Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 8

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 8

PT 1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 //

“Maybe the verse inspired me to do what I’ve wanted to do all along, but that’s still just me,” Paul argued.

Nobody remained silent and still for a few moments before eventually bowing his head and taking in a deep breath. “I’d like you to consider what you read over the next few books of the Bible. Could you ask yourself what happened every time the Israelites looked to their own strength?”

“Why is it so important to you that I read the Bible?” Paul asked.

Nobody turned his head in Paul’s direction. “I gave you the Bible. I will ask you questions about what you read, but I’m not making you read it.”

“That doesn’t mean you don’t want me to.”

Nobody nodded his head. “When I first spoke to you, you were hurt, and you were looking for answers.  I want you to read the Bible because I know the real answers you’re looking for are there. Sure, I expect you’ll read everything you can get your hands on that the world has to offer to understand how I visit you, but even if that does eventually help you understand how I move from where I was to here, it won’t tell you why you were beaten. It won’t tell you how you should act. It won’t tell you why your mom stopped coming in to comfort you.”

“And the Bible will?” Paul didn’t even try to hide the scorn in his voice. 

“To be honest, you’ve already read the reason, but you haven’t yet read the explanation,” Nobody said. “You have half the answer, but it’s not one any person appreciates hearing. That’s why you need to wait for the other half. You have half of an equation, and you won’t even be ready to consider the truth until you find the rest.”

That didn’t make any sense to Paul. He wasn’t even close to being halfway through the Bible, and he didn’t have any answers on why his dad was the way he was. 

“I thought it would be over,” Paul whispered. 

“How so?” Nobody asked. 

“You can read my mind, so why are you asking?” Paul asked.

“Because you get annoyed when I tell you what you’re thinking, and I really don’t want to annoy you any more than I have to.”

Paul cocked his head. Nobody didn’t admit he was a mind reader, not in so many words, but the man did admit he knew what Paul was thinking.

“I thought I’d call the police, and my dad would get thrown in jail, and that would be it,” Paul said.

“Life is a journey,” Nobody said. “I’ve come to think of it like a testing ground in a way. Trials come to test you. But there are good times, too.”

Paul’s lip trembled. It wasn’t the words Nobody used. It was the hope they implied. Paul couldn’t remember being happy. He wondered if he ever was. The last twelve years of his life seemed filled by nothing but pain and sadness. Was he ever going to have those good times.

Nobody stood. “I promise you that one day, you will see the reason for all of this. I promise you, God has a plan, and it is good.”

“How is getting beat my whole life any good?!” Paul kept shouting even as Nobody calmly walked out of the room. Paul’s rage fueled him even more. “How is my mom and I nearly dying a good thing?! What possible good can come of me being hated by my own father?!””

The temperature swung back and forth, just like it always did when Nobody came or left. A part of Paul noted that the effect wasn’t so easy to feel this time, maybe because Nobody was farther away? He didn’t see the flash of light, but he did hear that strange sort of electrical surge. All of those things registered in Paul’s mind even as he shouted.

“Why did it have to happen?! Does your stupid book say that?!” Tears were streaming down his face. It hurt. It hurt so bad, and that jerk told him it was good! “Why did it have to happen to me? What did I do?”

A nurse, a scrawny stick of man wearing deep blue hospital scrubs, came scurrying into the room. “It’s ok!” The nurse’s voice was gentile, but urgent. “You’re safe now! You’re in a hospital. No one’s going to hurt you.”

The nurse must have thought Paul had woken from a nightmare. The man slowly wrapped an arm around Paul, trying to comfort him. Paul just kept crying. He didn’t understand, and he didn’t think he ever would. 

The end of Chapter 3.

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 5

Visits From A Man Named Nobody PT 5

PT 1

PT 2

PT 3

PT 4

Two

May 1, 2021 

26.5 Years Ago

Paul sat at the dinner table quietly eating his food, which was chicken and mashed potatoes. His dad was home, so the house was quiet. The occasional piece of silverware clanked against the white porcelain plates, but those were the only sounds. 

The quiet gave Paul more time to think, but he seemed to only have more questions. It’d been just about six months since Nobody had visited. It had also been five beatings. It probably meant Nobody had been some weird game his own imagination had played on him. Except Paul went out to check the next day, and the cracked window was still there. Also, the Bible Nobody had given him was there, so Paul read it.

He’d kept his promise to a man who apparently didn’t care that Paul was still being attacked. But Paul couldn’t blame him. It wasn’t like anybody did anything about his dad’s beatings. 

He’d reached the book of Joshua, and one part kept bugging him. “Be strong and courageous.” 

Everything he’d read in the book so far frustrated him. If God were real, and he kept bailing the Israelites out, why didn’t he step in for Paul? Why didn’t he stop COVID any sooner? Vaccines had made their way around the country, but if there was a God, why not just miraculously heal everyone? Why not cure cancer and stop death? Why help thousands of Israelites generations ago and no one today? 

Whatever frustrated him, that one part just kept ringing through his mind. Why did they need strength if God was going to do everything? Why did they need courage if they knew they had the creator of everything on their side? What does it mean to be strong and courageous. 

“Eat your food!” Paul reflexively obeyed. 

His father’s tone was angry. It was scary when his father was drunk, but when he used that tone, and he was sober, it was terrifying. 

Paul shoved another few bites in his mouth, trying to keep the meal running smoothly. 

“What’s wrong?” Paul’s mother asked. 

“It doesn’t matter if something’s wrong,” his father’s tone hit a new octave. “I told him to eat.”

Paul glanced at his mother, hoping she’d understand that he was far more worried about his father’s mood than anything else. Anything else. The chicken nearly vanished off the plate as Paul ate it, trying to make sure he didn’t overfill his mouth. His dad hated it when he looked like some sort of chipmunk. 

Even as he worked to keep his father happy, Paul’s thoughts drifted. He’d kept his word to Nobody, but he read a lot more than just the Bible. He was trying to figure out how Nobody did it. He read books on science and even a biography on Harry Houdini. Paul really didn’t expect there to be any magical explanation. No, the answer was science. It had to be some sort of teleportation. So Paul had honed in on physics. He had to know how Nobody did it. He wanted to know why he hand’t come back any of the last five times.

Then he read that most recent chapter. It seemed a challenge to Paul. The only reason someone would have to be strong would be if God expected them to do something. 

“I’m going out,” Paul’s dad stood from the table, leaving his plate where it was. 

Paul shot from his chair and snatched the plate before his dad had made it out of the dining room. Paul rinsed the plate and put it in the dishwasher. He winced as he heard his mom speak.

“Do you have go out?” she asked.

“Gonna spend time with the boys,” he answered. That meant he was going to get hammered. 

“I thought you said we needed to watch what we spend?” 

Oh no! Mom, why would you say that?

His father had made it to the front door when she asked her stupid question. His head slowly turned around, and his face melted into a look of pure rage.

“Are you telling me what to do with my own money?” His tone was low and angry. His dark eyebrows furrowed together. The sneer alone should have sent both of them running. 

“No!” His mom said. She started speaking quickly, but Paul knew it was already too late. “I was just wondering if you’d remembered what you’d said.”

That’s even worse, Mom!

Paul’s father turned. His thick, black boots sounded like thunder as they stomped across the carpet. Be strong and courageous!

Paul moved without thinking.

“Are you calling me a liar?” He screamed the question. Why didn’t the neighbors ever call the police? People in the next county should be able to hear when his father was like this!

Paul’s father reached up a hand to slap her, but Paul made it in time. He charged at his father and drove a shoulder into him as hard as he could. 

He bounced off the thick man and crashed to the floor. 

Everybody else seemed to freeze. Paul didn’t hurt his father one bit. He seemed stunned. A corner of his father’s lips curled into and amused smirk. 

“Well look who decided to grow a backbone.” Paul’s father chuckled and pointed a square finger at him, shouting. “You’re all tough now, aren’t you?”

Until that moment, Paul had always just tried to stand between his father and mother. Every now and then, he’d had to lay over top of his mom to keep his father from stomping on her or kicking her. Those boots were thick!

But whatever he did, it was defensive. This was the first time he’d tried to actually fight, and his first attack simply made his father laugh in derision. 

… to be continued …

Visits From A Man Named Nobody Pt. 4

Visits From A Man Named Nobody Pt. 4

Paul stood up, shivering as his foot hit that strange wet spot in the floor where Nobody had appeared. He walked over to investigate the window. Sure enough, there were two levers on the top of the cracked pane of glass. 

Paul quickly unhooked the broken window and replaced it with the one Nobody had left. He thought about how Nobody had brought it. It definitely couldn’t have fit in the backpack he had. Maybe he just brought it with him and set it down before Paul had rolled over to see him. That still didn’t really explain how Nobody got in Paul’s bedroom and out of his closet with nothing but a strange shift in temperature and a flash of light. 

Paul kept trying to figure it out even as he crept down the hall. His father lay passed out on the couch like always. Sure, the window wouldn’t be noticed, but if Paul woke his father up trying to sneak the broken part out of the house, nothing else would matter. His father had an odd habit of never being as drunk as Paul wished. The man would be dead to the world when Paul wasn’t even making the slightest noise, but then he’d jerk awake and angry after Paul used the bathroom. 

It had something to do with how drunk his father was when he’d passed out, but Paul never really could figure out the pattern. 

There was nothing to do but go for it. Paul rose to the tips of his toes and crept through the living room. The brown carpet made it easier to muffle his footsteps. Paul held the window close to his chest to keep it from hitting the coffee table or the wall. Then he reached the living room door. 

It was big and heavy. It almost always could be heard opening and closing through the house. Paul considered trying to go back through the living room for the sliding glass door. It was quieter, but it was also less than two feet from his father’s head. Paul looked from one door to the other. The choice could mean his life. Waking his dad up was life-threatening enough. Waking his dad up while holding a broken window, no matter that the replacement was already up, would mean the end. 

Paul took a deep breath. He’d already walked through the living room. He turned the doorknob as slowly as he could and opened the door. As always, there was a soft crack as the seal of the door separated from the frame. The strange bristly bottom of the door, maybe there to keep dust from forming along the door’s path, whisked as Paul opened it just enough to fit through.

“Shut that door!” Paul’s head jerked to see his father shift his body on the large leather recliner he’d passed out in. He was just getting more comfortable. Paul let out a breath of relief. An empty bottle of booze fell over as his father repositioned himself. Maybe he would trip on it when he got up to pee. 

A tear rolled down Paul’s cheek. Am I the only kid who dreams of his father tripping and dying? I don’t really want him to die; I just don’t want him to hurt us anymore!

Paul shook his head and used a shoulder to wipe away the tear. The screen door was much easier to keep quiet than the main door was. Paul dipped out, rushed to the trash can at the top of the driveway and gently pressed the window into the bin. There was no need to worry his father would see it there. Paul was always responsible for the trash. Paul once considered running away. He could easily tie a bag of clothes and supplies and hide it there and sneak out, but he couldn’t leave his mother. Someone had to protect her. 

Paul made his way back inside and held his breath as he shut the door as quietly as the darn thing could shut. His father muttered and shifted around again. Paul watched, terrified of what it would mean if his father woke. Thankfully, he didn’t.

Paul started to cross the living room again when he saw the bottle that had fallen over. His father really could trip. It was just close enough to the recliner to be unseen and far enough away to maybe roll. The coffee table was right there. 

It could happen.

Paul slowly got down on his hands and knees. He reached over and lifted the bottle up the correct way. He didn’t know why he did it. Sure, maybe his father would trip, and maybe he wouldn’t, but it’s not like it would have really been Paul’s fault. Nevertheless, Paul made sure to creep on all fours past the recliner and to the steps before getting up to make the climb. 

Even as he crept back to his room, Paul couldn’t understand what caused him to take the precaution. It just felt right. But what was right? Was it right to protect his father from something as stupid as a fall when his father wouldn’t hesitate to beat him to within an inch of his life. 

What is right?

Paul crept into his room and looked at the Bible that was still on his bed where Nobody had dropped it. What could it hurt?

Paul grabbed up his little light again and gently got into bed, still trying to avoid the welts and cuts on his back. He opened the Bible and flipped through the first few pages. Genesis. The first chapter was only about five pages. He could read that in no time. 

He’d take Nobody’s challenge. It’s not like anyone’s life could really change just by reading a book.

The end of Chapter 1. 

… to be continued … 

Musings on Christianity 51

Musings on Christianity 51

What Are The Things God Finds Abominations?

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).”

I’m not saying that other sins aren’t sin. I’m not claiming that anyone can commit any sin without repentance and be saved. I’m not saying that there are things some people hate that aren’t on this list. But the word of God gave this expressed list as the seven things that are an abomination to Him. This, to me, implies that of all sins, these are the ones he finds most egregious. Indeed I willingly submit to more trained pastors to offer correction, but absent a degree in Biblical studies, I can only read and interpret the word as well as any other mortal applying basic hermeneutics. 

So I wanted to devote a chapter of this book to those seven things and offer application. I also hope others will contribute to the discussion. 

Haughty Eyes

Hebrew writers put a lot of stock in primacy. So I too feel we should pay close attention to that which is named first in any list in Biblical writing. To think of all the things I see in myself that I don’t like, my pride and arrogance may be what God finds most disdainful. 

Notice that all of these things speak to the heart and how one treats others (or looks at himself). Presented first is one who is arrogant or disdainful, for only such a person could look at others with haughty eyes. 

This changes my perspective a lot. I’ve spent my whole life constantly being indignant over some “wrong” I observed. Some may even want to say things like, “it’s ok to be angry.” But where does that anger come from? Where does any anger come from? In those times, I’m not righteously angry, disgusted over someone’s sins against God. I’m angry because I feel something was denied me; I feel like something was taken from me; I feel like I was belittled. 

All of those thoughts are self centered and based on a perspective as one with haughty eyes. People who feel enraged should carefully look at why they feel these emotions and challenge themselves to see it from a Godly point of view. If your anger is based on your own pride or desires, then your seeing through haughty eyes. This is what I tell myself these days when I’m angry (and I’m angry a lot). I don’t want to be an angry person anymore. I don’t want to be a prideful person anymore. I’m up against decades of practice where I validated my perceptions and opinions, seeking to elevate myself. This has to stop. This has to be purged from my life because I can’t love my neighbor if I look upon him with haughty eyes. Neither can anyone else.

If we are driven to “show” others how “right” we are, we no longer care about that individual. Working with this motivation doesn’t seek unity or understanding; it demands submission to your viewpoint. Christians should demand they submit to God’s viewpoint and no other’s. 

A Lying Tongue

I can’t stress this one enough. I’ve always found it odd that we will see protests against so many things (a lot of which are indeed sins against God), but I’ve never once seen a single protest against lying. I see people seek to justify white lies or lies to make others feel better. People lie to get into office or keep their office. People lie for entertainment. A lying tongue is one of seven things that are abominations to the Lord above, but it might just be the one thing everyone seeks to justify in their own right. 

Lying is wrong. There is no explanation that makes it right. There is no circumstance that makes it appropriate. There is no situation in which one should use it. 

So why then do people smile and nod their heads when others say, “Everybody lies”? 

Over and over again, Scripture tells us to seek truth. Love truth. Embrace truth. Fix your thoughts on what is true. 

This abomination is one that God even emphasized by placing in the ten commandments. In fact, one can argue this one abomination is repeated (though different in circumstances) three times (see below). 

When we live our lives, we should do so striving to never lie.

This doesn’t mean we are obligated to shout out whatever truth we wish. Shouting “fatty” to the overweight person on the street or calling someone who committed adultery a slut isn’t loving or honoring anyone. In fact, if you’re shaming others to elevate yourself, you’re looking upon that person with haughty eyes. Make no mistake, a demand to avoid speaking lies does not conversely demand one let whatever true words he wishes fly from his mouth.

Hands That Shed Innocent Blood

Here is where I probably offend a great many people. It’s obvious that society as a whole sees murder as wrong. This sin also has a place (a deeper emphasis) on the ten commandments. So I submit that most understand the killing of another is wrong.

This is why abortion is also wrong. The argument is based on the perspective of the term “life.” When does life begin? For those who seek to better define this concept, I have at least an intellectual understanding. If life doesn’t begin until birth, then an abortion isn’t the killing of an innocent child. 

However, I don’t really understand that line of thought. If we stomp on a cocoon, we don’t  say we terminated a cocoon. That butterfly or moth may or may not have died, but our act of stomping on it denied it that chance. 

Then there is the argument of choice. As a man, I’ve no doubt I’ll only be seen as another man telling women what to do with their bodies. Here’s the thing. I didn’t tell you to have sex. But this world sees sex as an activity like running or video games. To which I say, “OK.” But No runner blames the concrete for the blisters on his feet and no one with bad eyes ever condemns video games. 

It is my opinion that a woman and a man are indeed capable of having as much sex as they want. But sex seems to be the one thing everyone wants to do without being accountable for doing it. The thing I’m most against is abortion as a means of ultimate birth control.

Some men want to run off whenever any woman becomes pregnant. Some women want to have sex, but they don’t want to be parents, and I respectfully can’t see the difference between a woman who got pregnant without meaning to and the driver who hit a car she didn’t see. Sure, neither woman meant for it to happen, but no one expects the car to pay for injuries sustained in an accident. Some people shout, “pro-choice” as if they’re being denied the right to sex. No, they are not. But anyone who makes a decision of any kind must then accept the consequences of those decisions. You’re not being denied a choice, you’re being told to accept the path those choices put you on. Also, I would be the first to vote for a dead-beat-dad law, one that forces men who sire children to at least provide financially for the child he sired.

Naturally this leads to those who unfortunately didn’t choose. My grandmother was raped. She didn’t ask for sex. She didn’t choose to have sex. The choice was denied her. As a mortal man, I can’t express to you how sympathetic I am to those who had this most sacred choice stolen from them. My grandmother may not have had abortion as an option. I’m not even smart enough to know. What I do know is that she gave birth, and she died very shortly after. Her parents raised that child, and, unfortunately, that child didn’t grow up to be very good either. Some may see this as justification. I do not. To kill an unborn child is not denying the evil that person could become. To kill an unborn child is nothing more than killing an unborn child. What was done to someone was (in my human eyes) the worst thing anyone could do. If I were a political figure, I might not fight so hard against this sort of abortion. I can even admit that, but I will never say that action is right. At what point would any of us want to kill another for what someone else did? Should we kill the parents of a serial killer because they raised such child? Should a robber’s child be killed because his father was a robber? We should love, care for, and support victims of such crimes, lending them any help we can offer, but not matter how horrible the crime of the father is, does any child deserve to die? Would I turn my back on a woman faced with this unimaginable choice? No. Not at all. In this regard I just can’t imagine how difficult this would be. 

This also applies to pregnancies where one or even both parties may die. If I trust in God, I leave to him the choice to grant me life or grant me death. If I kill, I’ve lost my faith in God’s sovereignty and tried (though no mortal really can) to thwart or overpower His will. If we are alive, we have hope. Death denies anyone a chance to live on this earth. I speak of bodily death. Spiritual life and death is also in the hands of God.  

You may disagree (passionately) with this position. If you are Christian, however, there is no such grounds. It is simply against God’s wishes for any innocent blood to be shed for any reason. One may wish to debate this further, but once the word of God speaks, the real debate becomes whether or not one is willing to submit to God’s (not my) authority or not. Even there you do, in fact, have a choice to make. That right isn’t actually denied you. Some people say to make abortion illegal would only mean people would have illegal abortions. I’m of the opinion that abortion is already illegal in God’s eyes. Making it illegal in this nation would only align with God’s law. People do illegal things in this world. If one were to make murder legal, it wouldn’t suddenly make murder right in the eyes of God, it would only make murders feel free to do so. 

Does this mean I will personally lash out at you or condemn you? No. I don’t have the energy or time. I don’t have to judge you. If my words make you feel judged I would challenge you to ask yourself why. One only feels defensive when they already know they are wrong. If an unborn baby isn’t alive, then what is there to debate?

A final point of discussion I hear regarding abortion is one seeks to defend one’s rights “up to” birth. Pro life is more about pro birth. People only want babies to be born, but they don’t care what happens after the baby is born. 

These ideas may be the most ridiculous. If the world is responsible for every baby born than somewhere around seven billion people owe my children money for their college tuition. This argument assumes that every life is the responsibility of every other life, and that’s just not true. If we tone down this argument, claiming that we need more laws to help underprivileged children and more funding for such children, I can agree with that. I can petition and vote for such laws. In short, if the child is actually alive, I can fight for his rights, but before I defend a child’s right to prosperity or a happy life (something no human being is promised), I must first fight for the child’s right to live in the first place. I can do nothing but pray for a murdered child. 

This will probably be the most inflammatory portion of this entire book. This is absolutely a heated subject. Before anyone feels compelled to flood my blog with hateful (haughty) comments or take whatever other option they want against me, remember I’m nobody. I am one man with this opinion who feels that opinion is based firmly on the word of God. Maybe I’m wrong. The best news you have is that I’m not the judge. I’m just a man who gave his frank opinion on a volatile topic. You may freely make your opinions on this topic known. You have that right (you were born). But I already freely acknowledge your right to disagree and your ability to do whatever it is you want. I can’t stop you. All I can do, and all I have done, is point out my interpretation on how God sees it. 

A Heart That Devises Wicked Plans

This actually ties to the above point and several others. I’m of the opinion that any time one devises a way to do what he wants regardless of what God wants, he’s guilty of this abomination. When one uses self-justification to do something, they’ve already taken God out of the equation. Now, not every independent decision one makes is sinful. However, what this speaks to is the one who knows he should do otherwise instead seeks a way to do that which is in his own heart. 

I originally thought to type out several examples of this, but I am honestly making an effort to transition from the tension I very likely created in the above passage. 

The correct action from a Christian perspective: Filter your intended actions through the Word of God. The Pharisees were guilty of this abomination. They denied God’s command, “Honor your mother and your father,” and selfishly protected their money, “What I would give you is given to God (Mark 7:1-13).” This means that one can not violate God’s law under the pretense of following God’s law. 

When I catch myself looking for a way to do what I want, I hope God works in me a heart to first challenge myself to see if if the thing I’m seeking is a thing I should do. As stated in a previous chapter, we should be God-centered in our thinking. So rather than looking to devise ways to do or get what we want, when should instead seek to do what God wants us to do.

Feet That Make Haste To Run To Evil

This is a heart that is eager to sin. This could also be someone who knows what they are doing is wrong, so they rush to do so quickly, seeking to do what they want before anyone might see. 

More interestingly, this might be considered a catch all to any who rushes to sin. Even if the sin they seek isn’t on this list, if they’re rushing to their sin, they’re guilty of this abomination.  

A False Witness Who Breathes Out Lies

One may say this is a repeat of having a lying tongue, and I don’t argue. However, this specific purpose for lying bears discussion. Lying is bad in and of itself, but to lie by false witness is another particular form of such an abomination. One may lie to make himself seem better or to avoid punishment for his own sin, but one who lies about another is especially abominable. It’s wise (as all God’s words are) to cut off one who would avoid lying for one reason, but freely speak falsely about another. 

To take this further, this does not necessarily mean one who knowingly lies about another. Indeed, I would think one who is quick to speak about another without first determining the truth of his words is still guilty of this abomination. How often do we feel free to offer our opinions about others without bothering to see if we’re just rumor mongering or gossiping? Which brings us to our last abomination.

One Who Sows Discord Among Brothers

Call it what you want. Call it stirring the pot, playing Devil’s advocate. Call it venting or getting your thoughts off your chest. If you’re spreading rumors or speaking ill of someone who isn’t there, you’re sowing discord. 

To rebuke one or speak to someone to gain understanding and come closer together is good. However, if your goal is to justify yourself or convince others to see someone through your (perhaps haughty) eyes is to commit this abomination. 

In these abominations I notice a trend. Most of these abominations have everything to do with one’s viewpoint. Indeed many of these can be tied to a person thinking about his own desires. This means that one devoted to loving God and his neighbor would easily avoid these seven issues to begin with. But these sins are also (for the most part) easier to hide. One would have to verify everything another says to find the lies. And we are often haughty or prideful in our actions or viewpoints. 

I’ve been guilty of almost all of these abominations. I can only say I’ve never shed innocent blood. Even then, Christ tells us that one who hates his brother is guilty (Matthew 5:22), so in this, I’ve also proven my actions abominable. I don’t offer these from a position of one who’s never done any of these things. Instead, I confess my guilt and urge others to look at their actions to see if they are guilty of the same. It is the heart that loves God above all that resists the temptations to do these things, and the more one seeks God, the more likely one is to turn away from these abominations. Indeed the one who loves God can not do such things. 

For our panel: What are your thoughts on these seven abominations? While given special attention and named as abominations, does making those distinctions truly mean these sins are the greater sins? If these aren’t the greater sins, what are? What does someone like me (one who acknowledges he struggles with pride and arrogance) do to turn away? How does someone who’s exercised such pride and arrogance into his life even start to seek humility and respect?

Musings on Christianity 32

Musings on Christianity 32

Why Aren’t There Miracles?

That question has a connotation that might not be accurate. I, for one, don’t think we have a lack of miracles in the world; we have a lack of faith. If one were to credit every improbable act to luck, then there wouldn’t be any identification criteria for miracle. If one defined a miracle as something not possible, then one is expecting God to break the rules of the universe he created. He can, and He did, but with a purpose.

So first I’d like to talk about the epic, obvious miracles we discuss in the Bible: The plagues of Moses, the parting of the red sea, the sun staying in the sky, and the resurrection of Christ. Those mind-blowing, obvious-to-everyone miracles were signs, endorsements of sorts to those God was working through. The gospel has been given to us. The word is there for us to read and see. The time of prophets is at an end. With no prophets to endorse, there simply isn’t need for those sorts of miracles.

That answer seems simple and short because it is. Again, I point to all those who were around for those miracles. Every wondrous, nature-breaking miracle one might point to was directly attached to a chosen tool of God for His purpose in working His will.

What happens though is that people want to state that since an ocean hasn’t turned to blood or a sea hasn’t parted, we can conclude God has left us or that God doesn’t exist because we have no miracles (spoken of as evidence) to point to.

Readers, the lack of some unscheduled eclipse or galactic shift in the universe is only evidence of the lack of prophets, which we, of course, will have because once God’s own Son came down, anyone else would be ridiculous in comparison. Once God’s own Son returns, He will be with us to rule and guide us.

However, none of that really means God’s hand isn’t visible in these days. Indeed, everything that happens is by the permission or action of God. The evil things that man and the devil bring, God turns to His good. The wondrous things that bring us joy and gladness are by God’s sovereign hand. Even things that are worthy of sadness and trembling could be God working His justice on the wicked. Which is which? How should I know? What I do know is the the God who created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) is in control.

But the absence of signs and wonders shouldn’t come as a surprise to the elect. Jesus Himself was challenged to perform a wonder of that sort, and He rebuked the people saying no sign would be given (Matthew 12:39). If Christ said no sign would be given, why would anyone keep looking for a sign? Think of the logic flow. If Christ is indeed the Son of God (as Christians like me believe), then there won’t be signs and wonders because He said there wouldn’t be. If Christ were not the Son of God, wouldn’t some wonder or sign have happened by now to discredit His words? This, in fact, is further evidence of Christ’s rightful place at God’s right hand because as He has said, it has been. 

That doesn’t mean Jesus didn’t do some amazing things. Again, Matthew 12:39 needs a bit of explanation. The Pharisees wanted an epic sign. They wanted a heavenly sign. They wanted the sun to go down at noon or the sky to turn red. They wanted a creation-event level sign. This is because they wanted to reject the many healings and even resurrections Christ performed.

Isn’t that a bit like what we’re doing now? If we deny the existence of wonders (even if lesser  than the creation week or the works of Moses), how are we any different than the same hard-hearted men who crucified Christ?

Earlier in this book, I talked about the miracle dog. Sure, some could say that those events were a simple pleasant alignment of a series of unlikely events. If you insist on not seeing providence, I’m not going to convince you of otherwise. However, I’d like to remind you just how amazing life seems to me. I pray, and God answers. I need, and God provides. I sin, and God disciplines. This pattern holds in so many aspect of my life.

I look at the answered prayers in my life, and I can’t help but see God’s grace and power at work. The only world-changing event I pray for is Christ’s return. It will happen, perhaps or perhaps not in my lifetime, but when it does, it will be the beginning of Christ’s rule, and the world will be as it should. However, those other prayers, small and maybe a bit short-sighted, are still lovingly, gracefully answered.

I have a wife, and my heart had just truly started to believe it wouldn’t be. I have children, too. I have a home. I truly have a blessed life, and every part of it is a gift from God. Could He take it away in an instant? Absolutely, and it would be His right. But an honest prayer life and love of God yields many blessings, the most important of which are yet to come, but some of which are here on this Earth.

Does that mean every unanswered prayer is a sign God doesn’t love you? No! I prayed for a wife and children for decades. Sometimes, the blessings are held back for the right time. Again, the sequence of events may seem pleasantly random, but I just don’t buy it. Even God’s elect suffer. God’s own Son suffered, so I would strongly speak against any who say, “Well if you’re suffering, God must not love you.”

But when those seasons end, there are so many beautiful, wondrous blessings.

So no, I don’t expect the moon to explode or the sky to turn green. I don’t expect the stars to reshape themselves into the face of the virgin Mary. I don’t expect any of those things, but I look at my pastor, five years diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, preaching the word of God boldly, and I see God’s grace and power. I look at my cousin, told she’d likely not survive bearing a child hold her beautiful newborn son, and I see God’s grace and power. I look at this virus and fear, and I see God’s sovereignty and power.

Those attributes of God are always there and working. The real question is when are you going to open your eyes and see?

For our panel: Is there a bigger distinction between miracles and blessings than I imply above? What are some blessings or moments in your life that gave you comfort and faith? Has something happened to you that you would call a miracle? What was it? What are some other reasons a person shouldn’t consider him-or-herself “forsaken” just because they may be suffering in the moment?

Book Review: The Creation Answers Book by Don Batten

Book Review: The Creation Answers Book by Don Batten

CoverWhile searching for an apologetics book, I found myself talking to one of the deacons at my church. He happily gave me this book. It absolutely addresses the questions that I was looking for information on.

This book uses geology and other science to defend the historical Biblical narrative.

For obvious reasons, this book will be highly disputed (and perhaps even mocked) by the general community. My response is that like any form of information, it should be read and evaluated for the information it provides. The reader is more than welcome to come to whatever conclusions he wants, but the information in this book is certainly interesting.

The book is outlined by a series of questions like “Does God Exist?” “Six Days” What about the Gap Theory?” and “What About Carbon Dating?”

For someone like me this was an important book to read. I won’t pretend that I’ve studied science more than someone with a degree, but I would at least say that science is a hobby of mine, and I have a very scientific mind. I always seek to understand, and that’s not unholy.

The thing is, schools do a lot to teach theories. But the truth (even science will admit) is that these are only theories. These theories are commonly held and widely believed, but that’s not actually different than any commonly held and widely believed theory. The difficulties Christians might find in proving the Biblical record are only (at most) as difficult as proving several problems that currently plague the scientific, non-believing community.

I read this for the same reason I read science books, to gain information. Of course, as a Christian, I have my opinions, and I invite anyone to read this book and consider its contents.

For me though, this book gave me more targeted things to investigate. The Bible is the only book I intend to believe at face value. Yes, that creates a bias, but that bias is only reflectively different than one who refuses to believe anything the Bible says, which is inadvisable given how much archeology, geology, and historical documentation proves several parts of the Bible and none of those same sciences can disprove any one element of the Bible. Noting a bias is one way to defend against it. This book covers the bias issue as well.

Noting a bias is how one can be objective. If one is aware what they want, they can look more deeply for confirmation. Ignoring a bias is what causes one to simply seek confirmation without ensuring the evidence supports it.

So, if you’re curious as to the creationist view of things, I invite you to give this book a try.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Musings on Christianity 27

Musings on Christianity 27

You Find What You Seek; Your Focus is Your Destination

Keep your eyes on the road. Keep your eye on the ball. Look before you leap.

How many statements do we have out there that reveal the same simple truth? More importantly, why do we need to keep remind ourselves? Even as I type this, more and more come to mind.

While some people take those statements and apply them to businesses or weight loss or scholastic goals, people still sometimes seem determined to focus on the distractions.

If you indeed obtain what you focus on, why focus on fear? If you find what you seek, then one who fears the loss of his possessions or status will inevitably find those things. I’ve always been a driven individual. I have a very limited list of things I focus on. In truth, we should only focus on one thing:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”

If one studies that segment (and a few others) more deeply, they all say the same thing. Keep your focus on God.

A God-focused individual may not appear very different in some respects. For instance, God commands us to be submissive and obedient. This means a God-focused individual will be diligent at work and hard working. He’ll be quick to do as he’s instructed. But there will be some differences. A God-focused man won’t participate in the water-cooler talk. A God-focused man won’t be quick to lose his temper or insist on his own way.

I won’t claim to be God-focused. That’s part of the reason I’m writing this. I currently state I have to work to be God-focused. I aspire to be God-focused. I think about God a lot, but I’d be lying if I said he was the focus of my every thought, and that is the problem. 

If I were to console myself, I’d say that when I truly realize I’m not focused on Him, I reorient myself. I just wish I didn’t have to stop course correcting so frequently in the day.

But what does it truly mean to be God-focused? Does a God-focused person just read the Bible all day and pray? Prayer isn’t the formal activity people make it out to be. Sure, I think every person should spend some time of each day kneeling in prayer, but that’s not the only way to do it. Prayer isn’t a posture or position of body; prayer is a mindset, and that mindset is what it means to be God focused.

First, a God-focused individual must passionately study God. A writer such as myself passionately reads and writes. A musician passionately studies his or her instrument. The key to being God-focused above all else is to passionately study God. The way we do this is reading the Bible.

For those who proclaim to be of the faith, consider this: How often do you read the Bible? If you’re a mechanic, you open a manual for a car pretty often. Journalists have to open the AP Style Book each time they proofread their work. A construction man will have to study the schematics for a building. So again, how often do you study the Bible?

If you’re expecting me to give you a “required” amount of study, I’m going to disappoint you. Salvation isn’t a checklist of deeds, it’s a gift of grace from God. What I will say is that if you only read the Bible when someone makes you, I can’t say I’d call you God-focused. A man who hates his job can still go to work. He’s not focused on his work; he’s focused on his status, appearance, or financial well being.

The heart speaks truth.

This is why studying God’s word is the first step. You can’t do what God wants if you don’t know what He wants. You can’t be focused on God if you don’t even know what things God wants you to fix your thoughts on. There’s a verse in the Bible where he literally tells you what to fix your thoughts on (Philippians 4:8). That list isn’t exclusive, but it is instructive.

Just sitting here thinking about things, I know I’m supposed to be loving (Mark 12:31 among others). I’m supposed to be wise (Proverbs). I know I’m supposed to be slow to anger (Numbers 14:18).

Ultimately, I’m supposed to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). The problem is that my sinful flesh makes that impossible. So how do I strive to do that? I focus and study God’s word, using it to guide my actions.

So the second thing a God-focused person must do is apply what he or she learns from the Bible. As one studies the Bible, one must apply the principles and obey the commands the Bible gives. The more one works at doing this, the more one finds ones self living a God-focused life.

I think that’s the battle. Sometimes it feels like every moment of every day is a battle between what I know the Bible tells me I should do and what I do. Like Paul, I too often find myself doing what I don’t want to do. I want to be a more patient man. I want to be a man who’s slow to speak, but my mouth flies open far too much, and I still don’t have a lick of patience. 

Working to improve is an example of being God-focused. Catching yourself doing something against the teachings of the Bible and adjusting your behavior is a great way to glorify God. I’m quite happy when I do this. I’d just prefer not to have to fix my thinking.

This is discipline. We discipline our actions and behavior according to God’s instruction, and the more we discipline ourselves, the more our thoughts will stay fixed on God.

The third thing a God-focused person must do is have a constant mindset of prayer. Again, we’re not telling you to kneel and pray every second of every day. I pray when one of my sons is acting up, and I know I should respond with patience and a calm demeanor rather than raise my voice. I don’t do it physically; I just think, “God, help me to lead my son to you.”

When there’s a disagreement at work, and I feel the old, prideful person I used to be start to get indignant, I think, “God, help me to be patient and kind. Help me to not insist on my own way.” 

Those are statements from 1 Corinthians 13.

When one incorporates scripture into prayer, it’s stronger. It shows your supplications are a request to do as God wants rather than a demand for God to do what you want. God is loving and generous. He gives such wonderful things to his children (Matthew 7:11). However, He’s not the servant; we are.

We use prayer to lament to God. We use prayer to praise God. We use prayer to offer supplications to God. We use prayer to seek God’s wisdom and will.

We are supposed to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This speaks to a mindset far more than it does a posture. However, one should be constantly comparing ones actions from a Biblical mindset and thinking about God throughout ones life.

That might take someone as legalistic as myself right back to a mindset of, “Then I should just read the Bible and pray all the time!”

Well if prayer is just focusing on God, then a God-focused person will do this instinctively.

It doesn’t mean everyone should strictly grow up to be a pastor. That’d be a fine life occupation indeed, but God didn’t have all 12 tribes of Israel become priests. God wants doctors and lawyers. God wants teachers and farmers. God, in his wisdom, knows what His people need, and He uses people to provide. God provides leaders and artists. God used people to write His spirit-driven words.

This means we need to study our profession. This means we need to do our jobs, whatever they are. Three months ago, who gave a second thought to a grocery store employee? Now we see how critical those people are. How about food service workers? How long will it be now before you throw a fit at a guy who prepared your food? You see, God raises the meek to humble the prideful (Matthew 23:12). 

  

A misguided person will focus too much on the works. However, if works aren’t what lead to salvation, that what you’re doing isn’t actually what matters. What matters is why. Why are you doing it? How is what you’re doing glorifying God? The doctor performing surgery because it will make him enough to buy a car I can’t spell the name of is lost. The doctor next to him performing surgery because he knows God has called him care for the ill has it right.

The teacher working on a lesson plan because that is what will help him earn a promotion is lost. The teacher next to him working because he knows God has chosen him to teach his little children has it right. 

There is another benefit to this.

You see, a God-focused person isn’t anxious. What does it profit a man to fear the loss of money or food? Will worry grow crops? Will concern in itself keep an illness from infecting you?

This fear-focused person isn’t doing anything for God. In truth, such a person is showing a lack of faith. And what does acting out of fear truly do?

A germophobe might never get sick, but he never gets to experience some of the wonderful things God has given him.

Again, this doesn’t mean, “Do what you want.”  That’s not God-focused. It simply means, do what God wants, trusting He will provide and care for you. He will.

Don’t be afraid for your life. I promise, you’ll die one day. But the saved will live again.

Don’t be afraid of poverty. You were born with nothing, and you can’t take any of your money or possessions with you after you die.

Instead, hold fast to God. He is enduring and everlasting. He will give you what you need.

This is a perfect time to fix your thoughts on God. This is a perfect time to look at your life and ask yourself if you’re really serving Him. This is a perfect time to glorify Him by being generous when others seek to horde for their own comfort. This is a perfect time to glorify Him by being grateful for what you have, even if it’s not that much.

Whatever you do, do it to honor Him.

For our panel: Even as teachers and preachers of the word, would you claim that God occupies your every thought and action? How do you reorient yourself if/when you realize you’re not focused on God in a certain moment? Is going to church “enough” Bible study? Is there more one should do to be God-focused? What verses are good to go to, to help one focus on God?

Musings on Christianity 24

Musings on Christianity 24

Why Read The Bible?

In my time growing as a Christian, one of the things that took me longer than most to understand was the value of reading the Bible. I’m not even sure why when I consider my personality. In the Navy, I hated the idea of people telling me what they thought. I had several people say, “That’s not the way to do it,” or “That’s against policy!” I always wondered, “Where are they getting all these rules?”

I don’t know that every person who ever corrected me or yelled at me (not that it happened a metric ton in the Navy) or even talked to me about policy was ignorant about it or not, but one day someone sat me down to show me what I’d done wrong. Instead of yelling or barking about ephemeral concepts, he printed the actual Navy policy in question. He let me read it. There wasn’t a debate. There was no yelling. There was no overly-long lecture or self-elevating speech. It was policy, and allowing me to read it made it about what the regulation said. I loved it. It was simple and true with no bias toward emotion or personal preference.

From that day, I always wanted to look at the policy. At my current job, I periodically read my unit’s information guide because I really do want to do what is right. That’s always been a guiding principle of mine, and so I grew to love the law. Why then, did I never read the Bible?

Please don’t misunderstand. There were several times and periods of my life where I read the Bible. What I didn’t do was read and study it daily or read it all the way through even once.

One day, while talking to one of my protégées in the Navy, I told her how important it was for one to always read the policy. For some reason, that was the moment I realized I was avoiding the source. I was angry at “organized religion.” I was angry at “Bible thumpers.” Now I realize a great deal of those “Bible thumpers” hadn’t read the Bible (at least not all the way through). They’d shout at people whatever scripture they thought was relevant, but they did it from the mindset of convincing others to do what they want rather than focus on what God wants.

We see this all the time. We see it in people who falsely claim that people of color are cursed (they’re not). We see it in people who falsely claim that people of different nationalities are lesser (they’re not). Those people love picking one verse out of context and running with it.

But the Bible is one book with sixty-six parts. If you don’t study and see how they go together and interact, your doctrine will be wrong. That doesn’t mean a person can’t study for certain things. This very book is a Biblical research project, and that’s what led to this particular chapter. You see, those who would degrade the word of the Bible probably do so because they encountered several of the people who abused it (like those above).

It was hard for me to believe the Bible was the word of God. (Wasn’t it written by men?) It was hard for me to believe the historicity of the Bible. (How could the things in the Bible be true?) What convinced me? Sure enough, I actually decided to sit down and read the whole thing. I had questions, but I didn’t declare those questions inconsistency and put it down. Rather than let my questions become reasons to stop reading and growing, I let my questions drive me to seek answers. Rather than check history, archeology, and science (real science driven by fact and not “commonly believed” bias), I checked those things against the Bible, and thus far, the Bible has won every time.

Even in the most easily recognized areas of dispute (you’re saying the world was created in six days? What about … ) the very things people use to dispute the word of God are not provable by the very science they claim debunk the Bible. The theories of the universe and evolution (and other long-held beliefs called “science”) are at-best theories that scientists are seeking to prove. The best of those scientists are objectively seeking truth based on that hypotheses, understanding that a hypotheses is just that. The worst of them have the same dogmatic rigidness they accuse a Christians of having, believing without real evidence or even the scientific desire to seek consistent evidence on the subject.

While I believe I have a scientific mind, I don’t have the scientific knowledge to prove anything, nor will I try. What I will say though is even a casual investigation into man’s biggest questions from the Bible are only (at-best) as challenging as the same “proofs” scientists have been striving to find.

If I were more scientific, the remainder of this chapter would be used to help secure one’s faith by using scientific evidence to prove the validity of the Biblical record. (Or even prove the truth of it. Truth and validity aren’t the same thing.)

That science is being conducted, and the information is out there. I’m studying it as we speak. I’m just not as versed as I’d like to be, and any effort I make in that vein will only cause more skepticism. 

Instead, I want to use my time in this chapter to tell you what reading the Bible has done for me.

Reading the Bible keeps me centered. I’m a passionate man. I’m a man of high emotion and drive. I’m also one who believes in doing what is right. I’m not without error by any means. I get distracted at work. I can be argumentative. But when I see someone doing something I know is wrong, I can be pretty unloving about how I point it out. I hope I’ve grown in this, and the people who know me have said this is true. But I was pretty thunderous in my rebuke of people who “weren’t doing it right.” I was also pretty hypocritical, pointing out the wrongs of others without any regard to my own transgressions. 

Reading the Bible puts my mind on God and his commands and how a person should live. It gives me balance between love and truth. It gives me humility when I want to be prideful. It gives me patience when I want to be hasty. It gives me discipline when I want to be wrong.

Reading the Bible gives me knowledge. A few years ago when I had so many questions, I could use those questions to excuse what I wanted to do or avoid things I knew I should be doing.  A good portion of the Bible (the epistles), are all about guiding young believers in their walk and helping them grow. The answers are there if you read and seek. Reading the Bible (go figure, in the same way you’d read any book) gives me scope. I see how things come together. I better understand doctrines that used to elude me.

Reading the Bible gives me confidence in my faith. That same period I had questions, I also used those questions to feed my doubt about Christianity. Reading the Bible removes that doubt. Do you worry that there are inconsistencies in the Bible? Don’t, while there are parts that don’t match exactly, the Bible is amazingly consistent from Old to New Testament.  Most of the reasons things don’t line up exactly have more to do with the intended audience of the work than errors in factual reporting.

This is something I teach my students. A journalist writing a story for Navy News Stand is going to format a story very differently than if he were writing it for the Yuma Daily Sun. The facts are in there. Some are left out because they matter less to one reader than another. Some are emphasized because they’re more important to one audience than another. But there is no one verse of the Bible that directly contradicts another. Only a passive scan of the Bible with the intent to find discrepancies (rather than a thorough reading with the intent to find truth, in this case to learn what it really says and why) would find evidence. However, that evidence of discrepancies never holds up against a careful reading of all the context and other accounts.

I’ve come to learn this by reading the Bible carefully. I had doubts. I may have even started my first full read through of the Bible expecting to find discrepancies and inconsistencies. They just aren’t there.

Reading the Bible fills my spirit. My human heart is prideful, arrogant, resentful, and unkind. Do I reflect those qualities more than say … a maniac? No, but just because I’m not as evil as one man doesn’t remove those characteristics from my flesh. My flesh is weak, but my spirit is so very willing to grow, and it is the overcoming of those fleshly desires that glorifies God. Reading the Bible strengthens my spirit. It arms me with the tools I need to be loving in my rebuke and humble in my mindset. I need this so much. The more I read, the easier it is to recognize when I’m thinking with a self-centered mind. (I think. I want. I believe.) The more I read, the more readily I think with a god-centered mind. (What does God say? What does God want me to do? How are my actions glorifying Him? How am I bearing Him fruit?)

There are other books that speak about the historicity, validity, and truth of the Bible, and the panel is more than welcome to contribute to those subjects. But a communication teacher who has only read the Bible all the way through one time probably isn’t going to convince anyone of those things. But a guy who reads twenty-thirty five books a year talking about what reading this book does for him? That’s probably a bit more effective. If you haven’t tried it, try it. Even if you just read it for the sake of reading anything, you’ll see how the whole story comes together in a beautiful and comforting way.

For our panel: What are some other reasons to read the Bible? Did you have any doubts in your walk in the faith? How did reading the Bible remove those doubts? Was there a particular portion of the Bible that was harder for you to believe or help others believe? How did you use the Bible to learn the truth, or how did you find certainty?

Book Review: Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur

Book Review: Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur

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Image taken from book’s Goodreads page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur is another book in the vein of Twelve Ordinary Men.

This story talks about 12 heroes from the Bible, but they may not all be the heroes you’re thinking of.

This didn’t have the staying power or resonance that 12 Ordinary Men had on me, but it was nice to read. Most of the stories show how people pass from fear to faith, so people who are struggling with spiritual issues of courage would certainly benefit from reading it.

The book also does a great job of showing how it is God who equips men who can then serve Him to do His will.

I think what I liked most about this book was the insight it gave regarding God’s grace and patience when calling people to action. This book talks about a few judges (from the book of Judges), and each of them had moments of extreme doubt. Honest, humble prayer always yielded results. That is an encouraging thought.

John-MacArthur-Primary-2I don’t know if there are more books from MacArthur of this sort, but I still think Ordinary Heroes was the strongest of the batch. However, this book is still a nice look into characters of the Bible. It lets us study those characters and glean insights about how God works (or can work) in our lives.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: 9 Common Lies Christians Believe by Shane Pruitt

Book Review: 9 Common Lies Christians Believe by Shane Pruitt

cover
The cover of this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

9 Common Lies Christians Believe and Why God’s Truth Is Infinitely Better is a book that takes nine phrases and explains why they are misperceptions. However, this book doesn’t stop there. Like the title, if you  just say, “9 Common Lies Christians Believe,” the reader doesn’t really understand the purpose of the book. The book takes those lies and shows how the truth is indeed better.

This book really had an impact on me. You see, some of these phrases are ones I’ve used and even sought for comfort, and they weren’t effective. Many of them (in my opinion) are just to the left or right of the truth, but to seek these things and not scripture can leave a person unfulfilled and even disenfranchised because they have only a partial understanding on what it is to be Christian, and the lack of a complete truth becomes an effective lie that works against the faith.

Shane Pruitt does an amazing job of breaking down each phrase and clarifying it with solid theological information if not direct Biblical reference, which might be the only gripe I have on this book.  It’s been about three months since I finished the book, so I can’t be sure, but I don’t recall any scriptural reference, which I think would have multiplied the effectiveness of the premise.

I don’t want to take from Pruitt’s book, so I’ll only tease a few phrases he looks into:  Follow your heart. God just wants me to be happy. God doesn’t give more than you can handle.

Shane.jpg
This image of Mr. Pruitt was taken from his website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

I’ve used almost all nine of the phrases in the book (I think). And this book helped me see in a different light. Some of these things I have come to learn through my own walk in life, but this book validated a lot of those evolved ideas. Others I realize what I meant, but what I meant (connotation) was vastly different than what I said (denotation).

I think this book is something I’d recommend to anyone new in the faith or someone who is interested in becoming a Christian.  Obviously, the best book to read is The Bible. This book does provide some pretty good context to a lot of things many Christians say or even think.

Thanks for reading,

Matt