"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Good Links & July Books

The Sad

Carol who blogs as American Bedu is undergoing aggressive treatment for breast cancer that has returned.  Several of her friends have started a project to bring home her cats.  That is from Saudi Arabia to the United States!  If you want to read more about this project, please visit this post.  When she and her husband left Saudi Arabia over a year ago, they never imagined that they would not return together. Instead her husband returned in February in order to die in his homeland while Carol was unable to leave the US due to her cancer treatments.  I remember this post being heartbreaking as well as this one.

The Silly

Dad Life -- someone posted this short video on her blog and it just struck me funny especially the part about yardwork. Andrew and I laughed and laughed. 

The Informative

TED talk on The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives -- I got this from Sarah's blog

The Books I Finished This Month

Screen Play by Chris Coppernell -- a lighthearted fiction book featuring Harper, a struggling actresses who lands a starring role in a Broadway play and her meeting Luke on an online dating site and their meeting up in California.  I found this in the new book section of the local library.

Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them
by Liz Curtis Higgs -- in her humorous way the author discusses ten women such as Eve, Michal, Potiphar's and Lot's wives, Rahab, Sapphira, the woman at the well and the woman who washed Jesus' feet.  My favorite was the woman at the well while the author said her favorite was the woman who washed Jesus' feet. I like that one too.  The story of Sapphira stepped on my toes some.  The degree of badness of these women varied.  Some were former bad girls while others were "good girls" who just did a bad thing that's recorded in the Bible. In conclusion the author says the "common denominator" between good and bad girls is this:  "Good Girls and Bad Girls both need a Savior.  The goodness of your present life can't open the doors of heaven for you.  The badness of your past life can't keep you out either. Not if you truly desire the forgiveness and freedom Christ offers."  (pg. 237)

From Stone to Living Word by Debbie Blue -- "Letting the Bible Live Again"   -- got this book at the library...see previous posts on this book

"'The Word became flesh' is God acting, God reaching. It reveals the lengths God is willing to go in pursuit of humanity, and it reveals an intimate, passionate, and vulnerable pursuit.  The Word enters the darkness in order to bring light...It was not God who created distance: it was humanity; it was sin.  And in Jesus Christ, the distance is overcome.  Jesus Christ isn't God standing back ... in Jesus we see God entering the paltry ruckus of life as we know it.  It looks foolish. But it reveals, perhaps, something about how God feels about us.  It was always in God's heart to give up glory and power in order to achieve union."  (pg. 113,114)

Original Sinners: A New Interpretation of Genesis by John R. Coats -- see book review here

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin -- great library book which takes place around 1920 as Harriet tells the story of her greatgrandmother's anti-slavery work in PA, her grandmother, Bebe and her grandfather, Horatio and their lives during prohibition times and working for women's right to vote.  Really interesting story which is a fun way to learn some things about American history.

"We can't expect other people to meet all of our needs, all of the time. Only Christ can do that perfectly. That's why I know that if you turn to Him, you'll find contentment."  (pg. 165)

Another lesson from this book - trust God, life is like a river, always changing and we have to change too

and "It isn't our calling as Christians to write laws that force people to live moral lives. ... We can make stricter laws, ...but people will just figure out a way around them if their hearts are hardened.... We've had the Ten Commandments since Moses' time, and people still murder and steal every day.  Only God can change people."  (pg. 425)

Primal by Mark Batterson -- rediscovering the essence of Christianity (see introductory post)

 "Minds often remained closed to the truth until hearts have been opened by compassion. There is certainly a place for logical, left-brained explanations of faith. But compassion is the ultimate apologetic. There is no defense against it."  (pg.17)

"Nothing is as disarming as discovering the suffering or sorrow in another person's past."  (pg. 22)

"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries."  (Elizabeth Barrett Browning) -- pg.59

soul -- living in wonder -- everything is a miracle

"Too many of us try to understand truth in the static state. We want to understand it without doing anything about it, but it doesn't work that way. You want to understand it?  Then obey it."  (pg.80)

"The goal of knowing the Bible is knowing God. Anything less is bibliolatry. One of the greatest mistakes we've made in Christendom is equating spiritual maturity with knowledge acquisition, but head knowledge never has been and never will be the litmus test. The truth is that most of us are already educated way beyond the level of our obedience. We learn more and do less, thinking all the while that we're growing spiritually."

James tells us to be doers of the Word...not merely hearers.   "You don't get credit for auditing Scripture. You've got to put it into practice."  (pg. 83)

Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson -- I really love the work this man and his organization are doing in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In this book he explains that he wants to go places where NGOs rarely go, therefore, his work takes him to remote places some of which are cut off from the rest of the world for seven months at a time due to snow!   He requires some things of the community - a donated piece of land and workers for starters. And also that girls make up a huge percentage of those allowed to attend.  I read Three Cups of Tea last year and enjoyed it so much.  (see review here)  And this book continues with more wonderful stories and lessons. I love the stories of how Greg and his friends travel, people they meet, local customs, unique characters and even how his board members - made up of men from a variety of backgrounds - get along with each other.   I enjoyed the stories that community leaders told -- such as their experiences fighting the Soviets and Taliban. It's a good way for me to learn some of the background of this place often in the news.  I found it interesting that this one region used to be a well-traveled area, but was effectively cut off and made into a remote place when the Soviet Union was formalized and when the Communists cut off China to people passing through. I found it fascinating how Greg would try to blend into a place with such a mixture of ethnicities that it wasn't unusual to find green-eyed people with Caucasian features.  Really, really enjoyed this!  The stories of the 11 year old orphan, Abdul, who worked as a mechanic and the 14 year old who was looking forward to going to school for the first time in his life...only to have his life cut short due to a landmine exploding -- stories such as these as well as the heartbreaking stories from the 2005 earthquake were enough to make my eyes fill with tears.  Greg didn't tell the stories in tugging-at-heartstrings way really.  It was just sad for me realizing the struggles and sadness some people in this world endure.  I know struggles are everywhere, but as I read and visualized these things it just made it more real how many hardships some people have to overcome just to survive.

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