Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Carl Brandon Society open Letter to the SF Community

We at the Carl Brandon Society are writing this open letter to our community regarding the recent incident involving Harlan Ellison and K. Tempest Bradford. The rest of the post is here:


Monday, July 27, 2009

Searching the scripture: suffering

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

My friend Tami Murdock comments on this verse as follows: This is usually the verse that most people mix up with saying that 'God does not give you more than you can take', when it actually says that God will not let you BE TEMPTED beyond what you can bear. BIG DIFFERENCE.

VERY TRUE. I will only add:

A) They equate suffering with temptation and mix up God's promise that we will not be overtaken with a temptation with we will not be overtaken with suffering. B) They say "God doesn't give you more than you can take" as if God gives suffering or as if all suffering comes from God or as if God doesn't want to end the suffering. C) They always speak as if whatever suffering you're going through is forever. Certainly, they never talk about the way God provides out of it. If anything, they blame you for not seeing the way God has provided (usually as they see it.) D) They fall into comparison mode and compare sufferings. This verse doesn't compare suffering. It compares temptation. Some suffer so much the world is not worthy of them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two really great sermons

Two really great sermons sent to me by my friend Rose-Marie of http://pen-of-the-wayfarer.blogspot.com

Jackie Pullinger is the lady who ministers to drug addicts in China.

Jackie Pullinger, God Uses the Foolish Things:

Other sermons here

Richard Wurmbrand was imprisoned in solitary confinement for many years for his faith.

Richard Wurmbrand, The Beauty of Nothing:

Right-click to down-load

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dark Parable: Jonah

Yesterday I got up and this image came into my mind of a cartoon I'd like to make of the prophet Jonah. It wouldn't really mention Jonah but it would have one scene where God's hand forms a great fish. We see the full-blown creature being prepared by God's hand, then swimming in the ocean, then swallowing a man. The man hangs out in the great fish' stomach, squnched in the stomach, then we see the man more and more squeezed then the man is vomitted out on dry land. The scene shifts to the man again, sitting on a hill. The hand of God planting a seed and we see this seed growing into a large beuatiful plant with large leaves shading the man. Then we see God's hand preparing a little worm. We see this worm crawling into the beautiful plant and eating and destroying the plant. We slowly see the plant wilting over the prophet and dying. And the prophet grieving. Then we see the worm die. All the while we see the animals of Ninevah in the background.

Well, totally weirdly. I mention this idea to look about this animation I want to make and then later on yesterday afternoon hubby turns on the TV to some preacher he didn't know and I didn't know. And what does the man talk about? God preparing/appointing the whale, the gourd plant, the worm, and the wind. (I hadn't thought about the wind in my meditation/vision.) But it seemed so weird. He talked about going out to people we don't want to go out to and having spiritual appointments from God we don't like because we rebel.

I'm sure it must mean something. It was just very weird. Of course we saw this sermon just after older son slammed me for being on facebook. But not sure what that's about? Weird to feel God is talking to you but not quite knowing about what. Maybe to accept certain things in life as appointed from God.

What impressed me was God's creativity in dealing with Jonah. He created so many natural elements to deal with Jonah. I wasn't even thinking of anything else. (I suspect I really don't want to think of having to go to people I don't particularly like.) I always considered Jonah a lover of nature, a prophet who was not particularly impressed with humans because he knew them inside and out. A real cynic. But he loved animals and the only way God could even get him to care about nineveh was to remind him of the animals who would die. Because Jonah would care about that. Jonah loved creativity, especially the creativity of animals. He loved the gourd.

The things were created specifically for jonah. To swallow him, to cover him, to destroy what blessed him, to bring extra heat on him. The whale is an enclosing trial but it protects Jonah from the even greater trial of the dangerous sea. The gourd is a temporary beautiful shelter that is not permanent. The worm is that thing appointed to destroy the temporary shelter we've gotten used to. Then the hot wind is to bring us back to reality. I wonder about the natural elements and how they'll be used to judge the world. Tornadoes, hurricanes, strange animals, extreme heat, etc.

Weirdly, about a month ago I was reading the story of Lot's wife and pondering how sad it must've been for her to leave her two married daughters and their fiances in burning Sodom and her home town. And I picked up a Bible study to read...just off the cuff...and opened to it and the author had written, "Now, if the Lord called you to leave your town and family and all you knew, would you be like Lot's wife? Or would you be unable to leave all behind and not regret or miss your home?" I said, "Lord, I could leave." But I wasn't too thrilled with my city at that time. Then for the following days I realized I really love my town and my friends and it would be horrible to leave them behind. Whether for another town, or in a kind of rapture situation. I suspect that many of us are like Lot's wife. If we are founded worthy to be taken from the wrath to come, we will have to look at so many folks we loved -- and even family members-- who are left on the wrath-covered earth.

Still not quite clear. But will see. Will definitely try to forgive my enemies and be prepared to go where God wants me to go.


Friday, July 17, 2009

CFBA: Through The Fire

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Through The Fire

Bethany House (July 1, 2009)


Shawn Grady


Shawn Grady signed with Bethany House Publishers in 2008. He was named “Most Promising New Writer” at the 39th Annual Mount Hermon Writers Conference. Through the Fire is his debut novel.

Shawn has served for over a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in northern Nevada. From fire engines and ambulances to tillered ladder trucks and helicopters, Shawn’s work environment has always been dynamic. The line of duty has carried him to a variety of locale, from high-rise fires in the city to the burning heavy timber of the eastern Sierras.

Shawn attended Point Loma Nazarene University as a Theology undergrad before shifting direction to acquire an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science Technology as well as Paramedic licensure through Truckee Meadows Community College.

Shawn currently lives in Reno, Nevada, just outside of Lake Tahoe. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, three children and yellow Labrador.


Firefighting burns in Aidan O'Neill's blood. The son of a fireman, O'Neill has a sixth sense about fire and often takes dangerous risks. When one act of disobedience nearly gets a rookie killed, O'Neill is suspended. His weeks off are supposed to be a time to reflect but instead he escapes to Mexico, where another rash act of bravery actually kills him. But only for a few minutes.

Called back to Reno, he's now haunted by visions of hell and paralyzed in the face of fire. And at the worst time, because an arsonist is targeting Reno. With a growing love interest with one of the investigators complicating everything, Aidan must discover where his trust rests as the fires creep ever closer.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Through The Fire, go HERE

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Once a reed always a reed

I often hear people talking about how St Peter became stronger after his baptism in holy spirit and more decisive. Am not sure of this. His name was originally Simon which meant "reed." Seeing his tendency to be blown about by the wind, Jesus called him "Peter" which means a rock.

Preachers will note how Peter wimped out, warmed himself by the high priest's fire and then betrayed Jesus in the light of that same fire. Then they'll say: "BUT this same Peter, after Jesus' resurrection was brave enough to preach in the temple Beautiful. He had become strong."

Yet, Peter always seemed prone to wimping out whenever overwhelmed by others. Peter was the one who saw the vision of the sheet falling from heaven with unclean animals. He was the one specifically told in a vision: "What God has cleansed, call not thou unclean." Yet, even after that vision, he wimped out and started avoiding the gentile believers when the Judaizers arrived.

Jesus was born to be a sign spoken against. A strange thing for a Messiah to be. He was born to be doubted and rejected all his life. And although Peter believed that Jesus was whom He said he was, it still wasn't easy for Peter to stand up against the fear of man within himself. I suspect it makes his future martyrdom all the more brave. Who knows that at the very moment Peter was saying, "I will die for my Lord" he was also thinking, "Oh my God, people will think I'm silly and wrong for believing this."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

conversions, conversions

I find myself getting more and more concerned (troubled) by Christian folks who convert to Islam or Judaism. I suppose a part of it has to do with a sense of loss, that Christ has lost someone (but Paul wanrs that people who fall away from us were never with us in the first place. I think it was Paul.) And a sense that if ministers had taught these people rightly, they would not have become Jews or Muslims. And a sense that if these folks knew how to taste and see how good the lord is (instead of a love of genealogy, rituals, arrogant researching and ever learning and never able to come to the truth, etc.) they would never have left.

I know the great falling away will come at the last days. And I trust Jesus and love him. Certainly, God has been very good to me and has shown me such intense kindness so he doesn't seem to mind that I'm Christian (if I'm wrong about Christ) but I feel this present battle -- this long-drawn out battle-- with the illnesses in me and Gabe are part of the attack of my faith. When I come out of this, I will be as gold tried. But sometimes things get so strange...and when I see all these folks dropping their faith and not really caring a relationship with the living God (being really satisfied with rituals and semantics as Paul wanted.)

I see a lot of these folks with their super word skills and they have a devotion to God in some ways, yet they don't seem to have the same kind of relationship Christians have because to them God is so far away and we Christians dehumanize him by being so into the fatherhood of God, or by "daring to believe" that God could become man. That's what keeps me strong. I can list the weird supernatural or healing or sweet things the living God has done for me. These folks often just list research.

Still thinking:

I see more and more why we need an Elijah Challenge. Not to come to people through words of doctrine or philosophy but through the power of God, through showing them that the living God works mightily in our lives through His son, our redeemer, Jesus Christ. Anything else is just a word game and arguments. But we need a: If Jesus is Lord and God's chosen mediator, then let the bodies be healed, let the captives be delivered, let the bodies be cleansed, let the demons depart. And to have proof in our lives -- if not for others but at least for Christians-- that these things have happened and the year of jubliee has come.

Just thinking... Keep me in my prayers. Am hoping to come through this with a total surety about Jesus so that my faith never wavers. Thanks so much. It's just that all these folks turning from belief in Christ. I ask myself why is Christ so reviled if he isn't truly otherworldly? As Kierkegaard said, "The greatest offense of Christianity is that it says, humans want to believe they are good but Christianity tells us that if we were to get our hands on God we would kill him. Because we are at war with God and with true goodness and we truly do not wish to love our neighbors. We want to be better than they are and to feel justified in disliking them." A paraphrase from Training in Christianity. And one I totally believe to be true. But really, all I have going for me is that God has proven himself to be alive in my life and to be very present. Don't know how it holds up with all the research nuts and semantic nuts, but it would be so good for Gabe and me to be healed...then I would be as Kierkegaard says, "I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved. --Soren Kierkegaard

Last night was worried about Gabe so much, prayed in the spirit a long while and felt God's presence. Am trusting that He's working. Hoping Gabe'll go to the bathroom today and not be in pain. More and more convinced that if I were ever in a spiritual debate with another person from another faith I'd go in with a list of God's goodness to me. "I love the Lord because he has heard my prayers." Others may get all philosophical and they may slam me with Bible exegesis that put me to shame but I can only speak of loving this living God who is close to me because I love Jesus. Nothing else matters.

Monday, July 06, 2009

aviad cohen: messianic jewish singer

great autism finances article

over at http://autismsupportresources.blogspot.com/2009/07/autisms-financial-frustrations.html


Last night was so sick but challenged Satan by shouting: 1) I believe God exists 2) I believe God sees me and all my sorrows and needs. 3) I believe that Jesus is the son of God and the mediator of our sins 4) I believe the Bible is the word of God and what it says about God's love, God's power, God's care, and the work God has done is true.

Others have left off believing one of these things when the devil came against them because of the Word. But I will not. I will stick to God's testimonies. I will hold to God being personally involved in my life. I will hold to Jesus because I love him and I totally respect him. Whatever happens -- even if I never get what I want, I will never leave fall away from God.

It felt good. Life is hard. In the world we have tribulations but Jesus has overcome the world.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Statue of Liberty reopens

Friday, July 03, 2009

The fear of man brings a snare

Okay, I could say I'm a proponent of free speech because I'm an American but the truth of the matter is I'm a person who is finding her voice..finally..and who is doing so because she is a Christian.

I'm finding my soul being more and more freed every day. I used to have the fear of man ...which brings a snare. But more and more I realize I don't care what people think. Or rather, I am becoming braver at telling people they are DEAD wrong. Being on Facebook is interesting for me. I have religious friends, black friends, Christian friends, secular friends, atheist friends. I was afraid of being too religious for the non-religious, too christian for the muslims, too snooty for those who thought they were educated, too emotional for the rational. I said to myself, "Should I just aim for safety and not say anything that will get any one group mad at me?" But now I don't really care. If someone thinks I'm a bitch or a pill or a silly Christian or a mean liberal or whatever, it's what I am. I'm finally beginning to accept myself.

Not sure if this is how God made me but it's who I am now...and God sees that it comes from my heart, from my weakness, from my strength, from my neuroses, from my spirituality. He loves me nevertheless. So today I posted MY opinion of Governor Palin. I said I liked some of her policy and I disliked others and I hated the way people hounded her...that the herd mind is cruel. I wrote this although many of my facebook friends are herdmind types. But who cares what they think? I've lived in fear of man's opinion for too long.

God's opinion is all that matters.

The syro-phenician woman.

When Jesus answered the Syrophenician woman with "not a word" -- with total silence-- the woman persevered. Most Christians stop there. They say, "God didn't answer me." But the woman persevered. Then Jesus said, "I am not sent to any but the tribe of Israel." Most Bible-believing Christians also stop here. The Baptists, for instance, stop here. They say, "Jesus was sent to Israel. The days of miracles are past. Jesus wasn't sent to those living now in the 21st century." But the woman persevered, and we should also. Jesus then told her, "It's not right to take the children's meat and give it to strangers." She said, "But the dogs eat what falls at the children's feet." The woman did not take offense at Jesus' words. Even better, she said basically that God's goodness is everywhere and everyone --even the worst and smallest of humanity-- partakes of God's glory. THEREFORE why shouldn't he heal her daughter?" We cannot give up or use other people's experiences to stop persevereing.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Subtlety of Unbelief

More and more I'm encountering folks who say stuff like this: "God gives us hard times to make us better."

The Bible tells us to "count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations." It also says "Don't say when you are tempted that God is tempting me because God tempts no man." It also states that "God chastises his children." But it does NOT say that God gives us hard times. Nor does it say sickness is a blessing. We must rightly divide the word of truth or we will fall into a subtle kind of unbelief.

We are called to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, to preach the good news of the kingdom to the poor. We are called to occupy til Christ comes. But the subtle unbelief among god-loving Bible-believing Christians that A) Bad trials bring blessings and B) nothing happens unless God wills it THEREFORE a hard time must have been allowed by God to bring a blessing... is iffy theology. A) God does NOT control everything that happens to us. and B) God is often more willing and able to get us out of trouble than we are to able to believe.

This idea of the sovereignty of God has a lot to do with A) folks not really understanding how they have opened their lives to disaster and B) folks not believing in the devil C) folks not believing that their sin will find them out and D) slip-shod reading of the Bible.

How many Christians for instance know that bringing an idol from another religion (a Buddha, an ankh, a Yoruba carving of a God) into their house brings a curse? How many Christians know that it's not legalism to avoid eating pork, shellfish, etc? How many Christians know that one is actually cursed if they have sex outside of marriage? How many Christians know that to mock the handicaped (even lovingly, I suspect) brings a curse? This is not legalism. And yes, I know Jesus took the punishment of all these curses upon us. But does that mean we should presume to do what God has told us we should not do? So folks open their lives to trouble and develop heart disease of other health issues...and the next thing out of their mouth is this blasphemy: "God brought this on me so that I might grow and really appreciate Him." Oh please! It's almost as if they've mixed up islamic "submission" with buddhist "surrender" and totally forgotten that as Christians we're supposed to overcome evil with good.

Another problem is slip-shod reading of the Bible. The Bible tells us:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 It doesn't say God makes bad things happen. It says God can take those bad things and make them good.

IF you abide in me and my words abide in you, THEN you can ask what you will and you will receive.

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, THEN you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
When someone is sick we are NOT to say it brings a blessing.
Sickness is always viewed in the Bible as a curse. If a person has sinned a sin unto death, we are not to pray for them. (And Proverbs and the Bible shows us many sins that lead us to death and poverty.) But for the most part, we must pray. We are not to go around telling people the sickness brings a blessing. The Book of Proverbs challenges us on this idea of bad times brings good blessings. What Satan meant for evil God is able to turn to good. . . if we fight the good fight and resist the devil. But how can we resist the devil of sickness, sorrow, etc... if we start nursing the thought that perhaps, maybe God gave it to us as a blessing so we could learn better. It's silly to sit around saying, "God's will is so mysterious I don't know if I should be praying for freedom from this" when God himself has told us that Who the son sets free is free indeed! The Books of Proverbs, Psalms, and the gospels tells us that bad times that we fall into might tempt us to fall away from God if we suffer too much or if we are blessed with too much. How many people have fallen away from God because of suffering? A lot.

We are warned not to "limit the holy one of Israel." We are called to go from glory to glory, and to "only believe."

Why then are so many loving Bible-believing Christians trying to comfort afflicted people by urging people to be content with the sorrows of life. Is that true Biblical comfort...to say that God brought sorrow into your life so you could learn something? I even heard someone say that if Adam and Eve had never fallen they would never have learned how much God loves them; they would've taken everything for granted. Oh please! Folks are gonna take stuff for granted whether or not life is good or bad for them. One-third of the angels fell into sin. The other two-third didn't.

So unbelief shouldn't disguise itself as comfort and respect for the sovereignty of God. It's a bad theology which makes us think we're helping folks when what we're doing is blaspheming against the goodness of God and discouraging folks from seeking God for Biblical guidance on how to be freed from their afflictions. IT also excuses the so-called comforter from praying for the sick or arranging for the praying for the sick. We pray every day for President Barack Obama but when was the last time we really set out to pray with all our hearts for some normal Christian.

1 John 3:18 NRSV: Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

Sometimes it's so easy to speak so-called comforting words. But let us beware of platitudes that rob the precious gospel and that rob the believer of the miracles we are called to walk in.

When Jesus answered the Syrophenician woman with "not a word" -- with total silence-- the woman persevered. Most Christians stop there. They say, "God didn't answer me." But the woman persevered. Then Jesus said, "I am not sent to any but the tribe of Israel." Most Bible-believing Christians also stop here. The Baptists, for instance, stop here. They say, "Jesus was sent to Israel. The days of miracles are past. Jesus wasn't sent to those living now in the 21st century." But the woman persevered, and we should also. Jesus then told her, "It's not right to take the children's meat and give it to strangers." She said, "But the dogs eat what falls at the children's feet." The woman did not take offense at Jesus' words. Even better, she said basically that God's goodness is everywhere and everyone --even the worst and smallest of humanity-- partakes of God's glory. THEREFORE why shouldn't he heal her daughter?" We cannot give up or use other people's experiences to stop persevereing.

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