Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books
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Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Bindings offers thought-provoking blogs by vibrant, published Christian authors on faith issues, life and current events, and intriguing, must-read books.

Posted 9/28/14 at 8:11 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Things Aren’t Always as They Seem

I grew up in an old house that did not have closets. We had chifferobes but not in my bedroom. My closet was a nail. Our door facings were made from one by six boards. Mine had a couple of sixteen penny nails, one on each side of the door, where I hung my clothes. Occasionally, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I saw a tall man standing in my room. I imagined he had come to do me bodily harm so I covered my head. Hey, that may not have been such a bad idea. In winter I slept with so many homemade quilts on the bed that most weapons couldn’t have penetrated them all. Of course, I could have smothered to death under there. In the light of morning my visitor turned out to be nothing more than my lifeless empty shirt hanging on one of those nails. Don’t laugh; it might have been the headless horseman - minus the horse!

Recently, as I cut my backyard, I saw my grandson’s red and blue Spiderman rod and reel lying in the grass. You may remember that he fishes in the pool. He fishes without hooks so he never catches anything except imaginary big ones (like many fishermen). As I approached his rod and reel with the mower I kept my eyes on it thinking I would stop before I reached it and move it out of the way. Much to my disbelief, shock, and fright, as I drew near, his rod and reel began to move – on its own – towards me! Now I have been attacked by a Doberman Pincher, an oversized tomcat, and stinging varmints, but never by a rod and reel. My first impulse was to scream like a girl but I held back. Can you imagine a fully grown man running across his back yard fleeing from a Spiderman rod and reel? Too bad someone didn’t capture it on video or we might have won something on America’s Funniest. I seem to recall a story in the Bible about Moses having a rod that turned into a serpent. Could my grandson’s rod have done the same? I don’t recall that Moses’ serpent chased him. FULL POST

Posted 9/24/14 at 2:20 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

There’s No Need to Cry Over Spilt Milk

When I was a kid we drank milk; lots of milk. At one time we even owned our own milk cow. Her name was Betty. After Betty left the family for greener pastures we bought our milk from a local dairy farm. I think we went through several gallons a week. Mom gave us a choice at supper. We could either drink milk or swallow our meal dry. I chose milk. All that milk I drank is probably why I never broke my arm, or my neck, when I fell out of all those trees I climbed.

The milk we drank was raw and untreated. It hadn’t been skimmed, homogenized, or pasteurized. It almost tasted like a milkshake but if you shook it too much it turned to butter! We usually bought homemade butter from the dairy and occasionally a gallon of buttermilk. I’ve never been a fan of buttermilk myself. It tastes like milk that should have been thrown out a couple of days earlier! I didn’t care much for wild onion flavored milk either. I usually treated mine with a little PDQ, Bosco, or Nestles Quik. FULL POST

Posted 9/22/14 at 12:18 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

What’s the Secret of a Literary Masterpiece?

We sat mesmerized while the actors spoke in Elizabethan English and dashed around on a small square stage in the middle of four groupings of folding chairs. How could a three-hour play, William Shakespeare’s Richard III, written five hundred years ago, so capture our twenty-first century audience? An audience accustomed to movie masterpieces with all sorts of special effects?

The play spoke to us, first of all, because of the superb actors. They created emotions that spoke through the often unfamiliar and flowery language. They pulled us into a world of treachery and betrayal and ambition. They acted so well that the sniping, arguing, and name calling in the first act recalled twenty-first century political sparring followed on our mobiles.

Secondly, Shakespeare’s stories remind us of unbridled ambition, as prevalent today as in the bard’s England. He portrayed the universal type who sees others as no more than tokens on a chess board to be swept aside in the winning of goals. The story and the characters were real in a basic sense, despite their sixteenth century trappings and practices. FULL POST

Posted 9/17/14 at 1:23 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Riding

Most Americans spend a lot of time riding in cars. A lot of empty time that seemingly can’t be used for anything else. But the fact is that this time can be used for very effective prayer.

As I was riding the other day I was struck by how many road signs reminded me of people. The Dominos Pizza sign reminded me of when I named Ann Simpson’s horse Domino and got paid $5 for it. So I prayed for Ann Simpson. The No Parking sign reminded me of a retired school teacher that we called Miss Noe. I prayed for her. The Conway truck that passed us reminded me of Bart Conway that I went to grade school with and hadn’t thought about for many many years. Once again I prayed for this ghost from my past. You get the idea.

It doesn’t have to be signs. It could be landmarks like the parking lot where you fell down when you were five and a nice lady helped you up. You don’t know her but God does. It could even be a color. The red sports car reminded me of my sister’s friend Scarlet. FULL POST

Posted 9/17/14 at 1:08 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Standing on the Brink

I’ve always loved the story of Joshua and Caleb, two of the 12 scouts who were sent by Moses to check out the land God had promised the Israelites (Numbers 13-14). When the scouts returned, they reported: “It is indeed a magnificent country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is some of its fruit as proof” (NLT).

But just as the people salivated over that sweet fruit and the promise of such a bountiful land, the scouts’ next statement was grim: “But the people living there are powerful, and their cities and towns are fortified and very large.” Translation: “Even though God promised us this land, we’re afraid of what the big, bad guys could do to us.” The naysayers were in full swing, and their words and attitude spread rampantly through the camp like a disease.

Such a report didn’t stop Joshua and Caleb, though. They stood out from the crowd, encouraging the people not to be afraid. After trying to quiet the mutterings, Caleb declared enthusiastically, “Let’s go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it!” FULL POST

Posted 9/15/14 at 12:07 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

You Are All My Reasons

One of my favorite movies is A Beautiful Mind based on the real life story of John Nash, mathematics professor, 1994 Nobel Memorial prize recipient in economics, and schizophrenic. Though reportedly Hollywood’s account is a skewed version of biographers, I enjoyed the film primarily for one element: his wife’s devotion to him even in his darkest moments, especially in his darkest moments. While the real story ends in divorce, the movie version shows a devoted husband and wife, working out the serious ramifications of mental illness. When Nash, now an old man, accepts his prize at the podium, he scans the audience. His eyes rest on his wife, Alicia, and he delivers the closing line of his address. “You are all my reasons.” Meaning, she was the one who ultimately kept him going when all else failed, even medication.

I love that line. I love the portrayal of marital commitment. It spurs me on to be a better wife to Chuck. But as much as I love my husband, the line impacts me for a more compelling reason. FULL POST

Posted 9/10/14 at 1:03 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Do You Know Jesus?

One generation will commend your works to another;

They will tell of your mighty acts.

Psalm 145:4

Granddaughter Rebekah pulled a German doll from my old trunk. “Tell me the story behind this doll, Grandma.”

I gladly obliged.

You see the doll had been sent to me by my Uncle Charles, a chaplain who served in the Army for twenty years. He and his family traveled the world but spent most of their military career in Germany. Wherever they went, they always gifted their nieces with meaningful mementos.

On that sunny summer day, I shared with Rebekah that my Uncle Charles was a man who loved Jesus with all his heart. One question freely left his lips, no matter who he met: Do you know Jesus?

One day as a young husband, Uncle Charles walked outside and noticed a teenager standing at a street corner. Sure enough, he strolled over and asked the boy if he knew Jesus. The teen said he’d tried some churches, but didn’t really understand the question. Uncle Charles shared how a holy God left heaven in the form of a baby, grew up, and died on the cross to pay for our sin. He then rose from the grave to give us eternal life. The teen had never heard such news. Convicted by the Holy Spirit of his need for Jesus, the boy accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord right then and there. FULL POST

Posted 9/8/14 at 1:17 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Pay it Forward – I Think

Recently David, a friend of mine, went through a fast food drive-through to get himself a chocolate milkshake. As he sat at the window he glanced up in his rear view mirror and noticed someone he knew in the car behind him. He didn’t think she had seen him so he decided, for no particular reason, to help her have a good day. He told the cashier, “I want to pay for my shake and for whatever the person in the car behind me ordered.” The young man in the window said, “That will be $43.89!” David’s first thought was, “Man she must really be hungry!” He wondered if she had ordered a couple of filet mignons but he knew the fast food place didn’t sell them. Then he said to himself, “Now what are you going to do, Mr. Do-Gooder?” Several possibilities ran through his mind. He hoped that perhaps, maybe, possibly, prayerfully, he had misunderstood the amount. With a quivering voice that sounded like that of a pimply faced young man going through puberty he asked, “How much did you say?” The answer remained the same. David was embarrassed to back-peddle on his offer. He looked inside his wallet and saw a ten and a couple of ones. He managed a half-hearted smile as he handed the young man in the window his debit card. As he pulled away he looked up in his rear view mirror again. He saw the lady smile from ear to ear as she waved at him. He sheepishly waved back. David slowly savored every single sip of that milkshake as he tried to make it last as long as possible. When he heard the straw gurgle against the bottom of the empty cup he mumbled to himself “That may have been the best milkshake I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. At almost forty four dollars it should have been!” FULL POST

Posted 9/4/14 at 1:48 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Service: The Rent We Pay for Living

The speaker at this graduation stressed paying back more than your student loan:

“When I was growing up, service was as essential a part of my upbringing as eating and sleeping and going to school and to church. I was taught that service is the rent that each of us pays for living, the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time or after you’ve reached your personal goals.”

–Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund; Seattle Pacific University, June 14, 2014

Daughter of a Baptist preacher in Bennettsville, South Carolina, Ms. Edelman says her parents modeled a Christ-likeness throughout her childhood. Anyone in need was a neighbor.

In her adult life, Ms. Edelman has been a voice for the nation’s children. According to an article in Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, she has supported programs to prevent childhood abuse and teen pregnancy, advocated for enrichment programs that encourage a love of reading, and engaged political leaders to support health care, early education, and increased aid for low-income families. FULL POST

Posted 9/1/14 at 1:40 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Happy Labor Day weekend! By the time I graduated from high school, college, and seminary, I had already had several careers; well at least several part time jobs. My paying jobs included picking cotton, cutting grass, automobile body and paint work, gas station attendant, school custodian and maintenance, warehouse work, guitar teacher, weekend relief houseparent in a children’s home, and church work. I think I heard the call to ministry at about ten - while picking cotton. Well, maybe not but I did decide not to become a cotton picking cotton picker then.

My first job was nonpaying. My Dad was my boss and he informed me that I did get paid. He said my pay included a house to live in, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Dad owned a business where he sold everything from coal to hardware and building supplies. Some of the things I did included shoveling coal and sand, and unloading and loading cement blocks and bricks by hand. I helped stock the shelves with candy, cookies, chips, peanuts, and such. I also helped eat them. Dad used to tell me I was eating up all his profit. I keep the drink box filled. I also helped empty it. Our box was one of those old red Coca-Cola chest type coolers with two lids. You didn’t put money in the box but in our hands. We sold bottled drinks only. I kept it stocked with all kinds of drinks as well as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Those things were good cold plus they didn’t melt in there. We sold several soft drinks that we don’t see much anymore. These included Royal Crown (R.C.), Double Cola, Sunrise Orange, and NuGrape. We sold a new drink called Mountain Dew. There was an older drink by this same name but we didn’t sell, or drink, that kind of mountain dew. I later learned this soft drink had existed for about twenty years but was not widespread until Pepsi bought it and began distribution nationwide. FULL POST

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