Fortune Cookies from God

Fortune Cookies Prvbs 27-4

Anger is cruel and wrath is like a flood but jealousy is even more dangerous. ~Proverbs 27:4 (NLT)

Anger, wrath, and jealousy – when you consider the three, jealousy might not seem the most dangerous. After all, I’d prefer someone to be jealous than punch me in the face, wouldn’t you?

But let’s think about this. Anger and wrath are actually very similar. Wrath is simply an extreme form of anger. We all know that being on the receiving end of someone’s anger is not a fun place to be. Whether it’s a verbal lashing, a physical beating, or destruction of property, having someone take their anger out on us can be painful.

The thing about jealousy is, unless a person acts out against you, you may never know they’re jealous. Jealousy, like pride, is something that sinks down into your soul and festers.

Jealous messes with our heads and hearts. We might be able to admit to others when we’re angry (probably can’t help it), but people don’t like to ‘fess up to being jealous. It’s unbecoming.

As an author, it can be difficult to see your friends getting what you’ve been working for: that agent, that publishing contract, that award, those reviews. You want to be happy for your friend, but you can taste the jealousy as it claws its way up your throat and tries to escape your lips.

Jealousy steals joy.

Jealous hurts friendships.

Jealousy is the opposite of what we should be: thankful and content.

If you’re harboring jealousy today, take that evil beast and turn it on its head. Look for things that you can be happy about. Count your blessings. Thank God for all that you have and rejoice in the accomplishments of those around you.

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Mind-Writer-3Lisa Godfrees, co-author of the newly published sci-fi adventure
Mind Writer, is on the hunt for the ever elusive-jackalope. She probably would have found one by now if she ever got up from her desk and ventured outside. When she’s not reading, writing, or mommying, she amuses herself by learning to draw. She’d be tickled turquoise if you’d connect with her on #Twitter or Facebook.

 

Did you hear the rumor about…?

FCfGod medEarly in my college career, I was adopted into a group of friends that had attended the same high school. They hung out at night and on the weekends, sometimes traveling home or visiting friends at nearby universities. Sometimes those friends came to visit as well.

One weekend a guy named Tom came in from a rival school. I didn’t talk to him because I didn’t find him particularly attractive (physically or personality-wise). I didn’t know it at the time, but he claimed to have met me before. In fact, he claimed that I was what the Bible would refer to as a “promiscuous woman.” Apparently, I made the woman at the well look like a saint.

Of course, I didn’t find this out until much later. Not until my friend Amy told me what he’d said about me. By then, the damage had been done. I had an undeserved reputation.

But here’s the thing: it didn’t bother me. If people wanted to believe untrue things about me, that was their problem, not mine. I laughed, shrugged it off, and went about my business.

But it got me thinking about rumors.

Fortune Cookies Prvbs 18-8

The Bible says that rumors are dainty morsels that sink into someone’s heart. And that is so true. How often do you hear rumors about someone famous or even someone you know? Juicy tidbits that are so surprising and you have to share them with others. It’s like that scandalized feeling is contagious. Once you receive it, you want to give it to others.

Rumors are insidious, though. I spent part of my life as a manager, and having people speculate about possible changes and their outcomes is dangerous. Mishandled, and you end up with a group of very disgruntled employees.

Rumors surrounding people are worse. I know girls who would be crushed if someone claimed such scurrilous lies about them. And college is very different than junior high and high school. If those types of comments were made about a younger girl… well, that’s the sort of things TV specials and popular YA lit are made from.

The worst things about rumors are that once you’ve heard them, you can’t UNhear them. They stick like glue (sinking deeper into one’s heart). Take celebrity gossip. There was a vicious rumor about Richard Gere around the time Pretty Woman came out. I still can’t hear his name or see a gerbil without thinking of the rumor. Sheesh. Scarred for life.

Therefore, go and do no evil. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? If not, stuff a fortune cookie in your mouth and chew until you think of something better to say.

Now you… how have rumors impacted your life or the lives of those around you?

Peanut Lisa<><
Lisa Godfrees is on the hunt for the ever elusive-jackalope. She probably would have found one by now if she ever got up from her desk and ventured outside. When she’s not reading, writing, or mommying, she amuses herself by learning to draw. She’d be tickled turquoise if you’d connect with her on #Twitter or Facebook.

Fortune Cookies from God

The Bible is a collection of different types of literature: history, poems, parables, genealogies, and wisdom literature. The Proverbs fall in the latter category, and sometimes they read like something you might find in a fortune cookie. This collection of wise sayings can be serious, humorous, profound, or confusing, but they contain nuggets of wisdom.

Even though they are in the Bible, not all Proverbs are promises. Some are simply observations of what is generally true. A wise person learns the difference. A good rule of thumb is unless the sentiment is repeated elsewhere in the Bible, don’t take it as a promise. 

Today’s fortune cookie is brought to us by Proverbs 11:22. Continue reading

Should Christians read Harry Potter?

Harry Potter

It’s the age-old question, or at least a question that’s been around since 1997: should Christians read Harry Potter?

We thought we had put the argument behind us when the 7th and final volume of the series released in 2007, but now an 8th book(ish) feature is coming on July 31 (which happens to be character Harry’s birthday).

Some Christians enjoy the series and see it as classic good vs evil. Magic and witchcraft in a biblical sense are associated with the occult, but magic in Harry’s world is not. In the frame of the series there are both good and bad wizards. Themes of friendship, loyalty, bravery, and self-sacrifice are packaged in a fun fantasy world.

Other Christians feel that the mention of wizards, witches, or magic preclude Christians from consorting with the books. They believe that in fantasy true power must point to God and His authority in whatever form it takes, such as a lion named Aslan. Metaphor must be direct and overt so that readers, especially young ones, will not be misled.

In actuality, this is an age old argument stemming from biblical times. In the past, the debate was over circumcision, or meat sacrifice to idols, or… So let’s look at Scripture, and for clarity let’s exchange eat for read and books for food.

Romans 14 (NLT)

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat [read] anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat [read] only vegetables [CS Lewis]. Those who feel free to eat [read] anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat [read] certain foods [books] must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food [book], in and of itself, is wrong to eat [read]. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat [read], you are not acting in love if you eat [read] it. Don’t let your eating [reading] ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good.17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat [read] or drink [watch], but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat [read]. Remember, all foods [books] are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat [read] something if it makes another person stumble.21 It is better not to eat meat [read Harry Potter] or drink wine [read 50 Shades of Grey] or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat [read] something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

emphasis mine


And another passage:

1 Corinthians 10 (ESV)

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat [Read] whatever is sold in the meat market [on Amazon] without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner [a book club] and you are disposed to go, eat [read] whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice [penned under Satanic influence],” then do not eat [read] it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink [read or watch], or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.


Personally, I have no problem with Harry Potter, but I could not in good conscience read 50 Shades of Gray. You may disagree with me on either side of that issue, and I respect that. The important thing here is to follow your own conscience (i.e. the Holy Spirit within you) because ultimately it is between you and God.

The key here, I believe, is two-fold:

  1. Don’t read/watch anything that prickles your conscience.
  2. Don’t encourage others to read/watch something against THEIR conscience.

NOW YOU: DO YOU AGREE/DISAGREE? WHERE DO YOU DRAW YOUR PERSONAL LINE WITH READING OR WATCHING MOVIES/TV?

Lisa Godfrees

this post brought to you by Lisa Godfrees

8 things I wish I’d know when I was a teen

Thanks to our newest Scriblerian member, Kathrese McKee, we’re spending some time looking backward. What would you tell your teen self if you had the chance?

Not that my teen self would have listened. Some lessons you just have to learn by living them. I still have a problem following rules if I don’t understand the reason for them. Convince me why, then I’ll do it. I’m not much for blind obedience. For the most part, that’s a good thing.

Well, Lisa, here are the things you need to understand and WHY they are important.

Letters air mail isolated on white made in 3d software

It’s not about you.

When the waitress forgets to refill your water, it’s not because she she secretly thinks it’s funny that you’re thirsty. When someone parks too close to you in the parking lot, it’s not because they want to see you climb in through the passenger-side door or because they have a personal vendetta toward you. Perfect strangers have NO opinion of you whatsoever, so cut them some slack. People have bad days. They can be rude, distracted, grumpy, or careless, and it doesn’t have anything to do with you. In fact, if you knew what they were going through, you might want to give them a hug.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

It does you no good to make your displeasure obvious to everyone around you. You might have a good reason to be angry/insulted/hurt, but making your feelings obvious won’t win any bonus points. Kindness goes a long way. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try to understand why a situation happened before reacting to it. What you find out might surprise you. It will also make you look more classy and less like a female-dog.

Saying shocking things is not attractive.

You don’t have to say every thought that comes into your head, especially the crass ones. You want people to think you’re edgy, that there’s more to you than meets the eye, that you’re not just a goody-goody, super smart girl, but people aren’t laughing because they think you’re funny. They’re laughing because they’re uncomfortable and they can’t believe what you just said. That’s NOT a good thing. You’re a funny girl. Be funny without the shock-factor. And there’s nothing wrong with being good or smart.

People like you for who you are, not who you wish you were.

This will continually surprise you, but people like you. They think you’re kind, sweet, funny, loyal, and smart. Just be yourself, hang out with the people who genuinely interest you (that does NOT mean trying to get in with the “popular crowd”), and enjoy the moment. There’s no such thing as a “popular crowd” when you get to college anyway.

True love waits.

You’re a closet romantic. You believe all those TV shows about one-true-love, so you think that if you’re in love with someone, you should do whatever you can to make the relationship work. Your friend Tammy had it right: you can be practical AND in love. Don’t compromise your time or integrity for some guy. Hang out with your friends and have fun instead. The world doesn’t revolve around him either.

True love doesn’t play games.

If I guy really likes you, he’ll avoid doing things that make you jealous. Love is not a manipulation game, and trust is the foundation of any relationship. Beware.

God is about relationship not rules.

You’ve got a lot to learn, girl. You’re smart, but there are things you just don’t understand. God is NOT about “do this” or “don’t do this.” God is about “get to know Me. Let’s hang out. I’m better than any true love you can imagine. I’m worth knowing.”

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more or less.

Remember #1: It’s not about you? Yeah, that goes for God too. He didn’t allow your father to die to keep you in line. Life is not an equation of If I Follow The Rules then Nothing Bad Will Happen. That’s not the promise. The promise is that when bad things happen, God will be there. So relax. You don’t have to be perfect. Live in the moment, and consider God first in everything. He’s a Really Cool Guy. You’ll love Him when you get to know Him better.

Trust me.

NOW YOU: Did you do any of these things? Please say yes, because I feel like I’ve just hung out a bunch of dirty laundry. :/ I’d elaborate, but I’ve learned you probably don’t want to know what I’m thinking right now.

 

Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me: A letter from the future by Kathrese McKee

Lessons learned the hard way

What Advice Would You Give Your Fourteen-Year-Old Self?

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for The Scriblerians entitled, Failure Is An Option. Learning lessons the hard way must be much on my mind these days. There are many things I wish I had known ahead of time, so I wrote a letter to a younger version of myself. I’m putting it in a time travel capsule and hoping for the best.

Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me,Dear Fourteen-Year-Old Me,

If you’re reading this letter, then the time travel capsule must have worked. This is me—or is it you?—writing to you from 2016.

First, let’s improve our overall quality of life. Skip working at that computer consulting firm (the second one, not the first one). Total mistake. Oh, and invest every spare dime in Apple stock—the company, not the fruit. But I’ve said too much already.

Second, start writing now. Put all your stories in a drawer and wait until the world’s longest river starts a fire. You’ll know what I mean when it happens. But seriously, write every day so you’ll be ready with lots of raw material and the skills to polish your stories for publication.

By the way, your “Only Friends” policy towards guys totally works, so keep that up. But you need to get out more. Go to rock concerts against the preacher’s advice. Lightning won’t strike you down if you attend prom. Don’t listen to the legalists, and don’t worry so much about what people think about you. Live a little. Then write about it. Do you sense a theme here?

Let’s see. What else can I tell you without triggering the “butterfly effect?” (I can use that reference since I know you read Ray Bradbury.)

There will come a time when a Cuban American, a Jewish guy, a reality television star, and a grandma will run for president. Sounds like a bad joke, right? I can neither confirm nor deny that I made it up, but a political thriller with that plot could become a bestseller. Trust me. Oh, and publish it in 2014 for the best marketing opportunities.

When a storm named Rita strikes, stay home. Sorry, I hate to be so cryptic. Never say you’ll never live in Dallas. Don’t buy the Volkswagen TDI. Beg, borrow, and steal to go to the second Realm Makers Conference because you’ll always regret that you spoiled your perfect attendance record. Okay, that’s probably enough, and let’s hope it’s not too much.

Stay in band, work hard in school, keep reading everything that looks interesting, and stay close to God.

Love,

Kathrese

 

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Don’t you wish you could write a letter to a younger version of yourself? What would you tell him or her? What hints would you try to pass on (without disrupting the space time continuum)? Would your younger self believe what you wrote or blow it off?

I tried to keep it light, but I do wish I hadn’t had to learn so many things the hard way. Who doesn’t wish that? Maybe humans aren’t able to learn certain lessons except through enduring the consequences of making mistakes.

The truth is that I had some lessons I needed to learn at the second computer consulting job. However, I regret that I didn’t start writing in a serious way much sooner. I chose to write epic adventure fantasy with lots of political intrigue built in. I have to say, the contemporary political thriller would have been big, especially if I had nailed the election results. Move aside, Nostradamus!

Imitating Good Examples

We don’t need hints from the future to know that we should use our time wisely. Occasionally, we hear of someone who provides a great example of the best way to live.

The Scriblerians are grieving the passing of their friend and fellow writer, Vanessa Morton. Their stories about her are inspiring and full of love. She seemed too young and bright to be gone so soon. Her friends definitely think she was one of those examples to imitate. Let us burn as brightly as Vanessa did, and live as faithfully, to the very end.

What advice would you give your fourteen-year-old self?

Do you write in your Bible?

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Bible journaling has become a thing. I’m not sure when it started, maybe with the adult coloring book craze, but it is definitely hot right now.

There are printables, art supplies, templates, ideas, and now special Bibles dedicated to journaling with lovely large margins. Some margins even have pre-drawn doodles for you!

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I finally received my Inspire Bible NLT (Tyndale) and have been enjoying it. I like taking my set of colored pencils and using them to highlight and take notes in the text. I’m not much of an artist, but drawing something that reminds me of what I’ve read, or coloring in block text of Scripture helps me meditate on the message. Plus, I’m excited to crack open my Bible every morning because it’s fun to color and draw. 🙂 Here are some examples I’ve done from Romans:

Should you Bible journal? Here are some pros and cons to think about:

Pro #1: Bible journaling is a fresh approach to looking at Scripture. None of us want to get stale in our spiritual lives. Sometimes trying something new or doing something besides simply reading, helps us connect with Scripture better.

Pro#2: It can be beautiful, especially if you are artistic. If looking at this calls to your soul, then it might be something you will enjoy that will encourage you to crack open your Bible more frequently.

Pro#3: It is relaxing. Coloring and drawing aren’t things that happen fast, so journaling makes you slow down which makes you internalize the Scripture you’re journaling.

On the other hand…

Con #1: If you’re not careful, it can obscure Scripture instead of enhancing it. If you create a scene on a page and then you can’t read part of the page, then you’re creating a keepsake, not something you can use effectively again. If that’s what you want to do, that’s perfectly fine–just be intentional about it.

Con#2: It can shift your focus from God to you. If Bible journaling becomes all about the way it looks or doing it instead of being used as a tool to open your mind to God and the Scripture, that’s not good. Make sure journaling is bringing you closer to God, not distracting you from His presence.

Con#3: Not everyone is an artist. In fact, some people abhor writing in any book, much less the Bible! If you are hyperventilating looking at these pictures, then Bible journaling is not for you. And that’s ok too. 🙂

NOW YOU: DO YOU BIBLE JOURNAL? WHY OR WHY NOT?