Friday, January 28, 2011

Are They Changing Our Minds?

Synapse. Tweaked version of Image:SynapseIllus...Image via Wikipedia

We know about mind-altering drugs. What about mind-altering attitudes, assumptions, beliefs, and emotions? What happens when a normal brain's chemistry is twisted by habitual emotions of anger, bitterness, envy, or revenge? What happens to the normal brain's chemistry when it is full of the love of God and mercy, forgiveness, love, and justice according to law?   

Each person's beliefs, thoughts, and emotions are affecting the chemistry of the mind. The question is: Are they--these beliefs, thoughts, and emotions--such that they are changing our minds for the better, or for the worse?
(c) 2011
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Strangers used to offer sandwiches to each other

English: Darby Street being turned into shared...
English: Darby Street being turned into shared space in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Somewhere recently I read that a couple helping the poor no longer is allowed to take food to street people in their city. They had been doing this for many years, yet suddenly local powers drew a sharp broad line between their generous caring, giving, and receiving and the people receiving and often depending on them. 
     I tried to imagine some of the reasons given, including the one reason I read about: "You'll need to apply for a vendor's give food." Others might include: 

--"You might give someone food poisoning."
--"You could annoy local businesses."
--"You might be "taken in' by one of the street people."
--"They might be dangerous."

Has any time tried to play it as safe, officially, as this time we live in?

It used to be, not that long ago, that regular people shared food with each other without any licensing  or suspicion. They shared a sandwich or snack easily and without suspicion with the poor and with each other on a bus or a train, which many people used in those days. This included people who shared space and not even names or other personal information. Can such actions happen again, ever, without a license...or dealing with someone that has one? Or without fear? And right now, who is taking food to those street people once fed by a caring couple who knew what they were doing for so many years? Who is helping those unable to care for themselves, yet not agreeable to shelters? Those still on that city's streets, in the news.

A well-to-do man once moved into a new neighborhood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Neighbors brought him a cake. He called his realtor to tell her about it. "What do they want?" he asked.

"What do you mean?" she questioned back.

"Well, what do they want from me?"

"They don't want anything. They just wanted to give you a cake, to welcome you to the neighborhood."

Pause "'s all right then?"

The man was not lacking in anything but experience of neighborliness and trust, it seems. His realtor told me this story, protecting his identity. The man had moved farther from DC and into a quieter, more rural part of Maryland. Yes, that suspicion of friendliness really happened...and a cake delivered by a stranger, a new neighbor, without a license.
     'Don't know if the man stayed on the Eastern Shore. Maybe he did, and by now does what almost everyone does there...waving to friends and strangers from trucks and cars passing on country roads. Maybe by now he knows it's all right to accept cakes and even to take another one now and then from or to a stranger down the street. Maybe he no longer sees risk around every corner or fears offers of human kindness.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

The Value of a Name II: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr.
Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. It brings us back to the story of how the U.S. as a nation, including the South where I grew up, had to change. Like all lasting change, it took a while. The man who continued that change and inspired for complete legal changes did so in a bold, forgiving, and peaceful spirit. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was fully a man changed by Christ early in his life. He was a human and inspiring man. He did not run from his calling or his future. I believe it was God through Christ who inspired the courageous messages of his words, actions, and reactions...surely growing through his heart and his thoughts and motivations. Faith in God is Dr. King's biographical foundation. God bless each human being in these times who seeks to walk with God and man as Dr. King sought and worked to do. Precious Lord, Take My Hand....

Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson 

For children:
The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.Martin Luther King, Jr. (My First Biography)

See more books and gospel music on,,

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Value of a Name - Mogama

A good name is more desirable than great riches; 
to be esteemed is better 
than silver or gold
(Proverbs 22:1 NIV).

Cover by
"If you're ever put at gunpoint, and the gunman says, 'Your name or  your money,' give the robber your money and keep your name, especially if it's a meaningful, good name.

"That's how much people should cherish their names. Slave masters must have known the value of personal names to identify and esteem a people. That's why one of the first things a slave master did was to replace the name of his slave. That new name helped to purge the slave's memory of personal value, and that began to reduce the slave to little more than the master's property.

"If loss of name devalues a person, then there is little difference between a slave with a foreign name and a refugee with a fake name."

From Refugee Was My Name, revolution violence, Pub. 2012, Opine Publishing. 

(c) 2011 Mogama

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

C. S. Lewis's Classic Look at Liar's Work

"Readers are advised to remember that 
the devil is a liar. Not everything Screwtape 
says should be assumed to be true 
even from how own angle."      

Source: Preface, Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis.

C. S. Lewis's advice about Screwtape, a chief devil, and the Liar behind him, increases in importance as a reader progresses along each page. As pages turn, the mind of the liar is revealed to those with eyes to see and spiritual minds prepared..

Lies, more than anything, are central to Screwtape's strategy-advice to a junior devil, whom any liar wants to proceed and succeed in unsettling believers. One must attack truth and Truth. No attempt to turn someone away from belief in God as revealed in Christ can get anywhere without planting lies intended to sprout into doubt; doubt then can be nudged into full unbelief, over time, and then into slander against God. In other words, lies about God have a big objective: to break down the soul.

A broad overview of the effects of lies and subtle nudges is in Jesus' parable of the sower. There He prepared others about the ease of being too tender in faith to stand, of being easily pulled aside, then disillusioned. Even distractions of worries and pleasures of the world can work strongly against those who think their faith is already strong enough.  

Many a believer has been led onto side roads. Oh, how persuasive to a believer can be the Liar's words! Screwtape also demonstrates that sometimes ridicule is needed, for it can be quite effective is used well...for the believer to fear it and for other doubters to use it. This fits well with the use of false accusations and name-calling, according to the Liar.

Overall, all methods of hatred of God intend to break down what one once believed about what is good or worthy, what is part of awareness that one is beloved of God (see, e.g., John 3:16).  

Really, no writer has exceeded the Oxford and Cambridge professor, C. S. Lewis, in assembling such real examples of how Darkness works, as he did in the classic assemblage of letters of Liar's advice to his under-devils. Screwtape boasts from the dregs of a hell, selling his words as cleverer, more attractive, and most intelligent of any good counsel--all part of his package of lies. Screwtape Letters remains a good study for writers attempting analogy or metaphor. Most of all, however, an excellent study in spiritually intelligent observation needed by the growing Christian or seeker, young or old. Wherever there is deliberate imposition of disorder, loudness, hatred, and vicious attack...there are the Liar and his minions, clamoring for more souls to feed their appetite. 

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

2010 Top 10 Christian Books in Sales


Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of WomenTake Four (Above the Line Series #4)Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless GodJesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His PresenceBookmark this blog.

The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for CouplesThe 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That LastsRadical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David PlattSo Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to UsBy Karen Kingsbury: Take Three (Above the Line Series) [Audiobook]

**List courtesy Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).

1. Take Four - FICTION *Karen Kingsbury Zondervan
2. Crazy Love - FICTION *Francis Chan David C. Cook
3. Jesus Calling - NONFICTION Sarah Young Thomas Nelson Publishers
4. Forgotten God - NONFICTION *Francis Chan David C. Cook
5. Bringing Up Girls - NONFICTION James C. Dobson Tyndale House Publishers
6. The Five Love Languages  - NONFICTION Gary Chapman Moody 

7. The Love Dare -  NONFICTION Stephen & Alex Kendrick B&H 

8. Radical - NONFICTION David Platt Waterbrook

9. So Long, Insecurity - NONFICTION Beth Moore Tyndale House

10. Take Three - FICTION *Karen Kingsbury Zondervan

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Monday, January 03, 2011

2011 - A Future and a Hope-Jeremiah and the New Year

"I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, 
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope
(Jeremiah 29:12-NKJV).

This is assurance for the believer for any time, day, or year. It is one of Jeremiah's prophetic utterances. These are words for every Christian, for we are children of God, whether Gentile or Jew, down through every generation since Christ walked physically among people and an empire's powerful government. In Jeremiah's day, the people of God had gone astray, ignoring God for other gods. Yet, God's promise was that His thoughts toward His people are always for their good, their peace, their future, and their eternal hope. That's why, generations later, a follower of Christ, wrote this to the Christians living in Rome: 

"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us" 
(Romans 5:5-NIV-italics added).

God knows the future, and in time Christ came and later sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to guide, teach, help, and comfort. In Jeremiah's day, the people were in exile in Babylon. The prophet wrote: The "LORD of hosts, the God of Israel" told "all who were carried away captive...from Jerusalem to Babylon," to settle there, build themselves houses, work their gardens for their food; to marry, have children and grandchildren so "that you may be increased there, and not diminished" (see Jeremiah 29: 12ff).

"...And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace." All of that was not the hope, but part of its revealing.

And it happens as God says.

During seventy years in exile, the people did "the final editing of the Pentateuch, of the deuteronomistic work of history (the Books of Samuel and Kings), of many of the prophetic books and also in the composition of new literature (such as the Chronistic works of history, i.e., Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles) that reflects the concerns of the returnees from Babylone [sic]...." 

As writers, doesn't this cause us to pause, to reflect? We are pilgrims on the earth. Our Home is in heaven, with God. That plan is our hope, as Christ is the Person of our hope. Yet, wherever we are, He tells us to go into everyday life with hope. We are to settle, arrange our homes, have families. In the midst of the most difficult circumstances, even a form of slavery, the "lowest of the low," God's people accomplish special works if they remain faithful to God and rely upon Him. In every circumstance, we today, as children of God in Christ, have hope in the Lord. 

This reality is for us in this New Year 2011, every day.
Whatever our plans, for example, for writing, editing, or publishing this year (and we do have, make, and put plans into action, surely!), whatever our hopes for the future--spiritually, personally and professionally--, we have an eternal, many-faceted hope. God puts desires and ideas in us and works them out for our enjoyment, joy, and good, for our future alone and in the community of believers in fellowship. 

What a way of faith in which to face this new year in Christ!  

Bible abbreviation notes:
KJV - King James Version of the Bible
NKJV - New King James Version of the Bible
NIV - New International Version of the Bible 

Bible quote source from Jeremiah is the NKJV.
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