Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

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Facebook Page Giveaway

December 17, 2016

Hey, friends! I just wanted to let you know that I’m running a giveaway on my author page on Facebook! I decided to give away those hand-painted quote bookmarks there rather than on the blog. ūüôā The giveaway is open until 5 PM EST today (the 17th) so hurry over!

Click the picture below to go to the Facebook giveaway:

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Whom Shall I Fear? – When Doctor Who Gets It Wrong

October 2, 2014

I love Doctor Who.  The show is clever, and exciting, and funny, and full of interesting characters and worlds.  It also has many beautiful quotes and messages that I appreciate, such as the inherent dignity of humankind, the value of each individual life, selfless sacrifice, courage, and the faithfulness of true love.

That said, although the show displays God’s truth many times, sometimes it preaches atheistic and humanistic messages…almost like the writers are trying to shove them in, which is disappointing (who says only Christian storytellers are preachy?). ¬†As with any story, it’s important to have discernment as I enjoy it, because I find some of the messages are actually antithetical to Scripture.

After watching “Listen” (Season 8, Episode 4), this prominent quote from Clara rankled at me:

“I know you‚Äôre afraid, but being afraid is all right. Because didn‚Äôt anybody ever tell you, fear is a superpower? Fear can make you faster, and cleverer and stronger. And one day, you‚Äôre going to come back to this barn and on that day you are going to be very afraid indeed. But that‚Äôs okay. Because if you‚Äôre very wise and very strong, fear doesn‚Äôt have to make you cruel or cowardly, fear can you make you kind. It doesn‚Äôt matter if there‚Äôs nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it‚Äôs okay to be afraid of it. So listen. If you listen to nothing else, listen to this. You‚Äôre always going to be afraid, even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion. A constant companion, always there. But that‚Äôs okay, because fear can bring us together. Fear can bring you home. I‚Äôm going to leave you something just so you‚Äôll always remember. Fear makes companions of us all.”

This strikes me as a desperate attempt to bring meaning and beauty to something unpleasant that is actually a result of the fall. ¬†Why are we so often afraid? ¬†What purpose does it serve us, to be afraid like we are? ¬†Clara suggests it is a good thing to have fear, that we should acknowledge and even embrace our fear as a constant companion, and that fear bonds people together. ¬†“Fear can make you kind,” she says.

Really? ¬†Not in my experience. ¬†I disagree with Clara’s words on a couple of levels, and here is why.

Fear divides us from one another

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” – 1 John 4:18

While love is faithful and kind, fear causes us to be unfaithful and unkind.

Fear is what holds me back from reaching out to others who look lonely. ¬†Fear is what silences me when I should stand up for what is right or warn someone about the danger of a wrong path they’re going down. ¬†Fear is what causes me to mistrust people and assume bad motives. ¬†Fear of judgment from others is what causes me to be angry at my children for misbehaving in public. ¬†Out of fear I might distance myself from friends who need help, or who have fallen out of popularity (“What if someone else thinks I’m like them or that I approve of their actions/beliefs because I am spending time with them??”). ¬†Fear is what makes me lock up my heart and try to be “strong” through detachment, to protect myself from disappointment by simply not caring at all.

I have been in all these places, and sometimes still am in a few of them.  But God is teaching me the much better way of love.  Perfect love casts out fear.  True love is not hindered by anxiety or dread.

If fear ruled the day, there would be nothing but division and selfishness. ¬†By itself, when it “brings us together,” the results are never good: lynchings, mobs, blind hysteria, hate, bigotry. ¬†Fear is a powerful motivator, but it is never the¬†right¬†motivation for making a choice.

When we come together and accomplish great things or defeat great evils, it is not because of our shared fear, but because we are rejecting that fear to stand up for a right cause.  Fear disperses people to the safety of their homes.  Courage is what bands us together against evil.

Fear indicates a lack of trust in the Lord

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 40:10

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.” – Psalm 27:1-3

With the number of times the Lord tells us, “Fear not,” “Do not be afraid,” “Do not fear,” and other similar directions in the Bible, we could argue that embracing our fear as a good thing is actually disobedience to God. ¬†He¬†is with us. ¬†The immortal, all-powerful Creator of the universe is by our side. ¬†Fear can be a form of unbelief, not wholly placing ourselves in His hands or trusting Him with our well-being.

Is fear our constant companion?  Well, yes, sometimes.  But God is a bigger and greater companion!  He is far more present than any present danger РHe dwells in our hearts.  As Christians we can cling to that assurance with complete trust, whether we battle everyday, trivial anxieties or full-blown, crippling anxiety disorders.

Fear¬†need not¬†be our constant companion! ¬†We don’t have to live with it, because God is with us.

“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” – Psalm 91:4-6

However, if you don’t have Him to lean on, all you will have is your fear. ¬†I grieve to think this is perhaps what Clara means here…the empty, lonely fear that plagues the soul of every human being separated from their Maker. ¬†She can attempt to make it beautiful, but in the end, if fear is kept around as a companion instead of ousted, it will not bring you home – rather, it will swallow you whole.

Some things I appreciated about the quote

I like the neat take on adrenaline, that it makes you faster, stronger, etc.  That is true, and what an amazing thing that God has created our bodies to respond that way to stressful situations Рthat we have renewed strength to fight or flee, whatever it takes for survival.  Adrenaline is an amazing thing!

A friend (who has not seen the show) heard a small piece of the quote, and she mentioned that it seems to be saying¬†that on the inside, we’re all afraid…therefore we are all the same underneath and this enables us to be companions to one another. ¬†I am not sure you can take that away from the whole quote in context, but it’s a meaning to consider. ¬†I do like that interpretation. ¬†However, I’d still disagree with Clara’s theory that fear can make us kind. ¬†Love and kindness push away fear, and break down boundaries. ¬†Love never fails.

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What do you think of this quote?  Has fear ever benefitted you?

Do you watch Doctor Who?  Enjoying this current season?  (No spoilers, please!)

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The Secret Signature of the Soul

June 26, 2014
This man's insights blow my mind and put things into words that I never thought could be expressed.

This man’s insights blow my mind and put things into words that I never thought could be expressed.

Any time I start to write a post and have to find a quote from C.S. Lewis, I end up spending forever browsing quotes from him online, because they are all so good.

This quote completely hijacked my blogging attempts for today, and made me start a whole new post about it:

“You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that¬†makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw — but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of — something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat’s side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it — tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest — if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself — you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say “Here at last is the thing I was made for”. We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all…

All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever…”

– C.S. Lewis

This. ¬†Doesn’t this resonate with you too?

Perhaps this “secret signature” is our Lord Himself, His indelible mark (and pull) on our souls, that “God-shaped vacuum” Blaise Pascal spoke of in the human soul, that can be filled with nothing but God. ¬†Or perhaps this signature is the purpose for which He made us, the “place” He is preparing for us in His Father’s house. ¬†That would explain how each of us are chasing something different, sometimes similar, but always as unique as our individual fingerprints.

How amazing to think that God knows this call in our hearts, this longing, and He will fulfill it.  We may not be able to describe it to anyone else fully, but He can answer that call because He formed us this way, and is continuing to form us to follow that subtle strain of music that only we can hear.

¬†“Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it – made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē C.S. Lewis

We all want to belong. ¬†Is there any person who has not, at some time, felt out of place, or wished they fit in better? ¬†God designed us to fit. ¬†His creation was a beautiful image, a reflection of His glory, and when mankind fell into sin it was as if we all fell apart into a billion jigsaw pieces. ¬†Now we float around, painfully aware that we have knobs on some sides, and holes on others, and we just aren’t sure if we will ever find where those knobs are supposed to go, or anything to fill those holes. ¬†Turn us over and you will see little flecks of the big picture, but you may not know where it fits. ¬†In eternity God will put us all back into place, filling our gaps, giving us purpose, showing us how we fit to display the perfect picture He made. ¬†Even now He is doing that, in His church! ¬†Also, once in a great while, he brings together two pieces who discover that, inexplicably, they fit right together. ¬†And those are what we call kindred spirits.

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When do you hear that “call” loudest? ¬†When do you feel, somehow, that, “I was made for this?”

Picture of C.S. Lewis taken from NNDB.com.
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Why I Didn’t Always Love Jesus

May 8, 2014

Church_clip_art_hightWhen I was three years old, I hid inside a closet and prayed to “ask Jesus into my heart”, as they say. ¬†It’s probably my earliest memory. ¬†By the time I was ten, I recognized that my conversion had not included a confession of my sin or a desire for forgiveness, so I sought salvation a second time out of a desire to be more “correct”. ¬†However, looking back on my childhood, I firmly believe that God heard the prayer of that tiny girl in the closet. ¬†Salvation doesn’t come from an impeccable grasp on soteriology. ¬†It comes from God, opening a sinner’s eyes to their need for Him and hearing their humble prayer. Maybe I didn’t know exactly why I needed Jesus, at that tender age, but I knew that I needed Him in my heart.

From then on, I have called on the Lord, looked to the cross for my salvation, and known the Spirit to be working in my heart.

But for many years, I did not love Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. ¬†I loved God. ¬†I wanted to serve Him and learn more about Him. ¬†But Jesus? ¬†For the second Person of the Triune God I felt very little interest, except being grateful for Him for dying for my sins. ¬†I even avoided His given name as much as possible, preferring to call Him by less personal titles like “Christ” or “the Savior”. ¬†To this day, the name “Jesus” does not roll very naturally off my lips…that wonderful Name above all names!

It makes my heart ache, because by now I have grown to truly know, and deeply love, and passionately adore Him above all others.

Why did it take me so long?

This week I came across a quote that stopped me in my tracks:

‘The Hobbit’ was written in what I should now regard as bad style, as if one were talking to children. There’s nothing my children loathed more. They taught me a lesson. Anything that in any way marked out ‘The Hobbit’ as for children instead of just for people, they disliked – instinctively. I did too, now that I think about it. All this ‘I won’t tell you any more, you think about it’ stuff. Oh no, they loathe it; it’s awful. Children aren’t a class. They are merely human beings at different stages of maturity. All of them have a human intelligence which even at its lowest is a pretty wonderful thing, and the entire world in front of them. –¬†J.R.R. Tolkien

When I read that I was stunned.  Finally, I could put into words why I had snubbed Jesus for so many years.

Because it wasn’t actually JESUS I was trying to avoid!

It was Kid-Friendly Jesus.

The “Jesus Loves the Little Children” Jesus. ¬†The cartoon Jesus with the silly grin. ¬†The “do unto others” Jesus who only seemed to care about people being sugary-nice to each other. ¬†He was boring, sappy, insipid. ¬†Who would follow a Savior like that?

Apparently, people think that children will.

I disliked Jesus because He was the guy children were supposed to like. ¬†We were supposed to sing exuberant praises to Him, while being taught lots about His niceness and little about His power. ¬†While adults worshipped in “real” church, we went to kid-appropriate classes to have everything dumbed down for us. ¬†We didn’t even pray to God the Father (like the true Jesus instructed us to pray). ¬†We were taught to pray to “Dear Jesus”, as if God the Father was too busy to care for the prayers of babies, but Kid-Friendly Jesus would listen. ¬†He was a Big Deal, but aside from, “He died for you! ¬†And He LOVES you! ¬†Isn’t that GREAT, kids?”, we were given few compelling reasons why we should be so excited about Him. ¬†How did He love us? Sure, He did miracles long ago, but what did that have to do with us?

I’m not blaming any particular Sunday school teacher. ¬†And certainly not my parents! ¬†Much of my own personal attitude toward Christ came from my sinful nature, not developed entirely out of over-exposure to sappy caricatures of Him. ¬†I don’t have clear memories of¬†when¬†Kid-Friendly Jesus was taught to me, or by whom. ¬†It’s really an attitude and a feeling, a way of interacting with children that is church-wide and pervasive.

In mainstream Christianity, kids are often treated like a separate class of slightly-dumber people. ¬†There are “Children’s Bibles” with bubbly illustrations and little mention of sin, full of moralistic¬†lessons that¬†kids¬†need to learn. ¬†There are “Children’s Worship Songs” that no Christian adult could stand to sing or listen to because they are silly, devoid of meaning, or poorly written. ¬†Most big churches have “Children’s Church”. ¬†I have even heard of some churches that won’t allow little ones into their “adult” services. ¬†There is no place for them there. ¬†No place for children! ¬†I think the true¬†Jesus would object.

Can you imagine if a church had a separate Old People’s Church? ¬†Asian Church? ¬†Women’s Church? ¬†Church for Those with Disabilities? ¬†What if these services were complete with badly-drawn illustrations to make sure everything was as obvious as possible, and songs designed specifically for that sub-category of humans? ¬†It would be insulting and demeaning, and simply wrong. ¬†I am thankful that in our own church family,¬†all¬†are welcome, young and old, to the public worship of God. This has been true of every church my family has been a part of, but is especially true in the Reformed churches we have joined since shifting away from Evangelicalism. In the first church where I grew up, children stayed for worship but left for the sermon until 5th-6th grade, and honestly I do understand that approach. Sermons are long and kids fidget and don’t always understand the whole thing. But I wonder what my life, thoughts, and spiritual walk would be like now, had I heard deep, serious, biblical sermons even from my young childhood. It might have radically shaped me! Personally I don’t remember becoming serious in my faith until I was of an age to sit in for the sermon – not what a young child likes to do, but so important. I’m glad my children have that blessing now.

Perhaps I am being overly harsh here. ¬†There is definitely value in simplifying things for little ones, and there’s nothing wrong with unique music or stories specially crafted to capture the attention of young ears. ¬†(Ideally these things will appeal to adults as well! ¬†I think a good rule of thumb is that if an adult can’t stand it, it’s not fit for children either. ¬†Bad art benefits no one.) ¬†But once you get past a certain age, it becomes very easy to see the adult world talking down at you, instead of talking¬†with¬†you like they would with each other.

By the grace of God, I have seen the beauty and power of Jesus.  It took years of listening to faithful preaching from the Word of God, and the more eager study of His four gospels I have done as an adult.

Perhaps I am an odd case. ¬†But if the church continues to dumb down Jesus to children, preaching a smiling Savior of Niceness in a special Children’s Church for the Simple, it grieves me to think that there may be many others like me, who do not see His true beauty for years…or maybe never, because Kid-Friendly Jesus inspires little love.

Children aren’t a separate class. ¬†Let’s trust their intelligence, their natural curiosity. ¬†Let’s beg God to work in their hearts, not beg them to “work” for their salvation with a sinner’s prayer. ¬†Let’s not drag enthusiasm out of them, but rather¬†show¬†them our own awe and wonder for the beautiful Prophet, Priest, and King who loves, saves, and rises again from the grave.

But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, ‚ÄúWhoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great. –¬†Mark 10:14 (ESV)

Can you relate? ¬†Even if you grew up in the church did it take you a long time to truly love your Savior? ¬†Why do you think that is? ¬†I love to hear my readers’ thoughts.

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Thursday Ramblings – 2.16.2012

February 16, 2012

It has been a fortnight since I blogged! ¬†Oh, dear. ¬†I am going to skip the endless apologizing I always do, and go back to blogging (hopefully) as if it never happened…

Reading This Week: No fiction.  Lots of miscellaneous research.

Writing This Week: My dystopian novel, Daik 11, is on rapid boil! ¬†Two weeks ago I mused during my ramblings that abortion had been on my mind, and I’d always wanted to write a pro-life themed story – not one that directly dealt with abortion, necessarily, but one that at least dealt with the topic of the value of human life, no matter how flawed or “useless” or unhappy that life might seem. ¬†Then God dropped an idea in my lap. ¬†I realized that the series I plan for Daik 11 had the potential for a book like this. ¬†In fact, it was¬†ripe potential. ¬†It was right there, staring me in the face! ¬†The other day I read¬†this post by John Otte, which encouraged me not to feel guilty about leaving my trilogy for awhile. ¬†So I headed over into Daik 11 territory, and have been merrily planning and writing ever since. ¬†Hurray for progress!

Deep and Important Thoughts Pondered This Week: Obama and his contraceptive mandate, liberal media, and feminism. ¬†Don’t even get me started! ¬†This thing is on my mind constantly, because it annoys me to no end!

Tasty Food Eaten This Week: chocolate cheesecake for Valentine’s Day!

Quote This Week:

I am tired of hearing birth control coverage/availability referred to as a “women’s health issue”. It’s NOT. Birth control is NOT “preventative health care”.¬†It is for preventing *pregnancy*, which is NOT a disease. Being with child is (almost always) a safe, healthy, and NORMAL state for a woman.

A baby in your womb is not a disease. Preventing one (or killing one, via abortion or abortive “contraceptives”) is NOT “health care”.

— Me, on Facebook recently

Oops. ¬†I got started anyway. ¬†Sorry. ¬†I would blog about it, because I have more than enough ranting material, but I don’t want to make my writing blog also a political blog. ¬†I am not a big politics person, normally, but when social things like this come up, I get really invested (obviously).

Oh, who am I kidding? ¬†I probably won’t be able to resist writing the occasional political rant. ¬†Plus, these kinds of topics involve speculation about the future of the world (very important to science-fiction writers), the meaning of life, and feminism vs. femininity (important to any writer who writes female characters).

Links That Stirred My Mental Pot This Week:

Al Mohler: “What Compromise? ¬†This Policy Leaves Religious Freedom in Peril and Planned Parenthood Smiling”. ¬†As I was saying.

Nathan Bransford: “Game of Thrones and the Art of Being Unsentimental About Your Characters”. ¬†This week I really needed to hear this, although what I took away was slightly different from the eventual topic of the article. ¬†(I need to heed the suggestions about uglifying characters too, though.) ¬†In order for my pro-life book idea to work, some truly terrible things have to happen to one of my main characters, and I needed the validation of this article to give me the guts to let them happen.