Christmas Peace

In my church’s Christmas concert this year, we sang, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

‘Tis a common theme of songs and stories and Scripture quotations at Christmas. After all, the angels sang to the shepherds: “…on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (see Luke 2:14)

Yet Jesus said something very interesting, almost startling, to His disciples.

“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.

“For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two and two against three.

-Luke 12:51-52 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Matthew 10:34 says, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

At first glance, it doesn’t seem to fit with the Jesus who died to save lives and is not willing that any should perish. But seem is the operative word here.

Jesus didn’t come to set the world at war. Division is an unavoidable side effect of His mission.

He came to redeem people. To free them from sin, Satan, and death. If everyone accepted that redemption, then peace would reign on earth.

But someone has far too much to lose if everyone chooses redemption. Satan would completely lose his power over humans. Oh, sure, he’d still be able to tempt them. But they would be equipped to resist his lures. They’d be armed to withstand him as never before. They would no longer be his slaves.

And he will stop at nothing to prevent his captives from slipping away.

So Satan convinces people that Jesus is the problem. That all who follow Jesus are a threat. To freedom, to pleasure, to life. Anything to get souls frightened and furious at the very thing which could save them.

Clever distraction tactic, is it not?

Unfortunately, this distraction tactic tends to ensnare Jesus’ followers, too. We see all these people attacking us, and we think we have to attack back. (Best defense and all that.) We fall into bickering and bitterness, cruel words and worse. But we miss the real enemy. We think it’s the people charging against us. It’s really the devil who has deceived these people.

It’s such a brilliant plan. It keeps the slaves safely bound, and keeps the redeemed ones wasting their energy on the wrong enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

-Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

That’s why God commands us:

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

-Romans 12:18 NKJV

Christians are not supposed to be quarrelsome, contentious, argumentative, rude, disrespectful, unkind, or violent. We may be hated and despised because we follow Jesus, but we shouldn’t retaliate. In fact, we don’t need to retaliate; it doesn’t do any good. Our job is to live peaceably as much as possible.

But guess what? Sometimes it’s not possible. We may do everything in our power to have amicable relationships with others. We may bend over backwards until our heads touch our heels (figuratively), and still be unable to appease those in our lives who just cannot stand us.

That’s okay. That’s when we step back and pray because the enemy is not the person in front of us. The enemy is the “spiritual hosts of wickedness.” Until Satan’s defeat, begun on the cross, reaches its culmination, there will always be conflict on earth.

See, Jesus didn’t come to give peace. He came to be peace.

The angels’ message was true in the most literal sense possible. Peace had come to earth—because Jesus Himself is the Prince of Peace and He had come to physically dwell on earth. Peace was truly on the earth for the first time.

Now those who believe in Him have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within them. We have peace. Mind-blowing peace, if we choose to embrace it. (see Philippians 4:6-7)

So as we sing this Christmas of peace on earth beginning with us, it is a worthy goal. We should strive to let the peace of God dwell in us and spill over into our relationships with every person who crosses our paths.

And when people dislike you, despise you, or hate you for no apparent reason, take heart. Division is just part of life in this world.

One day, Jesus will come to this earth again. And at His second coming, He will finally establish peace on this earth.

-Miss Darcy

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It’s That Time of Year

It’s that time of year…

  • …when stores play the lousiest Christmas songs known to man, interspersed with a few good ones.
  • …when I put on a black velvet dress and sing in my church’s Christmas concert.
  • …when a trip to the library turns into Christmas shopping because one sister was home (and we’ve got to take opportunities when we get them).
  • …when I actually pay attention to the promotional emails from various online stores where I shop occasionally.
  • …when a sister caught borrowing clothes from my closet is likely to get screeched at because she might accidentally uncover a gift I haven’t wrapped yet.
  • …when the list of cookies we want to bake is longer than the list of people we have to give them to.
  • …when we pull out all the Christmas lights and see which ones still work (and which ones the “elves” tangled the worst).
  • …when inflatable Christmas decorations lie like dead things in people’s yards during the day.
  • …when I oooh and aaah over the seasonal-scented Christmas candles (or, conversely, almost die from the overpowering scent if it disagrees with me).
  • …when I hunt at six different stores over the course of a month looking for a special, seasonal ice cream flavor.
  • …when we save all the shipping boxes for wrapping gifts.
  • …when scraps of wrapping paper are apt to be found in the oddest places.
  • …when the first person downstairs in the mornings gets the privilege of plugging in the indoor Christmas lights.
  • …when I research Christmas carols so I can sing all the verses.
  • …when Mom strictly forbids me to check emails for her.
  • …when I play Christmas music as if no other kind of music exists.
  • …when I put on a red dress to go see The Nutcracker ballet.
  • …when I eat way too many sweets and promise myself I’ll “be good” after New Year’s.
  • …when I read a Christmas story or two.
  • …when Dad has to make multiple trips to the store to pick up some last minute item we need for baking.
  • …when I sing of white Christmases knowing full well my southern location probably won’t see proper snow until January.
  • …when I ponder the first two chapters of Luke and Matthew again.
  • …when every day closes with lighting the Advent candles, reading a Christmas devotion, and singing a Christmas carol around the piano.
  • …when we drive around to look at light displays and shake our heads at the houses in our neighborhood who didn’t even hang a wreath.
  • …when we rejoice in the birth of a Baby in Bethlehem—because one day He would die on a cross for us.

Aye, ’tis truly the most wonderful time of the year.

What little things, either lovely or annoying, shout “Christmas” to you?

-Miss Darcy

Born for You | Character Interview

Y’all, I am so thrilled to feature my sister’s novella today! It’s available in the same novella collection as mine, The Heart of Christmas.

I’m not sure that I don’t like hers better than mine.

So please let me present Born for You by Leah Fornier.

born-for-you-cover

Ryder has never set foot in a church. But when his best friend, Kenna, begs him to direct a church Christmas play, he can’t refuse. As he and Kenna work through a series of mishaps, Ryder finds himself drawn to the One born for him. And also to Kenna.

(Isn’t the cover lovely?) I laughed so much in this story. But there were also scenes that broke my heart. It’s a very sweet romance. So I might be biased, but I think my sister’s a pretty good writer. 🙂

And I have an interview today with a secondary character from the story—Audra, Kenna’s younger sister.


Audra, thank you so much for visiting with us! I loved meeting you in Born for You, so I’m delighted you’ve agreed to answer a few questions for us today.

1) You and your older sister Kenna seem to have a close relationship, but I know all sisters have some friction (I have two sisters myself). Have you always been close? What would be your main source of friction these days?

Audra: Kenna and I have always been close. We kind of had to be since it was only the two of us growing up. But she’s my big sister. Despite her best intentions she’s still bossy. She’s still trying to manage my life. And my lack of ambition frustrates her to no end. I really like to just float through life, and to super-active, super-responsible Kenna, that is unthinkable. She means well, but occasionally we still lock horns over it.

2) In your estimation, what is Kenna’s greatest weakness? What is her greatest strength?

Audra: In some ways Kenna’s greatest weakness is also her greatest strength. She’s a fixer. She wants to fix everything – me, Ryder, the medical field, the world. You name it, she’s thought long and hard about what’s wrong with it and how to fix it. So it can be very stressful for her when things spiral out of her control. She’s learned a lot about trusting in God’s strength and not her own in the past several years. On the flip side, when things fall apart she can usually pull them back together. She’s always ready to help someone and volunteer her time for something no one else wants to do. She is the most helpful person I have ever known, and I know I can rely on her to always be there for me.

3) When Kenna first convinced Ryder to help her with the play, what did you think about the plan?

Audra: Actually, I was the one who suggested she get Ryder to do it for her, so naturally I thought it was a great idea. I reminded her how great he was in drama (although she didn’t really need reminding) and that his minor in college had been directing. I may or may not have had other, more personal, reasons for encouraging her to ask him.

4) If you could have one thing in the world, anything, what would you choose?

Audra: I want a man who loves me as much as Ryder loves Kenna.

5) Is there anything else you would like to share with readers of this story?

Audra: Yes. I just want to say that if you have a sibling (or siblings) as close to you as I am to Kenna, cherish them. They are one of God’s greatest gifts. I don’t know what I would do without Kenna, and I’m going to miss her now that she is married. But Ryder’s a great guy, so I’m okay with sharing. In fact, I’ve always thought those two were perfect for each other, and I did my best to help them get together. And I’ve gained a wonderful brother from the whole thing. All in all it worked out great, and I know Kenna and Ryder will have a beautiful life together.


About the Author

Leah Fornier has loved storytelling since childhood when she would recite her long, complicated, embellished dreams for her sisters. She began writing in high school with short stories that constantly tried to outgrow their word limit. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, you might find her baking, sewing, playing the piano, or researching historical fashions. She lives in middle Tennessee with her parents and two noisy sisters.

The Heart of Christmas is available at Amazon.

If you like Christmas stories and don’t mind romance, I think you’ll enjoy this one. Why, our dad even read it and liked it. 🙂

And talking of Christmas stories, have you noticed that the Christmas season is upon us? I am so thrilled to be able to listen to Christmas music without certain parties complaining. I’m also enjoying some special Christmas ice cream flavors. 🙂 I hope your Christmas season is off to a very merry start!

-Miss Darcy

I Am Thankful, 2018

I am thankful for…

  • All my needs met. I have a middle-class American lifestyle; literally every one of my physical and material needs is met.
  • Books. An endless source of new knowledge, and also entertainment.
  • Church. Sometimes I think the Church in America is so broken. But even in its brokenness, God somehow still uses it to draw me closer to Him. After all, it’s His Church, not mine, and we Christians need one another.
  • Dierk. He’s the main character in my novel, Prince of Sunland, and by saying I’m thankful for him, I mean his whole story. I’m just so grateful that God lets me write stories. They’re not perfect, but they are mine, and I love writing them.
  • Everlasting life. Much as I enjoy this life, it’s good to know there’s something far-and-away better after I die.
  • Family. We weren’t created to do life alone. Hence, family. Far too often, humans twist the gift of family into a curse. But it was meant to be a blessing. And mine is.
  • Good friends. Friends that give encouragement and laughter and even a gentle rebuke or a pointed question when I need it.
  • Home. We associate “home” with a certain place, and I daresay that plays into it. But there are four people who make a place home for me, and we can make home anywhere.
  • Ice cream. Because I believe in being thankful for, and delighting in, little things.
  • Justice. Isn’t it good to know there is such a thing as just and unjust? I mean, can you imagine how the world would function without it? Disaster.
  • Kids. I’m so grateful for the children God brings into my life so I can love on them.
  • Love. From God. From family. From friends. I’m so rich in this blessing.
  • Music. (And the sense of hearing so I can enjoy music.) I think God created music to speak to our souls in ways that words can’t. And when you match powerful music with powerful words… Perfection.
  • New places. Wherever God brings me, He always brings good things and good people into my life. I enjoy it!
  • Order. I’m thankful the sun rises every morning and I can count on it. Can you imagine a world without order?
  • Peace. God’s peace is like a bedrock. You can plant your feet and not be moved.
  • Quiet. We weren’t made for constant noise and busyness. Sometimes we do our best growing in quietness.
  • Righteousness. Through Jesus Christ, I am clothed with spotless righteousness. Is that not an awesome, breath-taking truth?
  • Scripture. We’re lost without it.
  • Truth. In a world where people can’t tell good and bad apart anymore, I’m thankful Truth is something beyond mere human wisdom.
  • United States of America. Despite her flaws, I love this country dearly, and I’m grateful I was born here.
  • Variety. Sameness in people and things would actually be easier. But variety is more fun.
  • Written words. The beauty and power and creativity in written language never cease to fascinate me. Besides, it’s a gift God gave to only one of His creations—mankind.
  • Xmas. That is, CHRISTMAS! My absolute favorite time of the year. I’m so thankful Jesus came to redeem us, and I love celebrating it with music and lights and food and gifts. The season officially begins in our house tonight!
  • Yahweh. The Lord GOD, Creator of the heavens and the earth, who is yet mindful of me. I could never thank Him enough for all His goodness.
  • Zo-ay. (Sorry, had to borrow from Greek here.) Zo-ay is life. I am so grateful for this life God has given me. It’s a little bit crazy, but it’s good.

In view of this extensive list of my blessings, feel free to remind me of it if I get to whining anytime soon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Miss Darcy

A Complete Fall

Funny thing about being a Christian—life tends to knock you down just as often as anyone else. Perhaps more so. Jesus did promise us tribulation, after all. (see John 16:33)

I think there might be two different kind of falls. First, the circumstances we can’t avoid. Life tries us or people attack us, and there’s not a thing we can do about it. Second, the things we fall into because we weren’t staying close to Jesus. Sinful traps of this world and the devil that we could have avoided.

Either way, we fall, and sometimes we end up crawling because we think there’s no way we’re getting back to our feet.

But that’s not true.

In the Bible, the number seven represents perfection or completion. Take at look at this verse:

For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

-Proverbs 24:16 NKJV

“A righteous man may fall seven times.” In other words, flat on the ground. He’s down. Completely. Perfectly. Hopelessly.

Well, not quite hopelessly.

Because a righteous man may rise again.

In fact, Proverbs seems to indicate it’s pretty likely he will. Look at verse fifteen:

Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous;
Do not plunder his resting place;
For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again…

-Proverbs 24:15-16a NKJV

Proverbs warns the wicked not to tangle with the righteous because, although the wicked may get the upper hand for a while, the righteous will rise again. And again. And again.

As Christians, we know we’re not really fighting people. (At least we should know that.) No, we’re at war with something far bigger. Something we can’t see.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

-Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

And, unfortunately, our enemies will probably take us down from time to time.

But take heart. We will rise again.

Of course, there’s an interesting qualifier in this verse. Only “righteous” people can expect to have this power to rise again, over and over. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you’ll probably guess what I’m about to say.

Jesus alone makes us righteous.

All the good deeds in the world can’t wipe the sin off of us. Only Jesus’ blood can do that. He washes us clean and leads us to the paths of righteousness that we could never find on our own. Nor be qualified to walk in if we had found them.

But sometimes we start wandering and dabbling in the same stuff that left us filthy in the first place. (Very stupid of us, I might add.) Then we wonder why we fall and can’t seem to rise again.

Sometimes when we fall and can’t rise, we need to take a good hard look in the mirror. Make sure we’re walking in paths of righteousness Jesus brought us to.

Sometimes we get slammed down even when we’re walking in the paths of righteousness. And sometimes it takes a while before God raises us to our feet again.

But never lose heart, brothers and sisters. When God’s time is right, we will rise again.

-Miss Darcy

I’m a Real Author!

I’ve been pretty quiet about this because I wasn’t sure when the exact release date would be, but…

I finally have a book published!!!

I’ve been a writer for years now, but yesterday I finally became a published author. Wow. I think God gives different gifts to everyone to express His love. Not because He has to, but because He delights to. This little story (and all the stories I write) is His gift to me. And, oh, you better believe I love it and love Him for it!

Season of Forgiveness is a contemporary Christian romance novella set at Christmastime. The small town where it’s set is based on a real place in Northeast Georgia. Many of the secondary characters are inspired by real people.

Although the story is very much fiction, I don’t think I’ve ever written a story that drew so heavily from my experience of life. You get to guess what’s true and what’s imagination, if you decide to read it. (I realize Christmas romance is not everyone’s favorite, and it’s not my usual genre. God opened the door for this one through my writing partners.)

So, may I show off the lovely cover designed by my sister?

season-of-forgiveness-cover

Ruby Larson adopted Ivy Carlyle as her granddaughter when Ivy helped her arrange her funeral. When Ruby’s estranged grandson, Denver Reese, appears, Ivy is reluctant to share Ruby’s attention. As the two plan Ruby’s Christmas, unexpected attraction draws them closer. But Ivy’s painful past challenges their friendship.

Season of Forgiveness is only available as a Kindle e-book. And you cannot purchase it on its own. It’s part of a collection of five novellas and five poems entitled, The Heart of Christmas.

The Heart of Christmas 3d cover

Announcing five new stories filled with faith, hope, forgiveness, and of course happily-ever-afters. Each story focuses on an element of the Nativity, from the angels to the wise men. Be swept up in the love of the season and the promise of forever that the Christ child, the true Heart of Christmas, brings.

Available at Amazon.

Only 99 cents for five stories, plus poetry, so really not bad. I hope you’ll check it out, and if you don’t read romance (or, like me, don’t read many e-books), maybe forward the link to someone who does. 🙂

I wrote Ivy and Denver’s story in a little over a month (because I procrastinate dreadfully). It was one of those exhausting writing projects. Ivy wore me out because she turned out to be an emotional character. I figured, “She works at a funeral home. She’ll have to be at least a little detached.” Well, she may be in her work life, but personal life is a whole ‘nother matter.

I prayed a lot. And God was so faithful to give me this story. My first published work.

So smile with me. The LORD is so good. And The Dream is coming true!

-Miss Darcy

P.S. My sister also has a book in this collection, as you might have guessed from the surnames in the picture. More about her story in a future post. 🙂

Day of Adultery

Let’s play pretend.

Suppose that some individual got the bright idea to create a new holiday. And further suppose that the country had so completely lost its mind as to accept and embrace this new holiday.

So is born the Day of Adultery.

It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a day to cheat on your spouse without it being wrong because we have a holiday to make it okay.

(Stick with me.)

Naturally, this holiday meets resistance. Only the most wanton actually celebrate it. But before long, someone gets the idea to have a “flirting party” on the Day of Adultery. Couples come, and everyone trades spouses all around.

They say it’s fun to have someone new to flirt with and have dinner with. It sharpens your skills, and you might learn a few new tricks–to use with your own spouse later, of course. It’s actually good for your marriage, see?

Besides, it’s fun to flirt without the pressure of a real relationship, ya know? It builds confidence.

Well, as the flirting parties catch on, before long everyone is either hosting them or attending them.

Including churches.

Because where could be safer to host a flirting party than in church?

You’re with other Christian people so nothing can go too far. If you’re at the church’s party, you won’t be at some less-upstanding flirting event. And it’s not like they’re kissing or anything. Just dressing in nice clothes and enjoying the attention of someone other than their spouse, for a change.

It’s an outreach ministry. They share the gospel during the evening, and everyone is encouraged to invite their non-Christian friends.

And, come on, your real spouse is there. This kind of thing couldn’t possibly get out of hand.

Of course, there are some who insist churches should have nothing to do with a holiday that supports adultery, but we all know they’re being legalistic. There’s no adultery going on at these flirting parties.

Part of me finds this imaginary scenario impossible. The Church would never do something so stupid!

But the other part of me finds it extremely believable.

Because we do it every year.

(Yeah, you knew where this was going, right?)

On October 31, everyone celebrates a holiday originally steeped in Satanic practices.

Costumes? They were to scare off or fool the demons who roam on Halloween so they wouldn’t bother you.

Giving treats to people who knock on your door? That was because you didn’t know if the visitor was human or demon—and of course you don’t want to get on a demon’s bad side.

Jack-o-lanterns? Those were to ward off evil spirits.

Now you’ve probably heard all that.

We like to think that while the holiday started bad, but that’s not how it is today.

According to former Satanic priest, John Ramirez, Halloween is still very much alive as the devil’s holiday.

You really need to read this man’s story. The power of God to redeem is shown awesomely in his life.

He has very interesting things to say about Halloween:

Costumes? They change your identity in the spiritual world and give the devil license to attack you.

Giving treats to people who knock on your door? Mr. Ramirez likens that to the way Satan gives us things that are fun and pleasurable, all the while intending to destroy us.

Jack-o-lanterns? Those are an invitation to a specific demon to enter your house.

But we’re Westerners. We have a modern civilization. We’re not superstitious.

We don’t believe in all that stuff.

Yeah, well, just because you don’t believe in gravity doesn’t mean it won’t affect you.

Don’t you think it’s weird that we claim to be followers of the Light, yet we celebrate a holiday of darkness in our churches?

Do you see witches and warlocks celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus?

Doesn’t it seem weird to try to mix spiritual light and spiritual darkness? What are we aiming for–some kind of foggy middle ground? You can’t see in the dark. You can’t see well in a fog.

Oh, we’re good at justifying Halloween and spin-off parties. But those same justifications work pretty well for those flirting parties.

If we wouldn’t celebrate the Day of Adultery in the church, even a modified version, why do we think it’s okay to host a modified celebration of the devil’s high holiday? It’s playing with fire.

So you want to make a difference at Halloween, show people a better way?

Good. Just don’t try to do it by mimicking the devil’s practices.

Host a prayer meeting. Host a hymn-singing. Fast and pray. Read Scripture aloud for three hours straight.

John Ramirez recommends churches host a family movie night. No costumes, no candy. Just a good movie and the gospel message.

We can’t compete with the world and the devil if we’re only offering the same things. Not that Jesus has to compete. He’s far-and-away the best. We need to do a better job of showing that.

Brothers and sisters, we’re children of Light. Why do we flirt with the darkness?

-Miss Darcy