Saturday, April 30, 2011

WRITING WITH STICKS AND STONES --


PART TWO



by Molly Noble Bull 


We have all heard the saying. Sticks and stones may break my bones. But words will never hurt me.
But is this a true statement? Do words hurt? 
Yes. Words spoken in anger, with sarcasm or in a mocking tone hurt.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Proverbs 18: 21
Sometimes our words harm others when that is the last thing we want to do. 
But did you know that words also heal? 
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Proverbs 15: 13
When I sit down to write an email to someone, I begin by writing out all the important things I want to say in my message. Or I reply to what someone else has said by putting in my two cents. Sometimes I present a need and ask for prayer. At other times I simply report what I consider to be important facts that I read about or heard in the news.  
Let us say that today I want to report something that I heard in the news. My message might sound like this. 
 
Dear Sally,
You might want to tune in to the Fox News Channel tonight at seven central time. They are going to interview a doctor who once preformed abortions but is now pro-life.
Love,
Molly

Often, at this point, the Lord steps in and reminds me to say something personal to Sally, the one who will be receiving my message. In other words, it’s time to send my words of healing—encourage her or cheer her up. It’s time to go back and write something between “Dear Sally” and “Be sure to tune in--” that is encouraging or helpful.
Sally might not be able to watch the Fox News Channel that night. She might have a previous engagement or not be especially interested in the topic. But everybody needs encouragement. 
Here is a sample of what I might add to my message to Sally. 

Dear Sally,
Good morning.     
I was so glad to hear that your daughter placed in that swimming match she entered last week. Tell her to keep up the good work. And please know that I will be praying for you when you go in to have your Mammogram on Friday.  
You might want to tune in to the Fox News Channel tonight at seven central time. They are going to interview a doctor who once preformed abortions but is now pro-life.
Love,
Molly  

When you tell someone you will be praying for them, pray. To do otherwise means you told a lie. I often pray for a person a head of time. Instead of saying, “I will be praying for you,” I say, “I just prayed for you.”  
Remember, words hurt even when you don’t use sticks and stones to write them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SHOULD PREACHERS PREACH?



by Molly Noble Bull


I watched a well-known TV show recently, and the host of the show began a discussion on what should and shouldn’t be preached in church. A liberal, female guest on the panel seemed outraged that a preacher might blast sin from the pulpit. In other words, preachers should never preach against it. 
I wanted to ask. Then if not to learn God’s will and do it, what is the purpose of going to church?

From what she said, one might gather that sermons should promote the “so called” social gospel of taking from the rich and giving to others. Or maybe she wanted to be told by her pastor that it was well with her soul even when it wasn’t.  
The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, [My people are drstroyed for lack of knowledge.] Knowlege of what? God's will. If we don't know that what we are doing is wrong in God's eyes, how will we ever repent? And we must repent in order to be saved.      
I have had friends that have committed every sin in the book, and I love them dearly. Yes, you can hate the sin but love the sinner. I have committed plenty of sins, and according to the Bible, everybody has.   
Jesus came to earth to give us a spiritual bath by washing us clean with his perfect blood -- not to cover up the stinking smell with perfume.
Hell is a real and terrible place, and God doesn’t want even one of us to go there. That‘s why God sent His only begotten son, Jesus, to provide that spiritual bath we all so need.
The world is changing all around us. Tornados and earthquakes are everywhere, and huge waves are rolling across the land as prophesied in the Bible. The Lord has been telling us for thousands of years via the scriptures that this day was coming—that the end is near. Perhaps now, we might say that the end is very, very, very, very, very near. Very near.  
I say, yes. Preachers should preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if they don’t, what is their purpose? What is the benefit of going to church? We should always pray and worship, but some today are praying and worshipping God in their homes.

The photo above with a church on the cover came from one of my novels, now available at Kindle. 
You don’t have to agree with my conclusions, but please leave a comment.
 

   
     

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Remember Jesus's Sacrifice....



I wanted to wish all of the Writers' Rest Blog Readers a happy and joyous Easter. During this sacred holiday, we need to remember that Jesus died for our sins. He's our Savior and he suffered so that we could gain eternal life.

We also need to remember to remind our children that this holiday isn't really about eggs and bunnies and candy...it's all about Jesus...

Happy Resurrection Day!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Soul Surfer--Movie Review


SOUL SURFER: 30 Second TV Spot
From movie info, trailers and clips:
"Bethany was born to surf. A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic, sun-drenched, surfer girl's life on the Kauai Coast, competing in national competitions with her best friend Alana, when everything changed in a heartbeat. On Halloween morning, Bethany was on a typical ocean outing when a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams.

In the moving aftermath of this headline-making story, Bethany fights to recover and grapples with the future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, Tom and Cheri, she refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water. Still, the questions keep hammering her: Why did this happen? Why did she have to lose everything? Will she ever feel the joy and power of riding the waves again? And if she can't be a surfer, then who is she?

The devastating 2004 tsunami in the Pacific Ocean unexpectedly gives Bethany a new perspective. Traveling to Phuket, Thailand with her youth-group leader Sara Hill, she witnesses life beyond her own shoreline and discovers her greater purpose--she can make a difference in the lives of others. Filled with a new sense of hope and direction, she returns home with a renewed resolve to conquer her own limitations and set an encouraging example for people facing adversity.

At the National Championships, Bethany bravely faces off with her fiercest rival, Malia Birch, and takes her astonishing one-armed surfing technique to the limit. But as the horn blows, and the suspenseful competition kicks off, Bethany is no longer thinking about the challenges of her body. Now, her surfing, her biggest dreams and her life have become about pushing her own physical limits to touch the souls of others."

Last week I was surprised to see Soul Surfer, a limited-release movie playing in our small town. I try to support family-oriented, especially faith-based movies, when they're available, so I took my 11-year-old granddaughter to see the movie.

The movie opened with the family sitting in church. The choir, led by country singer Carrie Underwood, was singing Blessed be the Name by Tree 63. Unfortunately The Name was never mentioned. The story talked a lot about faith and belief and putting others before oneself. The girl told her Dad she had lost everything after she lost her arm in a shark attack. Later she goes to Thailand on a missions trip and meets a woman who lost her family and everything she owned in the 2004 tsunami. After that, Bethany was able to put her own losses into perspective.

It was a good movie, with a good message for families. I would’ve preferred more emphasis on the faith message and what we should actually have faith in. There is one scene where the girl’s father is reading the Bible so you knew they were a believing family. I suppose Hollywood didn’t want to offend viewers by talking too much about faith and especially the only forbidden five-letter word in media—Jesus.

I would recommend Soul Surfer to all movie goers, especially families where there is so little quality programming available to us. We didn’t take our 5-year-old grandson, not because of any disturbing images he might see, but because I didn’t think he could sit still that long without bothering other patrons. But if the child is old enough to sit still for nearly two hours, then parents can take a child without worry. The images are not graphic, and the stunning scenery will make you want to buy airline tickets to someplace tropical.

As soon as we left the theater, my granddaughter said she planned to buy Soul Surfer as soon as it comes out on DVD. I don’t think a movie can earn higher accolades than that.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Meet Dan David


A Messianic Fiddler but not on the Roof

by Molly Noble Bull


Today I am interviewing Dan David from Canada, a Messianic Christian artist who likes fiddling in the shuls rather than on the roof. By the way, the word shuls means "for the congregation" in Hebrew. Welcome Dan.

Dan: 
Thanks Molly, it's good to talk to you this morning.  



Molly:
I happen to love violin music, especially yours, and I can hardly wait to hear all about you and your music. But before we start, click below to hear one of Dan’s songs.


Molly:
Love that tune we just heard. Makes me want to dance. Why don’t we start by listening as you tell us all about yourself. Where were you born? Where do you live today and as much about your family as you are willing to tell. And be sure to include all your contact information.  

Dan:
Thanks. This is an original song called Fiddling In The Shul, on feeling the spirit of joy in the Lord, from Jeremiah 31:3.  
I started playing the violin at age 7, in Israel, and studied classically. I lived in Israel for 10 years, mostly as a child, 
until the family moved to Canada. By age 17, I began writing songs and that has developed into my career and calling,
to touch people through my music and songs, and play to lead people into Worship and the presence of God. 
Today I live in Toronto Canada, and my wife-to-be, Melissa David, who herself is an incredible Messianic artist and singer,
will be moving here very soon all the way from Alberta, the other side of the country, as we are getting married.
    
   
Molly: 
Congrats on your upcoming marriage. I pray the Lord will bless you both and that you will have a long and wonderful marriage.
Now, how did you become interested in the violin and Messianic music in particular? 

Dan; 
I started out writing more contemporary rock songs with the violin, developing a new sound for violin music since my late teens. By the age of 20, back in 1998, I was offered a secular record and publishing deal. I decided to put the deal on hold, and while searching for answers about God in general, I discovered that Yeshua is the Jewish messiah.
This shifted my music from writing uplifting mainstream songs, to writing for the Lord and His people, and making music to lead people to His presence, and to touch those who do not Yet believe. 

Molly:
Fantastic. You mentioned Yeshua. For those that don't know, Yeshus is Jesus in Hebrew. Now, tell us how you came to know the Lord and tell us about your Christian walk with Him. 

Dan
I am fully Jewish by background, and no, I grew up in a non believing Jewish home. 
It was just before my 23rd birthday, that the Lord Himself made an appearance to me, one late night, as I was driving. He revealed himself to me, and today I am sharing with people, both Jews and Gentiles, that He is the Jewish messiah that was prophecied in the Torah, and in Jeremiah 31:31. I also do many presentations at Christian churches to tell them more about their Jewish roots, and I share a personal testimony when playing at churches.    

Molly:
Please, tell our readers whatever is on your heart at this time. 
  
Dan: 
I have come to realize that when Jewish people put their trust in messiah Yeshua, they actually become more completed as Jews and it adds great meaning and joy to their lives as they follow the ways of Yeshua.
Me and Melissa are working to complete a full DVD featuring testimonies and concert clips, to give out to our Jewish brothers and friends. We continue raising support and contributions for this project and know that it will touch many.
And most recently, Melissa's new CD, Sojourn, came out. It's an original messianic worship CD and I have seen people touched by her songs like never before. People can hear a sample on my website.    

Molly:
Before you go, click below to hear another of Dan’s wonderful songs. 


It was great having you, Dan. I wish you much success with your music ministry, and I hope you will come back real soon.

Dan:
Thank you Molly. Great talking to you. 
I have most of my concert dates listed on my website  http://www.dandavidmusic.com/ 
and readers can go there to see what concerts are coming up. 
Also 3 of my CDs are available on that website, and people can contact me there as well to have me minister
at their congregation.                             

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Lord and Dreams

Dream On 

By Molly Noble Bull  



Recently, my cousin told me that often when she dreams, she realizes she is asleep, resolving to take matters into her own hands by waking up. I’ve had similar experiences. Has anything like that ever happened to you? 
After reading Cecelia Dowdy’s interesting article on dreams, I decided to write an article on dreams but from a different angle. 
My first dream went like this.

Dream One: 
A group of bad guys were chasing me, and I was running. Running, running. All a once, a thought came to me.
I don’t have to run from these people. I’m a Christian.
So I stopped and turned around. As soon as I turned around, they stopped, too. I looked at them without fear and said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus.” 
They turned around and raced away from me as fast as they could.
I woke up. 
And as I lay there in bed, wide awake, I thought about my dream and about what some call spiritual warfare.

Dream Two:
I was standing on a wooden floor in some sort of restaurant with people seated at tables talking. There was a counter to one side, and a door was directly in from of me on the opposite wall.
I don’t know how I knew, but suddenly, I knew these people were demons. So again, I said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus.”
The people bumped into each other as the charged through that door and out of the cafĂ©. Only one person remained—if you can call a hairless man with grayish skin a person. I wasn’t able to see him until the others left, but there he was, glaring at me.
He was shorter than a man with shoulders that wide would normally be and stockier, and he was muscled like a wrestler. Legs spread apart and arms at his sides, he wore nothing but a pair of swimming trunks, and he hadn’t moved an inch. 
I said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus,” a second time.
He still didn’t move.
For the third time I said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus.” 
Slowly, he turned. And apparently in no hurry, he walked out the door.
I woke up.
I told this story to an assistant pastor, and he said the grayish being I described sounded like the “Strong Man” mentioned in the Bible. Certainly he looked strong, but I cannot say for sure that he was the strong man mentioned in the Bible. However, he was stronger than the ones who quickly ran away.
Alone, I would have had no chance if I faced him in the real world. But in Jesus name, I can do all things because he strengthens me.
Please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you think of my dreams, and I would also love to hear some of yours. 


   

Friday, April 8, 2011

Does The Lord Speak To Us In Our Dreams?

Photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti

Do you think that the Lord speaks to us in our dreams?

Last night, I had a vivid dream. I was at my parents' house and some people that I knew in my childhood came to visit. They'd bought knick-knacks and cards and they were decorating our kitchen. The items that they were decorating with had to do with salvation and they were proclaiming to me that they were saved now. I had not thought of these people in decades, so, it was surprising that they showed up in my dream last night. Not sure why they came to mind? It's possible that Jesus placed these people into my heart last night for a reason.

So, do you think the Lord can speak to us in our dreams? I know in the Old Testament, the Lord would speak to his followers with dreams, giving them important messages and advice. I've often wondered if there are others out there, who share a close, dream-like relationship with the Lord as the prophets in the Old Testament? Things appeared much different back then and the Lord seemed to speak more directly to his followers in the Old Testament.

Feel free to leave a comment about the bolded question above. It'd be interesting to hear your thoughts.

Also, I wanted to mention that I recently discovered that Harlequin Enterprises, under their Christian imprint Steeple Hill, has re-released my 2005 Christian romance novel on Kindle, Nook, as well as other e-readers. It's called First Mates and you can purchase it here for only $3.99. Here's a short blurb about my story:
A cruise around the Caribbean offered just what Rainy Jackson needed to get over her faithless ex-fiancĂ© — sun, swimming and solitude. As the heat sank into her bones, she began to feel interest in the world again… and in handsome fellow passenger Winston Michaels.
Winston had also hoped for time alone to reflect. But finding a friend in faith in the lovely Rainy helped him deal with his twin sister’ s death without relying on unhealthy means of deadening the pain. And Winston’ s outlook brightened further when dates back home in Miami brought him and Rainy even closer. Would Rainy be the one to share Winston’ s life voyage?

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Limitless--A movie review

It’s never easy to be released the same weekend as something like DIARY OF A WIMPY KID; RODRICK RULES, so it’s not surprising that LIMITLESS has only netted a paltry $9+ mil after three weeks at the box office while HOP earned nearly $40 in its opening week. But don't let the numbers keep you out of the theater. I really liked this movie, and I don't like anything.

I usually go to the movies for the popcorn, but I actually anticipated LIMITLESS. Any time they make a movie about a writer staring at a blinking cursor and willing to do anything to write his book, they've got my attention. This one did not disappoint.

About the movie:
"Aspiring author Eddie Morra is suffering from chronic writer's block, but his life changes instantly when an old friend introduces him to NZT, a revolutionary new pharmaceutical that allows him to tap his full potential.
With every synapse crackling, Eddie can recall everything he has ever read, seen or heard, learn any language in a day, comprehend complex equations and beguile anyone he meets - as long as he keeps taking the untested drug. Soon Eddie takes Wall Street by storm, parlaying a small stake into millions. His accomplishments catch the eye of mega-mogul Carl Van Loon, who invites him to help broker the largest merger in corporate history. But they also bring Eddie to the attention of people willing to do anything to get their hands on his stash of NZT.
With his life in jeopardy and the drug's brutal side effects taking their toll, Eddie dodges mysterious stalkers, a vicious gangster and an intense police investigation as he attempts to hang on to his dwindling supply long enough to outwit his enemies."

Fast paced and exciting, I was immediately drawn into the story. In my opinion, graphics and cinematography are usually indicators of a weak storyline. Not so in this case. The cinematography added to the story and helped build excitement and suspense.

The story had a few holes that challenged my patience as a writer. Like when unknown writer Eddie gets a contract along with a hefty advance after not having written a word of his book. Doesn't happen, folks. Or when he borrows money from a thug and forgets to pay it back. Duh! (You're supposed to be smart, Eddie.)

I doubt the movie wouldn't have been as interesting if the writers hadn't taken a little creative license. So I won't nitpick. The movie was fun, exhilarating, interesting, and contained nothing so offensive that I couldn't sit there throughout. The plot is a little tricky to follow so I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 14. There are also a few graphic scenes not appropriate for younger viewers.

Overall, a good story, fast paced plot, and twist ending that has you discussing it when you leave the theater, and wondering what you might've missed. If you've seen LIMITLESS, chime in and let me know what you thought (without giving away the story, of course). If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you do.

A nice way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon with a bottomless bag of hot buttered popcorn.
Teresa Slack
www.teresaslack.com