home.
Fast forward 5 yrs later. I finally found the man God had set apart for me, and a newborn baby boy that I could keep and watch grow up. He’s now 20 and the apple of God’s eye as well as mine. I am a servant of God first, a wife and mother second, and a writer third. That desire to write never left me, but changed for the better after I was saved. Instead of writing to make my mark on the world, I write for my Lord, to bring glory to Him and to send out His word to the lost and weary. He created me to be who I am, and who I am is securely in Christ. I hope a bit of my story is an inspiration to others. He made you just the way you are. You may not see it now, but you were made for a specific purpose, and God will use you to be uniquely you; whether it’s writing, soccer, working with kids, or witnessing on Twitter and Facebook, YOU are special and set apart, and God will use you to do great things. Just surrender to Him and He will refine you and direct your path.
This is my first functioning site, and one in which I can call myself an author. I have completed the rough draft of my first novel, “Fireflies of Switchmore Creek” God will direct me on how to publish it. I hope you enjoy my blog and tell others about it. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and I welcome your critiques. God bless you.
Put Your Boots on, Soldier!
Have you ever wondered what you were put on this earth to do? I have. Up until recently this one idea consumed much of my thoughts. I think a lot of Christians struggle with this same question. God created us to fellowship with Him, to pray for others, and to share our faith with the lost. Simple, yes, but very difficult if you don’t have the right tools. The body of Christ is, in essence, sitting by and watching while our world crumbles around us and Satan thrives in Christian lives and churches as well as everywhere else.
As children of God we are called by the Almighty God, our Abba Daddy, to fellowship with Him in a church with other believers and by praying daily. You might be asking, “Praying for what, exactly?” The answer isn’t difficult at all, it’s just…big. True prayer and fellowship with God begins with us, personally, when we embark on our prayer lives, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian. We pray, not just for ourselves, but for others, beginning with those we’re closest to, like immediate family and friends. As we grow in our prayer lives and in our fellowship with our awesome God, we grow in fellowship with other Christians, God begins to open our eyes to what’s really happening in the world around us. We begin to see God’s power at work and our prayers answered in lives and events. Brothers and sisters in Christ, these things are essential to the healthy Christian life.
Be honest with yourself. Where are you in your spiritual growth and your prayer life today? If your answer convicts you, a good place to start is Prayer Boot Camp from Prayer Portions by Sylvia Gunter. Moreover, I recommend you get it. It’s not a small book by any means. It may cost you an pretty penny, but think of it as a lifelong investment. The following is an excerpt:
Prayer Boot Camp pgs 263-265 of Prayer Portions
Prayer is not a formula. It is primarily a love relationship expressed between you and your loving heavenly Father. He is all-wise, all-loving, all-forgiving, all-powerful, all-able to hear and to answer. This study…is merely a good starting place to grasp the enormous privilege we have as God calls us to Himself to speak with Him face-to-face. (Scripture references have been highlighted for importance)
What is prayer?
1. Relationship-verbalizing total child-like dependence on my faithful Father-John 1:12, Matthew 6:9, 7:11.
2. Intimate two-way conversation between two people who love each other, talking with God – James 4:8.
3. Standing in the gap – a. between a need and God who can supply – Ezekiel 22:30. b. between a need and Satan the adversary – Matthew 16:19, Ephesians 6:10-18.
4. Pleading the promises – Joshua 23:14, 2 Corinthians 1:20.
5. Acknowledging entire dependence on the Sovereign God – John 15:4.
6. Asking God for something – Matthew 7:7-8.
7. Ministering to God – Deuteronomy 10:8.
8. Pouring out our burdens on our caring Friend – Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7.
9. The beginning of every move of God – Habakkuk 3:1-2.
Who can pray? (pg 264)
Those with a clean heart – If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18).
Those with clean hands – Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand on His holy place? He who has clean hands and an pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false (Psalm 24:3-4).
Those who forgive – When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25).
Those who come in faith – If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (Matt 21:22). Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Those who belong to Jesus – You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it (John 14:14).
Those who are His child – Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God (John 1:12). Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matt 6:8).
The humble – The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, an sinner” (Luke 18:13).
To Whom do we pray? (pg 264)
To God the Father in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit – Matt 6:9, John 14:14, Romans 8:26-27.
What are the basic ingredients? (pg 265)
Adoration: Praise God for His attributes–magesty, holiness, goodness, sovereignty, power, love, grace, etc. Psalm 103, 145, 147
Confession: Ask God to reveal sin. Agree with God about your sin. Repent of your sins. Accept God’s cleansing. 1 John 1:9
Thanksgiving: Thank God for His blessings: material, physical, personal, spiritual, etc. Ephesians 5:20
Supplication: Intercede for others and petition for your own needs. Philippians 4:6
Boot camp is excellent training for battle, but it is not the real war. There are no victories unless an soldier goes to war. There are no heroes in boot camp. You may know all about prayer. There will be no prayer victories unless you actually pray. Prayer victory is based on praying, not on how much head knowledge you have about prayer or how many prayer requests you take. God wants to show Himself strong in answer to your prayers.
Are you asleep? I don’t mean physically, I mean spiritually. In essence, the body of Christ has been asleep for the past 50 years or more. To put it bluntly, we sit by and watch while the world around us goes to Hell in a handbasket, and sometimes we don’t even notice that. We’ve become so concerned with how to survive in our own private lives that we’ve forgotten about others: our famiies, our neighbors, our church, our government, our world, and ultimately the body of Christ. We need to pray for one another for strengthening in the time to come.
Satan has us exactly where he wants us; enslaved in our own fears and engrosed in our own survival. Hollywood has become our favorite past time, and divorce among Christians is just as high as with non-Christians. We hear of shootings every other day and disasters happening in unlikely places. Yet what do we do? We sit by and watch and perhaps even wonder, “Where is God in all of this?”. The answer is; He never left us. We left Him.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are a sleeping giant. We’ve got to wake up, and the only way to do that is by accessing God in our daily lives. He is still there through all the chaos. Can you feel him?
Time is of the essence. So let me introduce you to one of my favorite Bible studies: a book called Prayer Portions by Sylvia Gunter. Moreover, I recommend you get it. It’s not a small book by any means. It may cost you, but think of it as a lifelong investment.
For the present, I want to talk with you about Intercessory Portions, a chapter in Sylvia’s book.
Introduction to Intercessory Portions
Praying world-changing prayers begins as you and I obey God’s promptings in the “little things” close at hand. God entrusts His best secrets to people who have their ears tuned for listening and whom He can trust to follow through. Are you willing to be awakened at any hour of the night with one of God’s prayer assignments?
(You may ask yourself) does prayer really work? I mean, at nitty-gritty places like the (store)? I’ve taken prayer to the streets at churches and schools, on mountains and on interstates at 65 mph, in historic districts and in rapid transit stations…I take God’s holy nudges very seriously. A few intercessor-friends in particular make a vital difference in my life. (One can be so sensative about specific people, that he or she dare not ignore the slightest urge to pray for them.) That is how you learn–by experience, Heb. 5:14. We may miss the call of God to intercede here and there when we don’t listen and obey instantly, but we grow and learn. God constantly fine-tunes our antenna to His still small voice…I don’t usually start with the ABC’s (of prayer). I think the church has heard more instruction about prayer than we are doing. We probably don’t need any more seminars, studies, sermons, or even books on prayer. We just need to be doing what we already know. However, it is helpful to go back to the basics and see again that our foundation for prayer is solidly biblical.
Next month we’ll start getting down to the nitty-gritty of intercessory prayer. I’ll post more excerpts from Prayer Portions: Prayer Boot Camp on page 263. In the meantime, keep a running list of things that concern you and prayer requests from others and refer to it every day. Commit to prayer every day for them and for your spiritual growth. Most of all, pray that you will grow closer to God with each passing day. Go easy on yourself at first. If you’re not familiar with praying regularly, start by giving Him 10 to 15 minutes of your time every morning. If you can’t even do that, give Him time on your morning route to work, or when you’re doing dishes. God never despises meager beginnings. Trust me.