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From the DVD Shelf–A Review of The Book of Daniel

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Recently I watched the PureFlix film, The Book of Daniel. Although the events depicted occurred thousands of years ago, you can’t help but make some connections to today’s cultural climate.

The Book of Daniel is an Old Testament book of the Bible. It tells of real people—particularly Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—who were captured during the fall of Jerusalem and sent into slavery in Babylon, hundreds of miles away in geography, and an alien world as far as religion was concerned. Whereas Daniel and his friends served God, the Babylonians did not know God. They served idols, in many cruel and perverse rituals.

Some takeaways from the movie and the book:

  1. Daniel and his friends were always respectful of the kings (rulers in authority). You didn’t see them in any protests against the government; they didn’t try to change the politics, society, or the culture, which was foreign to them.
  2. Although in captivity, they still served God. They made up their minds to do this and they stayed the course. Surrounded by people and circumstances they never would have chosen on their own, they served God by serving the rulers, except when whatever king was in power (notably King Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful king in the world) demanded they worship someone or something other than God. Then they quietly, respectfully refused, knowing they could lose their lives for doing so, but also knowing their lives were ultimately in God’s hands.
  3. Loyalty to God wins respect.
  4. Daniel and his friends were committed to the truth. Telling the truth could have easily cost them their lives, but they told the truth anyway.
  5. God’s sovereignty over the world’s rulers is clearly shown.
  6. God hates pride. Pride leads to a downfall, sometimes quickly. 
  7. God honors humility and faith in Him.

What impressed me the most about the movie is that it demonstrated the quiet power of trusting God in situations you don’t really want to be in. This is a movie I will watch again. Interesting fact from “Behind The Scenes”: The lions are real, not computer-generated!

Running time (movie only): 88 minutes.

Special Features: Behind The Scenes, Actor Interviews, Trailers, Spanish Subtitles

©P. Booher

 

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A New Faith-Based Resource for those with Chronic Illness

Since arthritis grabbed my attention a few years ago, I’ve been searching for materials which bring faith in God into the equation. I bought one booklet, but kept looking. 

Recently I came across Chronic Illness—Walking By Faith. After reading an online excerpt, I realized this 31-day devotional by Esther Smith is more what I had in mind, so I ordered it. Esther Smith was diagnosed with lupus and hypermobility syndrome; she knows what it’s like to live with chronic illness. She knows how one day you can be fine, and the next day you can barely function, or are somewhere in between. She knows how people say you look fine, but you know you’re not. She knows how symptoms can vary from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next hour.

Esther writes with compassion and empathy, tempered with a dose of reality. While you won’t find quick answers or guarantees of healing, you will find much encouragement.

Each two-page devotional begins with a Scripture verse, followed by a reading relating to the verse. The devotionals end with questions for reflection and an action prompt, whether to pray for renewed faith, or another suggestion.

I am a week into this devotional, and am glad I found it. I recommend it to anyone fighting a battle with chronic illness who wonders where God is, if He knows, or if He even cares.

©P. Booher

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It Takes Faith–A Word About An Empty Tomb

“…the women…found the stone rolled away  from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”  (Luke 24:1-3) (NIV)

Although I didn’t go to church often when I was growing up, I knew Easter Sunday was the day Christ rose from the grave. I didn’t connect that fact to anything else in my life–it was just a “religious fact”.  Christ came; He died; He rose. The tomb is empty. That’s good–but what’s that mean?

Years later, that empty tomb–that knowledge I have by faith–gives me hope. The empty tomb gives me hope because Christ was (and is) too big to be held by it. If He is too big for that, He is certainly big enough to handle any and all of the problems I have now or ever will have. He is not at all bothered by any of my problems. He is not fretting about what to do. He has it under control!

The empty tomb gives me hope because it means Christ is living. If He is living, I can reach Him through prayer. I have access to all His comfort, all His kindness, all His understanding of me. He can give guidance, ease my fears, cancel my worries.

That is what the empty tomb means to me now. It takes faith.

©P. Booher

 

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From the DVD Shelf–Review of “Walking With God In The Desert”

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A desert is hot, dry, and extremely uncomfortable. Until I watched the DVD “Walking With God In The Desert” I didn’t realize how much a desert can be a teacher.

In “Walking With God In The Desert” Bible teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan walks in the Negev and other Middle Eastern deserts. He offers parallels between those deserts and our personal ones—those hard times of unemployment, disease, loss of loved ones, and crises of faith. Those parallels include:

  • solitude—in both the geographical and the personal desert, there is silence.  Normal routine is shut down or greatly lessened. In that solitude there is a sense of only God and you, and without the distractions of normal activity you can be more receptive to hearing God speak.  Ray says he went through a “desert” when he had a coronary bypass. He was very weak and couldn’t do anything. But during that time he had an awesome awareness of God’s closeness. It deepened his relationship with God.
  • help—in the Negev and other deserts, there are places where trees such as the acacia and broom tree grow. They provide welcome shade, wood, and even medicinal help. In the personal deserts, God provides help when you cry out–sometimes miraculously, sometimes not. But there is help.
  • God is here—in the geographical and the personal deserts. You are not alone, even when it feels like it. You can cry out to Him and be heard

I bought this DVD several years ago when I was part of a Bible study group. I watched it again earlier this year and thought how timely the lessons are. This DVD is definitely worth repeat viewing.

Divided into seven lessons. Running Time: 175 minutes.

Note: The back of the DVD case says it is designed for use with the Faith Lessons, Walking with God in the Desert Discovery Guide, which is sold separately. I gained a lot from just watching the DVD.

©P. Booher

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Keeping a Blessings Journal

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“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8, KJV)

Many times in the Old and New Testaments God urges (and sometimes commands, as in Joshua 4:5-7) us to remember His blessings and what He has done. King David had many low moments, but came out of them by remembering God’s mercies and blessings to him and Israel. Remembering how God acted in the past gave David renewed faith and courage for the challenges ahead.

Some years ago I began keeping a blessings journal. I bought a 4″x6″ notebook and recorded blessings—like the time I was driving and almost caused an accident (the “almost” is the blessing part), the time I was standing outside a local store, waiting to cross the road, when I felt something brush the back of my leg. I thought it was a bug. Instead, it was the tail fin of a 1960’s-era car! I could have been run over! But I wasn’t hurt at all. I wrote about other events that “almost” happened and would have been disastrous, but they didn’t happen—blessings to me.

I wrote about things that did happen, like getting together with friends. Just last fall two of my friends and I went to a nature reserve and walked on one of the trails. We meandered around, listening to the birds, watching the fish in the pond, and enjoying each other’s company. Then we went to a restaurant to eat. My friends didn’t realize it, but that day was the day before my birthday. I knew I’d be working on my birthday, so I hadn’t planned anything, but just being with my friends was celebration enough.

I keep my little journal in my purse. I look at it when I have a few spare moments—on break at work, or even right before I go to bed. It reminds me of the many times God has blessed me. Taking just a few minutes to reflect on God’s goodness to me helps me combat worry and anxiety. God does not change; He has helped me before, He can help me again.

Resources: Psalm 63 and Psalm 142, among the many psalms David wrote, are especially timely.

©P. Booher

 

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God in the Darkness

A couple months ago the pastor of the church I attend suggested reading and dwelling on Psalm 139. Since then I’ve been reading and re-reading this Psalm. It’s one of the passages that’s been drawing my attention lately.

The writer, King David, asserts God’s knowledge and interest in him. He says that he cannot flee from God’s Presence, no matter where he goes, he finds God there. He writes, “If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalm 139:11,12, KJV)
These verses provide comfort to me. They tell me that even though dark, uncertain circumstances bother me, they do not bother God. He knows where I am, and what I am feeling. I can cry out to Him and know that He knows and cares, and will act in some way on my behalf. The darkness is never too great for God, since darkness and light are the same to Him.

starry sky

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A Sky so Blue, (new)

Photo Credit: Author

©P. Booher

 

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Fighting a War Against Fear

“What if this happens?????? What if that happens?????? What happens then??????” What will I do??????”

These are the questions that popped up in my mind often, even in little situations. You know what’s behind those questions? FEAR. Fear nearly drove me crazy; I mean to the point of losing my mind. What was worse was I knew I didn’t have the answers for those questions.

Last year, after a bout with painful, limited mobility, and depression, I finally said I’ve had it. I couldn’t take any more of the barrage of questions in my mind, or the heavy feeling of responsibility, so—I gave them to God. (I pictured myself giving a huge, car-sized box of fear, anxiety, and blackness to Jesus) I told Him, “Lord, I give this to You. I can’t handle it.” I pictured Him taking the heavy box as though it was a light feather. He said, “Trust Me. It’s OK. I can take it.”

Since then, when FEAR attempts to make an entrance and take over my mind, I picture a soldier standing guard with a spear. The soldier growls, “Don’t even think about it.”, and lunges at the fear-thought, which hastily retreats.

I thank God I don’t have the fear/panic cycle anymore. I’m free, and it’s such a relief; I can just live my life, and let God handle the “What ifs?” etc. He alone is big enough to do it; I’m not.

If you are in the middle of a fear cycle, consider doing as I did. Tell God you can’t do it anymore; give it to Him, and see what He does.

Some resources for fighting fear—please note: the Bible has a lot more.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6, KJV)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  (James 1:5, KJV)

“Casting all your care upon him;  for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7, KJV)

Jesus defeating fear in His disciples: Mark 4:35-40, KJV

©P. Booher

 

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A Different View of Accomplishments

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My idea of a to-do list used to be like the one pictured above. Sometimes it still is. I still write a list, and some days I accomplish quite a few items. Most of the time the items on the to-do list spill over into the next day, or even the next week—or two.

In the past year or so my idea of accomplishments changed. It broadened to include not only things you see on a list, but also things you can’t see, like victories over discouraging  thoughts and worries. Recently I engaged in a fencing match with the thought, “Your life isn’t worth much.”  You can read about that battle here. Last week or so I boxed with the impression, “You’ve fumbled badly in your work, your finances, and every area of your life.” Then a picture flashed through my mind of falling flat on my face. Not something to give a person confidence, is it?
I prayed, and once again, Faith came to my rescue, saying that I haven’t fumbled badly, and even if I have, God can and is willing to help me. I’m not alone.

These interior victories show me the most meaningful accomplishments aren’t ones you can cross off a piece of paper. They are ones achieved inside you.

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Resources:

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24, KJV)

“Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.” (Psalm 60:12, KJV)

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

 

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When I Feel As Though My Life Isn’t Worth Much

Earlier today the impression entered my mind: “Who are you to think you’re anyone special?  Your life isn’t worth much.”

At first glance circumstances agree: I am just one of six or seven billion plus people on this planet; lower sales after Christmas means I am working fewer hours on my retail job, so don’t have a sense of productivity/ worth there; I don’t have a boyfriend or husband who can lift my spirits. Even the weather got in on the act. The sun shone dimly through an overcast sky, so it was gloomy inside, even with lights on.

I prayed about that impression. Immediately Faith kicked in and said, “No! Your life is worth much because God loves you and created you. He sent His Son to die for you. You are valuable.”

God reminded me that the earlier impression of low worth didn’t come from Him; those were not His words.

After this, I called a relative who, like me, wants to put more emphasis on spending time with family. We agreed to meet tomorrow.

Then I spent some time outside (being in the fresh air always raises my spirits) feeding the birds, and raking leaves for mulch. It was cold, but I was helping the birds, doing something productive, and I could always warm up with a cup or two of tea back inside. As I raked leaves, the sun shone a little stronger, and beautiful blue sky appeared on the horizon.

Lastly, I am writing this blog post for anyone else who hears those words, “Your life isn’t worth much”. I am writing to tell you not to believe them. You are valuable.

©P. Booher

 

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Reflections for This Writer’s Heart

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“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23, KJV

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”  Psalms 19:14, KJV

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  Philippians 4:6, KJV

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8, KJV

Keep going, don’t give in and don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

Till your own field; keep your attention on your own work; you have enough to do with that!

Don’t be distracted by what someone else has, does, says or whatever. That can lead to envy, jealousy, bitterness, gossip, and resentment–even of friends. Those attitudes will affect your creativity, big time, both in quantity and in quality.

Cultivate faith and be led by that, rather than fear.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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