Tag Archives: Christian life

If you don’t vote, don’t complain!

Divine providence. Manifest destiny. American exceptionalism. These are all terms bandied about in the political arena today. There is no debating that many of our Founding Fathers invoked “nature’s god” and “divine providence” in their writings. Is America exceptional? Is there a plan for this country ordained by God himself? Do the actions of citizens invoke God’s favor or His wrath?
Carol Swain addresses these topics in her book “Be The People”, making a largely well-informed and well-articulated argument for her tenants. The crux of her book hinges on 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” New International Version (©1984)

Conservative Christians have made the same arguments for decades and sadly, many of the issues facing our country are worse — not better. The best point of Carol Swain’s book is that we each have the responsibility to know our beliefs and to know our history and our founding documents. As a society we have abdicated our role as the keepers of that for which our Founding Fathers fought and died. You may not agree with Ms. Swain’s conclusions but as an American you cannot disagree with her methods…know what you believe (can we at least agree on the Ten Commandments?), know what the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence have to say about how things should be done.

There’s an old saying “If you don’t vote, don’t complain!” I’d take that a step further and say “If you don’t vote from an informed perspective, don’t complain!”

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The Shelter of God’s Promises

The Shelter of God's PromisesThe Shelter of God’s Promises
by Sheila Walsh

The Shelter of God’s Promises is one of the latest books by author, speaker and former 700 Club  host, Sheila Walsh.  The promises she shares are all centered on Jesus — the cleft of God — and His assurance to be our shelter.  Drawing on her own personal experiences and using insightful summaries of scripture, Sheila makes the case that we have refuge in God.  If you’re facing a storm, God’s promise to BE your shelter is hope you can cling to.  If you’re not in the storm now, prepare by taking God’s word to heart, because storms WILL come.  It’s not “if” but “when”.  To assist you in applying the lessons to your own life, the book has a Study Guide included for personal reflection or group discussion.

Over all, I liked the book.  While some of the personal narratives felt forced or even out of place, the spiritual perception demonstrated in Sheila’s accounts of scripture are quite inspired.  Although I never formed a clear picture of the structure intended by the book, The Shelter of God’s Promises still spoke to me and helped my understanding of the fact that God is always with us, caring for us and protecting us “in the midst”.

The most meaningful part of the book for me was the very last part.  Sheila talks of the perspective of John the Baptist at the end of his life.  John, having devoted his entire life to “making a way for the Lord” was beheaded after suffering in prison.  How must he have felt when he realized that Christ would not intervene? It is recorded in Luke 7:20 that he sent two of his disciples to Christ to ask ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’.  In Luke 7:22-23 Jesus answered, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”  The majority of that scripture is quoting Isaiah 61:1 but it omits the part of the verse that speaks of freeing captives.  John would have recognized the omission.  Surely his heart sank as he digested the message: he would not know the freedom Christ came to bring…not yet.  The crux of the matter is a question that we all must face at one time or another in our lives.  “…will you love and serve a God you do not always understand?…God could intervene, but for reasons known only to Him, He does not.”  (p.181)

The answer that gives me the most comfort comes from I Corinthians 13:12: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  Sheila Walsh states, “We are a people who do not live for this world.  This is not our home.  But until we finally see Jesus face-to-face, He has promised that he will never leave us.  He has promised that He has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us” (p.182). Stand on that promise!

**BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book as part of their book reviews blogger program.**

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“Tithing: Test Me In This” by Douglas Leblanc

 

"Tithing: Test Me In This" by Douglas Lebanc

 

Tithing: Test Me In This by Douglas Leblanc is part of the “Ancient Practices Series” of books.  Other books in the series include – Sabbath, Fasting, Pilgrimage, Prayer, The Sacred Meal, and the Liturgical year.

Malachi 3:10 has been the subject of much debate throughout history and among many religious traditions.  In the introduction to Tithing, Phyllis Tickle, General Editor of the “Ancient Practices Series”, writes that rather than a theological or historical treatise on tithing, Doug Leblanc has “…chosen to discover men and women who…tithe and are willing to say…why they do so.”

As I started this book, I looked forward to inspiring stories of how God has used tithing to bring people closer to Himself.  What I found mostly was, in fact, largely biographical information on the persons featured in the book, with varying degrees of reference to tithing and it’s impact in their spiritual lives.  While some of the stories were inspiring, some were hardly recognizable as being on the topic at all.  A large proportion of the book is the account of Christians from the “social justice” perspective, some bordering on liberation theology.  As a conservative Christian, I was pleased to see a chapter on Randy Alcorn and his views, although even that chapter felt like it was more about sacrificing for a principle (pro-life) than tithing.

Overall, I was disappointed in the book.  Tithing is a joyous gift from God allowing us to participate in showing His love to a hurting world.  I had hoped that Tithing would be more of an encouragement to non-tithers, enticing them to “…test [God] in this…” (Malachi 3:10).  Instead the book felt like a series of biographical stories of  community organizers and how their ministries were changed by an attitude of giving.  I can’t help but feel that the average person would be more inspired by stories of individuals or families and the impact that tithing had on their lives.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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