Category Archives: The Book Journey

Describes the continuing story of getting “A Friend of the King” published, and then due diligence in making it known, expecting the Lord to do with it what He will.

Charles Simpson 1937-2024

One of the most influential men in my life has departed this earth for heaven. This morning, I sit in silence and solitude by the fire, grateful—full of joy and peace. I’m still inspired by his inspiring life, incredible Bible teaching, and leadership within the church as a minister of the Gospel and along the pathways of life wherever he went. And go, he did, to the ends of the earth and crisscrossing the country until he fell ill a few months ago.

Reflecting now, I think it was his fear of the Lord, humility, and close walk with God that touched me most. Also, it was his familiarity with the Holy Spirit and the way he flowed in the Spirit so effortlessly. “A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument” is one of his quotes that comes to me now and often. He lived that and helped me do the same — a quiet assurance of faith that comes from spending time with God in His Word, meditation, and obedience to what you hear.

A quote from his website says it succinctly, “Embracing the truth with our lives. In an age of confusion and challenge, there is a great hunger for clarity and courage. We believe that we are called to stay rooted in the Bible, to listen to God’s Holy Spirit, and prophetically declare what we hear Him saying in this generation.”

A friend from Louisiana just texted me to ask if I was coming to Charles’ Celebration of Life service. It’s a hike from here, but I’m planning to go—to honor one of the most humble, gracious, influential, and godly men I have ever known and to celebrate his life with friends who knew and walked with him.

I read many of his articles in New Wine Magazine and listened to many hours of recorded teaching and sermons before I met Charles. Then, once on an F-4 deployment to Gulfport, MS, a squadron mate and I drove to Mobile, AL, to hear him speak on Father’s Day an incredibly inspiring and insightful message, “The Missing Man.” It was the first time I saw him and shook his hand after hearing his Spirit-given, razor-edged wisdom and truth in person.

By the grace of God, I eventually had a couple of one-on-one conversations with him. With a small group of friends, I also visited his home for an evening of coffee and conversation. Just last year, he graciously wrote an endorsement of my latest book, Puzzling 2020.

I have no words to communicate what the man means to me for the infusion of the Word and Spirit he deposited in my life or was a catalyst for the Lord to deposit in my life. I can only sit in silent awe with a joy-filled and grateful heart, reflecting on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living to His servants and friends.

I just read a blog by Charles’ oldest son, Stephen, which caused my heart to swell again with thanksgiving, love, and joy.

I remain very quiet in my spirit—thankful. My heart is full of quiet joy to have known him. What a race! And victory won. And Sabbath rest for him… the first Easter with his Redeemer and Friend.

Easter Shalom to you all.

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“One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

“O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come” (Psalm 71:17-18).

“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand” (Hymn by Edward Mote, 1834).

Puzzling 2020

Einstein said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” The pandemic and explosion of events beginning in 2020 certainly did that to Americans and the world. As busy lives slowed to a crawl, isolated people worked thousands of puzzles, and people got outside, slowing to the pace of living and to being human. This book of 70 short chapters or puzzle pieces makes sense of what we experienced from a perspective of spiritual, historical, and current events. It also provides inspiration and insight to live hopeful, meaningful, courageous lives. Enjoy!

Many things were stripped away from our lives as we pondered how to stay healthy. Some reacted in fear, and some in faith. It caused everyone to reexamine who they trusted for valid information about safety, health, and hope for the future. Puzzling these events, even after two years, a resolution is still inconclusive. This book seeks to answer some basic questions: “Where are we? How did we get here? Where do we go from here, or how do we live in these puzzling times?” We look to the Bible, history, and God for insight and truth  — and for grace to live with purpose and without fear. These puzzle pieces will help you “Light a candle, instead of cursing the darkness.” Click here to order.

Dwayne Bell holds degrees in mathematics and theology, and was a school teacher before pursuing a career in aviation. He served in the United States Air Force and reserves for twenty years flying F-16 fighter aircraft while concurrently concluding a twenty-five-year career as an airline pilot, flying Boeing 777s to Europe and Asia. He retired early to begin a new chapter of kingdom life and adventures. He enjoys back country flying, writing, photography, and biking. He and Elizabeth, his wife of forty-seven years, make their home in Springdale, Arkansas. You can reach Dwayne at: www.afriendoftheking.com

Your Portals

We recently received a new mezuzah. Our good friend Flora went to Israel last month on a spiritual pilgrimage with a friend and brought one back at the request of my wife to replace a cracked one on our back door. Ours has been with us since our first trip to Israel with friends in 1994.

A mezuzah is a small half-cylinder container that Jewish folks have affixed to their doorways for centuries, if not millennia. They contain specific, short Torah portions of Scripture to remind them (and us) to revere the commandments and keep them: “Write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9; 11:20).

Many will touch or kiss the mezuzah (a Hebrew word for “doorposts”) as they enter and exit their homes in a show of affection and loyalty — to be grateful for the commandments and live by them. These are affixed on many Jewish homes, whether they are observant or not, and the homes of many Christians who wish to honor the roots of their faith and show their thankfulness for the commandments, celebrating the Giver.

Placing the new mezuzah and relooking at the inside scroll made me think again about the doorways of our homes and hearts. Who keeps or guards those for you? Are you mindful and grateful for what enters your home or doesn’t? Of who or what protects your home or doesn’t?

Two chapters in my newest book Puzzling 2020, came to mind as I pondered these thoughts. One was entitled “Israel ישראל” because it’s a piece of the puzzle in our day and any day. The other is entitled “Cell Phones” because of the entrance they give to our homes by outsiders and influences 24/7/365, crowding our space for solitude, silence, meditation, and being alone with our thoughts — something prized and valuable to humans since the beginning of time.

Israel ישראל


Here’s a blurb from the upcoming book: ’’A couple of years before my mom passed away, she gave me a book for Christmas entitled, ‘What in the World is Going On?: 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore’ by David Jeremiah. When I opened the cover, the first words staring at me were ׳May 14, 1948.׳ I knew immediately it would be good, and I read it in very few settings.


“Israel has been a part of the puzzle from the beginning, in God’s mind, and God’s eyes. And she will be until the end. You can’t read the Bible or history and fail to see that. Her presence in the world and history is too remarkable to overlook. I would like to plunge into all the evidence for that statement, but a book like this won’t permit it. Accept it by faith and evidence. Then keep your eyes and ears open to whatever the Lord will show you about the small nation, and what she teaches us and the world about the Lord.


’’All you need to know is that Israel is highly favored by God, and any wise, God-fearing person will bless them and support them any way possible. Abraham, the father of the faith, is also the father of Israel. In the first book of the Bible, about four thousand years ago, we see God make Abraham a promise: “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).


’’A brief, telling look at history is to look at all the nations who have blessed Israel, and all the nations who have cursed Israel. Note what happens to them. A couple of God’s attributes acted out in history tell the tale. First, God doesn’t lie or change His mind: ‘God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?’ (Numbers 23:19 NIV). Secondly, even if people or nations don’t keep their word to God, He keeps His Word. It’s Who He is: ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself’ (2 Timothy 2:13).


’’Allow me to wrap up this introduction by quoting three observations about Israel by well-known people. King Louis XIV of France asked Blaise Pascal, the great French philosopher and mathematician, to give him proof of the supernatural. Pascal answered: ’Why, the Jews, your Majesty ― the Jews.’”

I then recall famous quotes by Mark Twain and Leo Tolstoy and give other evidence for Israel’s remarkable place in history and the world.

Cell Phones

Here’s another blurb from the book: “We were talking about this book, and the topic of cell phones came up — how much they affected the world’s population, especially the youth or the next generation. We were talking about deception, but our discussion was broad. I asked Mugger to recap some of the thoughts we shared, mostly his. Here they are:

‘Social media is a way to inform and influence the entire world instantly. The control of SM (social media) controls the message people receive, a good way to get a consensus on social and moral issues since most people do not filter what they receive. It has instant credibility, especially with young people and the unthinking. It used to be ‘as seen on TV,’ now it’s ‘as seen on Twitter.’ Controlling people’s thoughts makes a one-world government easier to sell.


“Cell phones now connect the world because the infrastructure is much easier than landlines. Only a couple of decades ago, a significant percentage of the world population was isolated in its location and culture. Now kids in third-world countries can explore an entire world their parents never even knew existed. That can be good, except when the content is controlled. It’s a great way to indoctrinate the next generation. Maybe there was safety in isolation.

“Kids now live through their phones rather than reality. Their reality is what’s on the phone. They sit together in groups working on their phones rather than interacting with the person next to them. Apparently, the virtual reality in their phone is better than the reality of the present moment. They develop a false sense of what real life is. They are exposed to humanistic junk, porn, and leftist ideology, all at an early age, rather than having a chance to grow up as kids playing sandlot ball, etc. Despite parental controls, they can get exposed to all kinds of stuff well above their maturity level that they can’t process properly.


“Cell phones and SM are the perfect tools to generate one-world group think.”

Summary

Give a little thought to the commandments — God’s ways. Give a little thought to the portals of your life — what you allow in and keep out. There is much to be gained or forfeited in these two activities. Godspeed as you journey.

New Mezuzah

Blessings at Gerizim

Greetings and welcome again to a current thought and my newest book Puzzling 2020.

I consider this book a somewhat eclectic group of puzzle pieces that when connected describe [1] where we are as a culture and church, [2] how we got here, and [3] how we should live in these strange times going forward. It’s addressed mainly to the community of faith and Christians, but truth is truth wherever you find it, and we all profit when we know the truth and act accordingly. “Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth” (Blaise Pascal).

In addressing where we are and how we got here I chose to simply point to a time in Bible history 3500 years ago when God spoke through Moses a blessing and a warning to a nation. True it was a nation, Israel, who had entered into a covenant with Him, at His invitation and by their free will. But since He’s the God of creation and the King of the universe, (the same yesterday, today, and forever), these conditions for grace and blessing, judgment and correction have been true for Israel and all the nations of faith and the whole earth for millennia as demonstrated throughout history.

The Times

When I first got the vision and leading for this book, I considered a title like Bonhoeffer, Isaiah, and Solzhenitsyn. I knew that would never fly for a title, but it described what I was seeing. These men lived in times very much like our own, in nations that were not only ignoring God, but shaking their fists at Him, going there own way, ignoring the Bible and His ways while making policies and laws in direct opposition to His truths. The three named above were seers, who saw where this would lead, tried to do something about it by speaking the words of the Lord to the people and their leaders. But the people wouldn’t listen. They were blinded by an enemy, and determined to go their own way, until the evil, injustices, and cancer of their sins invited the action of the Almighty, to save the whole, make a correction, and protect people going forward from themselves. People of faith in Germany, Israel, and Russia had read, but apparently forgotten Deuteronomy 28.

Book Blurb

“Where are we, and how did we get here — as a church and nation? Doesn’t that seem puzzling? It is to most if they are even aware our churches and country have plunged into some moral morass. This swamp has economic, health care, political, national, energy, business, security, and international ramifications unheard of and unexpected two short decades ago.
“Shortly after the COVID outbreak began in 2020, I read this chapter in a daily quiet time of reflecting and engaging the Bible. Deuteronomy 28 is timely and timeless in describing what’s happening in America and speaks to what we need to do in response. As our country went into isolation for the better part of two years, that gave us time and a chance to ponder our ways, consider what was happening, and why it might be happening.
“This chapter of the Bible describes an isolated situation. Still, it’s far from isolated in its summary and the story it tells for ancient Israel, Israel through the ages, all nations through the ages, and the USA today.
“I encourage you to read and meditate on the entire chapter so you can see its relevance. The message is very plain — the imagery is clear and explicit.”

I go on to quote a good portion of chapter 28 which is very straightforward but not unique in the Bible: “…, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them [emphasis added]“ (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

Daniel and “The Respect for Marriage Act”

As you’re no doubt aware the bipartisan congress of our country passed the act referenced above and the president signed it into law two days ago. Our country and the West has been on this tact for sometime. But this is the most incriminating, public, line-in-the-sand crossing to date. It remains to be seen how and when the Lord will react, and when and if people of faith will wake up and speak up publicly, and to the Lord in prayer.

Yesterday the thought came to me of how Daniel reacted when the bureaucrats, not the wise men, of Persia, the most powerful nation on the earth, pushed through a very bad law. Daniel, the prime minister, and one loved by the King of Persia, and the King of Kings, at great risk to himself, went on to do what he always did, in direct opposition to the bad law, honoring and fearing God more than man. “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Daniel 6:10).

Something Changed

Has something changed with this latest law being passed and enacted? It seems to me something is changing with the publication of Eric Metaxas’ new book Letter to the American Church. And other books like Strange New World by Carl R. Truman, and a host I’m hearing about but haven’t become familiar. It seems that the Spirit might be leading us to say and do things differently going forward. Stay tuned or wake up! Whatever and whichever applies. Follow Daniel’s lead. More to follow…

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“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be” (Thomas Jefferson).

“Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe” (Thomas Jefferson).

Write Your Book !

Go ahead! Write that book. “…Give wings to the truth…” (Gutenberg).

My First Book

All along the authoring path I’ve had people pull me aside and ask questions about the process of writing and publishing a book. So it’s time to speak to that briefly while it’s fresh on my mind.

As far as writing goes, I suggest to aspiring authors, “Just write!” Journal, blog, or communicate with your pen or computer whenever you feel inspired, or are given some opportunity or occasion to express yourself. All practice hones and improves your skill and effectiveness. You know if you enjoy writing and if you have something burning in you to communicate or there’s a message you want to share. Take opportunities and practice.

Personally, I journal a lot and find more and more that inspiration comes as I write. Much of my current book was lifted off the pages of my journals these past two years. In the early morning while fresh is the best time or whenever you feel inspired with thoughts or insights you haven’t known or considered before. Keep a journal or notebook handy.

It seems that the biggest reason people don’t follow through on writing or the dream of publishing a book is the mysterious publishing aspect of the process. That’s what I want to address briefly while it’s fresh on my mind. In a word, what it’s come down to for me is Booknook.biz.

This is my third book so I’m no expert, but I’ll share my experience thus far and at the moment. Amazon is the easiest place to publish — certainly for beginning authors. Their publishing company is Kindle Direct Publishing known as KDP. One can go to their website and they will lead you through their publishing process once you have your book ready as a PDF document.

However, there are “conversion” companies who exist for good reason. They help guide authors through the maze at KDP and perhaps make your book look a good deal more professional than it might otherwise, while avoiding some common pitfalls — for a price, usually a few hundred dollars to a few thousand depending on the size and complexity of your book.

New Book to be Released This Month

After researching the web for the best of these services I chose Booknook.biz and couldn’t be more pleased. They are pleasant, professional, service-oriented, and they employ an excellent website and secure email model to help guide you from start to finish through the Amazon publishing process. They also use a good deal of humor to keep you at ease and in the proper state of mind, during the stressful moments culminating in the publishing process, when you’re trying to get your book finished and get it right.

Kimberly Hitchens is the owner of Booknook.biz, “An Amazon Professional Conversion Service.” She and her staff have hundreds of books under their belts, (actually over 7,000 ebooks and 1,000 paperbacks, over the last 13 years by actual count) and many in production at any given time. They are physically located in Arizona, but everything is done on line. You can read testimonials and reviews here.

Their main service and value is taking your Word or Pages document containing your book, and formatting it to a PDF that is industry standard, artful, pleasing to the eye and attractive to the reader. That’s what you then submit to Amazon/KDP through their website. They also educate you about everything from ISBN numbers to print and book size, with sage suggestions. If you wish help to create a striking, professional cover, which I recommend, they can connect you with those services too, for an additional fee.

My Second Book /by Booknook.biz

We read in the Old and New Testaments: “The laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7b). Booknook.biz is one of the most reasonably priced services, and they will expeditiously get your job done on a first come, first serve basis, saving you hours of format correction time. This alone makes them worth their wages. When you throw in their expertise in making your book the right size, look professional, avoid common missteps, and be aesthetically pleasing, it’s a no-brainer to employ their services — unless perhaps you are technically skilled and have the simplest of books. You’ve spent a lot of time and energy writing your book. It’s time to make it the best looking book it can be to expand its reach, make it successful, have your message heard, and give it wings.

Send them your text document containing your book and they’ll give you a free quote. For one fee, they can guide you in preparing your book so it’s ready to be printed on demand by Amazon as a hard cover, soft cover, and/or an eBook. Within a matter of days after your Booknook.biz-assisted submission to Amazon/KDP, your book will be available for purchase and shipping anywhere in the country. Enjoy your journey, and Godspeed as you write and publish what you’ve dreamed in your heart to share.

Oh yes, a word needs be said about editors. Every author needs an editor — another set of eyes and an objective mind to guard against grammatical and mechanical (spelling, punctuation, etc.) errors making your work more readable and enjoyable for your audience. I have a very good friend who’s adept at that, shares my vision for writing, and can also advise me on content due to his wisdom, education, and world view. I will mention I used Grammarly this time, to make his job easier, and my writing perhaps a bit crisper. I feel they are worth the expense. If you don’t have an editor, Booknook.biz can put you in contact with one, for an additional fee of course. That is tedious work.

I’m not sure if writing is a gift, a calling, or a dream — maybe all of those — but I do feel it’s important along with all I’ve shared to spend some time alone, in nature, and in community or people’s lives for inspiration and leading on what to say and how to say it. The most important aspect may be to spend time alone with God while you’re in these places — it is for me. His blessings and leading to you as you write!

Sunrise view to the east from the remote mountain top near our cabin — solitude

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“Religious truth is captive in a small number of manuscript books, which guard the common treasure, instead of diffusing it. Let us break the seal which holds the holy things; give wings to the truth that by means of speech, no longer written at great expense by the hand that wearies itself, but multiplied as the air by an unwearied machine, it may fly to seek every soul born into the world!”

Johannes Gutenberg (Inventor of the printing press, Mainz, Germany, 1436)

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s unbelievable how fast this year has passed as we’re well into fall and slowly recovering from the COVID pandemic of 2020, although some would question our recovery. It’s a good time to focus on giving thanks to our Creator, Father, and God.

Our country has known thanksgiving is important, and our greatest leaders felt from their hearts the need to make it public, mirroring the sentiments of the American people at different times. One of my best friends and mentors published a most excellent blog chronicling the historical, governmental, cultural, and spiritual aspects of Thanksgiving. I recommend you get quiet with a cup of coffee or tea, then read and meditate on it. You’ll be grateful you did.

Last Sunday, a passionate young teacher at our church gave an excellent sermon or teaching on thanksgiving from the Bible — its purpose, what it means to God, and to us. I would also wholeheartedly suggest you give it a look if you’re inclined.

Thanksgiving is the opposite of entitlement, which may be the biggest problem in our nation today. In the book I just finished writing, and will hopefully be available in a few days, I have a few things to say about this topic:

“I have a good friend who was the CEO of a large hospital. He once told me, ‘Entitlement is the biggest problem in our nation today.’ Why would you think that the Almighty owes you anything? Or that anyone else does? Is it your pride? Or your self-asserted importance? Self-exaltation? Who gave you life? This beautiful planet for a home? Air to breathe? Water to drink? Destiny? Purpose? Love?


“Worth is a complex issue to discuss, yet it’s simple in light of the Bible and the Creator. We are made in His image. He made creation for our habitation. This says we are very valuable to him. We are His image bearers, witnesses to angels, and to those who do not yet know Him. Yet our value to Him goes deeper still.


“If being made in His image with this beautiful planet to enjoy wasn’t enough, God gave us free will to make a mark, good or bad, on His creation and to use or abuse the same. Then if that wasn’t enough, we are twice bought, created by Him, then redeemed from sin and death by His cross. So what are we worth to Him? It would seem a price too great to pay!


“Tell me again, what does God owe you? Only a rebellious, spoiled child would think God owed them something or anything. Feeling entitled in light of the gift of life and creation is the height of hubris, the very pinnacle of pride.


“That’s why God won’t stomach it. That’s why He will welcome grace and reject forever self-effort and works or those who claim and act as though they are entitled to something more than the marvelous gifts He has given and ascribed to them. ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast [emphasis added]’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

And I didn’t mention God’s nearness — how He walks and communes with those who love Him. If you know Him this way, you will gladly give thanks!

Midterm Election 2022

On Election Day, November 8, during her early morning neighborhood walk my wife sent me this quote someone tweeted: “Before you vote please fill up your car with gas, buy your groceries for the week, take a peek at your retirement account, and look at current government spending.”

What’s happening at the moment to our economy and way of life is no mystery to those who carefully read their Bibles and have some grasp of history. I would recommend Deuteronomy 28, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich as a beginning place. No socialistic, secular-humanist people have lasted long as a nation. Without God’s blessings and actions in our individual and corporate lives we implode, make poor decisions, become easy targets for our enemies, and demonstrate we really do need Him — unable to rule ourselves.

In my upcoming book Puzzling 2020, Connecting the Pieces I mention that I don’t put my hope in the political process or politics. I do think politics are important and touch our lives deeply at times in very personal ways, so I vote and pray for candidates with the best character to win. I encourage my friends to do the same. But my hope is in God, the Rock, the Everlasting One — the God of history and Ruler of nations.

I recall now a favorite quote from Charles Simpson: “Good men can make a bad system work, but bad men can’t even make a good system work.” God is the X factor in making men and women, as well as nations comprised of the same, flourish or perish, for their own benefit.

A few relevant Bible verses come to mind: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12). And, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).

Before leaving you with these thoughts to ponder as fodder for action, I’ll give a shout out to an excellent book addressing this subject in an insightful way. Its title is Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas. Our 20/20 Men’s Book Club and friendship group is currently reading it. I’m only 10 pages into this succinct 139-page book and can see it’s worth the money and time spent reading it already. May God bless you and yours.

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“Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’ He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain’” (Psalm 2:1-6 NASB).

“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20b NKJV).

Puzzling 2020

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” 
RENE DESCARTES

Greetings All, my blog has been rather silent for the past weeks and months as I’ve focused on finishing my third book Puzzling 2020. It should be available in mid December, and I’m very excited. The book’s cover blurb speaks to its purpose:

“Einstein said, ‘Adversity introduces a man to himself.’ The pandemic and explosion of events beginning in 2020 certainly did that to Americans, both the culture and the church. Many things were stripped away from our lives as we pondered how to stay healthy. Some reacted in fear, and some in faith. It caused everyone to reexamine who they trusted for valid information about safety, health, and hope for the future. Puzzling these events, even after two years, a resolution is still inconclusive. This book seeks to answer some basic questions: “Where are we? How did we get here? Where do we go from here, or how do we live in these puzzling times?” We look to the Bible, history, and God for insight and truth — and for grace to live with purpose and without fear. These puzzle pieces will help you “Light a candle, instead of cursing the darkness.”

I hope you’ll give it a look. I think it certainly gives readers a better grasp on where we are as a culture and church, and more importantly, a healthy paradigm or world view for how to live in our day — the present, a gift from our Creator God.

Its seventy short chapters, or puzzle pieces, could be used as a devotional or daily meditation. Hopefully it will bring spiritual sight, light, joy, and renewed purpose.

By using the Descartes quote I didn’t mean to claim a “fine mind,” but simply give a shoutout to reading as a spiritual discipline. By reading, you humble yourself to hear someone else’s thoughts. You also slow yourself, still yourself, and are alone with your thoughts as you read, away from the din of the media, technology, and rush of our time. It’s like a mini vacation refreshing the soul.

Shalom, and stay tuned for more frequent blogs this beautiful autumn.

Dwayne

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god.”
― Aristotle

Requiem & Selah

I wrote a blog yesterday morning, or actually, a chapter in my next book Puzzling 2020 about broken dreams and visions and needing a fresh encounter with God to repair our hearts, renew our vision, and fix our focus. I used Elijah and Isaiah as examples, which was instructive for me.

This morning, when one considers the gravity of this day and what happened on a cross in Roman Jerusalem 1989 years ago today, there is no comparison for matching broken dreams and crushed visions in the history of humankind. Every human soul on that day, before, and since was on a slippery slope to hopelessness and oblivion.

A miracle-working king, good and just, merciful too, kind and gracious, morally astute, with the appearance of a Divine, also a link to heaven and the Holy One, the Creator, had just died.

He died the cruel death of a sinner, a transgressor, a criminal, no less. The hopes and vision of thousands of his followers were crushed with his ebbing bleeding, internally and externally, and each labored breath.

Maybe the dashed dreams of his disciples and those who believed Jesus to be the Son of God (as He claimed and His miracles attested), the promised Jewish Messiah and King, are summed up by two of his disciples walking to their hometown, Emmaus. They said to a stranger walking with them: “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days? … ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:18b-21a).

He didn’t say much. He just hung there, painfully suspended between heaven and earth.

There was a simple sign over his head. It read: “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews.”

Requiem & Selah

Let today be “an act of remembrance” and of us “resting in peace,” as we “stop and think about that.”

We pause and remember. So does Heaven. Let all the earth be silent.

VOTE TOMORROW

I’m working on a book about the puzzles of COVID and our times — in the church and in the culture. I had a dream of getting it finished before the 2020 Presidential election tomorrow. It was a dream when I had the thought, and it’s clearly not going to happen. But I intend to include these thoughts anyway when I do publish. It will date the book and tie it’s genesis to this time and this season in our country’s history but that’s fine. It’s actually very apropos to the theme of the book.

The puzzle of this election even being close, and it promises to be so, exposes a cloud of deception over our churches and our country. Deception is puzzling isn’t it? How do people, a large group of intelligent people come to believe completely opposite things or positions? Even among close friends and close family members? Many times both calling themselves Christians. Puzzling? Especially when these positions are so clearly different — practically opposite!

I write to Christians, people who believe the Bible, people who know and fear God. But truth is truth for every human just as it is for every Christian. I want to write with “gentleness and respect” as Christians are instructed to do. (I Peter 3:15) And with humility of course, but honestly I don’t get it — how a disciple of Christ, one who reads and believes the Bible, one who fears God in a healthy way could choose to vote left in this election? Puzzling indeed!

But God certainly honors our free wills, so certainly I should, and I will.

I just want to state my voting position and how I came to it.

Character

This election and the last were so very simple to me. Which candidate has the best character? By their fruits you shall know them. Not by what they say, but by what they do. Jesus taught us this truth. I know that’s hotly debated, and I don’t want this to get long, so I will discuss that in tomorrow’s blog.

Platform

The LORD judges people, peoples, and nations according to His Word, the Bible. Read Psalm 2. It’s demonstrated and repeated throughout the Bible. Wise men and women aplenty have seen it in history too and become seers and leaders in their crucial times, e.g. Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc.

Which platform or agenda shows more deference, honor, and respect for God and His ways? That’s the one to vote for each and every time if you value His blessings and your well being. That’s what the Bible says.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” Ps 33:12

Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

[1] One side is pro life and against abortion. (Ez 7:23, Has 4:2, Lev 18:21)
[2] One side supports Israel while the other doesn’t (Gen 12:3)

Those two issues alone are enough for me to see a clear voting decision. But there are more.

[3] One supports Biblical traditional marriage while the other doesn’t
[4] One supports Religious freedom (not suing bakers or t-shirt makers for matters of conscience) (The First Amendment — Freedom of Religion and Speech) (Why the Pilgrims came to America in the beginning.)
[5] One supports Economic freedom (reducing taxes and regulations to promote innovation and create jobs — the thinking of our founding fathers in America )

These have been in line with Christian thinking for nineteen centuries throughout the history of the church.

These line up with the Bible, and thus with the thinking of our Creator and Judge. The acceptance or rejection of them have strong future consequences as they have had strong historical consequences. Choose wisely. And may God bless and keep you. And may God have mercy and extend His hand of grace to our nation.