Legal Property

* * * * * * * * * * * * * This blog is the intellectual property of Anne Baxter Campbell, and any quotation of part or all of it without her approval is illegal. * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - We've had it Easy

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13, NKJV

Every once in a while I read a book that lets me know in no uncertain terms that I've had it easy in my Christianity. I just finished one of those, and I'll be reviewing it here. It will post on Wednesday morning.

On my toughest day, I haven't had it as hard as the ones who carry the gospel into hostile territory. Or who convert to Christianity from a religion that hates anyone who deserts their own. In America, we mostly have it easy. If you decide to be Baptist instead of Methodist, hardly anyone even blinks. Your family seldom disowns you. Some have tougher times--like Mormon to Foursquare or Scientology to Presbyterian or Jehovah's Witness to Assembly of God. No one usually sends a hit squad after you or waits for you in dark alleys or tortures you to death or beheads you.

On the day when I experienced more pain than I ever had before, it was a breeze compared to some experiences. Many of us would give up on Jesus before we'd endure what some of them do on a daily basis.

I hope it never comes to the point here where we're given a choice to experience horrid pain or even die for our belief in God, but it could. What would you do? I know what I'd do. Pray harder than I've ever prayed before and hope that He'd grant me the strength and courage to endure whatever happened for Him.

Lord, I love You. I fear I love this easy life, but I pray I don't ever love it more than You! Help me shine for You, Lord. I know I can't do it on my own. In Jesus holy Name and for His sake I pray, Amen.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - How to be a Grownup, Lesson 4

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:1, NKJV

Owning up to mistakes--easier said than done. They say confession is good for the soul--and most times it is--but it can also be almost impossible to accomplish. Blaming your mess-ups on someone else or on the immediate circumstances could be a life-long habit, and you know what they say about habits like that.

Wait a minute! What if it really is their fault? Let's say, for instance, that you're running to catch a loose ball and Kathy, running after the same ball, accidentally trips you. You fall into a mud hole, tearing and ruining your expensive new shirt. Mom's mad. She paid good money for that new shirt, and she's going to dock your allowance to get a replacement. You say it wasn't your fault, Kathy tripped you.

So your mom goes to see Kathy's mom, but Kathy's mom gets mad and says it wasn't Kathy's fault. If you hadn't been running after the same ball, you wouldn't have fallen over her feet.

So now they aren't speaking--years later, they are still not speaking. So not your fault, right???

But here's the deal: if you're going to be a grown-up Christian, what would be the right thing to do? How could you help mend that fence? Kathy won't admit she's in the wrong. Kathy's mom defends Kathy. Your mom defends you. There's only one person you can control--yourself.

Small mistakes sometimes escalate into huge messes, don't they? The mistake doesn't even have to be your fault--at least not totally your fault--but there is something you can do. You can own up to it. Man (or woman) up. Take the blame, even if only a piece of it is yours. You'd be surprised--sometimes that inspires the other person to also grow up a little and share the blame.

It could be up to you. You could start a trend that will ultimately bless a whole lot more than just the original two.

I was an adult, in my thirties, when I realized I was doing the "it's not my fault" thing and thereby teaching my children to do the same thing, but you don't have to be that slow.

Dear Lord, Thank You for showing me that I needed to own up to mistakes.  Please help others to see the same thing. Admitting fault isn't easy. Thank You, Lord.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Review: THE PAINTED SKY by Murray Pura

Murray Pura is an expert at building a story--or as in this case, several stories squeezed together in the space of one series. This one is about 50% romance, 50% gun battles, and 50% history. Okay, so my math is a little off....

So, there's this bunch of widows in New Mexico all bearing a grudge against a man--or men--who caused their husbands' deaths. Then there's this bunch of nine--um, ten--unmarried Methodist preachers. Sorta different preachers, though. They pack guns and a "don't tread on me" attitude.

Over the space of just a couple of months, they put up a church on a hill and rebuild a couple of the ladies' burnt-down houses. The bad guys object and start shooting up and burning up more stuff.

Romances sometimes happened fast on the old frontier, but this one resembles nothing quite as much as Gatlin-gun courtships. Once you start reading, you'd better hang on for dear life or you'll be lost for sure.

Available from Amazon.

I received a free copy of this book from the author with absolutely no strings attached, but I'm doing a review anyway.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - Just Say, "I love you, Dad."

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20

This short verse is taken from the story of the prodigal son, beginning at Luke 15:11. To get the full impact of how much the father loved his child, you need to read the whole thing. If you've never really read this one, you might want to grab some Kleenexes.

There are a lot of families in this world who are estranged--some for good reason; maybe one of the parents was sexually abusive. Most of the estrangements happen, though, because of an argument.

What would it hurt--other than your pride--to call and say "I love you, Dad." You don't have to say another word--just that. I think he will understand the strength and courage it took for you to do that.

With the prodigal son, he was thoroughly ashamed of himself, but maybe you haven't done anything wrong. Maybe Dad just misunderstood or was having a bad day.

Call him. Those words aren't so hard to say. You'll never be sorry you said it., but you probably will be if you don't.

The picture above is of my dad maybe five years before he passed away. I miss him so very much, and I've asked God to tell him "Happy Father's Day" for me, and also "I love you, Dad."

While I'm at it, Lord, Happy Father's Day to You too. You are the ultimate Father, the prime example of fatherhood, the first and last Father. I love You too. Amen.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - How to be a Grownup, Lesson 3

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:1, NKJV

Thinking back to when I was a youngster, we thought it was great fun to put on our parents' clothes and pretend to be adults. Now that I'm grown up--well, mostly--it's sometimes just as fun to play childish games. That's okay, but remember, we also have to display a few adult behaviors. Over the next few Saturday Sermonettes, I'll be focusing on what a mature person should be aiming for in terms of becoming a grown-up Christian.

Controlling the temper. I used to tell my kids that if they didn't control their tempers, their tempers would control them. There are repercussions for those explosions.

Like a broken hand when you punch the wall. Like when you have to fill and repaint the holes in the door that you kicked. Like when you sit in jail (or prison) because you hurt someone.

Losing control of your temper is a sin. No, it's not justifiable--sorry. Forgivable, yes, but don't try to justify your actions by placing the blame on someone or something. That's the harsh truth, folks. No excuses. Notice I didn't say being angry is sin--no, even Jesus had anger sometimes--but He never lost control.

Everyone seems to have a flashpoint. I do too. Lies from phoned scams hit my hot button quicker than anything, but eventually God and I will get rid of that one. Bullying too. No, bullying isn't right, but getting angry doesn't help.

You don't have to do it alone. God can help, if you'll let Him. The trick is calling on Him before you let that regrettable word out or throw that fist. You can still ask forgiveness afterward, but wouldn't you rather not have to?

Lord, help me please to grow up. Help me remember there is always another side to the story, a reason the other person is "making me" angry. Help me stop the pattern. Step into my life and help me grow up. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus's Name, Amen.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Review - UNVEILING GRACE by Lynn K. Wilder

To say I loved this book would be a wild exaggeration. I did find it really interesting and informative. I have so many beloved relatives and friends who are Mormons that I have to say I also  found it disturbing.

I'm a gung ho Christian, and I love that people are getting to know that the Lord is waiting patiently for them to come around to His way of thinking--that He alone is "THE way, THE truth, and THE life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me (Jesus)" (John 14:6) I don't think the Mormon religion itself can be classified as Christian, but I'm not to the point of condemning the people.

When a BYU professor and her husband are challenged by their youngest son, Micah, at that time on an LDS mission in Florida, to read the New Testament, they're skeptical. After all, they've been through New Testament classes, and they read the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price daily. Still, their son wants them to reread the New Testament as a child would.

Rumblings occur. Micah is in trouble. He's brought home from his mission a week early. He's called before the Stake President. He goes back to Florida and stays, much to his parents bewilderment and horror.

It takes some severe family and church earthquakes to convince Lynn and Michael Wilder, but after soul-searching and study and all four of their children questioning and telling, they finally decided to resign from the Mormon church. It was a gut-wrenching choice, not one they made easily or lived with without regrets.

As I said above, you have to make your own decisions about this book, just as the Wilders made their own decisions about leaving the church they'd spent thirty years serving. It's available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Book Distributors, as well as on a lot of bookstore shelves nationwide.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Morning Devo - Piece by Piece

If we had forgotten the name of our God, Or stretched out our hands to a foreign god,
Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. Psalms 44:20-21 NKJV

In listening to the Sunday morning's sermon, some thoughts crossed my mind about surrender. We sometimes sing "I Surrender All," but what is actually happening is that we surrender piece by piece, so what we have actually given the Lord might look a little like the picture above. And then sometimes we take it back--but that's another topic for another day. :D

Not being critical--we can only give Him that which we're aware of--like maybe our propensity to go off on tangents instead of letting Him lead. We work on that bit of surrender until it's at least more or less under control, but then we notice that we're still harboring a grudge against Great-Uncle George (who isn't even alive any more) for that time he wouldn't let Aunt Alice stay at his place at Thanksgiving even though he had an extra bedroom.

We all find new things to surrender, don't we? Sometimes silly stuff, sometimes really deep and important things. Right now for me, it's still surrendering more of my time to Him instead of playing those dumb computer games all day. Seems like we've been working on that one an incredibly long time. What's yours?

Lord, You know me. You know me so well that You could dump a load of things I haven't surrendered yet to You, but in Your mercy, You only show me what we together can work on at one time. Thank You for that. I sure won't ever be perfect, but hopefully I can come to the point where I reflect more of You and less of me. For Jesus's sake and in His Name, Amen