Devotional: God is Good

God is good.

Remember this in the midst of trials, celebrations, fun, and sorrow.  Despite it all, God is good.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold

The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin

The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin (the same author who wrote Bomb) is a kids book about the rise and fall of America’s most notorious traitor, Benedict Arnold.  Most people just know he’s a traitor.  Most don’t know why he betrayed his country when he fought for it so hard.  This book explains it all.

We start at the beginning as most biographies do with Arnold’s childhood. The son of a prosperous merchant in Norwich, CT, Arnold was known as a daredevil and a prankster.  When Arnold was a teenager, his father’s business began to fail as the shipping business took a downturn.  Once one of the richest families, his father couldn’t pay his debts.  Yellow fever took two of his sister’s lives and his father began to drink more and more.

His father died when Benedict was 21.  Determined to prove himself, he “longed for action, craved attention, and made his own rules when it suited him.”  He was reckless and eager to win back the family’s name and fortune.  This would explain many of his actions as an adult.

Sheinkin goes into details about Benedict’s battles and actions.  He marched overland to take Quebec in freezing temperatures, undo hardships, and starvation.  He dealt the British a crushing blow in the Battle of Valcour Island in 1776, and managed to escape with his men.  The hero of the Battle of Saratoga, which was the turning point in the war and the first major victory in the American Revolution which convinced the French to enter on our side, Arnold was injured and suffered a limp the rest of this life.  Recovery was slow and Benedict hating being out of action.

But with a character like Benedict, he made enemies.  He stole others’ thunder.  He made no apologies for his boldness.  He was not good at playing politics and only had in mind the good of the country.

Arnold’s goal all along had been to win the war.  However, he was passed up for promotions by Congress who wanted control over Washington.  He was not acknowledged for his roles in the various battle of the Revolution. Accused of making money off the Revolution, he faced a court marshal.  And throw in he needed money and Arnold’s character began to see a way out.

Arnold’s plan was to gain command of West Point, an army base at the time at a strategic location on the Hudson River, hand it over to the British, and get paid millions of dollars in today’s money for doing so.  Never one to take blame, Arnold had convinced himself this was for the good of the country.

Through an uncanny series of fortuitous events and many see as only the hand of Providence, Arnold’s plan failed.  Washington, Arnold’s biggest supporter, was shocked.  Effigies burned of Arnold in all major cities.  Attempts were made by the Americans to capture him and bring him to justice but all failed.

Major Andre, the British liaison for this betrayal, ended up the one hanged.  Arnold ended up in Britain but was shunned.  He died at the age of 60 in London.

Sheinkin writes “If Arnold had died from his wounds at the Battle of Saratoga, we would think of him today as one of the all-time great American heroes.  Aside from Washington, we’d say, he did more to win our Revolution than one one.  We’d celebrate his life as one of the best action stories we have–Washington never did anything half as exciting as the march to Quebec or the Battle of Valcour Island.  We don’t say any of that, and it’s all Arnold’s fault.”

Great historical read on one of the America’s most misunderstood figures.  Fascinating how Arnold’s plot failed literally by yards.  Scary to think how the War would have played out if Arnold had succeeded.  Highly recommended.

Fun Facts About the Book of Romans

Romans quotes the Old Testament more than any other New Testament book, 57 times.

The most common words in Romans are the word “God,” 153 times, the word “law,” 72 times, the word “Christ,” 65 times, the word “sin,” 48 times, the word “Lord,” 43 times and the word “faith,” 40 times.

Other Interesting Facts are HERE

What Christmas is All About…

Hustle and bustle.

Presents and wrap.

Parties and gatherings.

Oh, what a trap!

Christmas is not

About you and me

It’s about the King in heaven

The gift of a baby.

Remember God

Today and forever

He is there always

An omnipresent treasure.

Merry Christmas!!

 

End-of-Year Giving…

Hey all!

Christmas is such a time of joy and celebration.  It’s a time of reflection and family and quality time together.

However, this is also a depressing time of year for many.  Loss of a loved one or downtrodden financially or health issues amongst other reasons make the end of year hard.

In this time of need, I’d like to encourage you to give to the needy in your community.  We as Americans are so very blessed to live in this country at this time.  All those in the developed world are blessed.  All around us are needs that are often unspoken and unnoticed.

I would just like to encourage you to remember to make the most of your end of year giving.  Whether it’s to the local animal shelter, the homeless, your church, your neighbor, your colleague, your family, etc.  We are all blessed to have breath in our bodies, to have God in our hearts, to have His mission and purpose guiding us, to lead the lives we are leading.

On that note, I would appreciate any donations as well to my blog.  It keeps me doing what I do and helps my family as well.  Just use the donation button on my sidebar.  I thank you in advance.

I know a lot of us do struggle with finances.  But there’s always something we can do.  Everything counts.  Everything matters.  No matter how little.  Consider giving your time and energy instead of money.  Often times a smiling face and a kind word are all someone needs to make it through the day.

God bless you all.  I’m so grateful you are in my life.  I hope you all remain so.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Inspirational Quotes: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not go where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

BSF’s Next Study: Letters of Paul?

I’ve heard from many of you on the repetitive personal questions of the study of Romans.  I have noticed this as well.

I suggested a while back that Bible Study Fellowship shorten the study of Romans into a semester long course and then add on other smaller books for the rest of the year such as Galatians and Colossians.

I’ve dubbed this study idea of mine:  The Letters of Paul.

This is an informal poll.  Do you like this idea?  Now that we’re almost half-way through the study of Romans, what are your thoughts on the study, the questions, lecture, notes, etc?  I always love to gauge your opinion on the study at about this time.  Do you like it?  Is it challenging?  Are the questions just right?  Too hard?  Too easy?  Have you learned a lot?  Is BSF worth your time and energy?

Please try to be reflective of the study itself, not BSF as a whole.  Also, just being with God, we’ve all grown closer to Him.  Try to focus here on this study compared to other studies you may have done on the Bible.

Please leave a comment below or email me at atozmom.wordpress@gmail.com

I look forward to your ideas, comments, & suggestions.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 5: Romans 8:35-39

[Last Lesson Before the New Year!  Lesson 16 will be posted the week of January 8th, 2018]

Summary of passage:  Paul says nothing can separate us from the love of God that shines forth in Christ Jesus.  Not trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword.  Not death, life, angels, demons, time, any powers, height or depth.  In all these things we are conquerors with Christ.

Questions:

11)  To encourage us and strengthen us.  He uses a well-known verse that’s pretty dismal and despairing to tell others that Christ now allows us to overcome all evil.

12a)  All are troubles that Christ overcomes and we do as well through Christ.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Knowing God is there during my husband’s job difficulties and in my struggle to find a career path is very comforting.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There’s way too many things that I get angry about or impatient with to list from my kids to other drivers on the road to standing in line to stupid, dopey emails.  I’ve learned a few years ago not to pay much attention to world events or worry over it cause all of that is out of my control.   Nothing can separate us from the love of God that shines forth in Christ Jesus.  Not trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword.  Not death, life, angels, demons, time, any powers, height or depth.  In all these things we are conquerors with Christ.

Conclusions:   So much more here that BSF missed in lieu of personal questions.

End Notes:  Paul’s list is to tell us that no matter what our sufferings are (persecution, famine, etc) we’ll never be separated from the love of God, which makes us conquerors, and suffering actually carries us along toward our ultimate goal:  union with God.

Nakedness meant a lack of clothes, which was a common concern in ancient times.

Sword implies execution. It is the only item on the list that Paul had not yet personally experienced (1 Corinthians 4:1115:30).

Paul’s second list is to emphasize that nothing good or evil can separate us from the love of God.

Conclusions half-way through BSF’s Study of Romans:  This lesson in particular took less time than any other so far this year.  Three weeks on Chapter 8 of Romans was too many.  Over half of the questions these days are personal ones.  Even the notes are dumbed down.  It’s very monotonous and frustrating.  Read my end notes for the lessons where I dive into the passage more.  I encourage you to use BSF as a springboard to do your own study if you are finishing days and weeks and asking yourself if you got anything out of it or not.  BSF is what it is now:  personal, friendly, and superficial.  If you want more, strive for more just like anything in life.  Don’t expect someone else (including BSF) to do it for you.  Let’s see what the next 15 weeks hold!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 4: Romans 8:31-35

Summary of passage:  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He gives us all things.  He justifies.  Jesus intercedes for us.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:

If God is for us, who can be against us?  No one.

How will God not also give us all things?  He does.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  No one.

Who is he that condemns?  No one.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  No one.

Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  No.

God is all things.  He’s in charge.  Nothing happens without His approval.  He is omnipotent.  All else pale in comparison.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not sure I’m struggling with any at the moment but “If God is for us, who can be against us?” is one of my favorite quotes from the Bible because it reminds me I can do all things in Him.

Conclusions:  Anyone get anything out of the questions?  The passage, yes.  The questions, no.  For the first time in my eight years of doing BSF I’d say you could skip these two questions and not miss one thing.  So sad by this!  Do read my End Notes for the goodies especially the part on the “if”.  Just because people think God is with them does not mean He is.

End Notes:  If all we had were the first few chapters of the Book of Romans, some might believe that God was against us. Now that Paul has shown the lengths that God went to save man from His wrath and equip him for victory over sin and death, who can doubt that God is for us?

Note the two-letter preposition “if”.  This is not saying God is with everyone (terrorists and cults think God is with them).  God is only with you if you’ve accepted His Son, Jesus, as Lord and Savior.  If you are in Christ Jesus, then God is for you.

Even if others are against us, does it matter?  You + God = unconquerable

God gave us the ultimate gift (His Son), so why wouldn’t He give us all the small gifts as well?  This is a common argument used by Paul from the greater to the lesser similar to Romans 5:9-10.

With Jesus we are secure from all charges (God has already proclaimed us ‘not guilty’) and condemnation.

The God within (the Holy Spirit) can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  Remember this always when you’re down.  God can do it.  And let Him!

And, of course, we can’t forget this AMAZING song!