Top ten posts: May 2015

May 31st, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from May 2015

10. Does DNA disprove evolution?

9. Top ten things almost as good as sex

8. What was Paul thinking when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12?

7. Demons: Possession or Obsession

6. The cure for the common cold: sex!

5. Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

4. Faith of Our Mothers

3. “More than you can think or imagine” (Amazing book offer!)

2. Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

And, the number one post in May 2015 . . . and April 2015 . . . and March 2015 . . . and . . .

1. (1) “It Is Well with My Soul” The rest of the stories

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. . . and one even better!

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten things almost as good as sex. (Don’t worry, it’s rated PG.)

10. Apple dumplings

9. Hot tubs

8. Being “liked” on Facebook (It actually stimulates the same area of the brain receptive to sexual activity. That’s creepy!)

7. “Meat Lovers” pizza

6. Roller coasters

5. The ocean

4. Music from the 60s

3. Laughter

2. Dark chocolate

1. Signing a book contract (The Watkins kin is celebrating an amazing book deal today with lunch in Fort Wayne.)

But there is one thing even better than sex and it’s found in—of all places—the Bible. Really! God labels everything he created the first five days of Creation as “good,” but only after he creates male and female humans on the sixth day does he declare it “very good”! And having a relationship with God through Christ is even better. The apostle Paul writes:

      “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31 ESV).

Definitely a “mystery.” Becoming “one flesh” is a merely a shadow or inadequate symbol of the joy and satisfaction Christ and his followers experience. In fact, Jesus calls the church his “bride” and promises to come back for her.

So the “wedding feast” in heaven will feature delights even more delectable than apple dumplings, pizza and dark chocolate. And the joy and satisfaction will be infinitely greater than the best sex on earth! Ever! Forever!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

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For the last couple years, I’ve been hearing Jesus say in my spirit, “You must decrease, I must increase” and “Only I am to be exalted.”

So when I wrote a book proposal that’s all about Jesus and not a word about me, here’s what happened:

• Within 13 days of sending the proposal, my agent had an offer from a large publisher.

• It’s a generous advance and royalty structure. And the marketing plan is unbelievable!

• Plus it will be offered in hard cover and leather! I’ve never had a book even in Naugahyde.

• And it will be on shelves in less than nine months—in time for the beginning of Lent 2016. (It will be re-marketed for Advent 2016.) I’ve never heard of a book getting two marketing promotions.

Those things simply do not happen in publishing! It can take from three to six months to get a response to a proposal. Books can take up to two years from contract to book store shelf.

And I’ve really done nothing to cause all this to happen so quickly and remarkably, except to write a book that is all about Jesus.

It’s definitely a “more than you can think or imagine” type of thing (Ephesians 3:20). So, Jesus gets all the praise.

I’ll let you know the name of the book, publisher and all the ordering details in late winter. For now, thanks to you for your faithful prayers over the years. And please continue praying as I complete the manuscript and the publisher begins working on the design and marketing campaign. Thanks!

July 16, 2015
Revealed:
The mysterious book I’ve been writing is The Imitation of Christ: A completely updated version of Thomas à Kempis’ classic devotion in modern language organized into 90 devotional readings.

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That got your attention, didn’t it? Augustine is credited with lamenting that “The church is a whore, but she is still my mother.” So, as we approach, Pentecost Sunday, it’s a good time to remember, the church may not be perfect, but it is worthy of our support. As St. Cyprian, a third-century bishop, wrote, “No one can have God as Father who does not have the church as Mother.”

The Church is . . . the place Jesus called home

When Jesus was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem at 12 years of age, his parents left without him, assuming he was traveling in their caravan.

      Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

      His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”

      “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:46-49).

While on earth, Jesus regularly attended “church,” which at that time were the synagogues and the Temple in Jerusalem:

      When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures (Luke 4:16, emphasis mine).

The Church is . . . the Bride of Christ

      As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one (Ephesians 5:31-32).

      For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
      and his bride has prepared herself.
      She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
      For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people (Revelation 19:7b-8).

Okay, the Church may not be pure as the driven snow, but the Bible describes the God/human relationship in terms of marriage and in the final book of the Bible describes the Church as the Bride of Christ.

The Church is . . . the Family of God

      And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near (Hebrews 10:25).

Anyone who claims he or she can be a Christian without Christ’s church is simply disobeying Scripture’s command to meet with other believers. Jesus himself made it very clear:

      “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”(Matthew 18:20).

The church is . . . the Body of Christ

The apostle Paul describes the Church as Christ’s Body:

      The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

      All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:27).

No church is perfect. But she is Christ’s home, the Bride of Christ, the family of God and the Body of Christ. And it is the place that he has commanded us to belong to and support this coming Pentecost Sunday . . . and every Sunday.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

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I’m looking forward to being faculty at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers’ Conference: the biggest name in writing conferences. (It has 43 letters!)

I will be representing Wesleyan Publishing House, a royalty publisher, and ACW Press, an independent publisher—so I can get you published one way or another!

I’ll be speaking on the following subjects—just in case you a) can’t be at the conference or b) my classes conflict with more interesting classes.

The Ministry of Writing
Includes twenty-five-rejection-proof markets that truly do minister to needs.

Taking the Word to the Worldwide Web
Includes practical tips on “branding,” writing online as well as setting up one’s own website/blog.

Writing with Banana Peels
Based on my college text book, the seminar provides practical strategies for communicating more effectively with humor. If nothing else, you’ll laugh a lot.

Then I’ll be sharing a keynote Your Write Role based on 1 Corinthians 12 from the The New Living Amplified Paraphrased King James Watkins Version. (I hope to have the audio available soon after the conference.)

I’m looking forward to meeting you, and be sure to stop by my table at the autograph party so I don’t feel like a complete loser sitting there by myself. (I’ll have Writing with Banana Peels and Communicate to Change Lives for sale—of course!)

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Ever since Pebbles and Bam Bam graduated from Bedrock High, commencement speakers have been telling the field of funny hats to work for world peace, follow its dreams, and always wear clean underwear in case of an accident.

So cue “Pomp and Happenstance,” here are the top ten things I’ve learned since I wore a black bathrobe.

1. World peace isn’t going to happen. Sorry commencement speakers, presidential candidates, and Miss America contestants. Two thousand years ago Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars, and he hasn’t been wrong yet. Better to work at being at peace with yourself. Now if just six billion people would all do that . . .

2. Some of your dreams would turn into real nightmares if they were fulfilled, so try to be content with what you become. After years of wanting to become a famous author, I’ve learned that there are some real benefits to being un-famous. I can go anywhere I want without people hounding me for autographs, I don’t have to worry about being stalked by “Sixty Minutes” or a psycho fan (remember Misery?), and I’ve never once appeared on the cover of The National Enquirer.

3. However, good things do come to those who wait such as sex, job promotions, and senior discounts. Keep in mind, though, it takes ten years to become an overnight success.

4. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some fairly famous authors, musicians, and corporate big wigs. The one’s who’ve made it to 36 percent tax bracket are some of the nicest, down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. It’s the “wannabes” who are often the arrogant, egocentric little twits.

5. If you love your job, you’ll never have to work a day of your life. Can you believe I actually receive good money and a free newspaper subscription to write this stuff? Please don’t tell any of my editors or publishers, but I’d gladly write for free! And what other job can you do in your underwear at 3 a.m.? (Okay, but those jobs are illegal in 49 states!)

6. It’s not what you know, but who you know. Networking is the key to meeting Mr. or Miss Right, job promotions, and great deals on used cars. Next week I’ll be on a nation-wide talk show pitching my latest books, , but that’s only because I taught a class with a guy who plays racquetball with a guy who’s a producer with The 700 Club. I wouldn’t have gotten past the switchboard if I had tried to get on the show myself. (But be careful to remember the next point!)

7. Love people, use things. And, what ever you do, don’t get that turned around.

8. The simple, obvious answer is usually wrong. And, just because it’s in print, doesn’t mean it’s true (unless of course, it’s this column.) Enjoy the naive bliss of having all the answers right now, because the more laps you take around the sun, the more complicated the cosmos becomes.

9. Life is not fair. You won’t get what you deserve. Actually, I’m glad for that. I have a wonderful wife, two great kids, and a job I love. Give me grace rather than fairness any day!

10. Not everyone is going to like you. For every card, email, or letter bomb I receive from people who loathe my column, I get four or five from readers who love it. I’ve learned to be satisfied with an 80 percent approval rating which is at least 20 points higher than Ronald Reagan received as one of America’s most popular presidents. Besides, if I had an .800 record in major league baseball, I’d be making millions endorsing athlete’s foot remedies. So, enjoy the small group of family and friends who truly love you. Besides, by the time you attend your twentieth high school reunion, you probably won’t remember half the people who wrote “love always” in your yearbook.

Of course, there are many more things I could advise (just say no to drugs, pay off your credit card balance every month, don’t pee on an electric fence, etc.) but ten seems to be the universal limit for this sort of thing. But one more bit of wisdom. If you look up and a semi truck is ready to crash through your car’s windshield, you’re not going to have clean underwear.

Congrats, grads!

Copyright © 2001 James N. Watkins

Photo from Indiana Wesleyan University. Lois and I as well as our two kiddos are alumni.

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Happy Mothers’ Day!

May 4th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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Here are some of my favorite cartoons and columns for this special weekend:

Faith of Our Mothers
Some new lyrics for an old, old song

The papoose-driven life
Lessons learned from a four-month-old grandaughter

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Son of a saint!
When godly parents have not-so-godly children

“Spray paint” parenting
The secret is thin coats of moral and ethical lessons

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Talking to your kids about S-E-X
Children will learn about sex—from us or the bus!

Talking to children about war, terrorism, school violence . . .
It’s a frightening time to be a child—and a parent

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Top ten things my mom taught me
(Yep, that’s my mom above.)

You may be a parent if . . .
. . . you’ve ever uttered one or more of these classic lines

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Praying that have a great Mother’s Day weekend, whether a mom or child!
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