Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ben Hur

Ben-Hur is a story about betrayal, romance, and redemption that will captivate you through most of the book.
Ben-Hur has a childhood friend, Messala, who betrays Ben-Hur as a young man. He serves on the galleys because of Messala’s betrayal, and spends many sleepless nights wondering what became of his mother and sister who Messala took as prisoners. After rowing for almost three years he saves the life of the tribune in a sea battle. The tribune, in gratitude, adopts Ben-Hur as his son.
A few years later the tribune dies leaving everything to his adopted son, Ben-Hur. Ben-Hur now is rich and has been educated in academics and trained in the art of soldiery and has also raced chariots in the circus.
During one of his travels he finds a man who was once his father’s servant, and had amassed great wealth through trading goods. The combined wealth of Ben-Hur and his new wealth from his father’s servant were enormous.
Then Ben-Hur finds out that Messala is in a chariot race coming up, and wanting revenge for what happened to him and his family by racing against him and beating Messala. Ben-Hur then goes to a sheik Ildherim, who has a team of horses but no driver, and asks to drive his team. After Ben-Hur proves he can drive the team, the sheik accepts him as his driver.
Then Ben-Hur, through another person, makes a bet, worth a lot of money, to Messala. Messala accepts to save face in the face of his peers, even though he cannot afford the sum if he loses.
Ben-Hur wins the race against Messala and runs his own chariot into Messala’s so that it breaks up flinging Messala into the ground and the path of the other horses hooves, crippling Messala for life.
Ben-Hur afterwards wanting to spend his wealth wisely and for a right and good cause is told of the coming of the Messiah by Balthasar, who is a friend of sheik Ildherim. He then decides to spend his wealth in preparing an army for Christ, who he believes is going to be a king and destroy the Roman emperor setting the Jews free and ruling over them for eternity. What he doesn’t understand, as Balthasar tries to show him, is that Christ is coming, and has came, to serve and to save souls for a life after death and to prepare a place for the regenerate to live with him after His and their death.
He puts together and trains 2-3 legions of Galileans to fight for Christ and put Him on a throne. Then Ben-Hur follows Christ as he teaches, waiting for Him to give the word for them to fight for Him. As he follows Him and listens to Him, he starts to realize that maybe Christ isn’t, and wasn’t, here to be a king. Eventually, when Christ is captured and lead to be crucified, Ben-Hur realizes the truth of Christ’s coming and sees how much more wonderful and great it is.
Ben-Hur is also reunited with his mother and sister, who were imprisoned by Messala and the procurator in a cell filled with the disease of leprosy and eventually released. After they were released they were healed by Jesus. Ben-Hur also marries his father’s servant’s daughter and raises a family with her. Overall I think this was a good book especially in showing how the thought of many Jews was that Christ would come and lead them in throwing off the Romans and set up as a king and rule them. The author was very descriptive, almost too descriptive sometimes, but for the most part kept up a good storyline that had interesting things happening in it. I do not think it clearly showed how wanting revenge is not just and Christ-like, but rather showed you can get your revenge even if it takes time.



Posted by ME

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Table in the Presence

Lt. Carey H. Cash, chaplain serving with the U.S. Marines, has written an inspiring book entitled "A Table in the Presence". The subtitle: "The Dramatic Account of How a U.S. Marine Battalion Experienced God's Presence amidst the Chaos of the War in Iraq."

Lt. Cash and the men of the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment were some of the first marines to travel into Iraq in 2003. The story reads like a remake of the story of revival in the camps of the Southern army during the War Between the States. You will discover the conversions, baptisms, desire for worship, trust in God, courage, and miraculous protection and preservation of the men in this book.

For someone who has cast a doubtful eye upon our tactics in Iraq, wondering if this is truly a Biblically based, righteous war, it was a reminder that no matter what major world events are transpiring, God is still working His will in the lives of individuals in some of the most amazing ways and in some of the most remote places.

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139: 7-10

---posted by Queen Lucy

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Feast of Fat Things

"And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, even a feast of fined wines, and of fat things full of marrow, of wines fined and purified." Isaiah 25:6, from the 1599 Geneva Bible
Yesterday we had the privilege to enjoy a preview of God's feast He will have for us. We delighted in a feast of fat things at another caer with dear friends. We enjoyed the feast, there was singing, we talked of the things of God and His church, we tested our memories on the order of events of Christ's passion week, and were blessed beyond words.
This kind of blessed fellowship comes only by the grace and gift of God. It is one that can be cultivated once given, but it is given. Thank you, LORD, for such a gift. It reinforced the LIFE that is ours in Christ. It gave LIFE and not death. It made our hearts rejoice in the goodness of God to us. It was an oasis in the midst of the battles for your kingdom. Thank you first for the feast upon your WORD and then the feast of fat things full of marrow in food and fellowship. Thank you for a taste of Christ's love for us, for a taste of the future, for a taste of the glories that are ours in Christ.
"...for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify one another." Romans 14:17-19.

---posted by Queen Lucy

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A small preview...

The following is a small preview of one of the first fantasy books that I wrote. The book that this was taken from probably won't see printers anytime soon, I look at it as one of my "practice books". Writing this one helped me learn how to be descriptive, use proper dialogue, etc. My mom has been wanting me to post this excerpt for some time, and I have finally gotten around to it. Please feel free to comment on it, good or bad, because both will help me to see what others think about some of my creative writing. I can't say that this excerpt is even close to my best work, at least in my eyes, but hopefully you will still enjoy it...

They sat, all three, with their backs against the trunk of a giant oak, its scraggly branches playing out above them like tangled vines. It was more than four hours until dawn and only Grin sat awake. He had not slept at all that night, but tiredness was not on his mind. He watched the sleeping body of Adolf where it was sprawled on the grassy ground, surrounded by his chosen guard. This might be the chance! Adolf’s guards were slumbering; they had finally given in to the temptation of sleep after two nights of keeping themselves awake to protect their captain. Three had merely slumped over in their sitting positions, sound asleep; the other two had fallen over onto the ground next to the smoldering remains of that evening’s fire.
The moon’s half crest shone bright on the far east horizon, just above a rocky peak, as Grin, who had already untied the thongs around his wrists, slowly rose to his feet. He turned to assure himself that his two companions were still asleep — they were.
He breathed deeply to slow his thumping chest, then began the tedious process of making his way through the snoring bodies of raiders that lay all about in awkward manners, trying to prevent from stirring them. He finally made it to the other side of the camp and he paused, surveying what lay before him...and looking for his sword.
There it was! It lay on the ground amidst a pile of other assorted weapons, including his bow, near Adolf’s left arm that lay limp, his long yellow nails sticking up out of his finger-tips like needles in a cushion.

Grin stepped over and slowly pulled his sword from within the pile, working hard to be as silent as possible. The weapon finally came free and he gripped it in both his hands. He turned.
Adolf lay before him like a helpless ant. It all seemed too easy, but it never was. This time he could not fail...he could not; he had to gain his own and his companion’s freedom. Anger once again welled up inside him and was at its boiling point as he raised the sword high above his head, the sharp point aimed directly at his slumbering enemy's chest.
Several seconds of silence followed. The reality of what he was about to do hit him hard in his conscience, and for a second, fear almost stopped him; but the motivation to escape and to protect his friends overpowered his emotions. Grin thrust downwards with every ounce of strength he could muster, the jagged blade glinting in the moonlight as it fell...


This post was written by: J.Dub

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pilgrim's Progress

Pilgrim’s Progress is a very good book; it shows a very good example of how Christianity is. The book is about a man’s dream and in the dream there was a city named Destruction. In the city was a man who had a very great burden on his back that no one else could see. The man’s name was Graceless. He was reading the Bible and as he read it he began to weep because he understood that the city of Destruction would soon be destroyed along with everyone in it. So he decided to go on a pilgrimage to the Celestial city which is heaven. Because he believed God’s word, he was renamed Christian.
The people in the city sent two men after him and their names were Obstinate and Pliable. Christian tried to persuade them to go with him to the Celestial city. Pliable decided to go but Obstinate would not go. So Christian and Pliable continued on their journey. Christian and Pliable soon came to the Slough of Despond and they fell in. Pliable gave up and turned back but Christian kept on going and with God’s help got out on the right side and continued on his journey. During the journey he finally got rid of his burden when he got to the cross and saw Christ dying. He went through many temptations and had his mistakes but in the end he finally made it to heaven.


Posted by Princess Ann

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pattern of Sin

1. We want something or we want to do something.

2. God says no, either through an express commandment or through circumstances including another person or authority figure.

3. We make excuses and justify and rationalize why what we want or what we want to do is okay. It isn't really that bad and God didn't really say that we could not do this, or his commandment does not apply in this case, and so on and so forth. So we do whatever it takes to get what we want....and we sin. (Although sometimes at this stage we are thwarted in our attempts and then we just skip to step 5.)

4. God (or one of his agents) rebukes, corrects, chastises, or expresses his great displeasure at our sin.

5. Since we justified what we wanted to do, we get angry, bitter, and throw a little temper fit or pout. We blame everyone else, including God, but never blame ourself.

6. At this point the path splits. We can go down the road to hard- heartedness, stiff-necked rebellion, and eventual searing of our conscience OR we can be brought to repentance where we confess and ask for forgiveness.

We do not necessarily think through each of these steps. Rather, this is a distillation of the process that we habitually follow, many times without recognizing it or acknowledging it. Especially if we get to step 6 and deny that we did anything wrong. After all we had good reasons for it. As did Cain, as did Saul, as did Samson, as did King David, as did Eli, and so on and so forth.

For a parent, you need to work through your child's sin in step 6 and bring them to repentance. At the Caer, after chastisement or rebuke or correction, we pray with the child. They must tell God exactly what their sin is and name it. We do not allow any hedging. If they lied, they must say, "I lied." They are not allowed to say "I did the wrong thing," or "I should have said something different." They simply must state the sin to God and then ask for forgiveness for it. They also must ask God for the grace to repent.

Next, if their sin involved another person they must go to that person and do the same thing. They need to say, "I'm sorry I lied to you, will you forgive me?" It is not enough that they say "I'm sorry." That is just their telling how they feel about it--and mostly because they got caught and are in trouble....The other person needs to say, "I forgive you." If restitution needs to be made, for instance they took gum or candy or broke a toy, then the offender must make plans and then restore the stolen or broken item.

Plenty of times we do not actually feel repentant. Repentance is actually a gift of grace from God and He works in the heart. However, we believe that we must learn the pattern of confession and seeking forgiveness and train it into the children. We did not learn this as children and still are working on learning it as adults. Also, God asks for our obedience and as we obey, then He works on our hearts. So as the children are taught the obedience in the process, God is faithful and will grant them repentance too.

---posted by Queen Lucy

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Bible vs. What is Right in our Own Eyes

Judges 21:25 says "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

Yesterday I read in astonishment in the "No Greater Joy" magazine advice that Michael Pearl gave to a wife whose husband is committing adultery with another woman at his place of work. His place of work?? Some "ministry". The woman makes comments like this: "This is the second time this has happened. My husband is a saved man in the ministry, and this girl has a high position in the ministry as well. I have decided to keep my mouth shut, because I don't want my husband's ministry to have a scar." Later she says, "I don't want to do anything that will destroy his ministry."

Mr. Pearl tells her to fight for her man. To go to the woman and confront her. To confront her husband and follow him to work if necessary.

Okay, what is shocking to me and down right nuts is FIRST the woman's comments and SECOND Mr. Pearl's response.

We in the modern American evangelical church have completely decided that we can do what is right in our own eyes. What IS right is contained in the Scriptures, the truth of God's Word. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." Jesus said in John 17:17.

But for some reason, we think we can bypass what the Bible tells us when we start trying to solve real life problems. What Scriptures could possibly address this woman's problems?

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matt. 5:27-28 That man is committing adultery. He is guilty of sin. He needs to repent and confess and then adjust his life because he has disqualified himself from the ministry. In I Timothy it clearly says that someone in a position of the ministry, bishop, deacon, overseer, whatever, is to be BLAMELESS. (Also he is to be a man--what is a woman doing in a high position in a ministry???--either way the whole thing is a mess).

Okay for the wife, what is she to do??? "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to like a heathen and a tax collector." Matthew 18: 15-17.

She has no business having to confront that other woman. It is her husband's sin, he is guilty and responsible. His job is to be a truthful, accurate picture of Christ to His Bride. He is lying about who Christ is and sinning against God and his wife. If she talks to her husband and wins him then the two of them need to work through it until there are fruits of repentance and he STILL needs to step down from all ministry or "the Lord's work". If he will not repent (remember this is the second time) and he will not do what is right, she needs to go to her elders and have them start to work with her husband. His reputation before God is already ruined!!!! Who cares what his reputation is before man??????

I realize that there would be very FEW elders that any wife could trust to faithfully and Biblically handle such a circumstance. However, we still need to follow God's prescription and not our own. I also realize that most women who would follow what is God's plan in such a mess would probably be told that she is responsible for her husband's infidelity, but she is not. Things are upside down. The church is calling what is good evil and what is evil good (Isaiah 5:20). God have mercy upon us all.

Posted by -- Queen Lucy

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Seabiscuit

There was once a line of horses known for their evil rage, aggressiveness, and probably most of all, their race-track speed records. They were known for taking the lead in a race, and never losing it, winning by multiple lengths — and one had even trampled a man to death. Races were held up at times because the horses would not go into the starting gate, but insisted on throwing raging wars against the jockey and assistants. When the horse Hard Tack who descended from this generation of horses, was bred, the young colt was expected to be just as bad…
When Seabiscuit was born, he was often found sleeping for hours on end. He became fat because he overate, including eating his soiled bedding after finishing off his regular feed. He had a hobbled run, not braking speeds of over 15 miles per hour — when his sire broke records in races run over 50 miles per hour. The man that bought him finally forced speed from him by using the whip continuously around the track. He ran Seabiscuit in numerous stake races. The horse changed hands like money — a worthless animal in the racing age.
When a certain man, Tom Smith (who worked for the car salesman and millionaire Charles Howard) saw the horse, he saw a block of speedy gold.
With careful work from trainer Tom Smith, new owner Charles Howard, and soon-to-be jockey Red Pollard, Seabiscuit came back from the dead. His lazy habits changed, and he went on to an astounding career. His match and handicap races between the best horses in the world are still known as some of the most attended sports events in history. Seabiscuit broke numerous speed records, became horse of the year, raced over 80 times, broke the record of total purse winnings ever accumulated by a racehorse, and had more front-page headlines than anything or anyone ever, even the president.


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I really enjoyed reading the book Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand, and would highly suggest it to any reader. The outline I gave above is an extremely short outline for the vast story about this horse in the book. It was really fascinating to read about the life of this horse, and the people that influenced it. It was funny at times, and extremely shocking at other times. I learned a lot about a jockey’s world, and what people go through during horse racing. Seabiscuit’s story is definitely one of the most amazing comebacks, and stories in the world.


This post was written by: J.Dub