Sunday, January 29, 2012
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read The Hunger Games Trilogy on my Kindle this weekend and tore through all 3 books in less than 48 hours. They were amazing! The story line is captivating and Suzanne Collins manages to hold my attention throughout the books, even as the plot and storyline change with each new book. While the books are definitely violent and even gory, they are surprisingly clean and free of vulgar language, which I appreciate.
I don't know exactly which genre to put these books into, but I'd put them somewhere between sci-fi and war/action, with quite a bit of coming of age thrown in. Whatever the genre, I definitely recommend them.
View all my reviews
Friday, May 07, 2010
The Children and the Ants
In the corner of the school yard, some children were playing with ants. Some of the children were following the ants that left the anthill, stepping on them as they went out in search of food. A couple of the children saved stray ants by picking them up and playing with them. When the frightened ants bit them, however, the children squished the offenders and went off to save some more ants. The majority of the boys found great pleasure in stomping on the anthills and watching the ants scatter as their homes were destroyed. They would rebuild the hill overnight and the boys would have new targets for their capricious enthusiasm. There was one little boy set apart from the other children. He saw the anthills being destroyed by the other boys and had compassion on the ants. He tried to save as many of them as he could, but the disoriented ants hurried away from his grasp as fast as their tiny legs would carry them. The ants he did save were carried across the school yard to a corner of safety. Along the way they fought to get free from his hold, scurrying across his skin, biting him repeatedly. When he released them, hands stinging with pain, the ants began their trek back across the yard to help rebuild the hill.
The children returned home as the day drew to a close, and recounted their experiences to mostly disinterested parents. Some of the children didn't even mention the ants at recess, because they'd already forgotten about them. A few of the children complained about the ant bites they'd received and sought sympathy. Two of the boys asked their fathers for magnifying glasses. One claimed to want to get a better look at the ants, while the other asked how to use the glass to set the ants on fire. And one little boy asked his father for an ant farm, because the ants that had bitten him, that had been so eager to get away from him and back to the destruction that awaited them, desperately needed a new home.
Back in the school yard, the children continued to torment the ants, intentionally or under the guise of rescue. The girls still squished the ants that bit them, and two of the boys were armed with new magnifying glasses. The restructured anthills were still being trampled, and the ants were still scattering in the wake of destruction. Each day, though, one container of ants was saved from the torment of all they'd ever known and taken to live in a new ant farm, far from the reach of stomping feet. Though the boy desired to save all of the ants, they did not come freely to him. They bit him when he reached out, yet he suffered to rescue them, because his compassion for them was so strong. Each day he sought out more ants, never tiring in his work, even when it hurt, even when he was tired, even when the other children made fun of him.
How like ants we are in the hand of God! We take the abuse Satan hurls at us and cling to this anthill of a home, returning to it each time Christ rescues us from its shambles. We think we can rebuild it, when we don't even realize that it is no longer our home! When Christ removes us from the sin that entangles us, we fight against him, biting him, inflicting pain on him with our rejection. Yet he loves us and has compassion on us still, and pleads our case before the Father, seeking us out and saving us. And we, the little ants we are, puff out our chests and make demands on the one who saves us! We demand that he rebuild our broken anthills. We demand that he leave us to what we know. When he doesn't give in to our demands, we lash out and bite him. In his love, he holds us still, and carries us to safety, acting not out of what would cause him the least pain, but what would be in our best interests.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
SO.... I am actually observing Lent to some degree this year, and giving up my personal TV time (or Netflix / Hulu time, as the case really is) and Eliana is doing the same, though she has much less choice in the matter. =D I realized that we've fallen into a bad pattern where she watches TV and I feel free, so I hole up in another room, doing something else, in front of another computer watching TV. The TV isn't necessarily bad, but the pattern we've fallen into is.
I have so many opportunities during the day to spend time with Eliana, teaching her through activities and play, talking with her as we rise in the morning and walk throughout our day, as it were. So that's what we're doing instead of watching TV for a few weeks. And so far, it's been a really nice change. Yes, I want to know what's going on with "my" shows. But they will be there after Easter, and if they're not, well, will it really make a difference in the end? No. It is also a good chance for me to evaluate what I watch and whether those are shows I really want to spend my time following. Are they beneficial? Why do I watch them? I am looking forward to cutting out some of what I watch in the future and having more time to read. I'm also looking forward to doing things like listening to music or radio shows (like 'Says You') while I'm scrapbooking instead of watching shows while I do. So... I'm looking forward to a season of self control, of growing in my relationship with Eliana and of learning to use my time better. I die to self so very little these days, and it's something I want to practice, for my own sake, and for His glory.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I've actually been reading again, which has been a refreshing deviation from my recent habit of the last year or so of playing computer games on the laptop until I'm tired enough to fall asleep. On the flight to Texas Christmas day I started reading one of Leif's books because I failed to bring one of my own. It was a YA Sci-fi novel called Zoe's Tale and was actually the fourth book of a series, following a trilogy. It was interesting, and I enjoyed it. So when we returned home, I started in on the first book in the series, Old Man's War. The trilogy was not so much meant for a young adult audience, and the language of the novel reflected that. Aside from the language, the book was captivating, though, and delightfully unlike any of the other sci-fi I've read in some respects. I liked that about it. The second book, The Ghost Brigade, was pretty good, too. I probably liked the final episode of the trilogy the best. It was sort of strange reading The Last Colony, having already read Zoe's Tale, but it was still very enjoyable and shed new light on both the universe and the characters.
Originally I wasn't a big fan of John Scalzi's writing, though as I kept reading, it grew on me. Now, I'm interested in reading more of his works, including the above, The Sagan Diary, a continuation of the Old Man's War series.
Leif says he'd be happy to buy it for me for my birthday (in September), but I think buying it for HIM for his birthday in May and then reading it before I give it to him is a much better idea. =D Mwaaa haa haa. Okay, maybe I won't do that. But I do want to read it.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Satan is real and he is very good at his job. His job is three-fold:
1. Tempting us.
2. Lying to us.
3. Accusing us.
Satan tempts us and lies to us, and when we fall into the trap he sets and we sin, he points a finger at us and accuses us, telling us how awful we are. We are in a courtroom, and he is the prosecuting attorney, pointing out our wrongs before God, while we listen to all that we have done.
I John 2:1 - My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
When Satan accuses us before the Father, and makes his case against us, Jesus steps up and defends us before God, stating that the penalty for that sin has already been paid, and the sin forgiven. He is our defender when Satan accuses, for He is the one who paid for our sin.
When we sin, we have four choices:
1. Deny the sin.
2. Cover up the sin. (Or at least try to)
3. Let the sin weigh on us until we are crushed by guilt.
Repentance is confessing the sin and turning away from it and turning back to God. It is a change of heart, a change of focus, and a change of path. It is resetting the compass so it points again to God, and following in the way we should go, admitting that we were headed in the wrong direction before. (That part wasn't actually in the sermon, but a picture that just popped into my head.)
When we repent, we must confess the sin before God, but we may also need to confess the sin to the person we sinned against, in order to restore the relationship. This is the more humbling act, but is part of turning back to God and returning to the right path.
When we do repent, we are blessed with several benefits:
1. We receive mercy instead of misery.
Proverbs 28:13 - He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Parents ought to show their children HOW to repent, both by instructing, and by repenting themselves, asking forgiveness when they sin. When children confess and demonstrate repentance, parents ought to treat their children with the same mercy God shows us, that they will learn the beauty of God's mercy and the importance of repentance, that repentance will be sweet to them.
2. We receive forgiveness instead of slavery.
When we are riddled with guilt, we become a slave. We hold onto our sins and they control us, controlling our thoughts. We become slaves to Satan's accusations, cowering before the judge's bench, pleading guilty. When we plead guilty, we in effect waive our rights to a defender and let the prosecuting attorney win. If, however, we stand before the judge and let Christ speak for us, we are forgiven and receive freedom. How much sweeter is forgiveness in Christ!
3. We receive refreshment instead of shame.
Acts 3:19 - Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
When we accept the forgiveness that comes from Christ, our sins are wiped out and we are refreshed, knowing that He has borne our shame and we no longer have to.