Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Movie-Viewing

Am a bit too out of it to think so will try to find vids of these flicks so you can get the basic idea

Sky of Love: Idiosyncratic bad boy falls in love with good girl and dies.
Here's a vid someone compiled with a song by Kokia. (You know I love me some Kokia.)

Virgin Snow: Korean Guy visiting Japan falls in love with a girl who has a grieving mother. He learns Korean to talk with her. Very sweet. Here's the first part

Only You Can Hear Me: Lonely isolated girl with no cell phone finds a cell phone which telepathically joins her to a deaf-mute boy. They fall in love and plan to meet.

See You After school: A Korean comedy which really made me laugh. Loser kid with terrible bad luck arrives in a school and tries to change his terrible luck. Ends up being challenged by the school bully.

Lyrics Born "Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart" Official Music Video

The Great Commission


Oh gee, did I hear a Christian actually say "Jesus said we should pray for the sick?"

Let's begin with Jesus:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
John 14:12

Then move a little on to Paul:

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
1 Corinthians 2:4,5

Most Christians today have a faith which rests on men's wisdom: theological traditions, apologetics, philosophical arguments. This is the exact thing Paul warns folks against. He wants us to study to be approved and to work the works of God but he doesn't want our faith "resting" on man's wisdom. If we can be talked into a religion -- especially when we're kids-- we can be talked out of it.

So then, returning to this "praying for the sick" business. Puhleze! Folks, Jesus didn't say "pray for the sick. He said heal the sick." Big difference. And Jesus never prayed for the sick. He healed the sick. By a command, generally. Sometimes by a touch. Sometimes by having them affirm something. Sometimes by eliciting a confession of their need or their belief in his power. But he never prayed for the sick. He commanded the sickness to go and their bodies to be healed.

He and Peter prayed to the Father for folks who were dead. Which is what we should do. Peter prayed -- I suspect-- because when someone dies, we aren't too sure if we should raise them back up. Maybe God wants them dead. Maybe they sinned a sin unto death. Both James and John are really iffy about praying for someone who's sinned a sin unto death. Jesus prayed to the Father for Lazarus THEN he commanded.

In his great commission, Jesus said, cast out devils, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, heal the sick, preach the gospel, proclaim the kingdom of heaven, and teach the disciples of Christ to do everything he commanded them to do. He didn't say ask God to preach the gospel. He didn't say ask God to heal the sick. He didn't say teach disciples how to go to church. We're not obeying the great commission and we're not telling the new believers how to heal the sick, cast out demons, and proclaim the kingdom.

Heck, I doubt many believers know what the kingdom of God is all about. They often seem to get the kingdom and the church mixed up. They don't even know that God wants us to use miracles to show the kingdom of God is here, near them, to prove the truth of the gospel without falling into questions about doctrine and converting anyone through mere philosophy. Jesus said the gospel will prove itself. Wisdom is justified by its children. When we heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, we show atheists and non-believers that the name of Jesus is above all diseases, all demons, all other so-called prophets and Gods. Many missionaries in Indonesia, China, and Africa have shown that Devils and sickness will come out in Jesus' name. They won't come out if you command them to come out in Mohammed's name. Ain't gonna happen.

I'm not saying we should never pray for the sick. We should pray to God to give us wisdom and how to pray. (The priestly anointing.) We should tell the sick person what God needs them to know (the prophetic anointing.) Then we should command the sickness to leave. (The kingly anointing.) And these three are stages. We can't go mixing all the anointing. We can't be praying to God at the same time we're commanding a demon. When we pray, we pray. When we speak forth, we speak forth. When we command, we command. The demon won't believe we know we have the power. And it makes us look the opposite of bold when we are casting out a demon and saying "Oh Lord, help me." Jesus told us that we must believe that what we're saying and commanding will come to past. Either we BELIEVE we have power over the demon or we don't. A demon can sense if you don't quite believe you have been given the authority and power of the kingdom. And you can have all the faith in the world but if you don't have the boldness and a true knowledge of who you are in Christ, nothing's gonna happen.

Not every believer has the gift of healing or the gift of miracles. But the gifts were given for the edifying of the church, not for evangelizing. And it's definitely easier to have the gift of healing. It's more dependable. With authority, one has to trust that God is going to reward your boldness when you raise up your hand to heal.

But the thing is to be brave and to believe that EVERY believer has the authority to heal when it comes to witnessing to the truth of the gospel to unbelievers. Scary, though it is. Jesus said, "These signs will follow all who believe." We don't have all authority. Only Jesus had the spirit without measure. But we have some authority...because we are anointed by the spirit. As the Father has sent Jesus, Jesus sent us. We have authority on earth (NOT in the heavens), and to preach the gospel (NOT to win lotto.) We don't really have authority over demons in the heavenlies, only to demons who afflict humans and only to diseases that afflict humans. Maybe the church has authority to pray about heavenly spirits, but even then I wouldn't push it. You really don't want a spiritual counter-attack from a demon. Which tends to happen when we start fooling around with evil spirits in the heavenlies. It's none of our business to go talking to spirits in the heavenlies, only to evil spirits in humans, on our level. It's also not our business to use our authority to get a rolls royce in our driveway. Even if that works, we shouldn't be doing it..and one day God'll call us on such selfish misuse of his authority.

As a regular christian without the gift of healing, our personal authority is limited to authority over disease and demons ...and only to complete the great commission. But even so, that's a lot, isn't it? Let's walk out boldly and show forth the wonderful mercies of God, given us through the grace of the gospel. Let's heal sick unbelievers. Even if we don't have the gift of healing, we have authority to heal them. Let's not ask God to heal them. That's not what he told us to do. Sure, we'll be embarrassed sometimes and fall flat. But if we explain the gospel to the unbeliever and give them an Elijah type chance to see that our God is the living ever-present God and are bold, stuff will happen. Paul prayed for boldness. James told us to pray for wisdom, but he also told us to pray the prayer of faith: which is a command prayer. (I won't go into why folks have been mis-interpreting James 5 about healing the sick. I'll just say that the prayer of faith is "having God's faith" as Jesus said, the faith to command.) Paul prayed that we would know the height, depth, length, width, and riches of God's love and God's kingdom working in us. When we pray that, we will know. And the more we pray in the holy spirit, the more we will understand what to do to prove what is the good and perfect will of God.

We have this treasure in earthen vessels:
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
Imagine that: God in us, the hope of glory. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Romans 8:11

This is a talent we're supposed to use or when our Lord returns he'll ask us how we invented. What will we say, "Oh, Sorry, Lord, I was timid and afraid, so I hid your talent in the ground." Jesus got annoyed several times when the disciples didn't do as he commanded. They had it in them to multiply the loaves. Jesus said, "You feed the people!" The disciples had it in them to calm the storm. They wimped out and Jesus had to do it. The disciples had it in them to heal the boy with the deaf-dumb spirit. They wimped out. Jesus told his ministers that their unbelief prevented them.

These are the four reasons we use when we don't get anyone healed.
It's not God's will.
It's not God's time.
The sick person had sin.
The sick person has no faith.
Jesus didn't say any of this to his disciples. He said, they had no faith.
Either we blame God or we blame the sick person. How convenient for those of us who "pray for the sick." We hardly blame ourselves. We like to think we've arrived spiritually. Sure, some of these might be true. But they're not as true as often as we would like to think. We should not always blame God or put the burden on the sick person. Sometimes, not always but usually, the fault lies with the person ministering the healing. We have some responsibility in this as well.

St Paul told us: "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature."
We are no longer powerless against sin, sickness, disease as the typical human is. We are not even like regular humans anymore. We have God's holy spirit in us and the kingly, prophetic, and priestly anointing of Christ is upon us. As St Peter said, we are a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation."

One thing more: Jesus didn't say to his disciples: "You lack the anointing."

A command is a command, whether it's a supernatural command or a natural command. One has to obey. Let God work through us. The Bible says Faith Cometh. Faith comes by prayer and fasting. It comes by hearing the word of God. We must study to show ourselves approved, not assume that because we are already approved we don't need to study how to get mountain moving faith. Let us let men see our great works and glorify our God in heaven. Let us grasp the supernatural religion Christ has given us.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Psalm 107

This is one of the few psalms that actually feels like a song with a refrain, the kind of song we're used to singing.

Refrains are so important. Here it's "Let them praise the Lord for His wonderful works to the children of men."

The writer of this psalm lists different kinds of folks who ended up in trouble because of their sins and because they didn't listen to God's advice. Whenever I read this psalm I find myself wondering who these folks are. I can't seem to think of Bible stories that fit these folks. Even so, the types described here are fairly recognizable.

Psalm 107

1O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
5Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.
7And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

9For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
10Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
11Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
12Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
13Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
14He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
15Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
16For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.
17Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
18Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.
19Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.
20He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
21Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

22And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
23They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
25For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
27They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.
28Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
30Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
31Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

32Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
33He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;
34A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
35He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.
36And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;
37And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.
38He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
39Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.
40He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.
41Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.
42The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.
43Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Disbelieving God

Let's face it; most Christians nowadays don't really believe God. Part of the problem is that we are like little cotton balls who soak up the world's culture without quite knowing it. Through the internet, the TV, the newspapers, the medical system, we fill ourselves with worldly wisdom and what God calls "the knowledge of Egypt." The other thing is that we read our Bibles -- God's word-- in a second-hand manner. We look at it through our experience, through our denomination's view, through cultural misunderstanding.

Remember the story of Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

First, Eve didn't have God's word right. We don't know if she had learned the truth from God or from Adam. Maybe she had added a bit of advisory that she and Adam made up then the next thing you know the advisory was AS IF God himself had said it. But the Bible pretty much says that God had said, "Don't eat of this tree." Eve seemed to have believed that they were not to either eat or touch this tree.

Some folks grow up with bad theology like that, like in a Christian cult or sect or even a mainstream denomination that adds some new bit of legalism or behavior to God's word. The snake-handling cults, for instance, say that you have to handle snakes. Some Christian denominations say women mustn't wear lipstick or pants. Or that people shouldn't eat meat. Well, folks leave these denominations they leave everything behind and toss the baby with the bathwater. Since they don't really know what God said -- from God's mouth-- they presume he said everything their church said...and when they choose to disobey "God" (or what they think he said) in the flakier aspect, then they disobey everything.

So Satan comes to Eve with "Has God said?" He wanted her to distrust God's word. That was the first temptation. So, first, Eve "touched the fruit." Nothing particularly wrong with that but she thought there was. And once free from that command (which she thought was from God) she could move on to other things.

No doubt -- no doubt at all-- that some of the great sects and I believe even Islam-- occurred as someone's reaction to some bad theology. (Yep, I don't believe God gave Mohammed the Koran. I believe Mohammed wrote a book in reaction to the flaky Manicheistic Catholicism around him. He started out as a Christian, remember.) So you have someone being brought with the first temptation: "Has God said?" Or -- another loose translation: "Is this book really the word of God? And if it is the word of God, has it been translated right?" Once a person falls into that temptation, they can write a Koran or a Book of Mormon and can say "We believe in God, we love God but your book is totally wrong."

I'm not hear to talk about those other books, though. Am talking about something more immediate. Because even folks who believe the Bible is God's unadulterated pure word will allow something else to affect their translation of it. Honestly, we Christians think some very unBiblical things. We think them because our minister or denomination thinks them. We think them because society thinks them. We think them because we personally don't want to really see what God is really saying. We think them because we're lazy or we're proud or we're uneducated. I won't go into how many ministers, lecturers, and Christian inspirational speakers I've heard who simply are deceived about what God means. And I'm not talking about those idiotic folks who believe the days of miracle are past. I'm not even talking about those who say stupid platitudes that they consider Biblical but which aren't.

The thing is at the very basic -- in even the smallest matter-- we must learn to read and see the events in the Bible for what they are, not what we think is there. Because when we are challenged on what isn't there (what God didn't say), we might then go overboard and drop everything...thinking we have been "enlightened" when all the while we have allowed Satan to drag us both from our confusion and from the truth.

Some small examples to start with: We aren't meant to hate Job's wife...unless it's okay to hate a depressed woman whose kids have died. We aren't meant to hate Ishmael and Hagar. Who the heck says that Delilah was a Phillistine? We aren't supposed to hate Vashti (and NO! Esther is not a romance about perfect love...unless you like stories about a trophy wife! Heck, nowhere does the Bible say Esther loves the king or even wants to be one of his hundred wives.) Folks, let us see what's there in the Bible...or else Satan will use what isn't there to cause us to doubt the Bible and to disbelieve God.

Friday, August 28, 2009

psalm 106

Psalm 106 (King James Version)
How can we praise a God whom we're always forsaking and misunderstanding?
How can sinful folks praise the glories and virtue of a righteous king they're always battling with?
How can we praise purely when we can't see purely?

Psalm 106

1Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?
3Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
4Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;
5That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.
6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
7Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.
8Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.
9He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.
12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.
13They soon forgat his works;
they waited not for his counsel:
14But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
15And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

16They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.
17The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram.
18And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
19They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.
20Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.
21They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
22Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.
23Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
24Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
25But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.

26Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:
27To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
28They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
29Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
30Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.
31And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.
32They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:
33Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.
34They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:
35But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
36And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
37Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
38And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.
39Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
40Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.
41And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.
42Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
43Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.
44Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:
45And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.
46He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
47Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.
48Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.

Atheist humor

Okay...atheist humor? Not something i like. Too arrogant and mocking, too spiteful, too intend on hurting, too condescending. And often, they're theologically wrong and make jokes about some point of theology that only a few Bible-believing Christians believe. Granted they are open-minded in their snideness. They pick on Jews, Hindus, animists, everyone who is not as wise as their tiny majority. But they seem to really like picking on Christians. (Of course they'd be really careful about picking on depictions of Nigerian witch doctors in films. They wouldn't want to be racists, after all. But for the most part...all doctrines but their own are open targets.

Yes, I know...atheists laugh and joke at other things any other regular people. But I'm not talking about them when they're being normal. I'm talking about when they get all "atheisty."

Christian humor? Okay, it's cute. A bit maudlin. But it's generally not really mean-spirited. Unless it's some flaky Conservative in a spiteful mood. (The spite they learn from atheists, obviously.) But generally, if you get Christian humor in your email, it's not aimed at making fun of the 80% of the world who believes in a Deity.

Jewish humor? Nicely self-denigrating.

African-American humor? Also self-mocking.

Not so the atheists. Hey, they have a sense of humor. But making fun of their doctrine and fellow believers? Never! They don't have the heart to do that.

Wrath, Strife, and hindrance to prayer

Okay, so there I am trying to get a miracle in my life...and in the throes of unforgiveness against hubby. Yes, I'm one of those women who gets p*ssed at her hubby because he's so dang sweet. Specifically, he gave younger son all sorts of wheat and ice cream stuff that were verboten.

Now, I am not the kind of person who flies into a rage when I'm angry. I'm way too repressed for that. I tend to seethe and get really distant and cold. Now, the first thing we have to do in coming to God is to forgive other people. The Lord's prayer makes it clear. We're not forgiven because we ask God to forgives us -- contrary to popular religion. We are forgiven because we forgive. And we cannot receive any answer to prayer unless we forgive. EVER. No wonder the folks in the church are powerless...we all have issues with folks.

Mark 11:24-26 (King James Version)

24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
25And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

If anyone has something against us, we must leave the altar and go and win our brother back. The obligation for forgiveness is lain on the shoulder of the one praying. You have to begin by forgiving those people. So there I was...wanting to scream. I mean, what can one do with someone who perpetually does the one thing you beg him not to? And what if you have lost all hope in the hubby even changing? And what if younger son's getting a nasty headache and a bad tummy because too-kind hubby
has given him gluten and casein (wheat, rice, oats, and milk) when you have specifically begged him not to?

Well -- being the writer and escapist that I am-- I began thinking that some other hubby would be better for my son than his dad. Let's get this clear: I'm pudgy, 49, and battling illness...but I think if I go out of this marriage to my too-nice hubby I'm going to find some rich thing who will take care of hubby and me. Yes, I know...but delusion is my strong suit. Actually, it really isn't. Alas. I can see through my silliness and any temptation for the most part.

But hubby was still p*ssing me off. So I didn't run off to Anderson Cooper (or his Japanese unmarried equivalent) but I did get into the old "I am simply not going to have sex with this guy until he realizes he's doing in his own kid by refusing to stand firm on this casein/gluten thing. Now, I understand that autism is fast growing as one of the great marriage destroyers -- behind finances, weird mother-in-laws, illness and adultery. We've weathered all but adultery. And honestly, it must've been God keeping us together. (Or maybe we're just so dang nice or so dang lazy.)

But enough of my rambling. It was quite tough being cold and sex-denying -- yes, imagine my pudgy self on the bed, but hey, hubby loves me. And it was even tougher because there he was undressing at night and looking so totally hot. Yes, my husband is a cutie...and it's not just me thinking that: his mother thinks so too. But then there was the desperate desire to be as conscience-clear in my prayer life as I could be. So there I was: "Lord, I can't pray to you tonight because I'm seriously annoyed with this man and besides I'm daydreaming about the Japanese Anderson Cooper equivalent." Okay, I could do that for one or two nights. But was I able to sacrifice my prayer life for spite and anger...even if the cause is right? (BTW, I'm 75% right in all our disagreements.)

Matthew 5:22-24 (King James Version)
22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Dang! Isn't that annoying! And it happens a zillion times. You're about to take communion and suddenly God brings this person to your mind. And you know he wants you to do it. And often it's someone in your own church. Or your family. Or it's your spouse. (I will not kill my husband, I will not kill my husband.)
I'm always amazed that there are so many infighting in churches. Doesn't the church realize that Paul makes it clear that the prayers of a family, the prayers of a husband and wife, the prayers of a church will not be answered if folks are hating on each other?

Ephesians 4:30-32 (King James Version)

30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

1 Peter 3:6-8 (King James Version)

7Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
8Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

Note that Paul says we must be kind to the weak. Not a lot of folks do that. My husband is just too kind.

We've found a new snack for the kid: Trail Mix. He picks out the M&M's and throws the rest on the ground. But at least it doesn't have gluten or casein. That we know of. Will see. God's word is working mightily...and once again my sex life is fine.

Lord, for your glory, let us attain to fully receiving healing for my son. And for me too. For your glory, Lord. For your glory. Amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Psalm 105

Psalm 105 (King James Version)

Now, here's a psalm that sets the soul to thinking.

Okay, the first part is understandable. It tells us what to do. Easy enough. The legalistic part of us will say, "oh, okay. Let me do all this."
But then up comes the second part. This is even harder. We are told what God has done. And some of it is a bit incomprehensible to our human minds.

For instance, he sent his people famine. Yeah, true. He sent a man before them so they could have someone to help them out. But why did he allow them to put that man in fetters? And why does he allow the word of the Lord to try His people? Then the next thing you know God's turning the heart of folks to hate his people. Why, oh why?

I'm not one who believes that God sets out to damage folks lives. But I certainly believe he wants to show his glory to his people. And that often means, he allows his word to try us.

Psalm 105

1O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
2Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
3Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
4Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
5Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
6O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

7He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.
8He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
9Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

10And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
11Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:
12When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.
13When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

14He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
15Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

16Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.
17He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
18Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
19Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.
20The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
21He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:
22To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

23Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.
25He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.
26He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.
27They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

28He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.
29He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.
30Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

31He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.
32He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.
33He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.
34He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,
35And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.
36He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.
37He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
38Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

39He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.
40The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

41He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.
42For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
43And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:
44And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
45That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

old self versus new self

The old self is always rising up to claim only what God has promised to the new self.

Witness so many people who want to be rich and who use the truth found in the gospel to get rich. But are they praying for posterity because it's what God wants? And if we want to pray to prosper so we can help others, are we really wanting to prosper others in order to help them...or for us to look good to others by helping them?

I want God to heal my son. I know it's provided for in the redemption. I know he's working mightily in my son to heal him. And yet, even so... even I willing to die to self and -- if for some weird reason God wants my son to continue ill?

We must put the old self to death. God doesn't do that. We must do it. God's will and mine might be the same yet I must remember that God is healing my son because HE wants my son healed, not because I want my son healed. There's a subtle difference there. Not my will, but God's will be done. I must see that.

Ephesians 3:19-21 (King James Version)

19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

According to the power that works in us. God is only able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think....according to the power that works in us. And that power is to know the love of Christ, to know the humility of Christ who said "Not my will, but thine be done."

God wants to give to the new humbled self, not to the old self. The old self must not ask for what is promised to the new self.

James 4:3 (King James Version)

3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

The only reason for praying is for the glory of God

John 14:12-14 (King James Version)

12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Lord, help me to put off the rebellious, egotistical old self. You don't bargain with the old self. You want me to put aside the old self. Help me to put on the new self. I want to pray with the right motive for what you want to give me. Help me to glorify the father in the son. Amen.

Inconvenient Truths: Gardasil and H1N1

Financial aid for African Americans

Financial aid for African Americans
By Gail A. Schlachter and R. David Weber.
El Dorado Hills, Calif. : Reference Service Press,
Hardcover: 497 pages
Publisher: Reference Service Press (March 31, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158841177X
ISBN-13: 978-1588411778
Here's the blurb:
Selected as Reference Books Bulletin's "Editor's Choice!"

If you are a Black or African American looking for financial aid, this is the directory for you. Described here are more than 1,250 scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards, and internships--representing billions of dollars--open specifically to Black/African Americans. This money can be used to support a whole range of activities, including:

creative activities
future projects
professional development
work experience

A list of: scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards, and internships open primarily or exclusively to African Americans."
Editors: 1997/99-<2009/11> Gail Ann Schlachter and R. David Weber.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

God's Mirror

God's ultimate purpose is not to make us good. It is to make us like himself in thought, mind, spirit.

On the positive side, the Bible tells us that we have the mind of Christ, we are the righteousness of God, we are kings, prophets, and priests. All this has been engrafted in us. The Bible doesn't show us who we are in the physical world. It shows us who we are in the spiritual world, what God has given to us in Christ. It reveals our inward spiritual truth. On the negative side, it shows us our hearts. As has been said, "As you read the Bible, the Bible reads you." When you read the Bible you realize you are being weighed in the balances and are being found wanting.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (King James Version)

17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (King James Version)

11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

James 1:23-25 (King James Version)

23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

A mirror only helps us when we act on what we see. We cannot build on sand -- which means we cannot pay lip service to a truth. We have to receive the engrafted truth with humility and act on it and allow it to act on us.

The holy spirit operates when we in faith look at the word of God. Not when we look at philosophy. It makes us into the likeness of what we have seen in the mirror of the word. But we must continue looking in the mirror and -- as Jesus warned us-- be careful what we hear. We live in a world that does not mirror God's truth. If one watches way too many medical shows where folks die of cancer, etc, that is the world's mirror and it affects one's faith. One can hardly believe God's matter how much one believes. The mind is too full of seeing the world's mirror. Same thing can be said of stupid comments we've inherited from the family: "If it weren't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all." Does no good to put this kind of word into a kid's soul. And it definitely does no good to speak it.

When the mirror of God shows us our inner condition and the glories which have been placed in earthen vessels. First, receive the revelation. Second, we believe God's promises which always comes with his revelations. Thirdly, we appropriate God's provisions. The mirror shows us who we are in Christ.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creature. We must see ourselves with the righteousness of God, through faith in God...this has been imputed to us.

Lord, help me to see the strength you've given me and the holiness and the peace. And let me walk in the theological truth of my healing and my son's healing... and not be weighed down by the pathological. Amen.

Dark Parable: the drums

Dreamed of younger son. First we were in a house that seemed to once have been a performing arts theater. It was nice to live in although I didn't quite make myself at home in it. I had a husband who kinda looked like an army trainee recruit. (I think of Charlie Sheen in the film Cadence.) A sweet guy with army friends. Because the new apartment once a theater, the apartments, living arrangements, and rooms were a bit strange but nevertheless I liked living there and felt it was an improvement on my former place. Except that the house looked like a theater and was in the business section of town (which bothered me if it was coded for residential living.) It was very public on a public corner. There was even a fruit true (like our pear tree?) in the back. I was going upstairs with younger son but although our apartment was on the second floor, the elevators seemed to go between floors and you had to take a stair to the floor proper.

After losing son for a while in the tangle to get to our rooms, I found him and he joined me on the elevator with my boss' wife. I wanted to show her that he wasn't stupid and she seemed surprised that he actually knew his own name. Aaargh. (In real life, she's a sweetie, though.) She looked at his feet as he entered the elevator. In the dream one of his middle toes were twisted. She said, "What happened to his toe/foot?" I knew that the toes were broken because he kicks sometimes when he's angry and it's ruined his feet. But I didn't say it. (In dreams, whenever someone asks me a question, I pay real attention to it when I wake. Cause I know I'm being directed to think of something. So now, of course, I'm worried that younger son is hurting his foot with all that kicking of walls and furniture and people that he does.) I just walked away worried about his feet. When we got off we found a music studio called Blue Labs. Younger son picked up a guitar lying outside but the musicians were very angry that he touched it. Also seems that that Blue Labs was closed.

Met a girl named Risky. She and I began talking about learning to live in the strange house in which we had found ourselves. I said, "I've been thinking of this as something I was just passing through, but even if I'm just passing through here, it's better than the old pace. And since I don't know how long I'll be here, I'll try to make this look as much as my home." So my husband and I took out all the stuff I had in boxes -- toys, toiletries, furniture, etc-- and we started to actually decorate the place and accept that it was home. I remember a bathroom that looked like a beauty parlor with five chairs in front of a large mirror. It was a strange house but it felt as if we had a community. I got annoyed with my husband though because he brought an army buddy home to stay with us. Then younger son found a little toy drum outside of another music studio and attempted to play it. But he hit it once then opened his mouth as if he was screaming. No sound came out of course but there was the feeling that he wanted to scream and that that was what he was doing, screaming out his frustrations. One of the musicians in the room looked at me and said, "I will do it. I will brave teaching him." I thought he was very sweet to volunteer to do that. But I also think he felt it was very necessary that younger son learn the drums. I suspect it was a music angel who volunteered. (Yes, folks can laugh but I decided a long time ago not to care if what I said was laughable to some folks. Life is too fricking short to fall into the snare of the fear of man.)

So gonna teach younger sons to play drums, but it might be hard. Am taking this as advice from God. Will honor the dream by buying the kid a drum. Maybe asking a (patient) drummer friend to teach him. Will see.

Psalm 104

A wonderful psalm about the Creator's involvement in His beloved Creation. I love it!
When I was a kid I learned verses 10-12 in a religion class in public school.
"By them shall the fowls of the air have their habitation which sing among the branches." <-- How utterly lovely! I suspect it made me love beautiful language as well.

Psalm 104

1Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
2Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
3Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
4Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
5Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
6Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.
7At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
8They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.
9Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.
10He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.
11They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.
12By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
14He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
15And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.
16The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;
17Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.
18The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.
19He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.
20Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.
21The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.
22The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.
23Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.
24O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
25So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
26There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.
27These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.
28That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.
29Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
30Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

31The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.
32He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
33I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.
35Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Working on the imagination

If I'm not careful, my imagination leads me. Before I know it, I'm living in some alternate reality. Teaching in Japan at age 22, married to Anderson Cooper. I've really got to take control.

"Cast down all vain imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."( 2 Cor. 10:5)

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 2 Corinthians 10:4

So...must work on my imagination so I may prove God's word of healing and miracles are true. The stronghold of my alternate life is pretty strong. The stronghold of 22 years of sickness is pretty strong. I don't think it's going to be hard but I will have to receive with meekness the engrafted word and long habits such as my otherworldly existence must be cut away mindfully. I'm thinking I've got to repent for using my mind so shabbily and not using it in the way I should be using it. But after 19 years of younger son's illness and 22 years of my own...can I even begin to dream what life could be? Am trying to work with speak faith-filled things, and imagine faith-filled things. To imagine health after all these years, wow! Folks who don't understand will probably come up with their judgmental selves and say, "it's easy." Yeah, like they know what it's like to wake up every morning for 19 years wondering if one's son has died in the night! Silly, judgmental "if we lived your life, we'd live it so much better" know-it-alls!

But stop imagining that, Carole! It really is quite possible that Christians are nicer now than they used to be. (Clearing throat.) Come now, Carole, imagine! So why did God give me imagination and memory? Certainly not to re-imagine the past, certainly not to allow horrible past situations to terrify me. So, let's see ...where to begin? Consciously see younger son healed, consciously see myself in a healthier house.

Whatever things are lovely, etc. But also, whatever things I want...not whatever things I fear. Whatever things are possible ...even the miraculous, even what folks call the impossible. And that means, no living in alternate realities where I'm married to that rich former Catholic monk. (Long story.) Must get a hold of my imagination. Okay, God, help me. -C

Weekend Movie-Viewing

Knock 'Em Dead, Kid

This is a film I was sent to review.It won the festival prize in the Twin Rivers Film Festival. It's kind of a coming of age flick...but with Indie flavor and it has a lot of indie cred. Made for $3000 bucks and definitely straight and honest from an indie heart. It has the typical guy flick stuff. Raunchy sex jokes, fat women jokes, cheating on girlfriends, stupid violence. But it takes all that stuff seriously and shows what happens to folks like this in real life.

The film begins when Bret drinks out of the milk carton in the take-out joint he works in. He gets fired then he and his three pals go about being slackers. They're working class white guys who find out pretty soon that the this is real life not "reel" life. It’s definitely a film that one can see with one’s mom because in the end it’s all about Mom saying “I told you so, Son. The world is a serious place.” Not a bad lesson to learn before stepping out into adult life.

Rang de Basanti
This one won a BAFTA (equivalent of the Oscars) It's Bollywood but not so much and it stars my great Indian Muslim fave: Amir Khan. (Yep. Fell in love with him when I first saw him in Lagaan, arguably one of the best bollywood flicks about the English Raj.) English woman decides to make a docudrama based on the diaries of her grandfather who had gone to India to do the White Man's Burden thing. She meets a bounce of partying student and grad types and they become her actors. They're pretty shallow and hedonistic types (with good hearts) but through making the film about the sacrifice for the struggle for India's Independence they learn to become revolutionaries. The first 2 hours is kinda blah. We see the guys partying and Amir's character falling in love with the directress (<-- love that word) and the scenes from the film. All the while we're hearing kinda in the background about greed and the MIG fighters crashing. Then the modern day story rolls in with a fury when someone dies and our movie-revolutionaries decide to sacrifice themselves for the good of India. I gotta say I hate revolutionary flicks. I probably hate revolutionaries. Cause I'm jealous of their youth, and cause they think they feel so much. But dang, I liked these guys...and when they do the unthinkable all I could do is say "Children, children! Let's rethink this." But I gotta say I was touched. Yep, almost cried. Maybe did.

Great lines: If people are asleep, you need a blast to wake them up.
There were a couple other great lines but I can't remember them now.

The Minus Man

An oldie -- 1990's--but it never really grabs me. A bit like Elephant but not as plaintive or beautiful. Why don't these meditations on murderers simply arrive at a conclusion as to why these guys murder? The story is told from the POV of the bad guy, Vince, and we're always hearing his voiceover self-analysis of himself. Not really self-analysis. More like meditations. Elephant...we don't really have a backstory. Whereas Elephant gave us tons of possibilities for blame -- video games? homosexuality? sociopaths in a wicked attraction or what all else?-- The Minus Man gives us nada. We don't even get a glimpse of his childhood. I'm not too sure of the reason he kills. Perhaps he's jealous of happy people. But then he killed the drug addict girl. Perhaps it's a dislike of emotion. But then he killed the guy in the restaurant who had no real emotion except annoyance. The only time there was an inkling of some kind of background issue was when he almost raped a girl who liked him. He's pretty affectless before that. Also, the only time he seemed to have any kind of power to turn himself from killing was when he ran away from an older artist lady he met. But that still left me thinking WTF?

BTW, a great pick-up line occurs in this movie:
Vince to artist: "Okay, I will."
Artist: "You will, what?"
Vince: "Anything you want."
But in the long run, the director's decision to not show any backstory..well, it kinda messed it up for me. One gets the feeling, though, that he will get caught. The two non-corporeal in-the-brain-and-in-the-room-but-not-really-there-FBI-guys left telling him "some one else is handling your case now."

An old Russian grandma makes her way to her grandson's army camp in Chechen territory. Her grandson thinks she's a pest but the other soldiers don't mind her walking around being grandmotherly. It's an anti-war film and she's a real curmudgeon but isn't every grandma? Her presence is the soldiers in the barracks and to the "enemy" women in town. All that motherly loving feminine older energy we all need when we're away from home. Just a really good flick. Slow for some but I liked the groove. And know what? It made me miss my mother. (Yeah, I looking back at my mother as a grandmother.) And it made me want to be a grandmother with such a healing presence to young folks. Maybe that's my destiny when I get older -- Yes, I think I'd like to grow old-- and to bring earthly mother love to folks who never had it. That would heal me of the love I never really got when I was growing up. Yes, I think I'd like to get a lot of love here on earth before I go to heaven. Just thinking. Yeah, it was a good flick. I didn't like the ending though. Old people living solitary lives...that bothers me. I can't help it. Loneliness has got to be one of the worst emotions ever...especially when one fears dying alone far from family.

This is an oldie from the early seventies. Jan-Michael Vincent is a draftee who simply will not conform. Okay, it's a bit dated and some of it is a bit unwatchable with that sixties hipster nihilistic cool but I loved it as a kid. I think when it comes to nonconformist soldiers I like Cadence with Martin and Charlie Sheen. But if you want to go retro and lounge in blonde gorgeousness, Jan-Michael ain't so bad. I think I liked him best in Defiance though. Anyway, I think I disagree with the ending. When one's a kid one romanticizes that kind of death but when one's my age, it's major bull*hit. I wanted to slap the kid and tell him to just chill and learn to die to self a bit. For all his deep meditation and spirituality, he definitely holds on to self a lot. I guess it's easier to die to the world than to die to self. Most beautiful scene: grandson braiding his grandma's hair. You would NEVER see that in the typical American film. Hey, it probably happens in American houses once in a while. But American films don't mine the typical.

And Elephant was on again. Hubby had never seen I pretty much forced him to. Can't help it. I love that movie. Lord knows why. -C

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Temper, Temper

So, older son -- in a fit of pique-- got mad at younger son. Ah gee! Then he said, "I'm not going to take care of that kid when I get older." Younger son had thrown older son's clothes --white work pants he needs for the hospital-- into the bath and soaked it in water.

I, on the other hand, don't really have much of a temper. I tend to seethe. I guess it's a temper.

Older son has a dislike of abnormalcy...and alas, he's stuck with us abnormals with our abnormal life. He didn't plan it but there he is stuck. I, on the other hand, am stuck with this child's utter normalcy.

Okay, then! If he doesn't want to take care of his brother, fine! Hey, I'm waiting for God to surprise older son with younger son's miracle. I still believe. I know how to believe now. And older son will have had no part in this miracle when it comes about. How sad! He won't be able to say, "I loved my brother so much and took care of him lovingly all those years." What a shame to not be able to say that!

Psalm 103

This hymn was one of my favorites from way back when.

His holy name! His holy name! His holy name! Oh, how I love his name! How I love the name of Yahweh and Yeshua! That Great One knows how weak I am; he knows that I am dust. That is so important to me. He is so merciful and compassionate to me. He is so close to me. He knows the way I walk and all I endure more than anyone else. He is so good and so kind and he upholds me. He gives me little nudges and winks throughout the day to show he's with me. He always forgives me although I'm so prone to sinning.

Why do people go around picking on the name of someone I love so so much?

I didn't know how I would talk about this psalm. There is so much in it -- the promise of health, the promise of forgiveness, the promise of love, the promise of joy, the promise of satisfaction.

But as I sat down to write, all I could think of was that I love this wonderful Being, our Creator...and when we love someone we don't want to hear their name dragged in the dust or mocked.

So what do we do when someone insults or mocks someone we love? When someone uses our Lord's name as a curse word, do we just sit there? I know we don't want to seem like priggish little pain-in-the-necks...but this is serious! This is the one we love.
One possible response to someone using Jesus' name as a curse word -- whether they meant it accidentally or purposely-- is to simply say to them, "Oh, are you praying?"

They'll give you an odd look. You therefore respond, "You just said, 'Jesus Christ! Were you praying?"
They will say, "No, of course not!"
To which you can respond, "Oh, so you were simply using the name of someone I love as a curse word? Try not to do that. I love Jesus very much."

The law says "silent gives assent." If you sit there and allow some comment to go unchallenged, you are assenting to it in this world, in your mind, and in the spiritual world. Don't let anyone diss our great Lord who has done so much for us and who continues to do great things for us.

Psalm 103

1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
19The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
20Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
21Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
22Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

psalm 102

Okay, so what grabs me today with this Psalm? (Aside from how long it is and my worry about what I'll do when I get to Psalm 119)???

I guess it's the idea of solitariness. Ya know??? I'm getting old. I've been feeling old since I was young but lately, I've been feeling really old. Suzette Elgin Haden wrote an article called "Why are Old women older than old men?" I'm feeling this. Especially as a black woman. The world is our mirror, unfortunately. And the world ages us according to its rules. I'm a 50-year-old black woman and to me age is definitely a number. I actually like the kids (15-35) calling me "Moms" in the street. It means I've made it to elderdom. But it also means that I am only viewed as sexual to a guys above a certain age. How fricking stressing! So, I was viable and sexy up to 40 maybe. But now... oh, well. God, please teach me to give up that part of my identity that the world gives us.

Okay, I'm rambling again. Back to the solitariness.
Owl in a desert? yes. Pelican in the wilderness? Not so much.
Pelicans tend not to go in the yeah, I can imagine them being lonely. But owls are found in deserts also. Heck the desert is the homeland of the desert owl. So I suspect there's a solitariness when one is out of one's element, and a solitariness when one is in one's rightful place yet solitary. Gotta think about that.

As for sparrows being alone on the rooftop. Uhm, I rarely see sparrows alone. They're always with their little sparrowy gang.

Again all that solitude is a might much. But then look at verses 18 to 21. The prisoner of solitariness, despair, et al can presumably be freed from all those evils. God has promised this to a people to be created. I think I'll hold on to that promise. I'll have a happy old age I think, surrounded by friends and children's children....and loving Christians. Will see.

Psalm 102

1Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
2Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
3For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
4My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.
5By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.
6I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.
7I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
8Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
9For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.
10Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
11My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
12But thou, O LORD, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
13Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
14For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
15So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
16When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
17He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
18This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
19For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;
20To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
21To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
22When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
23He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.
24I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
25Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
26They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
27But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
28The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.

Erotic scenes and loops

Erotic scenes are so difficult to write. I'm not talking sex scene. I'm talking about a scene which has passion, sexuality, need, and joy all intertwined. And often -- for me, anyway-- these scenes rarely are about two folks getting unclothed in a bed. That's what makes them so difficult.

Three examples:

the walk in the rain in Diva:

The bicycle ride in Sky of Love (It begins about the 3 minute mark in this clip.)

The ferris wheel ride in Rebel Without a Cause

Okay, so why are these scenes erotic? Honestly? Lord knows. Maybe it's because we know the subtext and we feel the tension bubbling over...and the fear, wonder, etc.

Of course perhaps not everyone feels eros in these scenes, but I suspect that many do. And the director and/or screenwriter must know that the character's erotic yearning will be felt. Or else they wouldn't have spent so much money doing the scenes. But yeah, such scenes might fall flat for some people who equate the erotic with clothes strewn on the floor or with panting.

So am trying to right some erotic scenes. The gentle eroticism of A falling in love with B. And all the while knowing that some folks may not get what I'm trying to do. Some of those scenes were so loved in Wind Follower, yet others thought nothing was happening in those very scenes. One Christian guy was particularly annoyed about the lack of violence and plot story in the first part. So here I am trying to feed Christians their vilence...oops, meant to write "violence."

On the other hand, blatant sex scenes will work for secular audiences but will turn Christians off. I don't think I tried to aim for a blatant sex scene. The scenes just kinda happened...and (in my opinion) none of the sex scenes were particularly glorious. I DO love a glorious sex scene but they are hard to write and rarely seen in books and movies. The sex scenes in Wind Follower were full of grief, manipulation, demonic activity, guilt, grief. I wish the Christians who had problems with the sex had looked beyond the apparent and seen how utterly unredeemed and lacking in true grace those sex scenes were. But it was the externals they looked at, not the spirit of the scene which showed how futile sex could be.

Sometimes I look at the line-up of a christian channel I look at, there's heavy use of gun-play. A kind of nostalgic past where white guys with guns shoot at bad indians. So violence is approved in Christian fantasy. If it's done in the right way. Again, trying to see what my audience is and what the right amount of sex and violence is. (Okay, okay, I must get rid of my bitterness and move on.)

Last night, I gave my hubby a major tongue-lashing on loops. Family loops, autistic loops, circles the family keeps getting in, son's returning to eating foods that are simply not good for him. I mentioned my health/illness loop and how I'm always trying to get better and am good for a while. Then I eat the wrong things or don't stick to my regimen and then bingo sick again. And what do I do first thing in the morning? I raced downstairs with ice cream on the mind.

Father in heaven, please free my family and me from loops. I want to advance. In everything. Writing, holiness, weight loss, not nagging my husband, bitterness. I just want to become a better person. Don't let me keep going in circles. Don't let me lag behind. Don't let me procrastinate. Please, Lord, let your words change me. Amen."

Ah well, off to work on yet another of my trademark angsty Carole McDonnell sex scenes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Charity: Sky of Love

Sky of Love is a non-profit started by flight attendants who use their layovers and personal time to deliver hope, friendship and much supplies to local orphanages in Ghana Africa.

Here is a vid from youtube

Psalm 101

Wow! Looking at this psalm, all I can think is: "Dang, there are good pious folks avoiding me right now!"

I've set wicked things before my eyes.
I've turned aside.
I don't think my heart is froward but it has had its froward moments.
I haven't privily slandered my neighbor. That's one good thing at least. (Not that it counts here in the grand scheme of things.)
I don't work deceit and I don't lie.

Still, not 100%

Okay, I'm trying not to set wicked things before me. That said, I'll probably be watching some stupid show later that will challenge this assertion.

I'm trying not to turn aside. Doing my best to keep my hand to the plow. In the past I turned aside and fell into some deception -- college stuff, New Agey stuff-- but I'm learning.

All in all, this is a psalm I can't really feel too comfortable with. Some can say this psalm without their fingers crossed behind their back. Maybe next time.

Psalm 101 (King James Version)

Psalm 101

1I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
2I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
5Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
8I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

Films that are woven into my life: The Heiress

Watched The Heiress and remembered again how much I loved this flick. It's the best production of Washington Square by Henry James I have ever seen. As I watched it, I realized how it has affected me. Not only me but my writing. Heck, the book didn't touch me as much. And the 90's version was soooo simplistic.I think it was the film that made me a fan of Olilvia de Havilland.

What's great about this film is -- oh gee, there are so many great things about this film-- how utterly heartwrenching it is, its depiction of raw emotional pain, and how it shows the complexity of emotion. I looove depictions of bare emotion. As I watched this film again, I realized how much of Wind Follower I owe to it (and how much of CT I owe to Of Human Bondage --the book and the movie--...but that's another story.) Okay, so yeah, I like seeing some poor character's heart get wrenched. I like stories where wounded folks attempt to accept being loved. Ah, the sorrow and the travail.

Anyway, this movie has popped up in my life several times as a whetstone on which to judge the character, heart, and intelligence of some o my friends. One friend showed me how utterly cynical she was. Or maybe she just wasn't a lit major. Henry James' characters are an interesting mix of greed, class issues, personal emotional issues. The Heiress does a great job of showing this. But this particular friend completely lacked the ability to see and accept the complexity. As a trained lit major, I was okay with accepting the fortune-hunter as Catherine's husband. The way I figured it: he loved her and he loved her money. My friend couldn't see the love. Actually, she was pretty rigid all the way down. She misunderstood the subtlety of the film and saw the father as "trying to protect his daughter," saw the maid as "trying to bribe for a night out," etc. It was hard watching the film with her.

Another friend had a shallowness streak: When she saw the film -- although the actress is Olivia de Havilland-- she leaped backward: "What an ugly woman!" she said.

Ah, I love this film.


And of course my cynical rigid non-lit-major friend thought the ending was perfect. I thought: Catherine has killed her soul.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shout-out to my beta reader and rewriting yet again

Hi all, I think I've mentioned Jessica before. Jessica is my writing beta-reader. I have two beta-readers, actually. Marvin, a former child actor, and Jessica, a writer. They both help my stories immensely. Marvin helps because he understands motivation, characterization, and plotting. And because he's always there to read anything I write and to give me his opinion. Nothing better than a captive audience. Jessica's in grad school so she is majorly busy. Yet she always has time to help me between writing theses. She totally helped me with Wind Follower and if she hadn't been there to help me whip that baby into shape, it truly would not be published...or as good as it is.

And once again, she has gently, sweetly, and intelligently steered my creative path. Check this out! And see how kindly she steers my course. I am so totally blessed to have her helping me on this thing. God, thank you so much for sending Marvin and Jessica into my life. Jessica, I love you so much for this. It's really helping me.

Hey Carole!

I definitely think that the story is stronger without the framework, but this does not feel like the right point to begin. I have a slight problem with the first lines (see being present and Psal was being past), but it's not so much grammatical as it is the emotional flow. At this point, it feels choppy.

Now I want to be very careful how I say this. Later on in the chapter, particularly when you near the end with the discussion about the little girls, you settle into the rhythm beautifully. In the beginning and through most of the story it feels too choppy and foreign. The issue with the child is meant to shock the reader, and I think that it does that. But at this point and the way that it goes, I think that it's too disconnecting and may drive some readers away. At the beginning, it almost feels as if you are trying to settle into the narrative voice and as if you are trying to do too much. I think it needs a slower beginning without so much crammed into it. I know that one of your concerns after the critiques you received on Windfollower is that it will be too slow, but at this point, I think that you need to slow this down. Even a few more paragraphs or showing something right before this enormous conflict or else it may drive the readers away. I think also that the scene needs more setting. It all goes back to slowing it down, and I know that you can do that. I love in particular your line about Netophah still wearing a yellow shirt and who was he to advise them.

You have created a very thorough and beautiful world, and the story has a lot of goals to it. At this point though, it feels too much like you are writing with a gun in your hand and trying to shock the readers into the horror of what's happening to the newborn. For that to work (and I think that this scene is an important one and your instincts are right), you need to slow it down. Build up the tension and the setting. Let the readers absorb the horror of what is happening.

The other thing that I think you need to be cautious of is that, despite the beauty of parts of the language, it sometimes overtakes the emotional part. The description of Nahas is good and succinct, but I could not see him, nor could I see him interacting. Also the statements "boy," and references to the reader/narrator's audience felt a little out of place. I think that you might be able to achieve the same effect without that. The see then Psal is also rather alienating. At this point. With polishing and some slowing down of the tone, it could work well. The reason you shared about removing the framework was that it detracted from the emotional reality, and at this time, I think that the "boy discussion" and references to him do the same thing.

One of the real strengths of Ct is the complexity of your characters. They aren't just paper characters who are cut and dried. I love the way that you are playing with them and developing them and showing flaws even in your hero. The situation with Gaal is particularly interesting. If you slow it down and develop it even more, it's just going to get better and better, and your readers are going to be able to truly connect and understand rather than react.

I've got to head off now, but it was great to read your story. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm looking forward to reading more. God bless you! Be dangerous.


Psalm 100

Dang, I hate the NIV! Rupert Murdoch's Bible as they call it. I don't think there's a great conspiracy by Nelson and Rupert to mess up certain passages in the Bible but the fact is...there are so many sections in the NIV where whole passages are simply missing. And those passages are often so dang important.

In this case it is the latter part of Verse 3: It is He that has made us AND NOT WE OURSELVES.

Self-made people did not make themselves. Their parents did not make them either. The earth did not make itself. We need to know that. And neither can we sustain ourselves. God made and sustains the world. His world upholds it. All the wild animals are taken care of. All the seeds of plants (and humans) endure and work by his word. We humans need to see that. Why don't we want to be the sheep of the creator of the whole world? A) Because we trust Him to take care of us. B) Because we're too proud to be taken care of.

People always say "The Lord helps those who helps themselves." They say this without qualifier. But it's a phrase that needs qualifying. Even those who "help themselves" are guided by the wisdom of God, are given strength to live by God. God doesn't want us to be lazy, but neither does he want us to be self-reliant. God is good. It's strange to our human mind to think that we have a God who wants to take care of us. But that is the way He wants it. We're an individualistic country and like to think God wants us to take care of ourselves. Humans are judgmental and we want to believe that if someone has a bad lot in life then that person didn't "help himself." And when people have terrible things happen to them, if the person is good we say that God in his sovereignty brought the evil in their lives to teach them. But if the person is someone we consider bad, we say "the wages of sin." That's the trouble with platitudes and maxims. They're human wisdom...and they aren't an answer in all the situations we humans get into.

In all things, we must come to God. For He is good and his mercy endures forever. Or as we say in church. "God is good. All the time."

Psalm 100
King James Version
1Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100 (New International Version)

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his [a] ;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Getting Better

We're meant to advance, we humans. I'm almost 50 and I got to thinking about about how much I've advanced in my personal and spiritual life.

I think I'm finally learning to rest physically. Before, even if I hadn't slept for 2 weeks, as soon as the sun rose, I'd rise up at the crack of dawn.
Am also learning a bit more how to enter into spiritual rest, how to trust the Word of God to change my spirit, soul, mind and body without me "working" at it.

I find myself thinking that I should be a little farther along in most things though. Okay, if I had trusted the word to do it all this time I would've been far along the road but eh, fits and starts happen. In this life, we don't learn stuff. We forget stuff we learn. We ignore stuff we learned. Then we have to learn the basics all over again.

I mean I'm finally learning to eat the right thing and avoid the wrong. I'm finally learning when to go to bed. But other things? Am I becoming a better writer, for instance?

I remember reading a book written by a guy who'd died and gone to heaven then had come back. (I think he had died but it may have been a vision.) He said he saw universities there. People learned about the universe, growing more and more in the knowledge of God. I believe that, I think. Some folks believe that when we die we suddenly know all there is to know. Who knows? Maybe that'll happen too. (instead?) But one thing he said really impressed me. He said that when we learn a thing in heaven we never forget it. How wonderful! To learn and to advance and to not forget. To grow from glory to glory.

I was thinking of St Paul's advice that we grow in all spiritual gifts, that we come not behind in any spiritual gift, that we go from glory to glory. I got to thinking about my spiritual gifts and if I've grown. I know they're "gifts" given by God and yet there is something in us that helps the gift be received, and grown and show itself.

I started thinking:

Gifts of the word of knowledge. As far as I know, that happened only twice. One instance was I was in the local GNC and I saw a man I didn't know. I heard quite clearly in my spirit: "That man's name is Don Bennett." I went over to him and asked, "Are you Don Bennett?" He answered that he was. Luckily he turned out to be quite important so he didn't think it strange that I should know his name. Except that I didn't know who the heck he was and I didn't know his name. He became a friend after that. But aside from two experiences I can't think of any other instance.

Healing. I remember two instances. Only two in my almost 50 years of life, 40 years of knowing God. (Is that enough? Shouldn't I have gone from glory to glory?) One was a hispanic man visiting from Florida. He said his back was hurting and although I didn't know him I said, "Let me pray for that." I did and the next day he was walking around saying how his back was so much more improved. He seemed totally surprised. The other was a drug addict I met on the street. I felt the need to pray for him. I think he was homeless too. I commanded the addiction spirit to leave him and left. I met the guy about ten years later. I didn't know him from Adam. He came up to me and said, "Carole! I want to thank you so much. When you prayed for me, all the drug desire left!" I was like, "Who are you? When did I pray for you?" He described the town where I met him and I remembered.

Word of Wisdom: Once. A Jehovah's witness came to my door and would not let me go. I kept arguing theology with him. At last the holy spirit told me what to say. "I said, Why do you bother me about this when you know your family was messed up and torn apart by religion?" <-- okay, that may have been word of knowledge, but I felt it was a wise thing to say to get me from being bothered.

Prophesy: Once I think. I saw two little hispanic toddler girls and suddenly told the mother what their issues and challenges would be when they were older. She looked at me amazed! I had pinpointed those girls exactly.

Discerning of spirits: Am pretty good at recognizing church folks who have a "religious spirit." Saw a demon in a little kid once. Saw a demon somewhere else too. Saw angels a couple of times. But really, not as much as should be expected for a person who's been a Christian for so long.

Spoken in tongues? Yep, but not as much as I should have.

Interpreted tongues: Got the "impression" of what was being said and who it was about, not really a translation.

Working of miracles? Nada. But waiting for Gabe's healing to manifest.

Gift of faith. Nada.

The thing is...shouldn't I be farther along in this? Shouldn't I advance more and more? Shouldn't I have more gifts and more testimonies of his gifts after all this time? So, then, will read my Bible the word of God will work more and more mightily in me. So, then, will forgive some creepy people who I've been seething against. So, then, will walk away from some sins. Will speak in tongues more, so I can edify my spirit more. My walk with God has been too long for me to bring to God so little.

Jesus told us to make disciples. He wants us to be called out. He wants us to build the kingdom. But the church and the kingdom are not the same thing. The kingdom is far more comprehensive. It involves occupies, it conquers the demonic, it heals the sick. A church can be big and yet not be called out of the world. Heck so many churches worship Mammon and don't take care of the widows and orphans. So many churches reflect the dark philosophies of the world and consider as just another teacher. So many churches do not pray for the sick, cast out devils. Or they talk the talk but they don't walk the walk. When churches have building plans, do they build in order to teach the called out ones to be truly called out and to use the gifts of the spirit -- as Paul lists them-- to heal the sick, set the captive free, bind up the broken hearted.

"Lord, Help me to grow. I don't want to be 80 with only two visions of angels, two healed people, two words of knowledge on my spiritual resume. Lord, please, take me away from what the churches of this world have gotten used to and lead me to what you really want your people to be. God in us. Earthen vessel that I am, help me to show the treasures of your kingdom that the captive might be set free. Amen."

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