Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

15
Jun

As God’s Scribe: An Introduction…

 

I write this with great, great hesitation and fear. Why?

God is asking me to do something I fear will lose me everyone and everything I value. He is asking me to do it here.

I have long struggled with how to conduct myself on this blog. My favorite kind of writing is writing that entertains, encourages, and perhaps causes you to consider a different angle of this life…and the life after this one.

But, in 2014, God asked me to do a different kind of writing here. At first, I thought He wanted me to simply tell about the extraordinary experiences I have had with Him–experiences my M.S. in psychology can’t explain adequately.

Where’s Your Book, MaryAnn?

 

At that point, I began sensing that God wanted to use this blog for another purpose. Or at least my writing for some other purpose of His. I have tried writing two books, and for one reason or another, they always stall. And I think I know at least a little reason or two why.

05
Nov

Fast 5: Philemon Philosophy…

Paul's Letter to Philemon

Paul’s Letter to Philemon

The hubby and I rebelled against the “game system craze” of the 1990s and early 2000s, which irritated the stuffing out of our offspring. To quell their dissatisfaction we did buy educational and Christian games that could be played on the home computer for quite a number of years. I am the first to say that I am lousy at playing video and computer games, unless we’re talking about the Difficult level of Spider Solitaire or Pet Detective on Lumosity.com (Let me guess–there are Jim Carrey fans at Lumosity.com.) But, one game that I finally managed to master during the era of computer games at our house, was Onesimus. There were 33 levels to that game (I think?!) and it required the user to get Onesimus, the slave, safely back to Philemon, his owner. Getting Onesimus back to Philemon safely was no easy feat! And even the offspring took quite a while to finally master the game. Onesimus must have loved danger, because the boy managed to find all kinds of trouble on his way back to Colossae, probably the town where Philemon resided. Let’s just say it was easier to avoid that donkey in Donkey Kong. 

29
Oct

Fast 5: Oh, Bad Obadiah…

Petra

Confession Time: I often loathe reading my Bible. (I’ll wait for my Christian friends to gasp in horror from that little statement.) It’s not that I don’t want to hear what the good Lord wants to say to me through His word; it’s just that a good portion of the Old Testament is an odd collection of writings about times I have difficulty relating to modern life. In the words of Beth Moore, “It’s not always about you!” and I agree. Sometimes I just need to study those ancient writings and wait for the Lord to tell me its relevance.

If you also sometimes struggle to to read your Bible often or you have decided it’s a total waste of your time, may I suggest some of the following tips to help with that? Here they are:

1. Find a translation that works for you. I’m currently partial to the Message (or the Bible According to Eugene, as I like to call it–Eugene Peterson is the author of this paraphrase.) because it puts difficult passages into everyday English.

25
Apr

Slow Reader Thursday: Live!

Skeleton

I encountered Christal N. M. Jenkins (the author of Live!) at my first writer’s conference in Portland, OR. If you’re depressed, she is the “medication” that doesn’t require a glass of water or swallowing a pill. Christal’s smile, alone, will raise your spirits. It’s a smile that has known a lot of pain and hardship and yet, refuses to give into “the darkness.”

She taught a learning-loaded seminar for new writers and I learned a lot from her well-organized presentation. Even more impressive is that she didn’t refer to her notes (At least that’s how it appeared to me.). But, as she alluded to surviving some serious health issues, I felt myself identifying with her story more and more.

Thus, I purchased her 2nd book, Live! In Live! she recounts losing a job that gave her a fair amount of status and deciding that she would succumb to the call to preach. Even though she felt she was doing just that, she began having scary health difficulties. This was made even more difficult by her hectic schedule of traveling and speaking and volunteering. One is often at the mercy of others for transportation and not knowing where hospitals are while traveling.

Eventually, Christal was hospitalized and a diagnosis was found. And yes, I have suffered Christal’s illness. But, that is not the point of her story (or mine). The point is that we, as Christians, are to speak life to others and live. How does one speak “life”? Have you heard of the Bible? 🙂 I confess that I often don’t enjoy memorizing Scripture, but when I do force myself to do so, it usually comes in very handy when talking with others who need some encouragement.

Christal felt she was being directed to Ezekiel’s description of the “dry bones” during this period of her life. And on pages 49-54 she deftly lays out what the “dry bones” of our lives could look like: unemployment, fear, tragedy, etc. As she does so, she reminds us that God’s word can handle where we are in our lives and give new life to those “dry bones,” whatever they may be.

Point to Ponder Challenge: What are your “dry bones”? How can you speak “life” back into them and get moving again? Does someone else need you to speak “life” to them? What can you do today to help that process along for them?

 

 

22
Mar

Lessons Learned from Not Running…

running

 

On the day when the Lord was handing out athletic genes, I must have been in the “facilities” because I have zero hand-to-eye coordination and a limited ability to do just about anything else requiring physical ability.  However, as a child, I was blessed with two much older brothers and in an effort to keep me from continually annoying them, they were endlessly running from me and I was endlessly chasing them.  The result:  MaryAnn, despite being vertically-challenged, was a pretty okay runner.  In fact, I’m a bit like Seabiscuit on a track.  Put a runner in front of me and I am bent on beating them.  I may not come in first, but I will probably be right behind the winner of the race.

I used to like running.  It felt like freedom to me.  But, then something good happened.  Isn’t that always the way?  The good stuff in our lives often takes away something else that is also good.  My “something good” was I had children. And guess what happened when running after I had children??? Let’s not go there. It’s not for polite conversation.  Let’s just say it was embarrassing.

So, I got lazy and only walked.  But, thanks to modern medical technology, I can now run again.  Unfortunately, someone forgot to give my 50-something body the memo.  Once you stop running, your body has this very nasty way of vehemently making you pay for ever lifting your feet off soil ever again. So, today I only briefly run…this is even more embarrassing than why I didn’t run.  Thus, I confine my poor excuse for running to my treadmill.  I think it’s safe to say that I am “running away” from “running.”  Fortunately, my Bible tells me I didn’t invent such a trait.  It’s been around for centuries:

Exhibit A:  Jacob.  When you lie to your dad, leave for a long time.  And I mean leave.

Exhibit B:  Moses.  When you kill a fellow countryman, leave for a long time and marry a foreigner.

Exhibit C:  David:  When you tick off the leader of your country, head for the nearest cave.

Exhibit D:  Jonah:  I’d hide in the belly of a fish, too, if God told me to tell an entire city to get their act together…not exactly a way to get yourself elected mayor.

Exhibit E:  Peter:  Okay. So, he didn’t run away literally.  But, would you call lying about your relationship with the savior of the world a resume-builder for founding and leading a church?

The reality is, that doing what God asks you to do, is often a dangerous, difficult, demanding task.  And what do we do? We run…and run…and run…away. It’s so human to do so.  Unfortunately, when we run away, we often miss some very important things:

1. That God is with us.  He knows where the finish line is and how happy we are going to be when we reach it.

2. That God is for us. When we stumble, He will be there with his encouragements, if we are quiet and wise enough to hear Him.

3. That God is before us.  He will point the way (even if He has to hit me “upside the head” to alert me to it).

4.  That God is beyond us.  He can see much more than our immediate and often, limited, perspective.

5.  That God is by us.  He actually takes the time to run with us and beside us, knowing that the journey is much easier with “back-up.”

So, today I’m going to try to do a little running (literally and figuratively) and hope that I can get out of that belly (and quit feeding my own…Grr.) and do a little more of what God would have me do.  How about you?

“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.  Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.  So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.”  —I Cor. 9: 24-26, NRSV

“Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.” Habakkuk 2: 2, NRSV

See you at the finish line. 🙂

Tomorrow’s Post: March Madness Poetry…c’mon, you knew it was coming!