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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Reviews of Recent Reading

I always have at least one book going. Some of my friends can keep up with several at a time, but I’m not able to do more than two. I recently finished these:

WE ALL MARRIED IDIOTS: THREE THINGS YOU CAN NEVER CHANGE ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE AND TEN THINGS YOU CAN by Elaine W. Miller—This non-fiction book about marriage is one of the best I have ever read. Mrs. Miller’s book shows her extensive experience in counseling. This book is not long and isn’t very detailed, yet it hits all the points it needs to. I found it biblical, sound, very well written, and concise. I would recommend it to anyone who is married, any age. (A note to any of my Spanish friends who are shocked by the title: In English, this word is not nearly as strong as it is in Spanish. "Idiots" means something more like “Tontos.” The author uses it to describe "the common man.")

STRIKE THE MATCH by Diane Moody (one of her “Teacup Novellas”)—This was a nice story and entertaining. There are some interesting twists and turns. Being a romance, of course boy meets girl. At first, they don’t exactly hit it off, for various reasons. There are some tragedies which throw the protagonists together, and it all ends up as we want it to. It’s a nice story, not at all badly written. I probably won’t read more of the Teacup Novellas merely because I’m not a fan of boy meets girl stories. My fault, not the author’s. If you normally like this kind of book, you won’t be disappointed in this one, and you might enjoy the others, too.

RAIN DANCE by Joy Dekok—This is the fictional story of two women. Jonica is a Christian young woman who is infertile. In the beginning of the book, she and her husband have decided not to pursue fertility treatments any longer. The book tells the story of her struggles, tears, and victories. Stacie is another young married woman, the daughter of a feminist, who believes she can do with her body what she wants. She opts to abort her first child. RAIN DANCE deals with the issues of abortion and post abortion stress syndrome, infertility, children with birth “defects,” and feminism, as well as friendship, God’s grace, salvation, and how God changes people. This is a realistic book, and it is wonderful! It concentrates on a biblical viewpoint through real characters who don’t come across as preachy or phony. They don’t skirt around pointing others to the Truth of the Gospel. I thought Mrs. Dekok did an excellent job with very sensitive topics, and her writing is very good. I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone!

Presently, I’m back to the classics with Jane Austen’s EMMA. Fun!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Bit of British Humor

Here’s my extremely personal take on the Olympics Opening Ceremony last night. I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to see all of it. Here are my impressions:

Things I loved:
-      - the children’s choirs—beautiful singing; two of the songs were hymns
-       - the grassy knoll, the tree that lifted up to reveal miners and other folk
-       - the “forged” Olympic rings that lifted up and showered “sparks”—ingenious!
-       - Queen Elizabeth II’s film debut with Daniel Craig and her corgis—absolutely beyond belief great—and very, very funny! Good on her, for her wonderful sense of humor, and on the blond Bond for doing his part as well! I laughed soooooooo hard!
-       - including children bouncing on beds (How fun is that!), the pearl button people, Mary Poppins (Ask my kids about her!), fabulous old-fashioned costuming
-       - The Chariots of Fire theme, especially the most important part played by Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean)—extremely well conceived and very, very funny! Such faces! I was holding my sides! Inserting Mr. Bean into the original movie footage was also very funny. (I find it noteworthy that they highlighted this movie, based on the life of committed Christian, Eric Liddell.)
-       - the lighted “Bond” motorboat with David Beckham aboard, speeding up the Thames to deliver the flame
-       - Sir Steve Redgrave jogging the last stretch into the stadium
-       - “Abide With Me” sung by Emili Sande, words not changed
-       - the honor guard of 500 people who actually built the Olympic park—nice touch, and well-deserved
-       - the seven teens lighting the “cauldron” whose “petals” were brought in with each country’s athletes by children. I think it’s great to involve young people and “pass on the torch” to them. (Love that the “cauldron” is in the middle of the stadium. I don’t remember ever seeing one there before.)
-      -  the fireworks!

    Things I didn’t like as well:
-       - Some of the music wasn’t to my taste. The Arctic Monkeys left me somewhat cold.
-       - I personally don’t appreciate rocking out music, sensuous dancing, and the “demons” and other ghouls in the last half of the show.
-       - Although the lighted doves on bikes were a nice touch, the grating music from my childhood kind of dimmed the effect for me. “One and one and one is three.” Duh!
-       - Sir Paul McCartney certainly knows how to milk it for all it’s worth. Again, although “Hey Jude” wouldn’t be on my personal favorites chart, you can’t deny he is an icon.

    Overall grade for Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony: A+  I think he caught the Britishness of Great Britain, its history, color, talent, youth, and best of all, it’s indomitable sense of humor—or should I spell that humour?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rehoboam and Sneak Peek 2

King Rehoboam “did evil.” Why? “Because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.” No wonder he did evil! (2 Chronicles 12:13)

Those of you who follow my blog know I am finishing up my book, HIS WAYS, YOUR WALK: BIBLE APPLICATIONS FOR WOMEN. The verse about Rehoboam makes me want to share another part of it with you. This is a portion from Chapter 3:  
In counseling girls and women, I have learned about their personal problems. Some have family difficulties. Others are victims of abuse. Some have had moral failures or addictions. And others have issues with relationships. After hearing about each woman’s particular problem, I usually ask her this question: “Do you have a daily devotional time with God?” Almost in every case, they answer “No.”
Here’s a fictional tale for you to read:

“A Love Story”
         Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl named Susan who had a wonderful, handsome boyfriend named John. John lived quite a long distance from Susan. Sometimes they could see each other on a weekend, but mostly they would communicate by writing. John wrote to Susan every day—or almost every day. When he wrote, he tried to express all the love that he had in his heart. He was tender. He told her what he was thinking. He put the letter in an envelope, put the stamp on it, and sent it in the mail. Susan went to the mailbox every day. She saw how the letters were piling up, but she never emptied the mailbox nor opened any of his letters. She knew her boyfriend was writing to her, but she never read any of his communications.
         Did Susan really love John? 
She rejected all that he wanted her to know. How foolish she was!

         Many of us treat God the same way. He has given us sixty-six books full of His love! What happens when we don’t even look at them? 
         Do you realize that God loves you much, much more than John could ever love Susan?

         Can you develop a friendship with someone without spending time with him? It’s impossible! You cannot know a person without being around him. You can’t share yourself with someone if you never communicate with him. You do not have a friendship if one party doesn’t want a relationship with the other.

         Do you really want to know God? Knowing Him begins with the salvation of your soul. If you’ve already accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, take time to be with Him. Read His Word. Share with Him in prayer what’s on your mind and in your heart. Tell Him about your disappointments and your joys. Plead with Him for your friends and your family. Pray for your pastor, your brothers and sisters in the Lord, and for the services in your church. Ask Him to show you daily His will as you read the Bible. Listen so you can hear what God wants you to understand. Read His words carefully. Thank Him for your blessings. Be joyful in His presence. Spend time praising and adoring Him. 
         Everyone has problems, but many of the difficulties we have can be resolved or endured simply by knowing the Bible and understanding what God has written. We can then obey God’s Word and work biblically towards solving our problem or living with it.

- Stay tuned for more “sneak peeks” in the future! God bless you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Beautiful Prayer

I first heard this prayer used as a benediction. I read it again today.

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

It is written by David as a song, no doubt, since it’s for the chief musician. What a beautiful prayer!

How could David presume to pray it? The desire to be acceptable to God is good, but how could he think his words and thoughts could possibly be acceptable to God?

Look at the previous two verses: “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression” (verses 12-13). David had already asked God to cleanse him from sin!

So then, he was free to pray, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Now, that’s beautiful!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dead and Alive

I love the Apostle Paul’s writings for many reasons. One of them is his way of presenting logical arguments for faith. An argument that isn’t logical is being dead and alive at the same time. How can that be? How can Christians be dead and yet alive? Why is dying such a huge part of really living? It has to do with Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross and our identification with Him.

I would like to express Paul’s explanation, found in Romans 6:1-11 in a chart, this way:

DEAD                                                            ALIVE

to sin (2*)
buried with Christ in baptism (4)                    raised with Christ to walk in new life (4)                                                                 

buried in the likeness of Christ’s death (5)      like Christ in His resurrection (5)

old nature crucified with Christ, and               freed from sin (7)
the body of sin destroyed (6)

dead with Christ (8)                                        will live with Christ (8)

unto sin (11)                                                    unto God (11)

*verses where you find these phrases

Romans 6:23 presents salvation like this: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:1-2 describes the believer’s relationship with sin: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Romans 6:21-22 puts death and life into perspective: What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

DEAD to sin, ALIVE to God! What an amazing concept! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sneak Preview: HIS WAYS, YOUR WALK

Over the last maybe fifteen years, I’ve worked off and on writing a book for women of all ages. Finally, I’m in the last stages of production, seeing my dream getting close to coming true.

HIS WAYS, YOUR WALK: BIBLE APPLICATIONS FOR WOMEN is a study manual for women to help them make the connection between key Bible passages and their own Christian experience. It opens the Scriptures written especially for women and helps them make practical, personal applications.

Here’s a selection from my first chapter:

            I found God’s written instructions are relatively simple. There are three key Bible passages for daughters and single women and five for married women. Of course, many other verses and principles apply to women, but I was surprised to learn that anyone can easily understand the basics. 

Have you ever asked yourself questions like:
- Does God have a man for me?
- Should I feel guilty about my parents’ problems?
- How can I know God’s will?
- Does the Bible really tell me how to dress?
- How can I be sure I’ll go to heaven when I die?
- Is it possible to live a holy life without being weird?
- How can I be a better daughter/wife/mother?
- Can a Christian party?
- What should my major in college be? (Should I even go to college?)
- How can I have joy and peace?
- Which Christian ministry is right for me?
- What do I do with my strong-willed child?

Let’s open God’s Word! What does the Bible really teach? What concepts and principles can we learn? More importantly, what practical applications can we make? Is there something we need to change?
The Bible contains clear instructions as well as practical principles for our lives. Since God doesn’t change and His Word is God-breathed and eternal, we can trust the Bible to be our best guide! All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable . . . for instruction in righteousness (from 2 Timothy 3:16). 
God wrote the Bible through godly men, for YOU. His Word is God’s personal communication to you. You don’t have to figure things out by yourself. You have a living guide that will tell you exactly what God expects. It’s the Holy Bible.
First, you need to read what God actually says. After reading, you can ask yourself, “Am I willing to put this concept into regular practice in my life?” Then, you can apply what you’ve learned.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your peek at my new book. (More sneak peeks to come in future blogs.) God bless you!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Giving Birth?

I’ve read many authors who said writing their book was like giving birth. They were both men and women. (I often wondered how men knew what it was like to give birth, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.) To my way of thinking, even though I understand the simile, I have to disagree. Here’s why:

- The process of giving birth, even in the very worst-case scenario, is over in thirty hours or so. My own book has been about fifteen years in the writing, about two years in the final stages. Thankfully, my babies came faster than that!

- The writing of a book is pretty much a one-person job. The concept, the ideas, the nixing of ideas, the rewriting at least a million times, the first, second and hundredth edit: all of those things are done by one person, the author. In my case, of course, that was me. In the case of childbirth, the main player was me, too, but I didn’t have to do and redo and change and rethink. There was only one job, and there was only one way to do it. All the other mothers in the world have done the same thing. Not all the other mothers in the world have written my book.

- Some may talk about the “birthing pains” of bringing forth their tome. I’ve not felt pain; I have enjoyed the process. Oh yes, it is work! But, producing something I believe in, something that is a mission for me, for an audience I am familiar with energizes me.

- And, the result? When I gave birth to a baby, I ended up with a new little human being, all soft and sweet and delicate and dependent. I don’t have my book in my hand yet, but the results of this labor will certainly not be a human being nor soft, sweet, delicate or dependent. They will be satisfying and exciting. I am looking forward to that day. But nothing compares with becoming the mother of a new baby!

So, I keep working, and my layout genius, Martha, keeps working. We work together, and we’re almost there! Then, the printing people get to work on it, and we hope soon to have the finished HIS WAYS, YOUR WALK for you to read. We’ll let you know when the birth (Oops! Did I say that?) happens.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Separated To

I am reading Romans 1:1. The Apostle Paul is starting his introduction to his letter to the church in Rome: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God. Something begs my attention.

Paul says separated unto and not “separated from.” Okay, we know that Paul was separated from sin, worldly practices, and even from his former life as a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Here, instead, his emphasis is on what he is separated to.

The past is done away with. He’s looking forward. He’s separated to the gospel of God.

In another letter, Paul defines the gospel this way: it’s the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Substitute for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

What a life-purpose statement! Separated to spread the gospel.

May we follow in Paul’s footsteps!   

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ten Things to Teach Your Daughters

1. Love the Lord your God with all your soul, mind, and body. Keep yourself pure.

2. Be a lady. People respect a true lady, even if they don’t understand her.

3. Dress to please God. Be pretty, feminine, and modest.

4. Get a good education, and prepare yourself to do something that will allow you to support yourself financially. You don’t know what the future holds.

5. Trust God for your Handsome Prince, if God has a man in store for you. Do not flirt!

6. Get a biblical perspective on singleness and “marriedness” from 1 Corinthians 7:34. (Yes, I invented that word!)

7. Learn obedience and respect for the authorities in your life, specifically: God, parents, civil authorities and laws, teachers and school rules, adults. (When you are married, this same obedience and respect will be for your husband.)

8. Learn to be a good homemaker. Know how to cook, clean, sew, organize, and keep a house. If your mother is not able to teach you these things, find a mentor to help you, and read cookbooks and home management books.

9. Prepare yourself to be a mother and teacher. (Sometimes, they are the same thing.)

10. Read the Bible and good books. Avoid very sensual romances, and read books about persons of character.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ten Things to Teach Your Sons

1. Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and body. Keep yourself pure.

2. Be obedient and respectful to the authorities in your life, specifically: God, parents, civil authorities and laws, teachers and school rules, and all adults.

3. Act like a man. Someday, you’ll be one.

4. Use good manners and the correct etiquette for where you live. Be polite, and try not to offend others.

5. Learn a marketable trade so that you can support a family when you are an adult.

6. Treat all women with respect and gentlemanliness. Treat your mother, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, and all other girls like ladies. Act with courtesy and finesse. Know what to say and how to act around women.

7. Develop a good, clean sense of humor, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself sometimes.

8. Prepare yourself for leadership in your family and in the church by participating in decisions and service now. Learn responsibility in your home and in your church. Be faithful in the little things.

9. Learn all you can from your elders, especially your parents, teachers, and pastor.

10. Read the Bible and good books. Study persons of faith and character.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friend and friends

A Bible verse that solves a lot of problems is Proverbs 18:24, A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Do you find yourself with few friends?
Do you need a good friend?
Are you a friend to others?
Do you understand what true friendship is?
How close is your brother?
Who’s this friend that sticks closer than a brother?

Many, many women—my counseling is with women—sit at home thinking, “Oh, how I wish I had a friend to do (this) with.” They sit there moping, having their own little pity party, and they wonder why they don’t have a friend (or friends). A cell phone sits on the lamp stand while they wait in vain for a call. They don’t go out, because they have no idea with whom to go out. They wait for a friendly e-mail or for someone to “friend” them on social networking sites . . . and it doesn’t happen.

What’s the problem? Read the verse: A man (or woman) that hath friends must shew himself (herself) friendly.

The book of Proverbs contains much practical advice from God about all kinds of relationships. This verse in particular is full of good teaching. Let’s look at it. The first half, if you turn it around, seems to indicate that you need to be friendly in order to have friends. This is so true! So workable!

How do you do that? Some people have no clue how to befriend someone, simply because their family background was somewhat unfriendly. But, it isn’t so hard. The Bible says, Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (Matthew 7:12a). Do you want someone to do (whatever) with? Call someone, and invite her to do it with you. Do you want someone to call you just to talk? Call her just to talk. Do you want someone to e-mail you? E-mail her and say something encouraging. Do you want friends on your favorite social networking site? “Friend” them. Do you want to do lunch with someone? Invite someone. Do you want someone to care about you? Care about her. Get active in your church’s ministry. Encourage and mentor others. You will soon have friends!

The second part of this verse says there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The old saying “blood is thicker than water” comes to mind. Your brother (or sister) is yours. He is close to you. He is family. This verse refers to Jesus Christ. If you know Him as your personal Savior, He is your elder brother. He is family. He is closer than any brother, because He knows your thoughts and understands your heart. He promises to meet all your needs. With Jesus, you have the best Friend.

Be a friend, have friends, and enjoy your Friend. God bless you!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why Saul Died

In the middle of genealogies, we read, So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

It is interesting that God gives us exactly why Saul died. One is his rebellion against God’s explicit command to wipe out the Amalekites. Saul spared King Agag and the best sheep oxen, cattle, lambs, and all that was good. Because of this non-compliance with God’s specific instructions, God rejected Saul. Samuel tells him, For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (I Samuel 15:23). The second reason Saul died is, curiously, because he consulted a witch instead of the Lord (1 Samuel 28:13-17). For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . . .

We know Saul was wounded by Philistine archers and then he asked his armor bearer to kill him. The armor bearer wouldn’t, so Saul committed suicide by falling on a sword. (1 Chronicles 10:3-4)

In fact, the Bible tells us God took Saul’s life and handed his kingdom over to David. God is sovereign. This means He rules. If God hadn’t allowed it, Saul wouldn’t have died. God punishes sin. In this case, Saul paid for his rebellion against God and his consultation of a medium with his life, his sons’ lives, the loss of his kingdom, and the deaths of many of his posterity. How very sad!

God’s permitting Saul’s death for his sin reminds me of the New Testament passage 1 Corinthians 11:30, which is talking about Christians dying because they disregarded the importance of the Lord’s Supper. They didn’t obey Jesus’ command to observe it seriously, remembering His death until He comes again. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Saul died because of his disobedience and his dependence on the enemy for advice. New Testament believers died because of treating lightly Jesus’ death for them. Some profound lessons here.


The Apostle Paul boards a ship on his way to Rome. He is held prisoner, along with others, by a centurion named Julius. Julius is a kind man who treats Paul with courtesy. They change ships in Alexandria and then go into port at Fair Havens. They wait too much time there; the sea is dangerous at this time of the year. Paul warns them of the “hurt and damage” to come, but the centurion believes the owner of the ship more than Paul’s prophetic words. (This hits me as normal. I don’t think I would listen to a prisoner over the owner of the ship, either.)

So, they leave Fair Havens and set sail again. The wind is blowing softly—perfect conditions for travel.

“Not long after,” a very strong wind, called Euroclydon whips up. (To me, Euroclydon sounds like a European dinosaur! Seriously though, the only named “winds” I know about are tropical storms: hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. This must have been a whopper!) The ship is caught in the storm. The sailors let it go with the wind. It is tossed with the waves, and the crew decides to lighten the ship. The third day of the storm, everyone was throwing things overboard, even the “tackling” of the ship. The Bible tells us that there were “many days” where they didn’t see the sun or the stars. Can you imagine?

“All hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”  

Paul gets up and stands in the middle of these desperate people and says something that in any other situation would be hilarious: “Be of good cheer; we’re only going to lose the ship.” (My paraphrase.) Yeah, right! This is the good news!

Thankfully, Paul explains by telling them he had seen a vision from God, and God had revealed to him that no one would die, but that the ship would be lost.

The fourteenth night has come. They are close to land. The sailors plan to abandon ship, but Paul tells the centurion and the soldiers that the sailors have to stay on the ship or all will be lost.

This time, they listen. The sailors cut the ship free.

Paul tells them to eat, so they do. They are listening to him again. (It seems strange to me that these people would be fasting fourteen days, but they were. I’m sure they really were “of good cheer” after a meal!) The Bible says there were 276 souls aboard.

The ship breaks up, battered by the waves. The soldiers want to kill the prisoners to keep them from escaping, but the centurion, with Paul in mind, keeps them from it. Everyone either swims or floats on boards from the ship to the land. Not one person loses his life.

Paul’s prophecy from God comes true!

I’m sure all on the ship were thinking, “Why didn’t we listen to Paul in the first place?” If they had, they could have saved themselves from leaving Fair Havens and getting themselves into more than fourteen days of battling the storm, hunger, and fear. They could have wintered there, even if it wasn’t “commodious to winter in.” (The storm couldn’t have been very commodious either!) The ship’s owner would still have a boat. The prisoners could be transferred at a later time, and no one would have gone through the tempest.

Why didn’t they listen in the first place?
            They may not have recognized Paul as a messenger from God.
            They might have simply trusted the guy with the greater riches, the ship’s owner.

We get warnings from God, too. The Bible is full of them. It cautions us about the consequences of sin, yet we don’t always heed. We might leave our Fair Haven for someplace we want to go, not listening to the wise advice of the Word of God. When we get into trouble, we want to “kill” the messenger—not literally, but we’re not happy that we really knew what was right, did things our own way, and are now in a mess. We might even be headed for shipwreck.

The good news is that God is gracious. He can forgive. He provides “a way to escape” with every temptation, and He is a “refuge from the storm.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, Isaiah 25:4)

(You can read the shipwreck story in Acts 27:1-44.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Unwind with Good Books

After a day of work, cleaning, cooking, running here and there, what do you do to unwind?

I usually spend some time reading.

I just finished a fun fiction book by Catherine Leggitt, THE DUNN DEAL. I loved her writing style, which is a little sarcastic but not overtly so. The main characters, Christine and her husband Jesse are “older people” probably in their 60s, and Mrs. Leggitt pokes fun at their age-related issues while making them real and delightful. This story includes a paramilitary group, a corrupt sheriff’s department, and some Goths and busybody neighbors thrown in for good measure. It handles some delicate issues beautifully, and the story keeps moving from one adventure to another. The two main characters, Christine and Zora Jane are committed Christians who live their faith out in their day-to-day lives. The message of simple, saving faith is strong. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Mrs. Leggitt’s works.   

Now, I am reading the non-fiction book, WE ALL MARRIED IDIOTS: THREE THINGS YOU WILL NEVER CHANGE ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE AND TEN THINGS YOU CAN by Elaine W. Miller. It is about married couples accepting their spouses as they are, idiosyncrasies and all. So far, the book is balanced and biblical. The author’s style is very good, and she obviously has experience in marriage counseling.

Next on my list? I’ll probably pick up a missionary biography or an old classic.

What do you like to read? Any favorite authors? I’m eager to hear from you.

In the meantime, I’m back to my IDIOTS book. What a title!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mother Nature

The weather guy on the news talks about her all the time. The sports commentator today said a game would be played “if Mother Nature cooperates.” Mother Nature is responsible for many conditions, adaptations, cell divisions, galaxies in space, etc., etc. I get tired of hearing about her! Mother Nature indeed!

There ain’t no “mother” in nature!

God is the Creator and Sustainer of everything we call “nature.” Read Genesis 1 and 2. Many, many additional Scriptures talk about God’s creating the world. (Read Psalm 147, 148; and John 1:2-3 for starters.) Hebrews 1:3 tells us how God sustains the world: upholding all things by the word of his power. (By the way, God created the world by speaking it into being.) The books of Job, Psalms, and Isaiah talk about how God controls natural occurrences like wind, rain, earthquakes, snow, lightning, and evaporation. God rules over the animals and plants, and the Bible even speaks of them praising Him. The stars and the planets and all the heavenly bodies display the glory of God.

God is the Father of nature. He is the One Who controls it. He is the One Who sustains it.

Scientists spent $6.4 billion to construct the Hadron Collider in order to crash sub-atomic particles together and find the elusive “God particle” (or Higgs boson). This would help us understand what supposedly happened millions and millions of years ago at the moment of the theoretical Big Bang. Just this week, scientists think they have found where the Higgs boson should appear. It is yet to be confirmed, but if it is what they think, it will be a key to what makes all matter stay together.

Though I’m completely in favor of observation and true science, I think it isn’t so difficult to open one’s Bible and read Genesis 1 and 2 and read what really happened at the beginning of the world: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Again, Hebrews 1:3 says it all sticks together through His power. (Surely, scientists will find that the Higgs boson is a force!) Reading what Someone Who was actually there says about what actually happened seems like reliable science to me—and it’s a lot less expensive!

For me, give me the Father of nature, my great God! Let’s give Him full credit.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sleeping in Church

Have you ever slept in church? I have. I’m not proud of it and haven’t done it in quite a while, but I have snoozed during more than a message or two. I remember one especially soporific church where the colors, soft carpet, low lights, no windows, and cushioned seating made it all I could do to stay awake during the service. When I was in college, if I was sitting so far back that I couldn’t distinguish the speaker’s facial features, that plus my constant lack of sleep made the perfect recipe for Zs.

I’ve never been bored in church, but yes, I’ve been sleepy. Sitting still, in a quiet building . . . .

I can sympathize greatly with a guy named Eutychus. He was in a church service in Troas where the Apostle Paul was preaching. Paul spoke until midnight. (When did he start?) Eutychus was sitting in the window. (Was he there to get a breeze so he could stay awake? Did he work long hours of hard, physical labor? Was this his only time off?) The Bible says there were many lights in the room. Now, in those days, lights were torches if you were lucky and little lamps if you weren’t. So, here Eutychus is, listening to Paul’s hours-long sermon, sitting in the window, viewing the proceedings by lamplight. Nod . . . Jerk up . . . Nod . . . Jerk . . . Nod . . . Snooze . . . PLOP!

Out the window, three stories down, and Eutychus is DEAD!

Paul quickly quits preaching. (He’d lost part of his audience!) He hurries down the stairs to find Eutychus’ body. Paul hugs Eutychus, and the dead young man comes back to life. It’s a miracle!

Several things impress me here. One is that God had compassion on this young man and raised him back to life. Another is that Eutychus isn’t bawled out by anyone about his having fallen asleep in church. No one tells him it was against safety regulations to have sat in the window, and you can bet he wasn’t wearing a helmet. Paul doesn’t seem insulted that his excellent—and long—message is disrupted. (In fact, Paul keeps talking, not preaching now, all night! I’m wondering if he’s counseling Eutychus, sharing stories, fellowshipping. Can you imagine the opportunity Eutychus had?) We don’t know the details, but I have a feeling Paul might have had a more effective ministry to this young man after the service was over!

The morals of this blog?
            Be careful where you sit in a low-lighted church.
            If someone near you sleeps, don’t be critical. God is the best Judge.
            Take advantage of face time with God’s servants.

(This story can be read in Acts 20:7-12.)