Sunday, April 29, 2012

As One Devil to Another, by Richard Platt

Do you ever wonder how the enemy gets so good at what he does? CS Lewis pondered this question and came up with The Screwtape Letters. Now, Richard Platt has given us a current day version of Lewis’ famous book.
As One Devil to Another chronicles the training of new devil trainee, Scardagger as his Uncle and Mentor, Slashreap guides him in his first tempting assignment.  The mentor gently guides his pupil in all the skills needed to pull his assignment away from the Adversary and into the realm of the devil.

This clever and entertaining book reads very much like The Screwtape Letters. Platt has done an excellent job of addressing current societal issues that have a way of drawing us away from our Lord. The book is filled with the truth of the Gospel woven through the letters. As a reader I couldn’t help but envision my very own tempter sitting somewhere contemplating ways of dividing my attention. While enjoying the book, I was also convicted of things in my life that I have let slide.

Walter Hooper is considered the foremost biographer of CS Lewis. He has put his stamp of approval on this book.  In the preface he writes, “The narrative voice of As One Devil to Another is almost indistinguishable from Lewis’ own.”  

Lewis is a hard act follow and done in the wrong way, this book could have been a dull parody of the classic. However, Platt has managed to skillfully write a book that does honor to the original.  

Leave a comment, win a book!

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a certificate for a free copy of this book to give away to one of my readers. All you have to do is to leave a comment below by midnight MST Wednesday, May 2 and you will be entered in a drawing for the book. The winner will be determined by

***Disclaimer: Tyndale House Publishers provided a free copy of this book to me in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fingerprint Friday

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god

God's fingerprint really is all around us in the simplest to the most complex things. This week I am enjoying these little bits of God...

1. In the soft nuzzle of my kitty cat's head against my cheek when he wakes me up in the morning and the low, gentle purr he emits.

2. The fresh scent of grass and earth after the rain that is so needed to drench our dry land.

3.My dad's deep chuckle as we talk.

4. The gaping hole in my nephew's mouth that signifies his first lost tooth. This too is part of God's plan for our bodies.

5. The juicy, sweet taste of strawberries.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Discouragement and God's Answer to Prayer

Recently I’ve had a couple of things that I was really praying for. I prayed and waited. Then what I hoped would happen, didn’t. I’m sure you can understand that I was disappointed. It left me with a sadness that I couldn’t shake for a few days.

I understand that my prayers aren’t always lined up with God’s plan. I also know that sometimes what seems like an unanswered prayer is just one that was answered in God’s way, not my own.

During the time of waiting for the answers to these two situations I told God that I just needed this one thing in order to be encouraged and buoyed up again. I thought that if either of these two things came to fruition, it would saturate my dry spirit. Either would put God’s stamp of approval on who I am.

Then, right after the second seeming no answer, an acquaintance stopped me and introduced me to her daughter by saying, “Hey, I’m sorry, I forgot your name, but this is my daughter, Sue.*” In the few minute conversation I learned something about the girl’s choices in life that was breaking her mother’s heart. It was something that even without her saying, I knew this was true.

Still, I walked away feeling even more discouraged. I’ve known this person for about a year and yet she didn’t know my name.

Later, when the daughter wasn’t around the person came to me and said, “Now you know how to pray for me.” I smiled and assured her I would pray for her and her daughter.

She didn’t remember my name, but she remembered that I had spoken of my faith. What seemed like a rude introduction was actually a mom knowing that her daughter needed prayer. She knows that the Bible says, “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.” And she knew that I would pray.

My sadness at not having my prayers answered in my fashion has lifted. In that one moment it wasn’t important that she didn’t remember my name, she remembered the essence of who I am and she asked me to intercede for her before God. I thought the encouragement I needed was a pat on the back, but God knew that I needed to be reminded of what’s really important about me. I am a pray-er.

*Names have been changed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fingerprint Friday is the brainchild of  Beki at The Rusted Chain. I love the idea of looking for God's fingerprint in our lives so I've decided to make this a regular post.

Fingerprint Friday is based on these words from the beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god

Today's fingerprint is the simple beauty in spring blooms as seen in this photo.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bucket List - The Herd Begins

Back in February I posted my bucket list this year with 47 Things I want to this year. One of the things on my list was to learn to make origami cranes and make 1,000 of them. Japanese legend says that any person who makes 1,000 cranes will have their wish granted. Now, I don't believe in genies from magic lamps or that making 1,000 cranes will truly change my life, but it sounded like a fun thing to do so I put it on my list.

I've learned to make them and have been slowly improving my technique. So far I've made 50 of them. (And Wilson, my cat, ate one of them...not ate as in chewed and swallowed, but he had fun pulling it apart!)

Here's the herd so far:

I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

My coworker has been questioning me frequently about my bucket list so a bunch of these cranes are going to make their way into her cubicle today :o)

Friday, April 13, 2012

I first saw this on Lisa's blog and thought it was a good point so I wanted to share it here.
Thanks, Lisa, for posting this originally.

"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you will never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be 
restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed.
Never throw out anyone."
~Audrey Hepburn

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

They call it Good Friday, but it commemorates the day Jesus died. We hung him on a cross and let the life seep out of him. Then he lay in a tomb for three days.

I often wonder about the people who were there, his followers. What were those three days like? I can only imagine the darkness that descended on them. They called him friend and messiah, but then he was gone. It must have been devastating for them.

Thankfully he didn’t stay in that tomb. He rose and lives. The followers rejoiced on that third day.

We call it Good Friday because of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We know that he rose so we can mark Good Friday with hope and a quiet joy.

Praying the hope and joy of the Lord encompasses you this Easter weekend.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sara's Story

This was originally posted in March 2010, but I wanted to post it again. This week before Easter I find myself pondering what it was like, what people thought, how they must have felt during those days when Jesus lay in the tomb. And as I think about these things I am once again thankful He didn't remain in that tomb; that He rose again and conquered death.

The sun is high the sky as I head out to meet Mara at the market. I had finished my chores in record speed so we could have all afternoon to enjoy.

There is an awful lot of noise in the square this afternoon; not the usual noise of merchants hawking their wares. This is yelling and angry voices. I wonder what is going on. As I round the corner I see a huge crowd and there is Pilate standing on the stairs. Making my way to the front of the people I keep looking for Mara. There is a lot of murmuring, but I don’t know what it is all about.

“They say he performs miracles.”

“He is possessed of a demon; that’s why he can cast them out.”

“But did you hear, he raises people from the dead?”

“I heard he was going to tear down the temple and build it back up in three days. Such nonsense.”

“Sara, Sara, over here.” Hearing my name I turn to the left and see my friend.

“Mara, what is going on?” I yell out to her as I push past others to make my way to her side.

Mara’s eyes are wide with fear. “They have arrested that man they call Jesus and Pilate is investigating.”

I had heard of this Jesus before. He had been traveling in the area and drawing a lot of attention. People either loved him or hated him. I didn’t know what the fuss was all about.

The noise quiets down as Pilate begins to speak, “I find this man guilty of no capital crime. I will order a flogging and release him.”

The uproar around Mara and me is horrendous. When it quiets down Pilate speaks, “Very well then as is the custom, I will release one prisoner. Should I release Jesus or Barabas?”

“Barabas, Barabas, Barabas.” The crowd roars back to Pilate.

“Mara, I can’t believe it. Barabas is a murderer and they want to let him go free. That is crazy. They haven’t proven Jesus guilty of anything as bad.” Something wasn’t right here and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“I know Sara, it is so sad.”

“What should I do with Jesus?” Pilate questioned the crowd.

“Crucify him!”

We watch in disbelief as they put a crown of thorns around Jesus’ head and lead him out of town. I know where they are taking him and I’m not supposed to go there. My parents don’t allow me to hang out at the Skull like some of the kids do. They say I don’t need to know what happens there, but I know that is where they take prisoners to die. I know I will get in trouble but I can’t stop myself. I have to see what will happen to the man with the crown of thorns.

Mara and I run to follow them as they make Jesus carry his heavy wooden cross. As we go we hear people talking about him. It seems there were as many who were upset at this turn of events as those who want him to die.

People talk of his compassion and how he heals the sick. They talk of love and beauty. Surely it wasn’t the same man they spoke of.

I see Jesus fall and go to help him up. They take his cross and find someone to help him carry it. I use my robe to wipe away the sweat and blood from his face. “Jesus, why is this happening? I hear great things about you, but they are going to kill you for no reason.” The tears flowed and I couldn’t stop them.

“Oh, little one, don’t be sad. This is my father’s work. I must do this.” The big brown eyes are full of light and something else. They look the way my daddy’s look when he looks at me. It seems Jesus loves me. Could it be?

“But Jesus, you have done no wrong. I don’t want you to go. I want to get to know you.” I sob and sob as he holds me in a tight hug.

Just then he is ripped from my arms by one of the soldiers. “Move along brat. You don’t need to be here.”

Jesus is pulled away as he says, “Child, do not worry. I will see you again in heaven. I do this for you.”

When we all arrive at the Skull there are two prisoners already hung on wooden crosses. The soldiers begin to nail Jesus to his cross. My heart aches each time the hammer comes crashing down.

“Oh Mara, this hurts so much.” I turn to my friend. She looks at me with tears in her eyes.

We sit there for hours on that dusty hill as the crowd taunts Jesus and tells him to save himself. “If you are the King of the Jews take yourself down from the cross.”

I cover my ears to drown out the horror but it seeps in.

It seems like an eternity when suddenly Jesus cried out. “It is finished.” And then he dies. The sun is blotted out and suddenly it is dark. Mara and I sit and hold each other. As I cry I remember what Jesus said. He had done this for me. He died a painful, awful death for me. Just so I could be with him in heaven.

Later they take Jesus’ body down and put it in a tomb. The place of the Skull is silent again. Mara and I head home.

Over the next few days I go about my chores, but can’t stop thinking about Jesus dying for me. He said he was doing it for me. I wasn’t sure I understand, but somehow that makes my heart happier.

Three days after his death I am at the well to get water in the early morning hours when a man approaches me. He looks familiar. “Sara, it is good to see you.”

“How do you know my name? Do I know you?” I search his face which is wreathed in bright light. When I get to his eyes I see the love and compassion and I know. “Jesus, is that you? How is it possible? I saw you die.” I run to him and hug him.

“Sara, you did see me die. But, today I have conquered death. I am as alive as you are and I will soon go to heaven with my father to wait for you.”

Oh my goodness. This is too good to be true. Jesus is alive! “Come with me to tell Mara. She will be so excited.”

“I must go to my friends, but we will stop at Mara’s on the way.” Jesus takes my hand and we head down the road to town to spread the news.

Jesus is alive! Death could not hold him in the grave!!!