Showing posts with label Musings of a Bookworm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Musings of a Bookworm. Show all posts

Book Questions

So I was browsing Twitter the other day, and I stumbled across a link-up about books! Yes!

I don't think you all realize how much of a bookworm I really am. I love to read. There something very satisfying about turning the last page in a book. I love the smell of books. I love fiction. I love non-fiction. I like mysteries, suspense, romances, historical fiction, science-fiction, parenting books, marriage books, classic books, political books, Christian-living books. I just like books! So much so that I usually buy them faster than I can read them. Hence the ridiculous stack on my nightstand.

My mom instilled this love of reading in me, and I'm hoping to turn my kids into readers too (as much as I can, because I think there's a genetic component). I'm well on my way with Wyatt - I'm always catching him reading something, and when he sees me reading he'll grab one of his picture books and sit on the couch to read with me.

Needless to say, this linkup was right up my alley, so I thought I'd participate this month!


What are you currently reading?

Right now I'm reading Outbound Flight by Timothy Zhan, which is a Star Wars book! You are probably laughing at me, but if you knew how deeply Star Wars runs in the blood on both sides of our family (mainly through my brother and Derek's brother, and my dad who introduced us to Star Wars), you would understand that reading the books is not unusual. This is the second Star Wars book I have read this year, and I have to say they are really interesting books (at least the two I've read), and they are easy to read.

What is your favorite book character, and why?

Anne of Green Gables comes to mind, and Emma from Jane Austen's book. Why? Because they are so not perfect (one of my pet peeves are characters that are too perfect), but they have good hearts, and they learn from their mistakes. I like my book characters to show growth. If they don't grow at all its just boring.

What would the title of your memoir be?

Um...this would be a lot easier if I had some crazy life story, but I don't. Not yet anyway. Um...sheesh, I think I just want to hear all of your answers to this question! Comment below if you have a good one. Maybe it'll give me an idea.

You be the director! Cast your favorite book characters for the movie version that has not yet been made.

So I tried to think of an answer to this question, guys, I really did - but I only know the names of a handful of actors, so I have a very limited mental inventory from which to draw. This is why I am not a movie director!

Plus I'm struggling because most of my favorite books have already been made into movies, and I have a hard time thinking outside the box once a character has already been cast . . . I also form pictures in my head of what I think the characters look like, and unless I see someone who looks exactly like the picture in my head I have a hard time seeing it.

I will say that I think the actors they got to play Bilbo Baggins in LOTR and The Hobbit looked pretty much exactly how I pictured him. But every other book-turned-movie character I've ever seen has taken some mental adjusting. There's a reason I wasn't meant for the movie business.

What book or series do you remember reading in elementary or middle school?

There was this series I read that was called the American Adventures series. It was basically a kid's series about kids who lived in different periods of American history and their stories, but it was generational - so the kids in one book were the parents in the next book. It was really interesting, and I loved those books!

They were $4 each, and every time I came into a little extra money I'd head down to the bookstore and buy the next one. I was determined to buy them all, but about halfway through someone loaned me the rest of the series. I told myself I would still make sure to complete my collection, but I never did. Now I think I need to go back and buy the rest for my kids! It was really an interesting way to learn American history, and I think it'd be a good tool for homeschooling in the future too.

Pink Heels Pink Truck

Thirty-Six Books

I read thirty-five books last year!  I far exceeded my expectations as far as how many books I would read in 2012 - I thought for sure it would be a slow reading year with a toddler and being pregnant and all.  But after reading eighteen in 2011 and nineteen in 2010, I'm pretty impressed with myself!
I like to keep a record of the books I read and my thoughts on them, so I'm just going to do a few words on each book - like a super-brief mini review.  If you want more of my thoughts on any of these books, just let me know!  Here we go.  In no particular order...

Miss Billy by Eleanor H. Porter - The same author that wrote Pollyanna.  Loved it!

Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission by Ronnie Floyd - Very good, read my full review here.

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun - I liked it!

Decorating Schemes by Ginny Aiken - Pretty good, liked it.

Last Light by Terri Blackstock - Intense plot, I liked it.  I want to read the next book.

Kisses From Katie: A Story Of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis - Very good, inspiring!

When The Cradle Is Empty: Coping WIth Infertility by John Van Regenmorter - Very good, I'd recommend it to anyone struggling to get pregnant.

Simple Secrets to A Happy Life by Luci Swindoll - Loved it, lots of good wisdom, read my full review here.

Scrapping Plans by Rebecca Seitz - Didn't like it, wasn't well written or researched - read my review here.

One Thousand Gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp - Overall I thought it was good and thought-provoking.  Didn't like the way she put certain things, but the poetry of her writing was inspiring.

Misconception: One Couple's Journey from Embryo Mix-Up to Miracle Baby by Paul and Shannon Morell - Wow, I can't imagine going through this - very interesting read.  I just read "Inconceivable" by Sean and Carolyn Savage, the other couple involved in the mix-up, and I couldn't put it down.  I'd recommend reading both books if you read this one, it was interesting to read both sides of the story.

Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam (not pictures because I remembered this one later) - A few situations that I didn't quite want to read about in the book, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings - Liked it.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Meh.  Read my review here.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (audiobook) - Obviously it was good.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - Excellent, a must-read.  I love C.S. Lewis's writing.  He was such a deep-thinker.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine - Classic.  You can't review American classics.  It was good!

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne - Read it to Wyatt, loved it!

Take Three by Karen Kingsbury - First let me say that thesis the third book in the series, and I did not like the first two books in this series which I read a couple years ago.  I didn't like reading how one of the characters falls into sinful relationships, and though Karen Kingsbury can write about these topics tastefully most of the time, I felt her descriptions in the first two books were bordering on inappropriate, for me.  But I picked up the series again this year, and I thought this book was appropriate, and her books are always hard to put down.

Take Four by Karen Kingsbury - It was good.

Leaving, Learning, Longing, and Loving (Four books, Bailey Flannigan series) by Karen Kingsbury - This series builds off of the previous series, which is the whole reason I read the two books above.  I wanted to find out what happened to Bailey Flannigan.  This series did not end like I expected, but I enjoyed it, and after I got used to the idea that it was not going to go the way I thought, I was very happy with the story.

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch - Note: There is  language, descriptive violence, and a couple other things in this book that I wanted to include a warning on.  Just be aware.  Not sure I would recommend it because of the above warning, but the plot had me on the edge of my seat, and it was well-written.  I think if they cleaned it up a bit it would make a great movie.

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble - Kind of slow-moving, but it was good, read my review here.

Dreaming In Black and White by Laura Jensen Walker - Christian Chic-lit, I enjoyed it.

Fatal Distractions: Conquering Destructive Temptations by Kay Arthur - Bible study, very good, read my review here.

Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark - I love this series, good book.

Elementary, My Dear Watkins by Mindy Starns Clark - Same series, last book, I liked it!

Covenant Child: A Story Of Promises Kept by Terri Blackstock - Good, but one of those stories where you get really frustrated with the characters until the end of the book when they come to their senses!

Beyond the Farthest Star by Brock and Bodie Theone - Okay, kind of depressing, I thought.

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum - Christian chic-lit. I enjoyed it, though I wasn't quite sure if the author was trying to send a message about predestination through some of the book . . . which is a completely different topic, but if you might get frustrated by that, be aware.  But I thought it was humorous and fun!

Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement For Those Shaping the Next Generation Of Women by James Dobson - It was very good!  Definitely would recommend it to moms of girls.

Parenting Isn't For Cowards by James Dobson - Excellent parenting book, easy to read, I'd recommend it.

How My Soul Yearns by Ashley Wells - An Infertility story by a fellow blogger, I enjoyed it, though my heart broke for her too.  However, I tracked down her blog, and the story has a happy ending - she is now the foster (and hopefully soon, adoptive) mother of four precious children!

And that's it!  Once again, if you want to know a more detailed opinion from me on any particular book, let me know!

Rewards For Obedience

I finished the book "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs today. In case you didn't read my last couple of posts, there are three cycles discussed in the book: the first was the Crazy Cycle, the second was the Energizing Cycle. If you missed these posts, please check them out, because this post is building on those previous posts! The final cycle discussed was the Rewarded Cycle.

When I started this section I thought it was going to re-visit the idea that if the husband loves the wife it makes her want to respect him more and he is rewarded through that, and if the wife respects her husband he'll want to love her more and she'll be rewarded through that. But I was wrong. This chapter was not about what happens when a husband and wife are both loving and respecting each other and the related rewards - it talked about the rewards a husband or wife will receive if they love or respect the other and are not getting a positive response from their spouse.

Part of the chapter encouraged you to hang in there and keep respecting your husband, because it was likely that your husband is experiencing changes internally where you just can't see them yet. But the main point was that even if your husband never shows love to you, if you continue to respect him you are doing what the Lord has told you to do. You are acting in obedience to God, and you will be rewarded in different ways for that.

By obeying the Lord in this (and in any commandment of God's), you are storing up rewards for yourself in heaven. Respecting your husband or loving your wife should not be done solely in order to produce a change of behaviour or an improvement in the marriage, but our sole motivation should be to obey the Lord. And the Lord has commanded us to do this. If we focus on pleasing the Lord it will help us to respond in a proper way to our spouses, even when they are not responding in a proper way to us. And if we do it unto the Lord, He will reward us for our faithfulness someday.

The second reward is in providing a good example to your children by acting in a godly manner toward your spouse. They learn from the way you behave toward your spouse, and if you can behave in a godly way it doesn't matter what your spouse does - your children will see the way you do what is right, and they will remember you well for it and try to do the same thing in their lives. Obeying God in this is a way to leave a legacy.

And the final way to be rewarded is in eventually winning over your spouse through your obedience to God - this is the reward that was discussed previously.

I thought this section was a good reminder that it doesn't matter what others do - we are called to act in obedience to God in every area of our life, not because we'll get anything out of it, but because it will please the Lord. And that is the most important reason to work on respecting our husbands (or loving your wives).

I really enjoyed this book, and through reading it I have learned alot of ways that I can try to improve my marriage, even though I've only been married eight months! As I was reading the book I was remembering alot of my arguments with Derek so far - and I realized most of our arguments started because of a lack of love or respect. And I will admit, I think i's mostly been a lack of respect on my part - if I had reacted in a more respectful way, the argument probably wouldn't have escalated, or may not even have happened at all.

The only way I can improve in this is with the Lord's help, and I'm counting on Him to help me in this area!

Once again, if you are married or hope to be married one day, I highly recommend this book! Go buy or rent it from the library ASAP! I think it's important to learn as much as you can about how to have a good marriage while it's still early on in our marriages - it will help us to prepare for a lifetime of married bliss, and make a happy marriage much more likely, not only now but for years in the future.

C.H.A.I.R.S. - Advice For Wives

The next cycle in the book I'm reading ("Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs) is called the "Energizing Cycle". The firt cycle, if you'll remember, was the "Crazy Cycle" - please see my previous post on the Crazy Cycle.

The Energizing Cycle can start with just one spouse following the command in the Bible to either love their wife or respect their husband. If one person in the relationship does this then it's more likely to bring about a loving or respectful reaction from the other spouse. The book calls it the energizing cycle because it says if the wife is respecting her husband it "energizes" him to treat her in a more loving way, or if the husband is loving his wife it will "energize" her to react in a more respectful way.

What I liked about this chapter is that it actually gave practical advice to husbands and wives on how to get on the Energizing Cycle in the form of acronyms. I kind of skipped through the section for husbands on loving their wives (though I may go back through and actually read it), but I was more interested in reading the chapters written for wives on how to respect their husbands.

The acronym for wives is C.H.A.I.R.S.

The "C" stands for Conquest, because a man is wired to work and achieve. We ladies aren't wired exactly the same way, but this chapter talked about how a man's job is very important to him. Derek once made a comment to me about how he wouldn't understand it if we didn't have any kids and I didn't want to work at all. At the time I felt a little unsupported - I'm the type that I would want to work just to have something to do, but I wanted his hypothetical support if I would someday decide that I didn't want to work. He kept saying that he would support me, but he wouldn't understand it. Looking back on that discussion of ours I realize perhaps why he wouldn't understand that. Working and achieving and "conquering" are so tied into who men are at their core, that I'm understanding a little better why he would have a hard time with me not wanting to work (if we have no kids at home - he totally understands me not wanting to work when we have kids).

The chapter also emphasized how crushing it is to a man if you even indirectly belittle his work. And it gave practical advice about how to be supportive - I can't tell you everything though, you'll just have to read the book yourself.

The "H" stands for heirarchy and it discussed how we women need to appreciate our men's desire to protect and provide for us. Men are called to be the "head" in the relationship. That doesn't sit well with the feminist idea of the world we see most today, but it's what the Bible teaches. One line that I appreciated in this chapter was "The problem many women have today - including Christian wives - is that they want to be treated like a princess, but deep down they resist treating their husbands like the king." And apparently one does follow the other - when we treat our husbands with the respect they deserve as the head of our households, they are more likely to respnd by treating us like princesses. And what wife doesn't want that?

The "A" stands for authority. This chapter also talks about how a man is to be the leader of his household and serve his family by leading them. We women need to respect their authority - there needs to be a distinct leader within any organization, and according to God's Word, in the family the husband is it. We women are called "to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." (Titus 2:5).

"I" stands for insight, and this chapter talks about how our husbands desire to help us by analyzing and giving us counsel. And we need to be willing to take their advice to heart - they look at the world from a different perspective, and they often react to situations in a less emotional way. They are able to give us wise advice from a man's perspective, and we would be wise to heed their advice, and not belittle their thoughts or counsel. Once again, this is easy to do inadvertantly, so we wives need to constantly be on our guard and look at how something will come across to our husbands from their point of view.

The "R" is for relationship. This chapter talks about how men and women are different in ow they form meaningful relationships. Women like to talk and discuss what they think about this and that, and talking makes us feel closer to our friends. But men are different - they don't form bonds through talking so much as through shared experiences.

Has your husband ever asked you to just sit with him and not talk? This is a question the book addresses, and at first I didn't think Derek had ever wanted me to just sit there with him. But then as I thought about it I realized that he did once suggest that I come downstairs and watch him work on the desk he's making me. But I didn't really want to because there were other things I wanted to do. I realized that when Derek suggested that he wanted to build that "shoulder to shoulder" friendship with me.

The book talked about how your husband will feel closer to you if you have some "shoulder to shoulder" time without talking. I decided to test this concept, so I tried it yesterday and here's what happened.

Derek had gone outside to chop some firewood for us. I let him be out there for a couple minutes alone, then I grabbed a chair and took it outside. I plopped the chair down close to where he was chopping and sat on it. Derek smiled at me and asked if I was coming out to read, and I said "Yep, and to watch you." He joked about being nervous at being critiqued, and I told him I wasn't going to critique him, I just wanted to watch.
He proceeded chopping wood, occasionally grinning at me - I smiled back. You have no idea how many times I wanted to say something, or comment, or ask a question, but I exhibited amazing self-control and kept my lips sealed. After about ten minutes he looked at me and said "Are you sure you aren't bored just watching me?" I said no, because I really wasn't. He grinned and said "Well, good. I would just think it would be boring." He chopped for a couple more minutes, then set his ax down and walked over to where I was sitting. Without a word he bent down and kissed me. Then he went back to work for a few more minutes, then turned and grinned again and said "well, I'm glad you like watching me." I nodded and smiled, saying as little as possible (it was so hard). He came over and gave me another kiss a few minutes later. After a while he said he needed a break and came over to sit next to me. Then he just started talking about how we should go to the museum (he knows I love the museum, even though he isn't as crazy about it) or at least we should go out to my favorite restaurant for dinner and a movie!

I could really tell that Derek just really enjoyed having me sit there and watch him, and just be with him. Not only did my watching him fulfill that shoulder to shoulder friendship need, but I think it also showed him that I still admire him, and I'm interested in what he's doing. That's a big part of showing him respect - and it resulted in him showing me love by suggesting we go on a date!

Finally the "S" stands for sexuality. I never thought this would come up in a post (my cheeks are turning red as I type)! This chapter talked about how we wives need to appreciate our husband's desire for sexual intimacy and not withhold that blessing from them because we're just "not in the mood" or whatever other excuses come up. I never really had a problem in this area, at least not so far, because my mom advised me before we were married that it was important to fulfill that need of your husband's. If they want to, do it with a cheerful attitude (even if you're tired), and they will often respond by showing love to you. Being the wise daughter that I am, I took my mother's advice, and I've found that she was right!

Like I said, I didn't really read the acronym for the husbands, but I'm sure if I go back to it later there will be many pieces of wisdom there too. But as I'm lady, and I'm writing this series of posts to all you ladies out there, I'm just going to cover what we women need to focus on mostly.

The next post will be on the last cycle it discusses in the book. I was tempted just to do posts on the first two cycles, but when I read the first part of the last section it said the third cycle was very important, so I figured I better not skip it! I'll read the rest of the book and report back as soon as I can!

Please, Stop the Craziness! (To Be Continued . . .)

It has been quite a week. I feel like I've had hardly any time at home the last few days, and I'm so glad I don't work this much regularly. I'm telling you, dental hygiene is a difficult job, because your entire day is crazy - there are no slow moments. That can be a good thing, but sometimes those slow moments can be nice; so don't take them for granted!

Lately I've ben reading a book called "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. It's a marriage book that Derek and I got for our wedding. I'm sure you've heard of it! If you are married and haven't read it, you should go buy it and read it ASAP.

I'm still in the middle of the book, but I've learned alot from it. The basic premise of the book is that a man's basic need in the marriage is to be respected, and a woman's basic need in the marriage is to feel love. It seems so simple, right? Before I read the book I had heard that men value respect over love, and I tried to show my husband respect, but I wasn't really sure how that works in a marriage, besides obviously trying to respect and love each other.

The book breaks it down very nicely.

I think I'm going to do three posts within the next few days on the three "cycles" that married couples go through, according to the book. I'm doing it this way mainly because I haven't read about the last cycle yet, and I don't have time over my lunch break here to read the rest of the book and post. So the first cycle is aptly named:

The Crazy Cycle

Basically the crazy cycle is when things are going crazy in the marriage. He doesn't feel respect which is what he wants most - he knows his wife loves him, but he needs to know that she respects him. Likesise she's not feeling as if her husband really loves her. The clincher in this section is how they explain that the wife feeling unloved and the husband feeling disrespected are interconnected. If the husband isn't feeling respect from his wife, he'll shut down and not talk, or perhaps yell, or react in any number of unloving ways. The wife feels unloved, which in turn may cause her to criticize her husband, perhaps yell, nag, or react in other disrespectful ways, which makes the husband feel even more disrespected. And round and round it goes!

The first part of the book may feel like the author is coming down hard on us women, but try to look past that. I don't think that's what he's trying to do, I think he's just trying to emphasize how almost every marriage talk you hear focuses on how you need to love each other more and in better ways, etc. Let's face it, these messages are mostly for men - we women may not always act in loving ways, but we are wired that way, so it comes easier to us. But there are not very many messages out there about wives showing respect to their husbands - and I think the author is trying to establish that this lack in instruction for us in this area is a major reason why marriages today have gone crazy and are breaking up all over the place. He'll make you feel guilty, but I don't think he's trying to, so bear through this because the book gets better.
As I read, to my astonishment I realized that Derek and I have already had a few revolutions on the Crazy Cycle! What, I thought, shouldn't newlyweds be exempt? It should take at least five years to get to the craziness, right? Ah, wrong! In the process of living with our husband for a few months, we wives realize that our husbands are not perfect. They leave toothpaste in the sink. They don't wipe their dishes off before putting them in the dishwasher. They unwittingly leave the house a mess. And what do we do? We ask them to please clean this, put that away, etc. At least that's what I did. I thought I asked very nicely, but I recently realized I was pointing out the things that he wasn't doing too much, and Derek was starting to feel disrespected, because I wasn't appreciating the things he was doing (and he does alot for me! I don't deserve that man).

That was just for every day life - our arguments were a completely different story. When we were in the middle of an argument I realized some of the things I had been saying - and as I tried to look at them from Derek's point of view, I realized how disrespectful that sounded. Sure, I was feeling unloved, but did that give me the right to disobey God's word and react in a way that showed disrespect for my husband? Here is where the guilt from the book comes in.

Yes, I guess it is possible to be in the Crazy Cycle this early in our marriage. We had one week that we argued practically every time we were together, and I started to realize just how much of that was my own fault (I can get rather self-righteous during an argument - does anyone else out there struggle with that?). Because of my sporadic reading of this book I was trying to show him more respect in ways that made sense to me - like sending him notes telling him why I respected him. It was a good idea, a good start, but I needed to not just say "I respect you". I needed to show it in my everyday manner, and especially in our arguments. Ah, the epiphany! I've been trying, but it ain't easy.

So I've been reading this book more lately. Thankfully the next section gave solid advice on which areas Derek needed to feel respected in, and how I can do that! Thank goodness, there was finally a solution!! I'll cover that in my next post.

"Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."
-Ephesians 5:33 (NASB)

By The Things That Are Made

I recently read the book “Case For A Creator” by Lee Strobel. I tend to be a science geek anyway, so this book was very interesting to me. Our God's imagination and power just amaze me, and studying science has always reminded me of that. This book allowed me to read about many more ways that our God has shown just how amazing He is through His creation. It consisted mostly of interviews with various scientists who are experts in their given fields and who are inclined to lean toward intelligent design as a viable theory of how the world originated.
Reading this book put me in my “science geek” mode, and inspired this post. These are some interesting quotes that I found not only in the book but through my own searches as well, and I’ve compiled them according to basic topic for you here. Please take time to read through them – these kinds of quotes are always encouraging and inspiring to me, and I hope they are to you as well.

“Exquisite Order”

“It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in numbers, has been rather carefully thought out . . . The seemingly miraculous concurrence of these numerical values must remain the most compelling evidence for cosmic design.”
- Paul Davies, Physicist

“The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine.”
- Vera Kistiakowski, Physicist

“Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as brute fact . . . I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, an accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.”
- Paul Davies, Physicist

“A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”
-Sir Fred Hoyle

“Created For Man to Live In”

“Would it not be strange it a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose?”
-Sir John Templeton

“All the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common – these are precisely the values you need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life.”
-Patrick Glynn

“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate that universe was created for man to live in.”
-John A. O’Keefe, Astrophysicist, NASA

Designed To Do Science

“What intrigued me was that the very time and place where perfect solar eclipses appear in our universe also corresponds to the one time and place where that are observers to see them . . .What’s more, perfect solar eclipses have resulted in important scientific discoveries that would have been difficult if not impossible elsewhere, where eclipses don’t happen.”
-Guillermo Gonzales, PHD

“Our main point is that there’s no obvious reason to assume that the very same rare properties that allow for our existence would also provide the best overall setting to make discoveries about the world around us. In fact, we believe that the conditions for making scientific discoveries on earth are so fine-tuned that you would need a great amount of faith to attribute them to mere chance.”
-Jay Wesley Richards, PHD

“One purpose for which we were designed is to do science itself.”
-Lee Strobel in Case For A Creator

Fanaticism of Evolutionists

“It has been my experience . . . that the ones who oppose the theory of design most vociferously do so for religious reasons.”
-Michael Behe, Biochemist

“Scientists propose hypotheses all the time. No big deal. But if I say ‘I don’t think natural selection is the driving force for the development of life; I think it was intelligent design,’ people don’t just disagree; many of them jump up and down and get red in the face. When you talk to them about it, invariably they’re not excited because they disagree with the science; it’s because they see the extra-scientific implications of intelligent design and they don’t like where it’s leading.”
-Michael Behe, Biochemist

"I wish I were younger. What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders."
-C.S. Lewis

A Sure Path to God

“It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”
-Paul Davies, Physicist

“Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
-James Tour, Nanoscientist

“Nothing we learn about the universe threatens our faith. It only enriches it.”
-George Coyne, Astrophysicist

" I became exposed to the law and order of the universe, I was literally humbled by its unerring perfection. I became convinced that there must be a divine intent behind it all... My experiences with science led me to God. They challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun?"
-Wernher von Braun.

"Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere." -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Beyond Those Stars”

“Many have found that the awesome sight of the star-studded heavens evoke a sense of wonder, and awareness of transcendence, that is charged with spiritual significance. Yet the distant shimmering of stars does not itself create this sense of longing; it merely exposes what’s already there. They are catalysts for our spiritual insights, revealing our emptiness and compelling us to ask whether and how this void can be filled.
Might our true origins and destiny somehow lie beyond those stars? Might there not be a homeland, from which we are presently exiled and to which we secretly long to return? Might not our accumulation of discontentment and disillusionment with our present existence be a pointer to another land where our true destiny lies and which is able to make its presence felt now in this haunting way?
Suppose that this is not where we are meant to be but that a better land is at hand? We don’t belong here. We have somehow lost our way. Would not this make our present existence both strange and splendid? Strange, because it is not where our true destiny lies; splendid, because it points ahead to where that real hope might be found. The beauty of the night skies or a glorious sunset are important pointers to the origins and ultimate fulfillment of our heart’s deepest desires. But if we mistake the signpost for what is signposted, we will attach all our hopes and longing to lesser goals, which cannot finally quench our thirst for meaning.”
-Allister McGrath

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse . . ."
-Romans 1:20

Musings of a Bookworm - Salty and Shiney

I love getting new books for Christmas. I think it's because I tend to be a bookworm anyway, but it's just the best thing to get new books.

This Christmas my mom and dad got my a new series called "The Mark of the Lion" series, by Francine Rivers. It takes place in Rome about 70 A.D. If you are going on vacation or break, and you want a book series that captures your attention and won't let it go, I definitely recommend these books. I can hardly put them down. I'm on the second book right now entitled "An Echo in the Darkness", and I can hardly wait to find out what happens to the characters.

One thing that has particularaly struck me while I've been reading these books is the complete moral depravity of Rome during this time period. The books are fiction, but I have no doubt that the author really did her research. She includes many Roman terms and rituals in the books, and I have confidence that these books are a pretty accurate representation of the culture of that time.

The sins discussed in this book are truly appalling. Any disgusting and perverted thing you can think of seems to have been considered normal in the Roman empire, and not just normal, but encouraged. The moral darkness that is discussed in the book is somewhat disturbing.

It occurred to me as I read that our world today is in no better shape than the world I've been reading about in these books. I tend to be somewhat naive and sheltered (by choice - I shelter myself from alot that goes on in the world) when it comes to the sins in our society today. The world is just as disgusting and perverted today as it was in A.D. Rome, and is quickly getting worse.

Thankfully Francine Rivers does not leave the story in complete darkness - one bright light shines through in the form of a young slave girl named Hadassah who is a Christian. Hadassah strives to reflect her Lord and longs for the courage to tell others about her Savior.

I can relate to Hadassah. I want to tell those around me about my Savior, but something often holds me back from speaking plainly. Fear?

I always think back on those conversations with unbelieving friends and think of the perfect thing to say. Why I can't think of something to say at the time I don't know. It's frustrating, and I often feel like a failure when it comes to sharing the Good News of Jesus. Somehow I think if I'm supposed to speak the Lord will give me the words - but I think that may just be an excuse. How can the Lord tell me what to say if I won't even open my mouth?

I'm encouraged when I think that in "The Mark of the Lion" series Hadassah doesn't just share the Lord with others through her words; often it's through her actions. I don't feel like such a failure when I think that the Lord can still use my example, even when words escape me.

I know that my spiritual gift is not evangalism, but it's still something that I want to work on, that I long to get better at. With the Lord's help I think someday I will.

In these books, those around Hadassah could see that something was different about her. The Lord reflects through every Christian - the Lord uses us as the salt that keeps the world from rotting, the light that shines through the darkness. I'm going to try my best to be as salty and shiney as I can this year, and I give you all permission to remind me of that whenever necessary; and of course, to be salty and shiney with me!

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:13-16

Musings of a Bookworm - Signs and Library Books

Those of you who check my blog every now and then might recall that about two months ago I made a post regarding a book I was reading. The book was entitled: "Are We living in the End Times?" by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Well, I'm still reading it. It's a library book and I've had to renew it twice at the library already, and I'll probably have to try to renew it a third time this week. I tend to take a while at reading non-fiction books because my fiction book usually distracts me. Since this book is coming up for renewal yet again, I decided I better wait on starting my next novel until I get a little further in "Are We Living in the End Times?" It's an excellent book really, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in doing more research on Bible prophecy.
Reading about Bible prophecy and the end times also tends to inspire me, so I thought I'd finally follow through on that promise to blog about what I learn from reading this book.
One of the major focus points of "Are We Living in the End Times?" is that many of the conditions that must be present before the major end times prophecies can be fulfilled are already in place today, and that the Rapture of the church could occur in our generation. I certainly am looking forward to the day when the Lord will return and instantly take us home, as any Christian does, and I found their arguments for an emminent Rapture very encouraging. I thought I would paraphrase a few of those arguments here.

One thing I have learned from this book was that Matthew 24 and 25 are two very important chapters on end time prophecy. I've read those chapters many times, but I never actually took the time to try to understand exactly what was being said. Tim Lahaye considers this to be a sort of outline of the end time prophecies given to us by Jesus Himself.

One thing that I never really noticed before (or maybe it's just that I never appreciated it before - it's amazing how the Lord can show you something new in something you've read a thousand times already) is that in Matthew 24:3 the disciples specifically asked Jesus what would be the signs of the end times and of Jesus's coming. Isn't it nice that the people who were closest to Jesus when He was on this earth had the foresight to ask a question like that? Jesus's answer was that (1)"Many will come in My name saying 'I am the Christ' and will decieve many", and (2) that "there will be wars and rumors of wars".
If we look at those two signs and consider the state of the world today it's amazing. The book discussed how at this time in history there is more deception and division within the church than ever before. And it's true, there are so many different denominations of churches, and some of the doctrines presented today are not supported by scripture.

As for the second sign Jesus mentioned that there will be wars and rumors of wars, and that "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom". The authors said in their book that they believe that Jesus was referring to a specific kind of war. The authors compared the the term nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom to other portions of scripture, and they surmise that this phrase could be referring to a war started by two nations that would quickly involve the whole world, which could fit with the curcumstances of World War I. The pestilences and famines that are mentioned after that would match up with the flu epidemic and famines that killed so many people right after World War I. More people have died in wars in the last hundred years than in any other period of human history.

After listing these two signs Jesus said that these would be "the beginning of sorrows" which is a term that is used elsewhere in scripture to describe a woman in labor. These signs represent the very first birth pains, and as Tim Lahaye describes it in his book "in most cases she does not look for the birth of the child immediately; she looks for another birth pain".
Tim Lahaye's interpretation of the "signs" Jesus mentioned may or may not be accurate - only time will really tell. But the book definitely convinced me that the world is in a better position for the return of Christ to Rapture His church than at any other time in world history.

Well, rats, I wanted to write about some of the other signs mentioned in this book, such as Israel becoming a nation(Ezekiel 37), and the belief that the generation who sees Israel's "fig tree" blossom "will by no means pass away before these things are fulfilled" (Matthew 24:32-34), or the increase in knowledge and travel predicted in Daniel 12:4, or the rise of China and China's significance in the war of Armaggedon (we're the first generation to see China expand and grow like it has since World War II). But I think this post is already extraordinarily long, so I'll close for now. If you want to read more about it you might just have to stop at the library and rent the book. Or maybe I'll have time to do one more post about it before I return it; we'll see!
I hope you've found some of these "signs of the end times" as encouraging as I have. Since I've begun reading "Are We Living in the End Times?" I'm more encouraged and hopeful that the Lord will indeed take us home before I die, and I feel like I have more reason to really believe that than I had before. If you've never done it before, I recommend you pick up a copy of a book on Bible prophecy by an author you trust and start reading it - I think it's one of the best things to boost your walk with the Lord, because it will remind you that He could return at any time and will encourage you to live as if He might!
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