The message in misspellings

Social media is full of misspelled memes.

My students, who are excellent texters, don’t use capital letters, periods, or correct spelling. I crack up at “thx sra keiser.” I understand it, and it’s okay—unless we’re doing Spanish verbs or vocabulary. If the word is not correct or recognizable, it gets marked wrong.

A bakery’s sign says, “Don’t forget to pick up bread with tongues.” Too funny!

Bible verses get misspelled, too. I saw several on social media today. One would think that the writers would double-check Scripture, but then again, maybe not. I remember reading about the scribes back in the first centuries who copied the Bible by hand. If they made a mistake, the whole page had to be destroyed and started it over. I can’t even imagine.

What do misspellings say about us? I am not sure, but here are some ideas:

  • Spelling is not my gift. I can understand this one, as I have known lots of brilliant people who don’t spell well. I advise young people to use spell check when they go to college. It will literally save their lives.
  • I never proofread. This person is in a hurry to get it said and whoosh out the door.
  • The way I spell isn’t important to me. I’m not sure why, but it seems this person’s crowd is growing exponentially.
  • Texting is the way I communicate, and good spelling isn’t needed, lol. Yes, just laugh out loud.

I’m afraid, though, misspellings, especially in memes, make the writer seem ignorant.

You and I know that’s not so. Maybe it was someone in a hurry, or he’s a texter.

But, the finished project isn’t excellence.

I went to a Christian university that pushed students towards excellence—in every part of their studies. It’s important to strive for it. No one will achieve perfection, though. I still misspell sometimes. Everyone who writes misses a key from time to time. I proofread and still sometimes miss them.

Where am I going with this?

We need to give folks the benefit of the doubt. When you see a mistake, recognize that you make mistakes, too. Be generous in your judgments—or don’t even make a judgment on mistakes.

The Bible says, in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves  and that real love thinketh no evil (Philippians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:5).

We all make errors. Everyone, even the best writer, makes spelling mistakes.

But, it goes much further. God loved us, knowing we were nothing better than sinners. He gave His Son to pay for our sins. That is ultimate love, the most amazing example of unselfishness. In order to give eternal life to His creation, guiltless Jesus paid for sin. Anyone—no matter what the sins committed—can go to heaven, if he accepts this amazing gift.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We often forget the next verse. It’s about the way Christians are supposed to act. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

The next time you notice a misspelling in a meme, smile and say to yourself, “Maybe he was in a hurry.”

And, don’t use your tongue to get bread. Please use the tongs.

Women of the Bible 15: Who are we?

We are four sisters with a unique ministry.

Our father is an evangelist.

In the New Testament, the only other woman with our title is the ancient lady, Anna. We are young, unmarried women with the same spiritual gift.

Some people think we’re lady preachers. Ha ha! We think that’s funny. Scripture never approves of women leading men or teaching them.

But, we do preach, if you want to call it preaching. We share Scripture with other women and also evangelize children. We are our father’s right arms, so to speak. When he preaches to adults, we later counsel some of the women using Bible truths.

We also teach children the gospel. The message of salvation through Jesus is so simple that even little children can understand and be saved. In fact, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein (Mark 10:15).

After us, though women in Titus 2 and other passages clearly teach, there are no more women in the New Testament called by this title.

Who are we?

Who is our father?

What is our title?

And, for extra credit, what Bible verse tells us not to teach men in church?

For special bonus points, three verses in the Bible tell women to do one specific action in church services. What is that action? Do you know the references?

Is God a legalist?

I deeply appreciate people who extend grace to others. Thankfully, I’ve met a lot of them in my life. They inspire me to do the same—to overlook faults and love people as they are.

God does that, too.

There was a time when I judged other Christians in my mind for their not seeing issues exactly as I saw them. To me, they were not insignificant issues. They were important biblical principles. Why didn’t others understand them as clearly as I did? Sounds prideful, doesn’t it? Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (Romans 12:16). I clearly needed to be more of the same mind.

I love Romans 14 for many reasons. The instruction is about two issues in the early church. Some people thought they could eat meat offered to idols. After all, an idol is just a lifeless statue. Others felt pricks of conscience about eating meat that had been used in idol worship, and they became vegetarians in order to avoid this possibility all together. The other issue was about holy days, probably including the Sabbath. Some felt that all days were the same. Others were very concerned that the Sabbath and holy days be strictly kept in a prescribed way.

The ones with the greater consciences are called “weak brethren” and should be accomodated, while the stronger Christian needs to guard himself from judgmental, haughty behavior.

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:3, 5, 10-12).

There are several lessons, here. If a person is a Christian, God has received him, and his behavior is none of our business. He gives account of himself to God. It is for God to judge our fellow Christians, and for us to do right before Him, also.

Is God a legalist?

The definition of legalist is: “strict adherence … to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.”*

Does God want us to obey His law?

Absolutely.

Here are just a few of the verses about how God values obedience:

  • Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine (Exodus 19:5).
  • A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day (Deuteronomy 11:27).
  • And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).
  • But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you (Jeremiah 7:23).
  • Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15).

Sometimes, when God gave explicit instructions and people disobeyed, He struck them dead:

  • Nadab and Abihu, for offering “strange fire” in the Tabernacle (Leviticus 10:1-2)
  • Uzzah, for touching the ark of the covenant (1 Chronicles 13:10)
  • Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led a rebellion against Moses. God opened the ground and swallowed up them and their families. Then, fire from heaven consumed 250 men who had followed them. (Numbers 16:1-35).
  • Ananias and Sapphira agreed to keep back some money and lie to the apostles. They were struck dead one at a time after lying to Peter, who said they were actually lying to the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:1-10).
  • For taking the Lord’s supper unworthily, some were sick, and many sleep—had died (1 Corinthians 11:27-30).

There are countless examples of God extending mercy to those who deserved to suffer the consequences of their sin.

  • Moses and David were both murderers, yet God used them in a great way. What did God say about these two? And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend (Exodus 33:11). God said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will (Acts 13:22).
  • Saul was a persecutor of Christians before God called him to be an apostle, trained him, and used him (name changed to Paul) to start churches all over the Roman Empire.
  • Instead of stoning the woman caught in adultery, Jesus forgave her and told her to “Go and sin no more.”

Consider the mercy bestowed upon every person in the world, that Jesus would come and provide salvation, through his undeserved death, for anyone who believes.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

Is God a legalist?

I think not—and neither should we be.

*Dictionary.com.

Fiction review: Sand Creek Serenade

Sand Creek Serenade, by Jennifer Uhlarik, is highly recommended, and I can certainly understand why. The writing and storyline flow beautifully, and the story is refreshingly different. It’s historical fiction set in 1864, just before, during, and after the Sand Creek Massacre. The story follows the unlikely romance between Dr. Sadie Hoppner and the Cheyenne warrior, Five Kills.

I loved Sadie immediately. She’s feisty, smart, caring, and independent, but she relies on the Lord for guidance. Her brother is an important part of her life—though he’s sometimes far from helpful. Romantic intentions from Gabriel only make the story sweeter.

The massacre itself is horrible, a blot on America’s history. I have a difficult time understanding this level of cruelty and disregard for human life. I believe the author feels this way, as well. She shows both sides of the story and handles this horrible subject with care and realism. Although she describes the horrors, she weaves the massacre into the story in such a way as to keep the story moving through this trauma.

The romance between Sadie and Five Kills develops slowly and is told in a sweet way. I don’t usually read romances at all, but this one seemed just about right to me.

For your information, there are several passionate kisses between Sadie and Five Kills before they marry. (Sorry for the spoiler.) Especially at the end of the book it’s rather frank about the physical attraction between them. The scenes from the massacre are horrible. In addition, there are a few descriptions of torture. I believe this book is for mature women only.

Sand Creek Serenade includes an appearance of the Lord Jesus as Healer and as an answer to prayer. He is presented as Savior. I read some of the reviews where this appearance of the Lord is criticized, and I value others’ opinions. However, I personally didn’t have any problem with this. This book is fiction. I also didn’t see anything theologically wrong with the way this was presented. Jesus does heal. Jesus could appear—should He choose—to anyone, anywhere. He might reveal Himself supernaturally from time to time, though we shouldn’t expect it.

I enjoyed Sand Creek Serenade, and I think you will, too. Five stars.

By the bootstraps

There’s an old saying, “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps” from back when men wore long riding boots that had handy dandy loops at the top for pulling them on. The meaning of this saying is the impossibility of pulling oneself up by oneself.

That’s where I was this week: vainly pulling on spiritual bootstraps and still feeling miserable.

It didn’t help that it rained all week.

Life circumstances—including the locked-in one—haven’t been favorable, either.

I have been praying, tugging on my old bootstraps, and vainly trying to smile … while wanting to throw things, cry, yell, and … you get the picture.

Where does one go for renewal?

Sanity?

Getting back to happy?

Having joy in the middle of several serious trials at once?

Need I mention having a good testimony—shut in with the one who matters most, my husband?

All the “better yourself, be who you were meant to be, bloom where you’re planted, and suck it ups” don’t work. I can tell you. Bootstrap pulling is totally useless, too—unless you’re a boot.

“When life hands you lemons…”

You can’t make lemonade without sugar.

I didn’t have any sugar.

The only remedy in the world for a rotten attitude and loss of joy is: Truth. The more the better.

Only Truth seeping into one’s heart can change the heart’s thinking and feeling.

I wrote up to this point before a death in the family this week. It’s amazing what focusing on what I know about God is helping me to deal with my emotions and our great loss.

Let me share a few truths that have helped me over the last few days:

  • What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me (Psalm 56:3-4).
  • Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9).
  • Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:26-28).
  • For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

Lord, help me focus more on You, and thank You for praying for me, being with me, and working in me. Help me to trust You completely when I am overwhelmed, afraid, sorrowing, and in pain. I want to trust You for those I love, as well. Thank You for your Living Word, that speaks to me exactly what I need to hear.

What Scriptures have helped you this past week? Feel free to share.