Monday, May 6, 2013
Until recently, I could count the number of spam comments this blog had received on one fin.
But at some point in the last few months, while I have been ignoring this blog a little bit, we got about 50 or 60 spam comments that slipped through.
I do not know if that is testimony to the fact that the spammers are getting better at their hacking, or that my blog is finally interesting enough to bother hacking.
Given that I have not posted in months and months, I think the first explanation is more likely.
What is strange, is that 97% of the spam seems to be on one post. The one called Liturgy 1 – Golf.
So maybe spambots just like golf?
I really don’t want to have to set comment moderation, or make people copy stupid verification words, but it looks like that ship might have sailed. If I can’t fix this problem, we might have to do that.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Thinking about writing an inspirational novel, but don't know where to begin? Here's help! Your favourite authors offer tips on brainstorming, approaching tough topics, crafting a story, and marketing a book; and explain what makes fiction "Christian." Contributors include Jerry Jenkins, Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, Randy Alcorn, Colleen Coble, Angela Hunt, and many others.
I found this book in a local Christian Bookshop a few years ago and bought it. I have never regretted that purchase. It is still one of my favourite books on writing, and the fact that it is focussed on Christian writing is just the icing on top.
The book covers more than just writing technique; there are chapters on getting yourself marketed, researching, how to use writing as a ministry, as well as many interesting stories and perspectives by Christian Writers.
It was refreshing for me to find a book that gave good advice, and was in line with my beliefs. (I really enjoyed the chapter on how to portray evil on Christian Writing, and how to deal with sex scenes.)
I have used sections of this for my Writing Group on occasion, and often dip in for advice on writing dialogue, or how to make the story hold together better.
It helps that much of the advice is from people who I hope to write like one day, or admire. It is written from a Christian perspective, but can be read by anyone, regardless of their faith.
Try it and see. You might just like it. I did.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
One day at a time, one prayer at a time, a busy working mother and playful six-year-old daughter transformed their bedtime prayers. Like a window into their relationship their prayers and reflections let us witness the growth, enjoy the childlikeness, and learn from their winsome faith. Discover how you and your child can find connection, humour, and a deeper understanding of God in the quiet last few minutes of each day.
I loved the title, and the concept is quite interesting as well. A mother starts recording her daughters nightly prayers, and we are invited to watch as both of their faiths grow before our eyes.
And it works, for a while. I found the first few chapters interesting, maybe as much as half the book. There is a good mix of child-like innocence, lessons learned by Mother, and spiritual insight.
However, it gets a bit repetitive. I guess the best way to explain it is that only the first 20 photos of somebody’s new-born baby are cute. After a while you want to see something fresh. Despite the blurb, I did not see a great deal of development from cover to cover.
However I enjoyed it, and most of you probably will as well. Just don’t expect it to be profound or life-changing.
Friday, August 24, 2012
To build this couples devotional, Eggerichs has taken the top concerns that surfaced in a survey of thousands of couples and has developed 52 devotionals around the three cycles that are at the heart of Love and Respect:
I received this book as a free review copy from Thomas Nelson Publishing as part of their Booksneeze programme in exchange for an honest review.
The book is sold as A Husband-Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love. The implication here, and throughout the book, is that men are selfish creatures with short attention spans who need to be given short sentences to make them interested in reading. Sorry, but that was how I read it.
What did I like about the book?
- It is visibly pleasing. It is a soft-cover edition with a genuine imitation leather cover that makes it pleasing to look at, and a stylish addition to my bookshelf. It looks great lying next to my bed.
- A lot of the philosophy resonated with me and my understanding of male/female dynamics. The essential point that men seek respect and women seek love is a true one I think, and is bourn out in Ephesians 5, and real life.
- It encourages couples to find their own method of doing bible study and devotion, rather than feeling guilty that they don’t do it a certain way. There are 52 chapters, and we are told to do them in any order. We are also told that it is okay to read them separately and discuss them together later.
Where did I have a problem?
- It is theologically light. Most of the content is presented as vague pop-psychology and theories with bible verses stretched to “support” the idea.
- It portrays men and women as being very different, almost irredeemably different, and that we will never fully understand each other.
- It refers far too much to the authors earlier works, and conferences, and teaching series, and publishes theories. I found it hard to read in the absence of having read his previous works, and he talks about theories and ideas as if we have all read them before and attended a course.
My general conclusion?
This book may work for some people, but I found it a little light on substance and patronising. If you are struggling with traditional devotionals, and want to try something new, maybe it will work for you. For myself, I plan to keep looking for something a little better.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
You can praise God by peeling a spud if you peel it to perfection. Don't compromise. Compromise is a language of the devil. Run in God's name and let the world stand back and in wonder.
J.D Liddell – Chariots of Fire
I do not know whether Eric Liddell’s father ever actually said this to him, but I love this quote from Chariots of Fire almost as much as I love the one I have mentioned a few times before…
I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. – Eric LIddell
Watching the Olympic Games this week, I wonder how many of the athletes would have the courage of their convictions to refuse to run in their best event because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. The modern attitude is “victory at any cost.”
We all run a race every day. I wonder how often we feel the pressure to compromise, especially in areas where “it doesn’t really matter.”
And how often we forget who it is we are running for.
Friday, July 27, 2012
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
“I want it all, and I want it now.”
(I want it all –Queen)
What time do you get up in the morning? I get up about five minutes before I have to. Maybe five minutes after if the weather is bad.
Some people get up an hour early so they can go running, or get to the gym before work. That takes dedication.
Yet most of us would have difficulty getting up half an hour earlier to spend 30 minutes more in prayer.
Why? Priorities I guess. For some of us our bodily health is more important than our spiritual health.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Lack of Self Control leads to excesses in areas that would otherwise be benign: Anger, Drinking, Ambition, Lust, Spending.
Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything-1 Corinthians 6:12
We need control to show love when we want to show hate.
We need control to be patient when we are not.
We need control to be kind when we are not feeling like it.
Self Control, like running or working out at the gym, takes practice.
We need to practise it every day to make it “muscle memory.”
- By choosing to read the Word, and follow it.
- By putting off what is wrong (run from temptation)
- By putting on what is right (choose to walk in the Spirit)
- By asking for help, all the time (Pray for strength and wisdom)
How do you build your Self Control? What area do you find it hardest to be controlled?
This has been the last Fruit of the Spirit message. Feel free to browse over the past ones, and leave a comment. If you answer on your own blog, please leave a link below.