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  • Book Review: Revelation

    Posted on August 27th, 2013 rhonda No comments


    “The revelation of Jesus Christ,

    which God gave him to show His servants what must soon take place.

    He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John,

    who testifies to everything he saw –

    that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy,

    and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it,

    because the time is near.”

    Revelation 1:1-3


    It’s difficult to take something “to heart” when you don’t understand it.  That’s why so many versions of the Bible exist, to render the word of God in a way that other people can understand. 


    I read my Bible, and enjoy reading other books.  So I can often be found book-browsing.  That’s how I stumbled upon a Biblical treasure – on discount!  Of all the books in the Bible, Revelation is one of the most difficult for me to understand.  That’s why I was delighted to discover a graphic novel version of the 66th book, entitled “The Book of Revelation”; translated by F. Mark Arey & Fr. Philemon Sevastiades, illustrated by Chris Koelle, and published by Zondervan in 2012 (ISBN: 978-0-310-42140-5).


    Am I now an expert on Revelation?  No.  Here’s what it did do for me, though.  First, it’s accurate, despite being illustrated.  Second, the graphics were arresting.  The illustrations were realistic, intricate, provocative and subtle.  As artwork, it was just visually stunning; and it was fascinating to see Koelle’s rendering of Revelation’s metaphors.  For example, Revelation personifies Babylon as a woman.  You have to see how Koelle worked that out for yourself.  Third, my fascination with the artwork forced me to slow down and read more carefully.  When I don’t understand, my eyes glaze over, and after a few seconds of reading I realize that I can’t remember what I just read.  More careful reading helped me absorb some details that I didn’t get before.  Fourth, I read it again, and I understood more of John’s revelation.


    Once I get what’s going on, I pray that I’ll begin to take it to heart.



    “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.  Amen”

    Revelation 22:21

  • Woe!

    Posted on August 20th, 2013 rhonda No comments


    “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted,

    and the train of His robe filled the temple.”

    Isaiah 6:1

    Every time I think of Sybrina Fulton, I start to cry.

    Her son was killed, and the killer was acquitted. I don’t know how much it hurts to (1) bury a son, (2) know that your son was innocent, (3) know that he died violently, and to (4) see his killer walk away with no consequences.  God knows.  He sacrificed a Son who was far superior to Trayvon.

    Despite those burdens, she remains dignified, respectful, peaceful, forgiving – and godly.  I saw excerpts of an interview with her after the verdict was made public.  The interviewer asked, “What would you say to [your son’s killer]?”  Her response was that she would pray for him.  She said that she’s not going to allow herself to lose her blessings due to holding hatred in her heart.  She said the killer would one day have to give an account to God for what he did.


    As I was puzzling over the verdict, Isaiah came to my mind.  Years ago, I heard a sermon based on Isaiah 6.  Pastor wanted the youth to know how to hear the call of God and do the will of God.  He noted that when Isaiah was allowed to see the Lord, seated on His throne, receiving praise from the seraphs, Isaiah’s first response was “Woe is me . . . . I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have see the King, the Lord Almighty” (v. 5).  His point was that when we see the Lord, we realize two things.  First, we realize how holy and pure and beautiful and righteous He is.  Second, by comparison, we realize how unholy, dirty, ugly and wicked we are.  That realization causes us to confess, “Woe is me!”

    The closer we walk with god, the more He re-makes us in His image (2 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:9-10, Ephesians 4:22-24).  I see evidence of that re-imaging in Sybrina  Fulton.  There should be a clear distinction between the people of God and everyone else.  I see that Ms. Fulton has been walking with God for a while.  I still have a long walk to go.

    “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;

    the whole earth is full of His glory.”

    Isaiah 6:3

  • Payday!

    Posted on August 13th, 2013 rhonda No comments


    You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth & clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

    Psalm 30:11-12

    I thank God for allowing me to see the payoff.  A while ago, I wrote about coming home at the end of my workweek feeling tired and frustrated.  A few weeks after that post, I finally got to see what I was working for.  I work with adult students who are struggling in school and taking remedial classes.  At the end of the spring semester, they took a series of placement tests to determine whether or not they were exempt from taking further non-credit classes.  The tests determine whether or not they could finally start taking classes which would allow them to accumulate the credits they need to graduate.

    When the test scores came in, I had the responsibility and privilege of giving students the news.  Some students still need to take at remedial classes, but not as many as initially thought, and everyone made improvement.   We were able to acknowledge the progress that had been made.  Some people passed all their tests.  There were tears of joy, smiles, high-fives; and in one instance – unrestrained celebration.  One student just got a glimpse of his score and started jumping up & down and running through the halls.  He hugged me.

    That celebration wasn’t the highlight of my day.  There were two students who had a particularly hard semester.  On paper, they weren’t as successful as other students.  Nonetheless, they worked hard and made progress.    I was proud to see that all of their work paid off; and I was happy to say that I had small role in helping them get through the semester.

    I didn’t get a pay raise, but God did compensate me for my work.

    Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.

    Psalm 149:3

  • Does God Heal Women?

    Posted on August 7th, 2013 rhonda No comments


    “Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you?  Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother.  Don’t take this thing to heart.’  And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.”

    2 Samuel 13:20


    A few weeks ago I watched a re-run of the original Law & Order.  A woman killed the man who raped her.  Law & Order prompted me to pick up the Bible and see how God comforted and restored rape victims.


    I couldn’t find anything.  There are stories of rape in the Bible.  There are stories of women being healed of diseases.  Yet, I couldn’t find a story of a woman who received justice and healing from rape.  Tamar’s story ends with her living as a desolate woman.  I mentioned in a previous post that sometimes the Bible is hard for a woman to read, because sometimes it appears as though God doesn’t care as much about women.  That little seed of doubt in my mind started growing again.


    Then I saw Before: An Evening of Original Monologues, written by young women who were sexually exploited and prostituted.    Prior to the show’s start, I bought a book by the organization’s founder, who was also exploited as a young woman.  The back cover says, “With time, through incredible resilience, and with the help of a local church community, she finally broke free of her pimp and her past . . . .”  When seated, I noticed the show’s cast praying before their performance. They opened the show with a trio of survivors singing a song called “Happy Being Me”.  During the show a few women talked about prayer getting them through.  I don’t know GEMS to be a Christian organization, but it appears that there are Christians in it.


    Maybe God was using Before to address my doubts.  I was suddenly surrounded by women who talked about what horror that they’d been though, and that they’re now fine.  Their message is just that they want to prevent other girls from going through something they’ll need a healing from.  One day later, I was in a completely different context, and heard two female acquaintances mention that they were incest survivors.  They still struggle, but they’re also engaged in life.


    If that’s God’s answer to me, I’ll take it.


    “Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing”

    Exodus 15:20