Avoiding Deception

The Bible study this week goes along with the scriptural theme over at my bungalow retreat. If you haven’t stop by yet, I hope you will: www.bungalowretreat.com 

The heart of deception

Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”

God’s word tells us that apart from Him our hearts are chronically deceitful and desperately sick. In other words, we can’t rely on our own wisdom. No matter how wise or discerning we may think we are, if we are not daily living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and daily submitting our hearts and minds to the truth of His Word, we are in danger of being led astray by the deceitful schemes of the enemy. In fact, left to ourselves, our deceitful, sick hearts will follow after the lies and deception of the enemy every time. And do you think he doesn’t know that? Of course he does.

Why do so many believers end up entangled in Satan’s lies and deception?

1. Ignorance – failure  “to study to show (ourselves) approved to God as workmen who need not be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15

John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your (God’s) word is truth.”

2. Not prepared and not watching . . . “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you, for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. Many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.” Matthew 24:4-5; 11-12; 24-25

3. Failure to be on the alert . . . “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8

Why is studying and knowing the truth of God’s word such an important element in our protection against the lies and deceit of the enemy?

“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent me. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’” John 8:42; 44-45

Knowing the truth of God’s word gives us a trustworthy point of reference, something to hold what we’re hearing and being taught up against to see if it’s the real thing or a counterfeit. If we are not firmly rooted in the truth, we may not recognize the lies of the enemy.

Let’s not forget what Paul tells us in II Corinthians 11:12-15 about the father of lies and those who serve him: “for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”

Satan is crafty in his attempts to lead believers in to sin and deception. He doesn’t arrive on the scene announcing his intent to deceive us. In fact, often he uses a cleverly distorted version of the truth that to the untrained ear may sound biblical. Let’s not be one of his next victims. Let’s determine today to be faithful students of God’s word.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”

We hide God’s word in our hearts whenever we memorize scripture. We are also hiding His word in our hearts when we read and study the Bible, applying its teachings to our lives. If we are daily reading, memorizing, and studying the word of God, we will be less likely to sin because His truth will be deeply imbedded in our hearts. Whenever we are tempted to sin, the Holy Spirit will be better able to bring to our remembrance some truth or commandment of God that will help us stand firm and resist the temptation we are facing.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”

God’s word serves as a “lamp”, lighting the way ahead. As long as we walk in the light of God’s word we need not fear that we will take a wrong turn or stumble over obstacles Satan might put in our way. As we walk in obedience to the teachings and commands of our God, He promises to be a place of shelter and protection for us (Psalm 91:1-2).

Until next week . . . “be diligent to study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Tares Among Wheat. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com

If you were unable to attend the book signing at my bungalow retreat on April 6 and haven’t already purchased a copy of Caribbean Freedom, signed copies are available directly through me, or you can purchase unsigned copies through Amazon.com in paperback or e-book. Check under Island Legacy Novels for more information.

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

 

Sharing

At the beginning of this year, my husband, Joe, started posting short, daily devotions on the pastor’s blog for our church website: www.dlobaptistchurch.com. This week I’m sharing three of his recent posts.

Make Him Smile

“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)

Have you ever stopped to think about the times that God smiles at you? Not because you have done or said something funny, but because He is pleased with you.

I held my granddaughter this weekend and she snuggled up to me and I could tell that she was truly happy to be with me. She hugged me and laid her head against my chest and we just sat there. That made me smile.

I wonder if it really is that simple to make God smile. When one is truly happy to spend time with Him. When we warmly embrace His word with an obedient spirit. When our hearts consistently turn our thoughts toward Him. I believe these things make God smile.

When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a spring rain.” (Proverbs 16:15 NLT)

Life’s To Do List

Commit – “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.

Teach – Teach them to your children.

Talk – Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

Write – Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.

Obey – Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you.

Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-22 NLT)

Enjoy Life

For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:10-12 NLT)

Are you longing for happiness and joy to be a more consistent and active part of your life?

Practice these four things today and see what happens:

1. Watch what you say – “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” (James 1:26 NLT)

2. Avoid evil – “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NLT)

3. Do good things – “So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” (Ephesians 5:8, 9 NLT)

4. Search for peace – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT)

When you do these things you can count on God’s help along the way.

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If you would like to have access to these devotions on a daily basis, stop by our church website, www.dlobaptistchurch.comand sign up to receive them by e-mail. Fill out the required information under Subscribe to Pastor’s Blog on right hand side of the home page.

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Azaleas: Southern Jewels. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com

If you were unable to attend the book signing at my bungalow retreat on April 6 and haven’t already purchased a copy of Caribbean Freedom, signed copies are available directly through me, or you can purchase unsigned copies through Amazon.com in paperback or e-book. Check under Island Legacy Novels for more information.

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

God’s Faithfulness

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, my husband and I celebrated the official release of my third & final Island Legacy Novel, Caribbean Freedom, by hosting a Book Signing at our home. What a glorious day it was! The weather was perfect: Lots of sunshine and pleasant springtime temps. Our azaleas were in full bloom: the first time they’ve bloomed in several years. And the turnout was beyond my expectations. I praise God for it all!

For this week’s post I decided to share a few photographs of the day’s events along with scripture proclaiming God’s faithfulness.

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease . . .

for His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning . . .

Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think . . .

according to the power that works within us . . .

to Him be the glory . . .

 in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever . . .

To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.

For I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever . . .

In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness. Psalm 89:1-2

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. I Thessalonians 5:23-24

If you were unable to attend the book signing and haven’t already purchased a copy of Caribbean Freedom, signed copies are available directly through me, or you can purchase unsigned copies through Amazon.com in paperback or e-book. Check under Novels for more information.

This week at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Duck, Duck, Goose. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com.

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

Bitterness that Defiles Others

As Christians, if our desire is to be emotionally and spiritually healthy, it is vitally important we properly recognize and deal with any unresolved bitterness or resentment we may be harboring. Unresolved anger will usually result in feelings of resentment toward the person, experience or situation that caused the anger. Unresolved resentment often results in feelings of bitterness.

One definition of bitterness says bitter feelings are characterized by intense anger, hostility or resentment. However, I prefer to think of our bitter feelings in relation to the definition we most often use to describe something that tastes bitter: “having a taste that is sharp or unpleasant”. Just as something that is bitter will be sharp or unpleasant to our taste buds, our feelings of bitterness should be sharp and unpleasant to our emotional systems.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I put something bitter in my mouth, my first response usually is to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Why then do we often tolerate and even nurse feelings of bitterness toward people or circumstances that have hurt or disappointed us in some way. Feelings that are sharp and unpleasant to our emotional taste buds should be as quickly expelled as are foods that are sharp and unpleasant to our physical taste buds. Just as a bitter food item has the potential of making us physically sick, unresolved feelings of bitterness have an even greater potential for making us emotionally and spiritually “sick”.

Nursing unresolved feelings of bitterness and resentment are tale-tale indications we have not dealt with our hurt and anger in a healthy, Christlike fashion. Instead of taking our hurt and anger to the Lord, we have chosen to wallow in the injustice we feel has come our way. Instead of walking in freedom . . . we have made the decision to become a slave to the strongholds of bitterness and resentment. For that is exactly what we are . . . slaves. We’ve been taken captive as a result of our unwillingness to deal with the situation in a Christlike fashion. What we need to do is forgive, change what can be changed, let go of what we can’t, and move on. Consider the truth found in the following poem:

RESENT SOMEBODY

 The moment you start to resent a person

you become … his slave.

 He controls your dreams, absorbs digestion,

robs you of your peace of mind and good will,

and takes away pleasure of your work.

 It ruins your religion and nullifies your prayers.

You cannot take a vacation without his going along!

It destroys your freedom of mind,

he hounds you wherever you go.

There is no way to escape the person you resent.

 It is with you when you are awake.

It invades your privacy when you sleep.

 It is close beside you when you eat,

when you drive your car,

and when you are on the job.

 You can never have efficiency nor happiness.

It influences even the tone of your voice.

 It requires you to take medicine for

indigestion, headaches, and loss of energy.

 It even steals your last moment of consciousness

before you go to sleep.

If you want to be a slave…

 Harbor your resentments.

 (taken from an AA newsletter)

What does God’s Word say about the attitudes of bitterness and resentment?

“Get rid of all bitterness; Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15

Both of these passages of scripture give us a picture of bitterness as being something that needs to be expelled or gotten rid of . . . or else we run the risk of our bitterness causing more trouble and even leading to the spiritual defilement of others. In other words, unresolved bitterness and resentment can be “contagious”; our feelings of bitterness can cause someone else to stumble.

In Ephesians 4:32, Paul gives us the Christlike antidote for our feelings of bitterness. We are to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave us.

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Excerpt from Caribbean Freedom – Third & Final Island Legacy Novel, which releases April 6, 2013.

Mateo stomped alongside Andrés as they headed toward the fields located between their two houses, the words he wanted to say simmering just below the surface.

“Go ahead, say it,” Andrés said. “Whatever it is, let me have it.”

“What were you thinking, letting that woman in your home?”

“And your solution would be what? Leave her standing on the front porch?”

Mateo shook his head. “Am I to assume she showed up at your front door this morning uninvited?”

Andrés chuckled. “If you did, your assumption would be wrong, little brother. I extended an invitation yesterday when I dropped her and Doctor Valdés off. I thought she and Elena might enjoy each other’s company.”

Mateo bit back a curse. How could Andrés find anything about Mariela Ramírez’s visit humorous? “Have you lost your mind? Do you make a habit of encouraging friendships between your wife and our enemies?”

“Mariela is no one’s enemy.”

Mateo kicked a thick clod of red dirt; it broke into little pieces. He didn’t have much trouble imagining it had been his brother’s hard head. “And since when did her family become our friends?”

Andrés cuffed his arm. “My dear brother, you seem to forget Mariela is Doctor and Doña Valdés’ granddaughter, which makes her our friend.”

“Not true. Her parents severed that relationship years ago.”

“But that’s just the point. Her parents severed the relationship, not Mariela. After listening to the conversation between her and Doctor Valdés yesterday, I’m convinced she doesn’t know a thing about all that transpired prior to and following her father’s escape from Cuba.”

“Really? How do you know she’s not putting on an act, pretending not to know?”

“And why would she do that?” Andrés waved to a close neighbor as the older gentleman rode past them on a bullock cart. Mateo stared straight ahead, not even acknowledging the man’s presence. Andrés’ next line of attack would probably be a reprimand for his rudeness. But seconds later, instead of a reprimand, Andrés continued to defend Rudi Ramírez’s daughter. “Mariela was barely six years old when her family left Cuba. She told her grandfather that her parents never spoke of him or Doña Valdés, much less their lives in Cuba. I’m telling you, she knows nothing.”

Mateo came to a sudden halt, his eyes narrowed in a stern glint as he glared at Andrés. “You can believe that all you want, but I’m not falling for it. I don’t know what she’s up to, but I can assure you it’s probably no good.”

You’re one bitter young man.” Andrés shook his head. “And you know what the Bible says about bitterness — that root grows deep and eventually defiles others.”

“What about Mother?”

“Already defiled, I’d say. Already defiled.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Mateo spat through gritted teeth. “Does she know that woman is back in the country?”

That woman’s name is Mariela, as you well know. And why can’t I get it through that thick head of yours that she was only a child when her parents took her away from here? You talk as if she’s responsible for what her father did.” Andrés’ chest lifted; moments later, a heavy sigh exited through his lips. “As for Mother . . . no, she doesn’t know Mariela’s back.”

“Does Elena know she needs to keep Mariela away from Mother’s house?”

“I’m confident Elena will use caution. She wouldn’t want Mother upset any more than you do. After all, she’s the one who carries the greater burden of responsibility for our mother.”

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: I Will Sing Praise. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com.

The official release date for Caribbean Freedom, the third & final Island Legacy novel, was Saturday, April 6, 2013. To help celebrate, my husband and I are hosted a book signing at our bungalow retreat. It was a gloriously beautiful spring day and we had a great turnout.

If you couldn’t make it to the book signing, signed copies of Caribbean Freedom as well as Caribbean Paradise and Pearl of the Caribbean (books 1 & 2 in the Island Legacy series) can be purchased directly from me, or unsigned and kindle edition copies can be purchased through Amazon.com. For more information, check under Novels.

You can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

Another Caribbean Freedom Book Giveaway

Forgive, as You have been Forgiven

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

“If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Matthew 5:23-24

Forgiveness is another theme found in my latest novel, Caribbean Freedom – the third & final Island Legacy Novel. Because of past hurts, the hero has difficulty forgiving the heroine’s father. Ultimately he must choose to either allow bitterness and resentment to control his life, or to forgive the one whose actions caused him and his family pain.

Book Giveaway

Caribbean Freedom officially releases on Saturday, April 6, 2013, but on Tuesday, April 2I’m giving away another advance copy of Caribbean Freedom.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Help promote the Book Signing at my bungalow retreat, which will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2013. Even if you will be unable to attend, you can still enter the giveaway and help promote the book signing.

Examples of how to help: 1 – Last Wednesday, March 27, I shared the announcement below on my Author, Teri Metts page as well as on my personal wall. Share this announcement with your Facebook friends.  2 – Send an e-mail to family and friends telling them about the upcoming book signing. All the information you need is posted below.

2. Let me know that you want to be entered by: 1) Leaving a comment at the end of this post. (To leave a comment, scroll to bottom of THIS POST and click on “comment on Another Caribbean Freedom Book Giveaway”.) or 2) Posting on my personal Facebook wall or my Author, Teri Metts wall.

**PLEASE, PLEASE be sure to let me know you want to enter the giveaway and have helped promote the book signing in some way. In the giveaway last week I discovered Facebook DID NOT always notify me whenever someone shared my status updates. I found quite a few shares “by accident”.

Don’t forget, photographs of Cuba used as inspiration in the writing of Caribbean Freedom can be found on my Pinterest board: Cuba-Caribbean Freedom. If you’re on Pinterest, you might want to check it out: Caribbean Freedom

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Excerpt from Caribbean Freedom

Mateo pierced Andrés with a hard stare. Surely he’d misunderstood what his older brother had said. Mateo refused to believe it possible Doctor Valdés would be foolish enough to bring Rudi Ramírez’s daughter back to Cuba with him. Sure, the man was getting older, but at sixty-nine he wasn’t that old. Had he forgotten the heartache his son-in-law caused all of them? Doctor Valdés may have forgotten, but not Mateo. He would never forget. And as far as Mariela Ramírez was concerned, he figured growing up under the tutelage of Rudi Ramírez had resulted in another Ramírez best banned from the country of Cuba. Mateo gave his head a firm shake. No way was he giving the girl a warm welcome, and he hoped her stay would be brief.

“Why are you shaking your head?”

Andrés’ question snatched Mateo out of his private debate. “I was hoping to shake loose the cobwebs, because it sounded like you said Doctor Valdés is bringing Mariela Ramírez home with him. But there’s no way that could be true.”

Andrés lifted the straw hat off his head and ran his fingers through the thick black curls underneath. “You can shake your head until your brain rattles, but it’s true. Doña Valdés received word just this morning.” He returned the weather-worn hat to the top of his head. “It seems Doctor Valdés crossed paths with Mariela in Haiti. She’s a nurse, and they were both working in medical clinics in the same village. They’ve spent some time getting reacquainted, and Doctor Valdés has convinced his granddaughter to come back with him to Viñales for a visit. He wants me to drive their car to Havana next Monday to pick them up at the airport.”

“But she’s an American citizen. Isn’t it against their laws for her to visit Cuba?”

“You know as well as I do, Americans have been finding ways around the U.S. travel restrictions for years now.” Andrés swung his hand in the general direction of downtown Viñales. “Have you not noticed all the English-speaking Americans we have visiting our quaint little village in droves? Besides, I recently heard the U.S. government has become more lax about allowing their citizens to visit Cuba, especially if it’s for some kind of humanitarian cause. In Mariela’s case, as a Cuban-American, it should be even easier.”

“Obviously the authorities didn’t consult me.” Mateo kicked a clod of dirt, shattering it into little pieces. “If it were up to me, there would be a ban on any member of that family ever entering Cuba again.”

“You seem to be forgetting that family is part of Doctor and Doña Valdés’ family. Mariela is their granddaughter. Her mother is their daughter. Surely you aren’t so bitter that you’d deny them the opportunity to spend time with a granddaughter they’ve not seen in eighteen years.”

Mateo combed his own hair with shaky fingers and stared at the dirt-encrusted toes of his work boots. “As I see it, her father made that decision for her years ago. He took away her right to call herself Cuban or claim her position as Doctor and Doña Valdés’ granddaughter. She should go back to Miami where she belongs and let us be.”

“I’m sorry, little brother, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Mateo pierced Andrés with another hard stare. “By coming here, she’ll only stir up bad memories and make matters worse than they already are. You can wear rose-colored glasses all you want, but I can’t forget. I can’t just move on and let bygones be bygones. And while I’m speaking my mind on the subject, I can’t believe Doctor Valdés even entertained the notion of bringing her back here, much more actually extended the invitation.”

“As I’ve already said, she’s his granddaughter, who was only six years old when her parents took her away from Cuba. She had no say in the matter.”

“But she grew up in Rudi Ramírez’s shadow, and you know how he feels about Cu — ”

“No, I don’t.” Anger edged Andrés’ voice. “I know what he thought about Cuba. But he’s been gone almost two decades. I don’t have a clue what he thinks about his homeland now.”

“His homeland! Are you kidding? By now Rudi Ramírez has probably convinced himself he’s not even Cuban, which if he has, is fine with me. And as far as I’m concerned, his daughter isn’t Cuban either.”

As Mateo tromped toward the door of his brother’s house, he noticed Andrés was now the one shaking his head. Maybe if he shook it long enough, he’d shake some sense into that hard head of his. How could he not see the turbulent clouds on the horizon? Whether Andrés admitted it or not, Mateo had no doubt Mariela’s arrival would produce a storm with hurricane force winds.

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Celebrating God’s Faithfulness & Lovingkindness. I hope you’ll drop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com. And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

Caribbean Freedom Book Giveaway

Freedom in Christ

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:31-32, 36

It was for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. II Corinthians 3:17

Freedom is the theme of my latest novel, Caribbean Freedom – the third & final Island Legacy Novel. Although the heroine’s mother and father sought freedom from Castro’s communist Cuba during the mid-1990’s, ultimately her family and friends – in Viñales, Cuba and Miami, Florida – discover the greatest freedom life has to offer comes through letting go of bitterness, forgiving past hurts, and embracing the life of freedom Christ came that they might have.

Book Giveaway

Caribbean Freedom officially releases on Saturday, April 6, 2013, but on Tuesday, March 26, I’m giving away an advance copy of Caribbean Freedom along with a $5 Cups or Starbucks gift card (winner’s choice). Cafe con leche – a mixture of strong expresso and warm milk – is a popular drink in Cuba. So I thought a cup of coffee might add to the winner’s reading enjoyment.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Leave a comment at the end of this post telling me that you want to be entered. If I’m not friends with you on Facebook or if you’re not sure whether I have your e-mail address, please include your e-mail address on your comment. (To leave a comment, scroll to bottom of THIS POST – just past picture of Caribbean Paradise & Pearl of the Caribbean – and click on “comment on Caribbean Freedom Book Giveaway”.) *If you have trouble leaving a comment, either contact me on Facebook or send me an e-mail: terimetts@gmail.com

2. If you’re on Facebook and haven’t already done so, “like” my author pageAuthor, Teri Metts. If you’re not on Facebook, be sure and tell me in your comment.

3. Help promote my book in some way. Examples: 1 – share one of my book promotion posts from Facebook; 2 – if you’re on Twitter, tweet about Caribbean Freedom or retweet one of my promotional tweets; 3 – send an e-mail to family and friends telling them about the upcoming release of Caribbean Freedom.

*In your comment, be sure and let me know how you plan to help promote Caribbean Freedom

In order to be entered in the giveaway you must complete all three steps

Just for fun, photographs of Cuba used as inspiration in the writing of Caribbean Freedom can be found on my Pinterest board: Cuba-Caribbean Freedom. If you’re on Pinterest, you might want to check it out: Caribbean Freedom

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Excerpt from Caribbean Freedom 

While eating a boiled egg and piece of dry toast for breakfast Saturday morning, Mariela watched her grandmother scurrying about, reminding her of an older version of her own mother. The woman’s chin length hair was more salt than pepper, but still hinted at the rich dark chocolate color it once boasted. Her eyes danced as though their owner found great delight in living. Mariela contrasted the woman’s exuberance for life with what she knew to be her mother’s general countenance. She had to admit while Abuela had lived all her life in Cuba, she seemed more fulfilled than Mariela’s mother did although she lived a life of freedom in Miami.

“Abuela?”

“Humm?

“Are you always this happy?”

The older woman turned from wiping down the countertop and stared at Mariela for a moment, her forehead creased in thought. “Are you asking have I always been this happy . . . or at this season in my life, am I always this happy?”

Mariela tapped a forefinger against her lips, pondering her grandmother’s question. “If you have to ask, I’m guessing that means you’ve not always been this happy.”

“No, child, I haven’t.” Abuela leaned against the counter. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned much of what I once allowed to make me sad or discontent was only robbing me of the fullness of life I could experience if I truly surrendered it all to God. I hope that’s a lesson you’ll learn much younger in life than I did.”

“And how might I go about doing that?”

“By trusting God and learning — as the apostle Paul said — to be content in all circumstances.”

“But does learning to be content mean you don’t ever wish things were different? I mean, have you ever wished you’d been given the opportunity to live somewhere else?”

Abuela pushed away from the counter. “Are you asking if I’ve ever wished I lived somewhere other than Cuba?”

Mariela didn’t want to stir up any of the hard feelings related to her parents’ decision to leave, but she did wonder if her grandparents had ever longed to live elsewhere. “Yeah, I suppose so.” She shrugged her shoulders as she dunked a crusty piece of bread in her cafe con leche, hoping to give the appearance of simply generating conversation as opposed to probing. “Have you ever wondered what life would have been like had you lived . . . say . . . in the States?”

Abuela pulled out a chair, still drying her hands on a dishtowel as she sat. “Unlike your mother and father, I’ve never had grand illusions of living a different life outside of my beloved Cuba. But we are of a different generation, I suppose. Even so, I can’t imagine leaving my homeland for an unknown . . . no matter how glamorous others might say that it is. Perhaps if we’d suffered great persecution, I would have felt different . . .” The woman’s dark eyes drifted toward the open door.

The laughter of the three children who lived across the street filled the balmy air. Mariela listened to the light tinkle of youthful merriment for a moment. She’d always believed Cubans had in fact suffered great persecution, yet her grandmother inferred they had not. “You don’t feel that you’ve lived a persecuted life?”

Abuela shrugged. “At times, yes . . . we were persecuted, but not to any great extent. Although we had a season when we had to be secretive in our worship, here in Viñales we never really feared for our lives.”

“But during that time, did you ever long for the freedom to worship as you pleased?”

Abuela ran her index finger along a broad red line in the checkered tablecloth. “Despite what you may think, I was always free to worship as I pleased.” She placed a splayed hand over her chest. “My child, no one can ever stop us from worshipping the Lord. True worship comes from within. I’ve always been free to worship, even if it was restricted to the privacy of my own heart.”

Tears welled in Mariela’s eyes. How differently her grandmother seemed to view her faith. What a wellspring of wisdom she possessed in recognizing that worshipping God was not confined to a church building.

The older woman smiled. “One thing we as Christians need to always remember is that freedom — when it comes to our faith — is not tied to our outward circumstances. Once we accept Christ as our Savior, we are free. Remember Jesus’ teachings in the book of John? He called Himself the truth . . . the truth that makes us free.”

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” Mariela whispered.

Abuela nodded. “So you see, when it comes to my faith, I’ve always been free. And no matter what our government leaders said or did, they couldn’t take that freedom away from me. Do I wish some things had been different? Do I even wish some things were different today? Absolutely. But what is, is.” She touched Mariela’s cheek with the tips of her fingers. “And your life in Miami, Nieta, has it always been perfect, exactly as you wished it to be?”

Mariela cast her eyes downward. Abuela had turned the tables on her. Here she’d been feeling sorry for her grandparents because they’d lived all their lives in Cuba, not experiencing the freedoms she’d known, and yet . . . had her life always been all that she’d wanted?

~~~~~~

Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Awww. . . How Cute!! I hope you’ll stop by for a visit. www.bungalowretreat.com 

You can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

Don’t miss books 1 & 2 in the Island Legacy series: Caribbean Freedom and Pearl of the Caribbean. For more information, check under Novels.

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Do Not Worry; Be Anxious for Nothing

Sharing from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young this week

Jesus says: “Refuse to worry! In this world there will always be something enticing you to worry. That is the nature of a fallen, fractured planet: Things are not as they should be. So the temptation to be anxious is constantly with you, trying to worm its way into your mind. The best defense is continual communication with Me, richly seasoned with thanksgiving. Awareness of My presence fills your mind with Light and Peace, leaving no room for fear. This awareness lifts you up above your circumstances, enabling you to see problems from My perspective. Live close to Me! Together we can keep the wolves of worry at bay.”

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more cloth you? You of little faith! 

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

Jesus says: “When something in your life or thoughts makes you anxious, come to Me and talk about it. Bring Me your prayer and petition with thanksgiving, saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to trust You more.’ Though the lessons of trust that I send to you come wrapped in difficulties, the benefits far outweigh the cost.

“Well-developed trust will bring you many blessings, not the least of which is My Peace. I have promised to keep you in perfect Peace to the extent that you trust in Me. The world has it backwards, teaching that peace is the result of having enough money, possessions, insurance, and security systems. My Peace, however, is such an all-encompassing gift that it is independent of all circumstances. Though you lose everything else, if you gain My Peace you are rich indeed.”

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26: 3

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This week at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country-living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Addicted to MoonShine. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com.

You can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

Taking a break next week to visit family, but I’ll be back on Wednesday, March 20.

Ouch, That Hurts

Oppressing or Blessing?

(devotional taken from The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

“You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 25:17

You hear a lot of people in our culture today, even within the church, talking about how they’ve been wronged and victimized, wounded and sinned against. And this is all sadly true in many cases. But the fact is, not only have you and I been wrongly treated and oppressed by other, we have also been oppressors ourselves. All of us.

We have done it with our tongues — belittling others, cutting them down, saying things to hurt them. We have done it with gossip — spreading unkind, often untrue words about other people. Even in silence, we have done it with our attitudes — just a look of the eye or an overall demeanor that expresses the harshness of our feelings toward another person, our insensitivity to their needs.

And here’s why that is such a serious matter: When we sin against each other, we sin against God. When we sin against another member of the body of Christ, we sin against Christ Himself.

In recognizing and repenting of this evil in our hearts, we find motivation to change as we learn to fear the Lord, living in constant, conscious awareness that God is here. He sees. He knows how you’re talking to that person. He knows how you’re treating your three-year-old. He knows how you talk to (or about) that mother-in-law or boss or roommate who’s hurt you.

We cease being oppressors and adding to the pain of others’ lives when we understand that God Himself is aware of and concerned about the way we treat those around us. By not wanting to offend Him, we will find ourselves blessing rather than oppressing those around us.

Have you been treating someone in your life in a way that does not reflect reverence and respect for God? First ask God’s forgiveness; then humble yourself and seek forgiveness from the one you wronged.

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight. Psalm 5:1-4a

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:30-32

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Lady Cardinal’s Glamour Shots now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: www.bungalowretreat.com. I hope you’ll drop by.

You can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

God’s Word – Our Weapon against Temptation

Bible Study taken from Embracing Christ: Week 6, Day 2: God’s Word – Our Weapon Against Temptation

Last week we learned that whenever Jesus was faced with temptation, He always walked away victorious. In this week’s study, we’ll discover if we follow Jesus’ example, we too can walk in victory over temptation.

What is the example Jesus set for us?

What was the primary “tool” He used whenever He was tempted?

In Matthew 4:1-11 we find the account of when “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (vs. 1).” While Jesus was in the wilderness, Satan tempted Him on three different occasions. And all three times, Jesus resisted him by quoting scripture. Think about it: God’s Son didn’t choose to resist Satan with His own words, although He could have with much authority. Instead, He set an example for us by using the Word of God as His weapon against Satan and temptation

Did you know we have been taught to do the same thing?
Consider Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:17“And take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The Sword of the Spirit is a part of the Spiritual Armor of God we’re to put on daily in order that we might stand firm against Satan, his lies, his schemes, and his attacks. How then do we use this weapon whenever we’re faced with temptations?

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10:3-5.

In this passage of scripture, Paul tells us the weapons with which we engage in spiritual warfare have divine power to demolish strongholds. How do we activate this divine power? We are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (vs. 5). What does that mean?

The temptation to sin always begins in our minds.

Although there may be some outside catalyst that entices us to sin, the battle begins in the mind. Therefore, once a temptation has entered our thoughts, we have a decision to make. Will we allow what we’ve just experienced, seen, heard or read to take up residence in our thought process and ultimately result in some kind of sinful action; or . . . will we capture the thought, deny our flesh, and choose to walk in obedience to God’s word?

If we choose to capture tempting thoughts, the best way to combat Satan and the battle in which he is trying to engage us, is by quoting God’s word. The Bible gives very clear details regarding the choices we’re to make whenever we’re tempted to sin. For that reason, whenever we’re tempted to disobey God through some sinful thought, word or act, we need to resist the temptation with His word.

Exactly how do we go about doing this? To answer that question, we will consider the following example: We’re tempted to take revenge against someone who has wronged us. Can you think of some passages of scripture that address this issue?

Although you may have thought of others, for this part of our study we’re going to consider the following passages:

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:14, 17-21

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.

This is how it works: Someone hurts you. Immediately your flesh responds, and in your mind you begin to entertain thoughts of getting even, vindicating yourself, settling the score. However, as these thoughts of revenge pass through your thought process, the Holy Spirit reminds you such actions would be a sin. A battle follows.

You may even begin to argue with God. “But Lord, what he did was wrong. He really hurt me. He’s the one who has sinned, not me. I have a right to stand up for myself. I can’t just let him get away with treating me this way. After all, I didn’t do anything to deserve this.” Sound familiar?

Before going further, I want to assure you that having this kind of conversation with God is perfectly okay, as long as ultimately you yield to Him and His will in the matter. Talk it over with Him. Share with Him your struggles. But in the end, humbly submit to Him and His ways. With that understanding, let’s continue . . .

You talk it over with God. He listens, lovingly and patiently. However, if you’re surrendered to Him, He will always bring you back to His way of handling matters such as this. He will gently remind you, “My child, I know you’re hurting. I understand that you don’t deserve to be treated this way. However, if you do it your way and take revenge, you’ll also be in sin. What’s more, the resentment that will build up inside you will only fester and negatively affect your relationship with Me. Let Me take care of this situation. My ways are always best.”

Then you need to ask yourself: “What is God’s way”? If you sincerely desire to be obedient to God, the Holy Spirit will lead you to scripture related to that particular situation. The scripture references I used above are good examples of verses you could either read or quote as you determine to take a stand against your fleshly desire to get even. As you use God’s word as your weapon of warfare, you are in essence taking your thoughts of revenge “captive to the obedience of Christ.” Once you choose to walk in obedience to God’s way as found in His word, you have won the battle in your mind before it results in sinful action.

This is only one example. However, I assure you the Holy Spirit will faithfully lead us to scripture we can either read or quote whenever we are tempted to think, speak or act contrary to God’s way. No matter the circumstances, learning to resist temptation is a discipline. We have to discipline ourselves to submit to Jesus whenever we are tempted to sin, recognizing that following His example will always lead us to victory over temptation and sin.

Learning to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ is an invaluable tool if our desire is to live more Christlike lives. Jesus longs for us to walk victorious in our Christian life. That’s why He willingly submitted Himself to the same temptations that beset us, so that He might set an example for us to follow. He personally showed us the way to victory. The rest is left up to us. We must ask ourselves these questions: When tempted, am I willing to suffer the “pain” of self denial, crucifying my fleshly desires; or, am I going to continue gratifying my old fleshly nature by giving into temptation, which ultimately leads to sin and disobedience? The choice is ours . . .

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Excerpt from Caribbean Freedom – Third and final Island Legacy Novel – releasing on April 6, 2013.

Mateo stomped alongside Andrés as they headed toward the fields located between their two houses, the words he wanted to say simmering just below the surface.

“Go ahead, say it,” Andrés said. “Whatever it is, let me have it.”

“What were you thinking, letting that woman in your home?”

“And your solution would be what? Leave her standing on the front porch?”

Mateo shook his head. “Am I to assume she showed up at your front door this morning uninvited?”

Andrés chuckled. “If you did, your assumption would be wrong, little brother. I extended an invitation yesterday when I dropped her and Doctor Valdés off. I thought she and Elena might enjoy each other’s company.”

Mateo bit back a curse. How could Andrés find anything about Mariela Ramírez’s visit humorous? “Have you lost your mind? Do you make a habit of encouraging friendships between your wife and our enemies?”

“Mariela is no one’s enemy.”

Mateo kicked a thick clod of red dirt; it broke into little pieces. He didn’t have much trouble imagining it had been his brother’s hard head. “And since when did her family become our friends?”

Andrés cuffed his arm. “My dear brother, you seem to forget Mariela is Doctor and Doña Valdés’ granddaughter, which makes her our friend.”

“Not true. Her parents severed that relationship years ago.”

“But that’s just the point. Her parents severed the relationship, not Mariela. After listening to the conversation between her and Doctor Valdés yesterday, I’m convinced she doesn’t know a thing about all that transpired prior to and in the weeks immediately following her father’s escape from Cuba.”

“Really? How do you know she’s not putting on an act, pretending not to know?”

“And why would she do that?” Andrés waved to a close neighbor as the older gentleman rode past them on a bullock cart, but Mateo stared straight ahead, not even acknowledging the man’s presence. Andrés’ next line of attack would probably be a reprimand for his rudeness.

But seconds later, instead of a reprimand, Andrés continued to defend Rudi Ramírez’s daughter. “Mariela was barely six years old when her family left Cuba. She told her grandfather that her parents never spoke of him or Doña Valdés, much less their lives in Cuba. I’m telling you, she knows nothing.”

Mateo came to a sudden halt, leveling his brother with a stern glint. “You can believe that all you want, but I’m not falling for it. I don’t know what she’s up to, but I can assure you it’s probably no good.”

“You’re one bitter young man.” Andrés shook his head. “And you know what the Bible says about bitterness — that root grows deep and eventually defiles others.”

“What about Mother?”

“Already defiled, I’d say. Already defiled.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Mateo spat through gritted teeth. “Does she know that woman is back in the country?”

That woman’s name is Mariela, as you well know. And why can’t I get it through that thick head of yours that she was only a child when her parents took her away from here? You talk as if she’s responsible for what her father did.” Andrés’ chest lifted; moments later, a heavy sigh existed through his lips. “As for Mother . . . No, she doesn’t know Mariela’s back.”

“Does Elena know she needs to keep Mariela away from Mother’s house?”

“I’m confident Elena will use caution. She wouldn’t want Mother upset any more than you do. After all, she’s the one who carries the greater burden of responsibility for our mother.”

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Sunshine & Rain: Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through scripture and photographs. I hope you’ll stop by: www.bungalowretreat.com  
You can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

Choosing Obedience over Temptation

From Embracing Christ : Week 6 – Sharing in the Sufferings of Christ, Day 1 – Learning Obedience when Faced with Temptation. 

 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation. Hebrews 5:8-9                      

As the sinless Son of God, Jesus demonstrated His perfection as He walked obediently in the midst of His suffering. As a part of the Trinity, He was not subjected to suffering until He humbled Himself and became one of us. At that point, although He was fully God, He was also fully human. For that reason, as long as He walked as a man on the face of this earth, He was subjected to suffering in the form of trials, tribulations and temptations. The writer of Hebrews tells us it was as a result of this human suffering that Jesus learned to walk obediently. God’s word also tells us Jesus suffered the same temptations we suffer.

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Hebrews 2:18

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

What significance does this truth have for us today?

During the thirty-three years Jesus lived on the earth, He was tempted in all the ways we’re tempted. As a result, He is able to sympathize with us whenever we face temptations and are sorely tempted to give in and sin. Also, the writer of Hebrews tells us because Jesus suffered when He was tempted, He is better able to help us whenever we are facing temptations.

What do suffering and temptation have to do with one another? Do we suffer when we are tempted? I believe we do. Why? Because whenever we’re tempted, a battle arises between our old fleshly nature and our new spiritual nature. In order to resist temptation, our flesh — our own wants and desires — have to be crucified. And, just in case you haven’t figured it out by now, crucifying our flesh is painful.

Did you ever stop to consider that Jesus actually had to fight similar battles when He was tempted? Although Jesus never had a fleshly nature, while living in His body of flesh, He had to deny the flesh and its desires whenever He was tempted. What the writer of Hebrews wanted us to understand is that Jesus was tempted and fought the same battles we fight. However, He never yielded. He was always obedient to His Heavenly Father. He always came forth victorious. What does that mean for us today?

It means as God’s children, as joint heirs with Christ, we need not fall victim to the temptations that beset us. God’s word promises that if we yield completely to Him during our times of temptation, He will help us resist and walk victoriously. He has promised; therefore, it’s up to us to choose the path we will follow. Will we give into our own wants and desires, or will we follow Jesus’ example by standing firm whenever temptation comes our way?

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From Caribbean Paradisefirst Island Legacy novel:

Jake leaned against the padded back of the sofa and rested one arm along the top and the other on the armrest. A shadow of concern drifted across his face. “Yes she did, and I see what you’re saying. But if a past lifestyle is what’s influencing Shelby’s behavior, what’s my excuse?”

Hanna slapped her hand over her mouth and stifled a laugh. Jake cut his eyes at her. “No comments from the peanut gallery,” he said. “Something tells me this is serious stuff we’re talking about here.”

Although Hanna could tell he was trying to maintain a stern expression, laughter flickered in his eyes. She lifted her hands and shrugged. “I didn’t say a word.”

“You didn’t have to. What you’re wanting to say is written all over your face.”

“Okay, you two. Let me finish.” Conner looked at Jake. “Your excuse, my friend, is the admonition Jesus made to the church in Ephesus, also found in chapter two of Revelation. You left your first love.”

Contrition replaced the laughter in Jake’s eyes. “You’re right,” he said, nodding. “Absolutely right. Although outwardly I was doing all the right things, inwardly my heart toward God had become as dry as the road leading into Anse-a-Pitres.”

“Making you easy prey when temptation came knocking,” Conner said.

Jake studied the floor. “That’s all getting ready to change. I’ve accumulated a lot of unresolved junk, so it may take me a while, but starting today, I’m beginning the process of getting my heart right with God.”

“In the meanwhile, you need to keep your distance from Shelby,” Conner said. “Under no circumstances should you allow yourself, even for a moment, to be alone with her. Furthermore, when we take the team back to Santo Domingo tomorrow, she’s going to be riding with me.”

“I’m in full agreement,” Jake said, “but I’ve got something that’s really been eating at me.”

“What’s that?”

“Remember the other night when Shelby asked about sharing her testimony with some of the people from the church?”

Conner dipped his head in a quick nod. “I do.”

“Well, I’ve been feeling bad about that. I was the one who suggested she might have the opportunity to share. I even told her I thought God could use her past in order to help others.”

Conner gazed toward the patio. “Under different circumstances, I believe that may have been a possibility.” He drew his eyes back to Jake. “But the timing wasn’t right, and I don’t think Shelby’s ready. It appears she’s still got an awful lot of her own baggage to deal with first.”

“I understand and agree. I just feel bad because I prematurely encouraged her to consider doing something God may one day have her do — not here, but maybe somewhere else.”

“Perhaps that should be another lesson learned, a reminder to be careful not to make plans without checking with God first,” Conner said. “But for now, you’ll need to let it go and trust God to work it out in His time.”

Jake scrubbed his chin with his fingers. “Let go and trust God. That’s something I haven’t been willing to do in a long time.”

~~~~~

Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: A Valentine Bouquet. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

You can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.