Friday Faves–Jesus/Christmas Edition

Hi Again. Here are my favorite internet things from this week.

How Jesus Got His Name: This is fascinating, but I love etymology. So…#Nerd.

Jesus, the Son of Man: Ever wondered why Jesus called himself this? Here is a pretty quick explanation.

Prepare A Room: The lovely Dr. Sandra Glahn writes to us about hospitality. “Hospitality is primarily about people, not showmanship.” 1 Peter 4:9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (God sure knows our tendencies.)

Finally, a little promotion for my man.

Seed of Doubt: This is my husband’s recently published novel. You should give it to someone for Christmas.

Merry Christmas, friends!

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Review of Derek Elkins Life Unworthy of Life – By Robert Milton

Derek Elkins, author of  Life Unworthy of Life, is the Winner of the 2012 Christian Novel Contest with Athanatos Christian Ministries.

~Review by Robert Milton~

Life Unworthy of Life reminds us all of this fact: We have never locked eyes with someone that doesn’t matter to God. Elkins examines the sanctity of life…every life, even those some in society consider “the least of these.”

In the midst of the Second World War, a fledgling doctor finds himself working on the T4 Project, a project designed to examine, and eventually execute, anyone who has a disability of any kind. Mental, physical…all abnormalities are up for dissection. The end dream of this project is clear: the perfection of the human race, with Hitler as the Hero. Yet we find that this doctor, Viktor, begins to struggle with the thought of killing those he see’s as “vermin” and unworthy of life.” Germany is in the middle of a war, and can’t afford to support those that are “less than animals.”

And then he meets a boy with a mind like none other. Dieter is extremely intelligent, understanding the intricacies of both physics and philosophy. But Dieter is also blind in both eyes, and since that’s a genetic abnormality,  he must be examined then extinguished. Yet the bond he forms with Viktor is not easily broken. As Viktor seeks counsel and advice from his brother August, he continues to wrestle with his beliefs, his values and his conscience. And when the project is scrapped and the patients ordered to be executed, Viktor has a quick decision to make–save the life of an imperfect boy, or follow orders for the “betterment” of Germany. Somewhere along his journey, the Godly example and unconditional love from August begins to shake Viktor’s heart, leading him not only toward a change in lifestyle, but a change in heart style.

  Life Unworthy of Life…there’s no such thing.

Author’s website

Unfair is Best

A guest post by Robert Milton.

“There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. 

There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.”

I’ve heard this saying a thousand times growing up…and I have a problem with it. Now, it most certainly is true. My problem, as is my problem with most things, is that it isn’t fair.

First, I can completely disregard the first half of the statement, the part where there’s nothing I could do to make God love me more.  Here I say— rather non-poetically—no freakin’ kidding!  To think that I…a weak, broken, 30-something year old male riddled with doubts and insecurities could actually “do” anything to make the creator of the universe love me more is completely asinine.

But certainly there are things I could “do” to make God love me less.  Again, the saying is true…just not fair; or better yet, it’s impossible to comprehend.  You see, my problem with this saying is also the same problem a lot of my friends have as they wrestle with the idea of trusting a God they cannot see:

The things we have done.

How is it possible that I haven’t “done” anything to make God love me less?  I’ve murdered, stolen, committed adultery, cheated, lied, idolized, envied. I’ve wished the worst possible things on other people. I’ve tasted the fruit of bitterness and relished every bite. I’ve bowed down to statues of myself…and I’ve done all of these a thousand times over.  Now, some of these things I haven’t physically and literally “done,” but in my heart, I’m guilty of them all.

This is what I struggle with.  The chains and scars of an ugly past are only a thought or two away, and it’s easy for me to believe the skeletons in my closet are still alive and breathing.  It’s easy for us to look at our past and think we’re not worth the spilt blood of a man we may or may not fully believe in. And maybe I’m writing this to continue to convince myself, rather than others, that because I have decided to trust Jesus, my old self has gone and the new me has come.  Hard to believe, I know. But deep down inside, I trust the words of Jesus.

Many of my friends have a problem with Christianity…and rightly so on some points.  They see hypocrites, pain, backstabbing, lies…you know the list. And we’re guilty on all counts.  Christianity is full of imperfect, broken, messed-up people struggling daily with their inward battles of pride and selfishness.  What I read from Jesus is that we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44),  not judge others (Matthew 7:1), and we should give to the poor and destitute (Mark 6:30).  I trust his words when he says we should serve others (Mark 10:43).  And most importantly, I believe his words when I read, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

So yes…I will believe there isn’t anything I can do to make God love me less.  And yes…I still believe it’s unfair.  But fairness gets me death…fairness separates me from God for all eternity.  That’s what we deserve. But for those that bumble and stumble through this race with me, if our faith is in Christ, that’s not what we’ll get.

I’ve never been so happy to be treated unfairly.