Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas ~ See You in the New Year!



I'm wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas! I'll be taking a break from blogging, but I'll be back on January 2 ... with some fun. That will be release day for A Song Unheard, so in usual Writing Roseanna fashion, I'll be celebrating with a big giveaway! Be sure to check in then to get in on the fun.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the time with friends and/or family. Here's wishing you a holiday season filled with joy, and much time for reading. ;-)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thoughtful Guest Post by Mesu Andrews



Today I'm happy to welcome my friend and fellow biblical fiction writer Mesu Andrew to the blog, with a very special post. To go along with her upcoming release, Isaiah's Daughter, Mesu has written a small devotional that is available as a free download to anyone who pre-orders her novel! And she's here today to share one of those 14 devos...as it's very appropriate to the season. Please join me in giving Mesu a warm welcome!



~*~



Isaiah’s Daughter 14-Day Devotional

Day Twelve

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

~ Isaiah 7:14 ~

Which aspect of Jesus’ birth is most amazing to you?

Christmas print - will be mailed to anyone who pre-orders

I have two daughters and was honored to attend each of their first births. Watching my babies give birth to babies was an amazing privilege but pales in comparison to watching them be mothers. Mothering is not for the faint of heart, and I’ve often pondered the impossible task Jesus’ mother faced. So much intrigues me about her conception, Jesus’ birth, and her life as a mom.
What was it like to create in her womb the God who created her? Was her birth experience more or less terrifying, knowing the Son she bore was God’s own? Instructed to call Him, Immanuel—God with us—how did she parent God?
I’ve heard folks say it would have been easier to believe in God if they’d lived while Jesus walked the earth. I’m not so sure. While we have the benefit of hindsight, Isaiah’s conservative theology might have struggled to embrace God’s Messiah. Even Mary, who lived moment-by-moment with a divine toddler, teenager, and adult Son, remained as confused as His other disciples until the Spirit was given at Pentecost (Mark 3:20-21). Seeing doesn’t always make believing easier. Jesus’ brothers refused to believe He was the Christ (John 7:3-5) until after His death and resurrection. Only then did James believe his Brother had been God With Us, the perfect representation of the Father’s glory.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
After he had provided purification for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
~ Hebrews 1:3 ~
I think many in Jesus’ day discounted Him as the Messiah because He was too common. He wasn’t spectacular in any way.
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. 
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, 
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
~ Isaiah 53:2 ~
What if we—the Ones to whom the indwelling Holy Spirit is available—actually have the easier path to faith. Immanuel dwells through His Spirit in all who believe in Jesus Christ. Perhaps Isaiah would envy us.
[Jesus said to His disciples,]
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.
Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send him to you.”
~ John 16:7 ~
What benefits did the disciples have with a flesh-and-blood Savior that we don’t?
What benefits do we enjoy with the indwelling Spirit that the disciples couldn’t?
Quote card ~ will be mailed to anyone who pre-orders

About the Book



Ishma comes to the prophet Isaiah’s home as a five-year-old orphan, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. With tenderness and care, her lively spirit is revived, and the prophet and his wife adopt Ishma, giving her a new name—Zibah, delight of the Lord. As the years pass, Zibah wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man awakens Zibah’s painful past and calls into question the very foundation of her father’s prophecies. Can she learn to rely on only Yahweh, who gives life, calms fear, and conquers nations?

Isaiah's Daughter releases January 16, so this pre-order deal is good until the day before! You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, Parable, Lifeway, or see the full list of retail affiliates from the publisher.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Word of the Week - Yule


Did you know that  yule and jolly are from the same root? According to some sources, both come from the Old Norse jol (that J would be pronounced like a Y--see my word of the week on the letter J), which was borrowed into Old French as well, as jolif, which originally meant "festive." Modern French now has joli, which means "pretty, nice." And English, of course, has jolly.

But what about this whole "yuletide" idea, meaning Christmas? The yule log? Well, way back in the days of Old English, that Old Norse jol was a heathen feast. As Christianity came in and took over, they applied the English cognate geol to the coordinating Christian festival--Christmas. Old English, you see, already had the word giuli (which sounded very similar)--the Anglo-Saxon name for the winter season (December and January). It wasn't a specific festival, but rather a two-month stretch in which many feasts occurred. But upon conversion to Christianity, the meaning of giuli narrowed to the twelve day feast of the Nativity (beginning Dec 25). By the 11th century, Christmas became the more popular word in most of England, except the northeast.

How did it come back, then? Well, there had always been a few holdouts--evidenced by yule log being recorded in the 1600s. But we're mostly familiar with it today because in the 19th century, writers began using it as a nostalgic way to refer to "the Christmas of 'Merrie England.'"

Today we're exactly a week from the start of the official Yuletide season. I hope you and yours are having a jolly time!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Remember When ~ A Song Unheard Book Trailer!


We're only a few weeks from the official release of A Song Unheard. My copies have arrived, and orders of signed copies from my store are in the mail.

And so, it seemed like the perfect time to share the book trailer! (If for any reason it doesn't work for you here, you can watch it on Vimeo.)


A Song Unheard ~ Book Trailer from WhiteFire TV on Vimeo.

I'm so excited to share this with you!! Here's the scoop on it.

  • A year ago, I ran the Song Unheard Contest, in which people could submit a melody that would become "Willa's Song." My daughter and I chose 3 finalists, and then the public voted on their favorite, and y'all chose the song you hear featured in the video, composed by Jessica Brand.
  • My friend Harry Burchell III graciously saved me some time and transcribed Jessica's beautiful melody into sheet music.
  • The amazing Taylor Bennett performed and recorded said music on the violin.
  • My wonderful English friend and beta reader (who checks my books for Americanisms for me) Elizabeth recorded the voice-over.
  • My awesome husband of WhiteFire Media produced the trailer.


Wow, that's a lot of people who participated and helped me create this! Hence why it's no surprise how much I love it. Thank you to all who submitted songs for the contest or voted on their favorites, and even bigger thanks to those who brought it to life!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! And if it does its job (ahem) and makes you want to rush out and buy the book, you can find it here:


Monday, December 11, 2017

Word of the Week - Carol



Last weekend, my church went to a nursing home (where we visit once a month) and sang carols with the residents. At which point, I realized that I'd never paused to look up the origin of the word!

Carol dates from around 1300, meaning, "a joyful song." It came into being as a noun and a verb at around the same time, the verb meaning "to dance in a ring." Etymologists aren't entirely sure where the word comes from--the English is undoubtedly from the Old French carole, but before that, their best guess is that it's from the Medieval Latin charaula (a dance to the flute), which is in turn from the Greek khoraules (flute player).

By the end of the 1300s, it was being used to mean "to sing with joy or festivity" and was used particularly of joyful Christmas hymns by about 1500 onward.

It took a while, however, for the word to take on the meaning of "go around from place to place and sing Christmas carols." That first appeared in 1879, though it was said at the time to be a revival of an old English custom.

Do you like to go caroling? Is it a traditional in your family or church? 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thoughtful About . . . Who We Get to Be



I've had several ideas lately for Thoughtful posts. But it seems like every week, I run out of time, and blogging slips down my to-do list until it falls off the edge. =/ So when I pulled up a new post today, I'm not sure why I typed into that title line "Who We Get to Be." But I had no desire to delete it. So let's see where my fingers and my still-sleepy mind take me.

In part, I think my thoughts originated a month ago, with that horrific church shooting. When my husband said on the way home from Bible study, "When are people going to realize that it isn't the guns doing this--it isn't the people doing this. It's the hatred that has such a stranglehold on this country."

Or maybe it's from a post my sister, just a few months away from her last cancer treatment, said on Facebook yesterday:

"We live in a society that seems to focus on the negative... the news, your FB feed, the magazine covers in the check out line...I'm just about in tears as I scroll through FB and read the self hate and the harsh words towards others. So many people are fighting battles every day that we don't know about or see! We can't even imagine the thoughts going through the minds of others and one small kind word or act could make their day or even change their hearts. I'm here to tell you I have experienced more kindness from family, friends and complete strangers in the last few months than I could even imagine. I've had strangers stop me to pray with me on days I really needed it, I had a lady who I rented a condo from for a treatment to tell me if I ever needed to stay there again it would be free, I have a girl who walked the same path and was put into contact with me but doesn't know me send me messages; on days when I seemed to need them the most! Those are just a few examples folks! Can we please spread love and joy instead of negativity?"

Or maybe it's just the continued realization as I type up responses to emails or messages or smile at someone on the street: We get to choose how those people see us. We get to decide what kind of us we're going to be. We get to determine whether we're ruled by bitterness or love.

Hate does have a stranglehold on our nation. Hatred for the president (what happened to respecting the office even if you don't like the man? I didn't vote for Trump. But he's now my president. MY president. Just as Obama was--who I also didn't vote for. Why would I wish any of my presidents failure?? Isn't that then MY failure, as they represent me?). Hatred for whoever believes differently on moral issues (What, you're for/against homosexual marriage? Then you're EVIL! It doesn't matter where your belief comes from, it's different from mine, and therefore you deserve no respect). Hatred  for those who believe differently on political issues (You own guns? When are you going to wake up and realize you're part of the problem? You're for gun control? You might as well stomp on the Constitution!). Hatred for those who say "Happy Holidays." Or who say "Merry Christmas."

We live in a society that has forgotten how to listen. That can't fathom respect. And we, who claim to have the Light of the World living inside us, all too often add to that darkness.

But we get to decide, don't we? We get to decide whether it's words of love or hate that spill from our lips. We get to decide whether we meet bitterness with a smile and a prayer or with bitterness of our own. We get to decide whether we live by love or hatred.

I remember years and years ago, when I was working on the edits for Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland--my first book published with a company other than my own--I had an epiphany as I composed an email in response to some of my editors' suggestions.

I get to decide, right now, what kind of author I'm going to be. I can be the kind that argues and snarls and resents every suggestion--the kind that will make editors groan when they see my name pop up in their inbox. Or I can be the kind that greets suggestions with enthusiasm and goes out of my way to make my editors know I value their opinion. Readers will never know how I interact with my publishing team. But they know. They know, they sense, they talk among themselves. And the kind of author I choose to be with them could likely determine whether they want to work with me in the future.

This is the same in all other aspects of life. In how we deal with our families. With our neighbors. With our churches. With the stranger in the supermarket line. It's true of our online presence. It's true of our in-person presence.

We get to choose. We get to choose who we are. According to the Bible, we get to be new creatures because of what Jesus did for us. We get to leave behind all the darkness and sin. We get to be perfect. We get to be saints. We get to be His.

So why are we still acting like the world?

We get to be joyful. We get to boast in our tribulations and troubles. We get to glory in insufficiency. We get to show the world that God is so much, even when life offers us so little.

We get to be Jesus to those hurting people around us.

What an awe-inspiring title. Not Employee of the Year, Best-Selling Author, Attorney at Law...not Best Mother or Award Winner or Millionaire.

Christ follower.

Sometimes that just blows me away. That we get to be that Light for Him.

We don't just choose to believe. Choose to profess. We have to choose to live it. To be it. And then to watch the world around us change in response.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Word of the Week - Wassail



We've all heard "wassailing" in some of the old Christmas songs. And you probably have an awareness (vague or otherwise) of wassail being a drink. But if you're anything like me (before I had to research it for a book a few years ago), that's the extent of your knowledge. ;-) Which of course makes it a perfect Word of the Week during this Advent season!

Wassail is from the Old Norse ves heill, which literally means "be healthy." It was first a salutation and then became a sort of drinking salute among the Danes in England, which then spread to the natives. But 1300, it wasn't only something one said while lifting a glass, but also what was in the glass--particularly spiced ale that was served on Christmas Eve.

By 1600, it had taken on a bit of a "carousing" meaning, which then extended by 1742 to the practice of going house to house on Christmas Eve, caroling and offering the traditional spiced drink. In Colonial America, wassail was traditionally sold by the poor to the rich--an excuse for them to come in and see how the other half lived, and a way for the rich to give alms to the poor.

So this season, if you lift you glass in salute (whatever might be in it), try saying "Wassail!" and see if anyone understands, LOL.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Club Chat via Skype!


Book clubs = fun. At least I think so. ;-) So I'm being a bit experimental with my Facebook Live program and seeing how it goes to run an online book club discussion there as a video! Now, there's a bit of lag between writing of comments and appearance of comments in my feed, so I'm thinking the best way to have a good conversation is to have a few people actual TALKING about the book. How? Skype! Through the magic of all that technology stuff, we'll be having a panel of talkers right there in the video feed with me.

We'll be going through the discussion questions in the back of the book...and following any rabbit trails we might get distracted by. ;-) Interested in joining me via Skype? If you've read Giver of Wonders (or can do so in the next week) and want to be part of the fun, let me know!

Requirements:

1. You've read the book
2. You have Skype
3. You'll be available between 6-8 p.m. next Monday, 4 December

If that's you, then let me know! You can either comment here (with contact info please) or shoot me an email at roseannamwhite@gmail.com and I'll be in touch. (If by chance I get more volunteers than we can handle, I'll choose by a combination of who contacted me first and what will build a well-rounded group.)

If this goes well, I'll be doing it for ALL my book releases and others upon request! So you could have a chance to join me for other books even if you can't on this one!

Even if you can't join me through Skype, I hope you can join me for the discussion in the comment section of the video!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The BFF Holiday Giveaway!



Writing can be a solitary endeavor--and books arguably have one central character. But whether in life or in story, friends are SO important!

My best friend is also a writer, so when she came to me with the idea for a best-friend-themed giveaway, I met the suggestion with enthusiasm! Especially given the books we're promoting. Her fantabulous The Lost Girl of Astor Street is all about best friends--and what what one will do when the other goes missing. And my Shadows Over England Series is also about best friends--friends so dependent on each other they call themselves sisters.

As two writer BFFs, we know all about supporting each other through highs and lows--cheering each other on through frustrations and disappointments, rejoicing at contracts and good reviews. Though we live a thousand miles apart, rarely does a day ever go by without our Hangouts chiming a message. It's been just over 10 years ago that Stephanie and I met, and I can't imagine going through life or writing without her!

This holiday season, we want to see you and YOUR best friend. Send us a picture or share one on social media tagging both of us, and you'll get entered to win signed, personalized copies of The Lost Girl of Astor Street and A Name Unknown for you AND your best friend. Here are the details:
  1. Snap a picture of you and your best friend or get one of your old favorites. (For the purposes of this contest, your best friend must be human.)
  2. Between now and December 11th, share the picture in one or all of the following ways:
    1. Post it on Facebook and tag us. Here's our author pages: Stephanie Morrill, Roseanna M. White
    2. Post it on Twitter and tag us. @StephMorrill @RoseannaMWhite
    3. Post it on Instagram and tag us at Stephanie Morrill and Roseanna M. White
    4. No social? No problem. Email the photo to us (not as an attachment, but in the email, please) Stephanie@StephanieMorrillBooks.com and Roseanna@RoseannaWhite.com
    5. Do all four to get entered to win FOUR times!
    6. Link to the giveaway in your social post to get entered an additional time PER post. 
    7. Please make sure to tag us! If you don't tag us, we don't know you're doing it!
  3. On December 12th, we will email winners to get names and mailing addresses for you and your best friend. Gift wrap is available upon request, and we will even jot a note to your BFF to let them know how much you love them! (Due to the harsh reality of international shipping prices, this giveaway is only available to U.S. residents.)
  4. Have fun!

Learn more about the books!
(Click on the covers to see descriptions)
 
StephanieMorrill.com/lostgirl
http://www.roseannamwhite.com/books/shadows-over-england-series/a-name-unknown


Monday, November 27, 2017

Word of the Week - Advent



This weekend, advent begins. And so, it seemed the perfect word to study a bit this week. =) And then we'll focus on holiday-themed words throughout our December Mondays!

Advent means, of course, "coming." It's from the Latin adventus, and specifically in Church Latin refers to "the coming of the Savior." Since the days of Old English, it's been the word used for the season leading up to Christmas. But it's certainly worth noting that it doesn't just mean that coming of the Savior--it's also the word traditionally used when looking forward to when Jesus returns.

I love keeping that in mind each Advent season. That we're not only looking backward, to when our Lord became man, but also looking forward, to when He'll return for His church.

Final note on the word--these days it's also used to mean any "important arrival," but that generalization wasn't accepted until the 1740s. Before that, it was exclusively used in the sacred sense in English.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!


I know I've been terribly silent on the blog the last couple of weeks, but I wanted to jump on to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of wonder at how good is our God. To all who joined me on Monday for my chat on the holiday, thank you! I had such a fun time hearing about what you're all thankful for this year, and sharing the stories I had on my heart.

Today, just a quick prayer.

This prayer comes from a volume of Puritan prayers entitled The Valley of Vision, compiled by Arthur Bennett. He doesn't say who wrote each one, but I am always struck by the sincere, heart-wrenching faith of those who penned these words. I pray this one speaks to you today.

Praise and Thanksgiving


O my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admired, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding,
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language
to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time
and eternity.

Amen

May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Books and Blessings!


I intended to have a thoughtful post today, but with two deadlines within five days, let's just say time for other things has gotten away from me, LOL. But I did want to pop on here long enough to invite you to come chat with me today at a Facebook party!

I'm part of the Thanksgiving Books and Blessings event, which can be found here on Facebook from 10-4 Central Time. My slot is 12-12:30 Eastern/11-11:30 Central.

There will be games, giveaways, and lots of fun ~ a way for us authors to thank you, the reader, for all your support and enthusiasm throughout the year. Hope you can make it!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Word of the Week - Science



These days, when people say science, they have a particular thing in mind, right? Chemistry, biology, anatomy, physics, etc. But did you know that science used to be a far more general term?

The word dates from the 14th century, from the French word of the exact same spelling, and it meant broadly "what is known; knowledge acquired by study; information." The French, in turn, came from the Latin scientia, which means "a knowing, knowledge, expertness." This most likely came from scire, which means "to divide; differentiate."

Back in the 1300s, this word was used for general book-learning. By the end of the century, it was that learning especially gained by observation. The modern, restricted sense of science didn't come along until the mid 1700s and was commonly called philosophy as well.

Don't forget that tonight I'll be chatting on Facebook Live about the inspiration and behind-the-scenes of Giver of Wonders! Hope to see you all there at 7 p.m. Eastern. =)

http://www.facebook.com/roseannamwhite

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fridays from the Archives - Stray Mittens



Time for another Fridays from the Archives! Today we're looking back to January 2010, when Xoe was only 4, and Rowyn only 2. I actually went looking for this one, because it's something I think of from time to time. I in fact recently regaled Xoe with the tale of how she refused to put matching mittens beside each other, and she thought it was utterly hilarious.

And though now she's a bit more fashion conscious and will play by the rules, that creative streak is still definitely present--and still such fun to see!




I know, I know. You look at the title to this post and think I'm going to talk about my kids' propensity to lose one of each and every set of mittens in the house. And they do, I assure you. But that's actually not my point at all. =)

On Tuesdays I take Xoe to Story Time at our library, which she loves. It's the usual setup--the librarian reads to them, they sing some songs, there's a craft or snack. The past few weeks, one of the songs has made use of the felt-board and cutout paper mittens in different colors. When the song calls out the color of then mitten you have, you run up and put it on the board. Simple, right?

I've noticed something these last few weeks. Whenever Miss Liz says, "Put them here" and pats the board, every other child--I'm talking every . . . single . . . one--puts their colored mitten where she points. The first to get there will put it by the edge, the second (there are two of each color, go figure) right beside it.

Except Xoe.

Naturally, my little princess must be different. On Tuesday, she put her white mitten right in the middle of the board, though the first child to get there with with white put it by the edge, under the red ones, just like the librarian indicated.

I watched carefully when it was her turn again. By the time yellow was called, the board was mostly full. Again, another kid got there with yellow before her. Again, started a nice, neat row.

Where, I wondered, would my little deviant put this one? There wasn't much room left, other than beside its match. Would she conform?

Er, no. She put it in the spot still open beside the first white one, which was all lonely because her white one was off by itself.

I nearly laughed. There it was, this lovely rainbow of mittens, surprisingly well ordered by a bunch of three-year-olds, and the only oddities in the pattern were those two mittens my daughter put up, one white, one yellow. Two bright, cheerful slaps in the face of conformity.

Now, as a mother of a preschooler, there are a lot of moments when I think, "Can't you just do what you're told? Please? Must you make waves? Must you do things your own way? Don't you see that your outfit looks ridiculous, that you've made your 'art' over top of an actual picture, that you've undone all my cleaning by creating this 'obstacle course' of toys?" Especially in public. Especially around other mothers with their well-behaved children who come to the library appropriately dressed.

But you know . . . on Tuesday, something in me cheered. Something said, "Yeah, go Xoe! Make a new pattern! Color outside the lines! Wear red and black Minnie Mouse shoes with a pink and yellow kitty-cat dress! Be you!"

Now, I would like to note that my daughter is darn good for a 4-year-old. She can color inside the lines, follow precise directions, and pick out a pattern. She can clean up her toys, pick out presentable clothes, and charm the socks off any adult she comes across.

But she can also create. She can go around for a full day, narrating a story in her mind that incorporates everything she's actually doing. She can turn a boring tan rubber band into an intricate bracelet.

She can turn a paper mitten into a bright spot. And this mommy, who sometimes just wishes she would listen, couldn't be more proud.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Word of the Week - Romance



Last week, in talking about the word novel, I mentioned that novels were previously referred to as romances, which of course set us up perfectly for this week's Word. =)

Since around 1300, romance meant "a story, written or recited, of a knight, hero, etc." Why were they called romance? Because they were told in the everyday, vernacular language of a place rather than in Latin, and romance was also the word used for everyday, vernacular French. This comes from the Vulgar Latin romanice scribere, "to write in a Romance language," which is to, one derived from Latin. (I daresay most of us have heard of "the romance language" of Spanish, French, etc.)

By the 1660s, the literary definition had expanded to mean "a love story." Interestingly though, it wasn't applied to an out-of-literature love affair until 1916--who knew? Romance novels have only been a recognized genre in an of themselves since 1964.

Also interesting is that the verb, to romance someone, is only from 1934. Before that it meant "to invent fictitious love stories."

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thoughtful About . . . A Living Water Faith



There's an old-world definition of "living water"--it means water that moves. Dead waters are stagnant--you don't want to drink from them, and sometimes things can't even live in them.

For instance, the Dead Sea. Now, this place is pretty amazing in a lot of ways. The salt content in so high that nothing can live in the waters. So high that you get salt cubes littering the shore and chunks of it floating in the water like icebergs. We've all probably heard the stories about how easy it is to float, and how quickly the water heals cuts or scrapes on your skin.

Why is the Dead Sea so salty? Because the Jordan river flows in, but then it stops. There's no outlet. The water simply evaporates in the heat. It's dead, not just because the salinity is so high that nothing can live there, but because the water doesn't move.

In contrast is the Sea of Galilee, which is fresh water. The same Jordan river flows in, flows out. Plus, it's fed from underground springs. This is living water. Fresh and clean and teeming with life.

That's what our faith is supposed to be.

My dad preached on this last weekend, and it really spoke to me. He started with John 7:37-38:

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (Emphasis mine. NKJV)

 Somehow, through all the times I've read John, I'd never caught that before. Whenever I think of living water, I think of it being Jesus--I remember the woman at the well, and how our Lord promises that He can give a living water that will make us thirst no more. Jesus is the living water.

But then there's that part in bold above. He comes into the hearts of those believe in Him--and then what?

Out of [our] hearts will flow rivers of living water. 

 Living water--moving water. Fresh water. He comes in . . . and He needs to flow out. We need to be fed with His words, with His truth, with His salvation, yes--but that can't be the end of it. We can't just hold it all in and think we're good. That we're saved, so that's all that matters. 

We can't stagnate. We have to move. Our faith has to move. It has to flow back out to the rest of the dry and thirsty world.

In our Bible study on Wednesday nights, we've been reading Romans. In 2:16, Paul is talking about about how the law is written on the hearts of men and that God will judge them, through Jesus, according to "my gospel." My husband, ever amazing at digging deep into the wording, asked "Why does Paul call it his Gospel here? Isn't it usually called Christ's gospel?"

We went back and forth with it for a while, and eventually I said something I thought was kinda simplistic, but which everyone loved: that Paul is owning it. He's taking the Gospel inside him and then sharing it, so fully unashamed, so fully committed to it that he's willing to call it his own.

That's the living water faith we all need to have. The kind that takes it in. That lives through it and by it. And that sends it out again to nourish others.

Father, let your Living Water spring up within us. Let it fill all the parches and empty places in our souls. And let our spirits' cups then so overflow with you that we have no choice but to spill out your goodness for those around us. Let us be the fresh spring in a bitter world. The life among the dead. Let us be a fountain of your glory.
 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Word of the Week - Novel



I'm not sure how I've managed to go this long without featuring the most obvious word in the world as my Word of the Week ~ Novel ~ but it's high time I remedy that oversight!

We're all probably familiar with the two ways novel is used in English today--"A novel idea" and "the best sort of written work." ;-)

As it happens, that adjective use predates the noun by a good bit, coming directly from novellus, which means "new, young, recent." It appeared in English in the 1400s, with an added sense of "unique, unusual."

In the 1560s, the Italians began calling short stories ("new stories") novellas, particularly when part of a larger work--specifically given first to the stories of Boccaccio. By the 1630s, novel was being used for longer works of fiction--books which had been previously been called romances.

Which will be our Word of the Week next week. ;-)



And, in keeping with the theme, tonight I'll be chatting about books I've been reading on Facebook Live, and I'd love to hear about your recent reading list too! Novels and non-fiction suggestions alike are welcome. =) Join me on Facebook at 7 p.m. EST!