- Many people have a supernatural / animistic worldview already, therefore they over-report spiritual activity, and
- There is actually more genuine overt demonic activity in those places because it is a working strategy for Satan to keep people away from the true God.
I decided to read Ben-Hur this year, not knowing that a remake would be in theaters on Aug. 12. I had seen the original classic in the 1959 version as a boy, which was mesmerizing, but going through the entire novel slowly as an adult impacted me at a much deeper level as I saw it afresh on the backdrop of the Bible narrative. One passage that really hit home personally and for which I wrote about in a prayer letter to supporters on March 30, 2016 (5 years to the day from the passing of my wife due to cancer in 2011) was the following: “In a recent reading of the novel, Ben Hur, I came upon a section where the Arab chieftan, Simonides asks his daughter what day it was…she affirmed it to be the anniversary of her mother’s death: "True, most true, my daughter!" he said, without looking up. "Today, five years ago, my Rachel, thy mother, fell down and died. They brought me home broken as thou seest me, and we found her dead of grief. Oh, to me she was a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of En-Gedi! I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. We laid her away in a lonely place--in a tomb cut in the mountain; no one near her. Yet in the darkness she left me a little light, which the years have increased to a brightness of morning." He raised his hand and rested it upon his daughter's head. "Dear Lord, I thank thee that now in my Esther my lost Rachel liveth again!"
Five years ago this very day, my cluster of camphire, Paula, was received into glory. It is easy to identify with Simonides as he reflects on those five years with his daughter. Today I had the opportunity to reflect with my daughter, Amber, concerning this significant day. Amber reflects so many of the lovely traits that I saw in her mother. So, after talking with Amber I read afresh the words of Simonide, but changed them a bit, “Yet in the darkness she left me a little light, which the years have increased to a brightness of morning…Dear Lord, I thank thee that now in my ‘Amber’ my lost ‘Paula’ liveth again!"
July was a rather poor month for me in terms of book reading, only finishing 2 books out of the needed 4 in order to stay on target to reach my goal of 50 books in 2016. But I would particularly commend to you the second of the two books I read, about revival in Thailand.
The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution
The end of June marks the half way point in my goal to read 50 books in 2016. So far I have completed 24 books, which is almost keeping pace to finish 50 by the end of December. This past month, I enjoyed reading about procrastination, George Washington, the Solas of the Protestant Reformation, and expectations and burnout among women missionaries.
The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing, or, Getting Things Done by Putting Them Off
If you ask many people today, “How are you doing?”, it is extremely common to get an answer along the lines of “I’m really busy.” It seems that everybody is busy. Everybody is tired. In fact, it is almost expected that people will be busy and that any answer other than “I’m really busy” is unacceptable.
But is it socially acceptable to NOT be busy?
Imagine with me that someone asks you, “How are you doing?” and you reply, “I’m doing well. I don’t have a lot going on.” Is that an acceptable answer? If you answer like that, will people think you are lazy? If we don’t claim to be busy, will people think we have no ambition and no goals in life?