That four-letter word

That four-letter word.

No, not that word.

It’s not dirty or profane, but it’s full of rottenness.


I think most writers go through a time when they have to do battle with it head-on.

Envy just doesn’t play fair.

There you are, minding your own business in a bookstore, one of your favorite places in the world, and the latest books by not one, but more of your friends is on the shelf.

And yours? Ah, what book?

Even if said book exists, for some reason yours isn’t there with the others.

Some have said people who battle envy become that way because they’re not willing to work like the other person has for that splendid result. Not necessarily so.

Most days I can go through a bookstore just fine. Others, that old envy sneaks up and bumps into me.

Maybe you’re not an author, but you pop onto Facebook for a few moments and see photos of people’s vacations, perfect children who are doctors and lawyers and such, smiling friends squishing together in one massive selfie, or the latest craft project that would make Martha Stewart take notes. Or you read a gushing post about someone’s absolutely wonderful day. And gradually, what you have doesn’t seem as great. Or, if you’re going through a tough time, that time feels a whole lot tougher. You just want to breathe a little easier.

Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.” – Jean Vanier

I don’t know who he was, but that’s pretty close to right-on. Many writers, though, if they know they can write—and write well—sometimes get the feeling of being passed by when it seems like others are moving forward. For me, when it arrives, it comes from frustration during those waiting times.

Envy comes from comparisons, too. If we’re not passed by, maybe it feels as if what others have is better, faster, prettier, newer, more special, you fill in the blank.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” – Harold Coffin

Ah, yes, envy involves counting and keeping score. Like toddlers, when we have a perfectly good blue car, we see another toddler with a red car. And that red car is THE car we want. Nothing’s wrong with blue. We want to hold onto the blue or throw it to the side and grab for the red.

Envy goes hand in hand with discontentment. They spin ’round and ’round together, each feeding off the other and becoming stronger.

“…envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galations 5:22

Oh, great. Envy is on the naughty list. As in, the really bad naughty list of works of the flesh. We feel pretty self-righteous when we skim over that naughty list and congratulate ourselves on how good we are if we don’t do those things. But that little envy thing…so sneaky.

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30

Oh, envy. It can make us sick. Envy can make us feel like the victim, as if life or circumstances are just unfair. We believe we are the wounded ones, but we’re the ones hurting ourselves from the inside out.

Envy is a few steps from crossing the line to believing God has dropped the ball and He really doesn’t have our best interests at heart. Just like Eve. One little deception.

And it can start from one little stroll in the bookstore or one swipe of the screen on a tablet.

Lord, help us not to lose sight of what You’ve given us. Let us not tread a wilderness path coming from unthankfulness and ungratefulness. Help us know that what You have for us are good gifts, perfect gifts, in spite of our current trying or disappointing circumstances. – Amen.

Old words are new again

photo_30375_20140124When I was 13, I joined a teen Bible Quiz team at my church, and our group was led by a young married couple. Our quiz topic was the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and we needed to learn the books inside and out, chapter and verse.

We spent once a week for practice at Jean and Roger’s house, where we studied and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we learned. We practiced the questions, the answers, along with practicing with a buzzer set.

If you’re not familiar with teen Bible Quiz, here’s the short explanation. We competed against other teams from other churches and did some traveling around our district for contests. The matches would consist of three of us team members competing at a time for our team. A quizmaster would read the questions and we’d have buzzers in front of us to press for a chance to answer. The buzzers had wires running to a box with lights on the top. Whoever buzzed in first, would light up first.

Not only did we learn the Scripture references, but we had dozens of questions to learn along with their answers, taken directly from the books.

The rules were strict. No answering until recognized by the quizmaster, who’d verify the first quizzer to buzz in. You had a time limit to answer, and questions requiring a direct quote meant no varying or rewording of the answers. If you pressed the buzzer because you already recognized the question the quizmaster was asking, you had to finish the question and then give the answer.

It was fun, and I was a pretty good player. We knew who the top church teams were, and there was no shortage of egos among us. I remember us all eye-rolling when we saw one team whose boys wore matching watches, and as they took their seats at the quiz table, they’d remove their watches and lay them on the table in front of them in a nice little row.

I ended up memorizing most of those two books, although I couldn’t recite them today verbatim.

Over the years, I told people that yes, I was familiar with those books. I’d read them extensively, over and over again.

Fast forward, ah, a few decades, and I’m working through a Beth Moore Bible study, Children of the Day based on—yep, 1 and 2 Thessalonians.

All these years later, and I’m enjoying these books even more than I did the first time. The first time, I was learning the Scriptures and the facts. Now, I have the benefit of years of experience. I didn’t realize then how much Paul cared about the people he was writing to. You can hear the gentleness and exhortation in his words.

Back then, I was learning facts and quotables. Yes, those nuggets have stayed with me. But this time around, I’m learning more than I did then. Or maybe it’s that I’m adding to what I’ve already learned.

We’re only partway through the first book and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever read or studied something when you were younger, and it seems new and fresh again when you’re older? Fiction, nonfiction, the Bible, or another book?

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Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip. Her newest release is A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride, a Christmas novella collection from Barbour Publishing.

Dry Times

The Bible tells us there’s a time and a season for everything under heaven, and I think that means dry times, too.

Three years ago Texas was plunged into a severe drought and during the summer the area where I live had more than 90 days of 100-degree-plus weather. And it was a dry, dry heat. When the drought maps were released each month, a shade of dark brown (meaning exceptional drought, the worst on the scale) gradually took over most of the state.

City Park, September 2011, during the drought

City Park, September 2011, during the drought

Cracks appeared in the earth. Stock ponds dried up. Houses shifted here and there, and homeowners were encouraged to water, not their lawns, but the ground around the foundations of their homes.

When our souls are dry, it affects us like a lack of water does the ground. Our souls are dry, cracked like the ground, not capable of providing nourishment to anyone or anything.

Our souls get hard, too, shifting and pushing like the hard ground pushes on a home’s foundation.

We get sprinkles of living water, here and there. But those sprinkles aren’t enough to nourish our souls. We don’t have anything to offer to anyone else, either. As with a passing rain shower, the parched ground soaks up the rain and hours later, the moisture is gone as if it hadn’t rained.

City Park Pond, without a drought

City Park Pond, without a drought.

During the dry times, I find myself turning to the Psalms, where King David and the others write so honestly and frankly about the desperation they sometimes felt.

King David, now—that guy could wield a sword and play a harp, but he also had a mighty talented pen!

Here is one of my favorite psalms of his, Psalm 63. The subtitle in my Bible says it was written when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

Judging from the tone at the beginning, I think he probably was going through a personal wilderness as well.

I’m so thankful King David took the time to write these words. They’ve pointed many a dry, dry soul to the Living Water over the centuries.

I’m not a king on the run, but I’ve been through some mighty, mighty dry seasons. The words of an ancient king, inspired by God, soothe my contemporary soul time and time again.

What Scriptures in particular help your soul during parched times?

O God, You are my God;

Early will I seek You;

My soul thirsts for You;

My flesh longs for You

In a dry and thirsty land

Where there is no water.

So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,

To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,

My lips shall praise You.

Thus I will bless You while I live;

I will lift up my hands in Your name.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,

And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,

I meditate on You in the night watches.

Because You have been my help,

Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.

My soul follows close behind You;

Your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my life, to destroy it,

Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

They shall fall by the sword;

They shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;

Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;

But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

Psalm 63

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Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip.

New Release–A GRAND TETON SLEIGH RIDE by Elizabeth Goddard and Lynette Sowell

I’m pleased to announce a new release by two Christians Read authors–Elizabeth Goddard (that’s me!) and Lynette Sowell. Lynette and I have been talking about writing a story set in Jackson Hole for years and finally got something submitted last summer that was quickly picked up by our editor. My husband and I spent many anniversaries skiing at Teton Village near Jackson. We’d stay with his aunt and uncle who lived in a beautiful cabin near the entrance to Yellowstone. She was the postmaster at Moran Junction. Many summers when I was growing up,  my parents would take us to Yellowstone National Park–one of my favorite places in the world. And one of the most famous mountain ranges—a picture of the Tetons graces many a dentist and doctor’s office. Ha!AGrandTetonSleighRide

A Grant Teton Sleigh Ride is a generational (historical) novella collection. Many changes happened in our nation over this time period–electricity and automobiles, two of the biggest changes. But Jackson Hole was often isolated when the Teton Pass was well. . .unpasseable, and folks often return to their horse-drawn sleighs in the winter well into the twentieth century.

Lynette and I loved researching these stories. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them!

Wyoming’s spectacular mountains have drawn many—from trappers to ranchers to skiing enthusiasts. This Christmas, spend the holidays with the Covington family, who have called Wyoming home for generations. Rough, bristly rancher Zebulon sets his sights on eastern lady Belle Murray. Forward-thinking Emily would rather stay a dog musher than become a bride. Outfitter Sam wants to make his name in Wyoming—not say “I do.”  Hayley’s quest for her father’s approval goes sour when she takes an interest in a local ski bum. Will four festive sleigh rides rein in romance?

A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride releases September 1st in both electronic format (Kindle) and paperback, wherever books are sold. Pre-order your copy today!




Elizabeth Goddard

Lynette Sowell

Time to regroup… by Lynette Sowell

The ocean, a restful place -- Siesta Key Beach, Florida.

The ocean, a restful place — Siesta Key Beach, Florida.

There are times when we’ve gotten so busy or overwhelmed with life and all the goings-on, we like to say, “I need time to regroup.” And sometimes, that’s exactly what we need. Whether it’s job woes, family “stuff,” the general busy-ness that so easily invades our lives, everything all piled on–there are moments when we know it’s time to put on the brakes. So this year, after the rollercoaster ride of 2013, I’ve felt that need to regroup a bit.

But life in its ever-flowing route through time, doesn’t give us that pause button. If you have found that pause button, let me know where it is. Because I haven’t found that switch to throw that will let me disappear with my hubby on an island to rest, reflect and reenergize.

I looked up the definition of the word regrouping, or regroup. Regrouping, in one of its definition, is also a math term. (Blech) The other definition says something along the lines of, “reassemble or cause to reassemble into organized groups, typically after being attackedd or defeated.”

Oh, joy.

One of my favorite verses comes from the book of Matthew, at the end of the chapter:

“Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.” Matt. 11:28, The Message

It is so often quoted because of the comfort it gives us, in “letters in red” straight from Jesus. He did’t say we won’t have to work, that we won’t wear a yoke, that we’ll never have burdens. He asks to let Him teach us; He’s not a hard taskmaster, laying so many things on our shoulders to be mean. The people He spoke to understood what yokes were for–to keep the oxen in check and guide them while they worked. No, He wasn’t calling us oxen! :)  But the analogy shows me that Jesus will give us a yoke–one to help guide us, get done what we need to do, and stay in line with where we need to be going.

Sometimes we take things upon ourselves that aren’t from Him. Whether it’s over-committing with good intentions, having work habits that need improving, a need to learn to  be organized–Jesus will give us the grace and strength to do what we need to get done.

Yes, we will work, we’ll stumbled and slip sometimes. But that promised rest will come. Jesus will give us that rest, but we need to take action ourselves to learn to accept it. My prayer every day is that I will learn to do just that myself!

How do you regroup, get that “rest,” and still keep up with the flow of life?

Christians Read Fall Catalogue Released

(Click below to view the Christians Read Catalogue, 2013 Fall Edition, which includes Chapter Excerpts!

Sharing Our Stories by Lynette Sowell

2013-07-28 21.26.44-1We made a very important and momentous trip a little more than one week ago. No fanfare and media frenzy, unlike what happened outside a London hospital not long before. Just a simple trip, three ladies in a bright-red extended-cab pickup truck.

My little granddaughter, two days old, was making a 15-mile journey from the hospital to her home.

Since Grandpa and Daddy were both working that morning, my daughter and I had the honor of taking Little Sugardrop on her very first truck ride, in what we call “Clifford the Big Red Truck.” Clifford has taken on a personality of his own, but that’s another story for another day, perhaps.

Cliffy roared past our city limits sign, and I realized something important: Little Sugardrop had arrived in her hometown for the very first time since being toted around inside her mother’s tummy.

So, like any good grandma, I began telling stories.

We passed the large market where my husband cooks in the cafe’ and my daughter demonstrates recipes and gives samples to customers.

“Look, there’s where Grandpa works, and Mommy, too,” I told her. “Grandpa cooks lots of chickens on the grill for people, and they love his food. Mommy gets to share food and recipes, too. She’s a great cook like Grandpa.” (Why is it we talk to babies as if they understand exactly what we’re telling them?)

We passed a Chinese restaurant. “And there’s where your mommy, daddy, and grandma and grandpa had their last double date before you arrived. We were celebrating because Grandpa passed his course. We were so excited for him.”

Then we passed our credit union. “There’s where we keep our money, and where they know us. I think you’re too little to get a sucker, so we won’t stop there today.”

We passed my son-in-law’s place of work. “There’s where Daddy is right now. He can hardly wait to see you when he gets home. He will give you lots of cuddles and kisses.”

When we’re involved in the life of a child, we have that precious chance of seeing things again for the first time. I’m looking forward to many, many special firsts with Little Sugardrop.

Of opening those pages of well-loved books, the contagious rhymes and life lessons of Dr. Seuss.

Of jumping into well-worn pages, and going through a wardrobe door into the land of Narnia.

Of crossing the plains of Kansas in a covered wagon with Mary and Laura.

Of one day, hearing her little voice read, “’In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void.‘ What does void mean, Grandma?”

Yes, it’s going to be a wonderful time to pass on stories.

I can’t wait to share with her the best ones, and I can’t wait to see which ones she discovers for herself.

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Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip.

A Double Standard?

I hesitated to write this, but I thought I’d think alound and ask the question. I think it’s safe to say that for many readers, books aren’t their only form of entertainment. The realm of what we call inspirational or Christian fiction is a rather small circle when compared to the general reading population.

We are quick to point out in a “Christian” book if there’s something that offends us or we don’t like. But we tune into television shows that cross many, many lines.

Take the crime shows for example. They show the grittiness of life. Some of us don’t take much issue with the violence and/or gore. “That’s part of the story,” we say. Characters dropping references with sexual innuendo, hopping in and out of bed with each other. “Oh, that’s part of the story,” we say. Lying for the sake of an investigation or to trick someone. “That’s what cops and investigators do,” we say.

For example, I adore the television show “Castle.” Why? Snappy dialogue, crimes with some good plot twists, the fact that there’s a writer as one of the main characters. However, all of the above have occurred in the story lines of this show. So I guess in a way I’m referring to myself and I’m not comfortable with the observation.

Yet, some of us can be so much harder on Christian writers in what they “show” and “don’t show.”

“You didn’t have that character get redeemed,” we say. Well, in real life, that doesn’t always happen.

“You character did something underhanded to help solve the crime,” we chide the author.

Where do we draw the line of what’s acceptable in “entertainment?”

Or, do we move that line to suit our own tastes or to fit the author or television show? Is all this relative?

I find it ironic that readers–viewers–will watch certain shows and not be offended, yet they will pick up a book and find all types of moral infractions, trivial or no.

Am I mistaken? Does this really happen? Am I the only one who has a double standard?

Read, read, and listen

I’m going to tag along with Elizabeth’s post, because her venture homeschooling and reading with her children reminded me of when my two were very young.

Some of the best memories I have of my children growing up involve our discovery of books; or rather, my joy as I rediscovered many of my favorites with them. Before they were old enough to dive into the books on their own, I read aloud to them. There’s a lot to be said for reading aloud. You can do the accents, make your voice pitch high or low, depending on the character. You learn the time to make a dramatic pause, and when exactly to stop reading for the day so the kids are ready next time. You get to experience the book together.

One of the other benefits of reading aloud is the imagination can take over instead of a newer reader trying to figure out the words on the page. The early readers might struggle with reading an “older book” for themselves, but they’re not too young to learn to listen to the pages and let their imaginations sprout.

However, when we took road trips, books on tape–and eventually CD–became our traveling companions. We traveled back and forth from Narnia as our car headed back and forth from the beach, to Tennessee and then to Colorado. In the heydey of the Left Behind saga, we listened to some of those titles too.

It’s a shame, really, that there aren’t more audiobooks in the world. While they’re not written words on printed (or digital) pages, the sound files can also transport us, especially with a good narrator that knows how to do all the voices just right.

We writers are told about the importance of reading our work aloud as we go, because the ear can pick up what the eye has missed. Maybe that’s because reading aloud reminds us about what it is to be storytellers, not just storywriters.

Is there a particular book you loved hearing read aloud, or one you wish they’d record? How many of us still read aloud to our children?

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Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip. You can listen in to the Flashlight Reader on Monday nights here.

A “Perfect” Book

I’m going to piggyback my post with Beth’s from yesterday. The ACFW awards gala was amazing. It was a special evening to recognize winners in published and  published fiction. The air felt weighty with anticipation: whose work will win the top awards?

This year one book in particular that won the Carol Award for women’s fiction, Dandelion Summer, by Lisa Wingate. What distinguished it this year is that it’s the first book that received a perfect score from all five judges. Perfection.

When they closed the book, I’m wondering what went through their minds. Were they tired, or exhilarated? Did they wipe the tears away? Did certain turns of phrase resonate in their minds, even when they laid the book aside and went about their business?

I had the opportunity to interview Lisa on my online radio show, The Flashlight Reader, on Tuesday evening. She was stunned, thrilled to win, but also equally pleased that her book touched readers.

When I asked her about how she developed the characters for the book, she told me that the elderly male character in the book was based on a very-real character who was involved in the Howard Hughes space program. He’d become a fan of Lisa’s books and one day, while she was away researching, he told her his own story. One of the things he told her was he’d never told his story because he didn’t think it mattered to anyone.

Of course it did. Of course ours do.

His story went on to become the genetics of Lisa’s character. To think if she’d never heard his story or took the time to listen.

We all have stories, maybe none of them perfect. But our own stories can resonate with someone.

What’s the best true–or fictional–story you’ve read lately? Anything “perfect?”


Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip. You can listen in to the Flashlight Reader on Monday nights here.

What’s in a word?

I love pizza.

I love Saturday morning breakfast.

I love the full moon.

I love swimming at twilight.

I love my cat.

I love my husband.

I love hearing the still small Voice.

One word and so many different meanings. Love is a word that can be cheapened and tossed around glibly. I don’t love pizza like I love my husband.
So when I say, “I love you,” what does that mean? Love you like pizza?
Sometimes our words don’t mean much. I’m not posting to criticize our words. But it’s easy to clap a friend on the back and say, “Love ya,” and go on our way.
Check out 1 John 3:18. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
We can say I love you by what we do. The people in our lives, I’ve discovered, pass through so quickly sometimes. The younger we are, we think that our current situation will last forever. But then you wake up one day, and months or even years have passed. And so people move along as well. Either they leave this life, or leave our lives and move away, or people get too busy and grow apart.
I think back to the times I’ve told a friend I loved them, or assumed they “just knew.” Lately I’ve realized how it’s more important to do simple acts of love, those unexpected little things that will show someone that I love them. Not just telling them “love ya,” or figuring they already understood that.

What would mean something special to someone you love? A card or letter? An afternoon together? A cup of coffee, made just the way they like it? A verse you read, that you know they’d appreciate? A listening ear?

Deliberate demonstrations of love might make someone uncomfortable, though. When we acknowledge how truly important someone is to us, they may be embarrassed. But maybe it’s exactly what they needed.
My new promise to myself: no more regrets, no more holding back, no more thinking, “Oh, they already know I love them.”
Don’t forget to say I love you…Love out loud.

Book overload!

I’ve always believed that you can never have too many books. However, with the advent of the electronic reader and the recent ebook explosion, I’ve noticed that while I still have a good number of paper books, my “load” of ebooks is growing.

No, they don’t weigh anything and they don’t take up any literal space, but I see that my Kindle is packed with books, from mystery to romance to suspense to nonfiction and research related books.

I noticed the overload when I went to purchase a title online. I was informed by Amazon that I’d already purchased that one–over a year ago, thank you very much.

So, I’d had that book for a year and didn’t remember buying it?

Oh boy.

Maybe I’d better start clearing that pile.

But it’s an exciting time to be a writer and a reader. At last year’s ACFW conference in St. Louis, I attended a session by the then-publisher at Thomas Nelson. He said that publishers are now information suppliers. Books are still books, but not quite as we know them. He said that his company will supply the books (aka information) in any format possible that readers will want.

I call that moving with the times. I also call it a time for a book avalanche warning.

How do you keep track of what you’ve read and haven’t read? Do you have a system? Or are you like me, with that virtual pile and real pile of books surrounding you on every side?

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Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip. Her next book The Sweetheart of Starlight releases through Heartsong Presents in August and spotlights Texas barbecue.



Christians Read has teamed up with The Book Club Network for a special contest.  Details follow!
June 19-21

Enter the contest atThe Book Club Network HERE.

Contest runs for the month of June.  Be sure to enter–otherwise, you can’t win!

And please join us on FACEBOOK  and Twitter!


All the Christians Read Authors

Words We Throw Around by Lynette Sowell

We’re so quick to throw “Christian” words around in the confines of our church doors. Mercy, forgiveness, love, grace. We smile and nod that there should be more of those qualities in the world. We also know that we should help spread them around. When you’re on the receiving end of mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace, it’s a precious thing.

I’ve been thinking of mercy because of the blatant lack of it in the world. We are quick to pity and have compassion for those who deserve it, but what about those people who don’t, or the ones who inconvenience us?

I went out to eat one time with some professing Christians. On a Sunday, of course, which brings out all sorts of bad behavior from “Jesus people.” I wanted to “crawl under a tile,” as my husband likes to put it, at our friends’ behavior. Nothing seemed to please them. They complained about everything and I’m sure the poor waitress was either angry or hurt by the time she was finished serving us. I’m not saying we should sit there and eat what we didn’t order, or not say anything if an order is messed up. Lots of times–no, most of the time–a lot of how people react depends on our attitude (remember mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace above?).

Think about the waitress. Say she messes up your order. Y’all, she’s probably not intentionally trying to ruin your day. Did you think for one moment that maybe her feet are killing her, or maybe her babysitter quit. Maybe she wishes she went to college, or maybe she’s trying to finish college, and this is just a job until she finishes? Maybe she thinks you look self-righteous in your Sunday best. Christians are characteristically among the worst tippers to servers.

We ought to honor servants. But while we trip over ourselves and make sure that we have a copy of our Sunday bulletin to get our 15% discount at the restaurant, we also leave our salvation in the car, along with those words we like to toss around–mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace. We leave that grace and mercy so freely given to us, and snub our server and express our impatience with someone’s who’s just doing her job. Maybe our waitress did a lousy job. But does that excuse our lack of grace? Mercy says, “I know you’re having a tough day. Here’s a good tip. Be blessed.”

Love is all about inconvenience. It is so, so easy to inconvenience ourselves for those we have warm fuzzies toward. What about someone who passes through your life and after an hour or so, you won’t see them again? Are we showing Jesus, even for an hour? Maybe if enough Christians tipped better and acted more merciful when the service is less than stellar, someone’s life could be changed. Big changes happen in small steps. And those words aren’t just mere words.

– – – – –

Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip.

Living Water…Accept No Substitutes by Lynette Sowell

I don’t have to tell you that getting lost in a book is a great source of joy to readers (and writers). I feel sorry for people who never learned the skill of letting a book pull their imagination along through space and time.

However, I have had to remind myself that although I love the power of a good story, it won’t satisfy deep longings in my heart. Maybe I’m going through a dry spell, my faith is challenged yet parched. A book might, oh, provide a welcome distraction for a short period of time. I might have some good laughs and my mood might lighten for a time, but that’s simply a Band-Aid over a deeper problem.

I might just need some alone time with God, with my notebook and pen and my Bible, and try some of that liquid refreshment that soothes a parched spirit. Better than hanging out with friends or looking for that great shopping deal. After a while those things don’t nourish and refresh.

After I remind myself about finding some liquid nourishment for my spirit, I crack upone the Bible and let the words pour out. Here’s some of my favorite ones, written by King David over 2,000 years ago.

You, God, are my God,

earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Now isn’t that refreshing, reading words written over two thousand years ago by a man who felt like he was in the desert? Yet he knew where to go, where to put his focus. Now that’s refreshing. He learned to dip into that Living Water.


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