February 2018: Seventeen students and teachers were killed in the horrific shooting at a Lake Park school. Survivors have vowed this will be the “last” school shooting as they lobby for tougher gun control. Here what I wrote exactly three years ago.

My heart is broken for the loss of life in San Bernardino “terrorist” attack. My mind is also baffled! The president and his like-minded supporters promise that “gun control” will eliminate—or reduce—these mass killings.

But Mr. President, California—where this latest gun violence exploded—has exactly what you’re demanding as the solution: background checks, registration, waiting periods, gun bans, magazine bans and an expansion of prohibited gun categories.

The same is true in Chicago, which has some of the toughest gun control laws—and out-of-control gun violence.

And The Washington Post just headlined: “Gun Violence Declining, Except in Gun-Free Zones.”

Finally, Mr. President, U.S. gun crimes are not uniquely “American”, despite your claim they have “no parallel anywhere else in world.” Have you already forgotten two major attacks in Paris? Or Norway, where Anders Behring Breivik used a gun to kill 67 people and wound 110 others? And do you know that three of the worst K-12 shooting occurred in Europe—which has some of the strictest gun control laws?

My heart is broken. My mind is baffled at the naiveté of those who believe public laws can prevent personal evil.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Note
I am not advocating no control over gun sales, however California has some of the strictest gun laws, but the murderous couple got them illegally. Laws will not stop violent sociopaths, because violent sociopaths have no regard for laws of God and man. However, laws do articulate what a society values and believes and do have a positive peer-pressure effect. I am not zealous about gun ownership, but I am adamant about truth.

Related posts
Rx for gun control
Dealing with terrorist attacks

Share

‘Fear not . . .’

December 3rd, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


It’s honor to have my daughter, Faith, as a guest poster today!

Confidence doesn’t always come easy to us. Some of us struggle all our lives to find self-confidence, even to the point that we are immobilized by fear and fail to experience all we could be. How do we gain confidence and where does it come from?

In my experience, I have become more confident when I face trials or fears and come through them successfully. On January 18, 2015 during a sermon at church about the toxicity of fear, I felt God’s voice clearly calling me to overcome my fear and step out of the boat in obedience. No, he didn’t call me to be a missionary in Uganda or adopt a child from Guatemala, or move my family across the country to work in a recovery center for victims of human trafficking, although he might as well have. He was simply calling me to join the worship band at church. Now being someone who grew up singing in numerous choirs and numerous solo and ensemble competitions, it shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. I should have jumped at the opportunity. But over the years, the waves of life had crashed over me, slamming me up against the rocks leaving me broken and battered. In the process, I lost my “song,” and I lost my self-confidence in those treacherous waters.

Although terrified, I obediently followed Him through the process of interviewing, doing an “American Idol” style audition with the band, all the way up to the eve of my big Sunday morning debut. That Saturday night fear hit me like a tsunami. My thoughts and fears swirled uncontrollably around in my mind: What if I forget the words? What if I hit a wrong note? What if everyone hates me and they think I’m terrible? I ended up breaking down crying in a panic attack in front of my 10-year-old daughter.

“Mom, what’s wrong?”

“I’m scared to sing tomorrow.”

“Well, just call and tell them you can’t do it.”

I love her sweet, innocent logic. Through tears I simply stated, “I can’t do that. God told me to do this and I have to obey Him, even if I’m scared.”

Even as I unknowingly taught a valuable lesson to my daughter in that moment, God was imprinting that truth on my heart as well. I went to my room and fell face down on the floor, a big hot mess drowning in my fears. I confessed to God that I was scared to death and surrendered to the fact that I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed Him and his strength. He began lifting me up with words like, “I have called you to this. I won’t let you fail. You are my child. I’ve got you.” His peace washed over me in that moment and I was overwhelmed by his love and the fact that he has called me His child. Hebrews 4:14 reminds us:

      Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The writer of Hebrews isn’t talking about the secrets of gaining self-confidence in this passage. That is a subject better left to someone like Dr. Phil to address, maybe in a New York Times best-selling self-help book entitled 10 Steps to a More Confident You. He is talking about the secret of having “cross-confidence.” This comes through suffering and experiencing difficult situations in life, all the while knowing that there is a beautiful and glorious outcome because of what Christ did for us on the cross. The passage is full of hope for those of us who have dealt with suffering in this life, pummeled by waves and stripped of confidence. We are children of God, and even as we face the storms of this life, we can have cross-confidence knowing that we have a new birth and an inheritance that will never perish, a genuine faith, salvation for our souls, inexpressible joy and eternal life basking in the glory of God.

That’s something no self-help book can offer us. Like self-confidence, gaining cross-confidence involves facing difficult situations and having a successful outcome. But with cross-confidence, our successful outcome has nothing to do with self, and everything thing to do with Christ. Even if self-confidence is something you lack, you can overcome and have cross-confidence knowing that all the difficult things you face in this life will fade away when you experience the amazing gifts that Christ offers us through the cross. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the first few months with the worship band, the worship pastor unknowingly chose songs for me to sing with lyrics like:

      Your grace abounds in deepest waters
      Your sovereign hand
      Will be my guide
      Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
      You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

      So I will call upon Your name
      And keep my eyes above the waves
      When oceans rise
      My soul will rest in Your embrace
      For I am Yours and You are mine.1

I sang the powerful lyrics of “You Make Me Brave” and “No Longer Slaves”:

      You make me brave.
      You make me brave.
      You called me beyond the shore into the waves.
      You make me brave.
      You make me brave.
      No fear can hinder now the love that made a way.2

      You split the sea, so I could walk right through it.
      All my fears were drowned in perfect love.
      You rescued me, so I can stand and sing.
      I am a child of God!3

Now, instead of drowning in fear the night before or even in the minutes before stepping foot on stage to sing Sunday mornings, I take a moment backstage to quietly remind myself of the ways God has rescued me when I was drowning in sin and how He put me back on solid ground. I remind myself of times He has blessed me beyond measure and opened seas up before me. I remind myself of His promises and I allow Him to whisper peace to my heart because He makes me brave. I can walk onto that stage in “cross-confidence” because I am there to worship the one who so lavishly poured His love out on me on the cross. And as a daughter of the King and a mother, the most amazing thing in all of it is that my girls are gaining cross-confidence by witnessing my journey. So you better believe that when we’re in the car and “No Longer Slaves” comes on the radio, we all belt out those lyrics at the top of our lungs with cross-confidence, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God!”

Copyright © 2015 Faith Anne Spaulding

Faith is a licensed clinical social worker who enjoys helping clients overcome their fears and find strength to overcome. She also enjoys her ministry with Premier Designs jewelry.

1 From “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” Copyright © 2012 Hillsong Music Publishing. Written by Joel Houston, Matt Crocker and Salomon Lighthelm.

2 From “You Make Me Brave” Copyright © 2013 Bethel Music Publishing. Written by Amanda Cook.

3 From “No Longer Slaves” Copyright © 2014 Bethel Music Publishing. Written by Brian Johnson, Joel Case and Jonathan David Helser


IOC WordPress

Imitation of Christ releases in 40 days!

Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ has been a best-seller for over 500 years! Now it’s completely updated in today’s language and organized into 90 devotional readings.

This book changed my life. While I had a degree in theology, and had been writing Christian books and articles most of my professional life, à Kempis had a close, deep relationship with Jesus Christ that I didn’t. I knew Christ, but I didn’t know Christ. I have read through à Kempis’ book at least ten times now, and each time, I find myself knowing Christ in closer and deeper ways. So, I invite you to join millions of readers who, over the past five hundred years, have become more like Christ through this amazing book.

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

Share

FoundingFathers3

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

10. Hope and humor cartoons

9. God is never late, but he sure is slow

8. The Christmas story in chronological order

7. Does DNA disprove evolution?

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

5. Cure for common cold: sex

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

3. “Threat level” solidly “green”

2. “It Is Well with My Soul”: the rest of the stories

And, the number one post in November 2015 . . .

1. Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

(See list at right for the latest posts.)


newspaper

New stuff from November

Don’t become a digital dinosaur

Hard times for “hard” news

How to decide what’s right or wrong for you

Inside look at publishing industry

Liar! Liar! Pantsuit on fire!

“My God, why have you abandoned me?”

Responding to Paris terrorist attacks

The Twelve Sites of Christmas


IOC WordPress

Imitation of Christ releases in 43 days!

Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ has been a best-seller for over 500 years! Now it’s completely updated in today’s language and organized into 90 devotional readings.

This book changed my life. While I had a degree in theology, and had been writing Christian books and articles most of my professional life, à Kempis had a close, deep relationship with Jesus Christ that I didn’t. I knew Christ, but I didn’t know Christ. I have read through à Kempis’ book at least ten times now, and each time, I find myself knowing Christ in closer and deeper ways. So, I invite you to join millions of readers who, over the past five hundred years, have become more like Christ through this amazing book.

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

Share

Hard times for ‘hard’ news

November 25th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

newspaper-280
For fifteen years I wrote for a newspaper. The kind you can use to housebreak puppies, make papier-mâché art projects and wrap dishes for moving. But daily “paper” papers have dropped from a high of nearly 1,800 in 1945 to about 400 today. Circulation per capita has dropped below 15 percent.

I haven’t subscribed to a print paper for nearly twenty years. Teddy is gone, no more school-aged children and the next time I move, I want to go feet first.

The online news aggregate site, Drudge Report, made journalism history when in 1996 it was the first news source to break then-president Bill Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Newsweek initially declined to run the story. Since then, Drudge Report has gained a loyal following of 2 million unique visitors per day beating out USA Today with 1.7 million subscribers and The New Times which has less than 1.4 million subscribers.

Digital dinosaurs face extinction

The prehistoric crocodile managed to survive the extinction of the massive dinosaurs by becoming smaller and more agile. In the same way, the print brontosauruses require large staffs, massive presses and an army of people delivering the news to your door step once a day.

Matt Drudge, with his computer and website, is the agile crocodile with no reporters (virtually all content is links from other news sites), no designers (the simple—crude—design hasn’t changed in years) and a staff of three, including himself. Business Insider estimates that Drudge, as sole owner, makes between 15 and 20 million dollars a year from advertising.

It’s hard for paper newspapers to compete when it arrives at your doorstep—or more likely in your bushes—once a day, while major online news sites offer live streaming of news events to your handheld device. Even Drudge can be slow in Internet terms compared to Twitter and Facebook.

Hard news faces extinction

The Brookings Institute warns, “While the Internet world has made it possible for everyone to express their opinion widely—whether they know anything or not—it has also confused readers. In the absence of supposedly neutral intermediaries such as reporters, fact-checkers, and editors, readers are having a hard time judging the credibility of what they read.”

If that’s not enough to make you lose your breakfast all over your keyboard, Nick Denton, the managing editor of Gawker.com, confirms Brookings greatest fears: “I think it’s implicit in the way that a website is produced that our standards of accuracy are lower. Besides, immediacy is more important than accuracy, and humor is more important than accuracy.”

Surviving the digital news age

So, how do you sort out the news from the views? How can you find the “hard” truth?

Search out multiple sources. My Internet book marks embrace both “conservative” and “liberal” sites: Drudge and The Huffington Post, Fox News and CNN, etc. No media is truly unbiased or even “fair and balanced”!

Learn to make the distinction between reporting the news and advocating an agenda. For instance, notice how, presidential candidate Ben Carson is being grilled on the veracity of his bio, but Hillary Clinton’s long list of confirmed lies (daughter Chelsea jogging around the World Trade Center on 9/11, the two coming under “sniper fire” while visiting Bosnia and more) are completely ignored.

Go to primary sources. The media—whether it’s The New York Times or Drudge—are secondary sources, rather than primary or “eye witness” accounts. Even “live streaming” can be deceptive with camera angles and cropping, the subjects interviewed, etc.

Track down the person’s actual interview. Again, Ben Carson, was taken completely out of context when he said he would be “uncomfortable” with a Muslim president. He actually said he would be uncomfortable with any president who governed by his religion rather the Constitution.

Track down the source of the original study. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Cherry-picking statistics from any study can skew the interpretation.

Become your own “fact checker”

Getting away with biased or advocate journalism is impossible in the new age of the Internet. You don’t have to rely on the big three networks to tell you each evening “and that’s the way it is” without question. You can instantly “google” an event to find multiple perspectives on any issue.

So . . . be ‘hard’ on news sources!

Copyright © James N. Watkins

Related posts
Don’t become a digital dinosaur

This post originally appeared in Presidential Prayer Team “Viewpoint.”


IOC WordPress

Imitation of Christ releases in 48 days!

The classic devotional by Thomas à Kempis arranged and organized into 90 devotional readings.

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

Share

Hope, humor and Thanksgiving

November 23rd, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy these cartoons and past columns, and have a safe and grateful week of Thanksgiving.

jimshortsturkeyshortage

jimshortspilgrims

jimshortspardon

Turkey trivia
Raise the intellectual level of conversation at Thanksgiving dinner above that of the cranberry sauce with this serving of fascinating facts.

jimshortsgivingthanks

Fifty praises between bed and bathroom
I vowed not to ask for anything, but to simply praise God during the day. I found fifty things for which to praise Him within just ten feet.

jimshortsthanks

Thanks for nothing
Some thoughts on the above cartoon. . .

Top ten reasons to give thanks . . .
. . . when you think you don’t have any. You really do have much for which to give thanks.

jimshortsthanksgiving

jimshortsblackfriday

Feel free to right click and save any of these cartoons to use on your site or newsletters or wherever. And you’re welcome to repost any of my columns. Just be sure to include: © Copyright James N. Watkins. All rights reserved. www.jameswatkins.com Thanks!

And come back Friday for the 18th annual Twelve Sites of Christmas


IOC WordPress

Imitation of Christ releases in 50 days!

The classic devotional by Thomas à Kempis arranged and organized into 90 devotional readings.

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

Share

Thanks for nothing!

November 16th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

desert2-280


      Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
      and there are no grapes on the vines;
      even though the olive crop fails
      and the fields lie empty and barren;
      even though the flocks die in the fields,
      and the cattle barns are empty,
      yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
      I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

Little is known of the prophet Habakkuk. except that he lived in the time when Israel was oppressed and many had been taken captive by the Babylonians. There was little reason to give thanks. Maybe you’re also facing this Thanksgiving Day with little for which to give thanks.

In spite of living in captivity and facing what appears to be a famine, Habakkuk writes, “Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord!”

His contemporary prophet, Jeremiah, also wrote of the time of invasion, occupation and captivity:

      “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Keep in mind, this verse—which is a favorite “promise verse” for many—was written just before 70 years of Babylonian captivity!

Things were no better 600 years later when the apostle Paul wrotes during a time of another political oppression. Israel was occupied by Rome which had appointed the infamous Nero to rule over God’s promised land. Paul also had little reason for which to give thanks, yet he writes:

      Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Notice that Habakkuk and Paul are not giving thanks for their situations, but in their situations! And the author of Hebrews encourages Christ followers to offer a “sacrifice of praise” (13:14), even though he is writing in the context of bearing the “disgrace” Jesus bore (13:13).

Thanks for nothing!

We may not have anything for which to give thanks, but the psalmists believed we had someone for which to give thanks:

      Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

This very same instruction is given in 1 Chronicles 16:34 and 41, 2 Chronicles 20:21, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1 and 29, Psalm 136:1, and Jeremiah 33:11! (Apparently, God thought it was important enough to repeat it eight times!)

Thanks for someone!

So, as we look around this time, we may not see many things for which to give them, we have someone for whom we can give thanks.

Look back at the bold-faced verses. Make this your list of Thanksgiving this year: for the God of our salvation, for his plans for good and a future and a hope, for his faithful love that endures forever . . . even when we have little physically, socially, financially or politically for which to give thanks.

Give thanks to the Lord!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Related post
Fifty praises between bed and bathroom
Top ten reasons to give thanks . . . when you think you don’t have any
Hope and humor for Thanksgiving My favorite cartoons and columns

Photo from MorgueFile.com


IOC WordPress

Imitation of Christ releases in 57 days!

The classic devotional by Thomas à Kempis arranged and organized into 90 devotional readings.

The Imitation of Christ is one of the great spiritual works of the Church. More than five hundred years later, it remains not just a classic, but a road map to the life the Lord wants each of us to live.”
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York

“This book makes me angry. Not only because I didn’t think of it, but also because I could never have done the thorough, sensitive, beautiful job James N. Watkins has done in updating Thomas à Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, into a modern classic of ninety riveting readings. I need this book. And so does everyone I know.”
Bob Hostetler, best-selling author of Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

“This influential book is an incredible gift to this century. James Watkins has stayed true to the original text but in language that continues to speak from the soul of Thomas à Kempis to the soul of a twenty-first century seeker. A message for which our world has deep hunger. This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
Jo Anne Lyon: White House adviser on faith, general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church

The Imitation of Christ devotional is truly a gift to the church. Watkins provides timeless, profound truths in everyday language, introducing modern Christians to the power of Thomas à Kempis’ words and life’s work. A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
Mary DeMuth: author of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Changes Everything

About the book
The story behind the book
Sample chapter
Daily quotation

Available January 12, 2016. Pre-order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

Share

candleebs5

Shock. Disbelief. Horror. Anger. Grief. These are just a few of the emotions overwhelming the French people following the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris.

I was at the McDonald’s “PlayLand” as the news unfolded on the giant TV above the area. I was holding my giggling granddaughter’s hands as she “walked” up me and back-flipped onto the floor as her older brothers ran among the equipment with uninhibited joy. At the very same time, I watched the news as immobilized victims clutched the hands of loved ones and bloodied survivors ran in horror for cover. Such joy, such sorrow. So surreal!

Here are some resources I hope will be helpful in responding to horrific attack:

Reacting
Dealing with death and grief
“bin Laden, kiss my pass!” (September 10, 2003)
Talking to your children about terrorism

Reasoning
Hope amid horror (September 11, 2006)
What motivates terrorists?
Taking the terror out of terrorism

Responding
Can war on terrorism be won? (September 11, 2005)
How can we overcome evil with good?
We are strong! We will survive! (September 17, 2001)
What we haven’t learned from 9/11 (September 9, 2002)
Candle-lighting ceremony following terrorist attacks (September 11, 2001)

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed and injured by terrorist acts.
jimlogo2
Copyright © James N. Watkins

Photo from MorgueFile.com

Share

SqueezingCoverLarge2
I am so excited that one of my favorite books, filled with hope and humor, is now an audio book!

Listen to 10 ways to not only survive but thrive with a lemon-fresh attitude as you face those lemon juice in the eye, life-puckering problems. I’ve had my share of sour fruit (cancer, unemployment, depression, chronic nose hair), but here’s a humorous look at the problems of life and the power to overcome them.

Browse
Table of contents, endorsements
Read an excerpt on pain

Buy audio
• Audio.com Complete, unabridged book

Buy paperback and eBook
• Amazon Paperback or eBook
• Barnes and Noble eBook

Share


One-third of all the psalms in the Bible are what commentators call “laments.” And the lament of all laments is found in Psalm 22:

      My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
      Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
      Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
      Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief (22:1-2).

Have you ever felt that way? I suspect we all have! St. John of the Cross calls it “The Dark Night of the Soul.” Perhaps you’re facing Thanksgiving Day and there doesn’t seem to be anything for which to give thanks.

But I love the way the psalms of lament always end with hope:

      Yet you are holy,
      enthroned on the praises of Israel.
      Our ancestors trusted in you,
      and you rescued them.
      They cried out to you and were saved.
      They trusted in you and were never disgraced (22:3-5).

We need to keep our eyes on the big picture! God does not answer prayer on our time table. (See my post God Is Never Late, But He Sure Is Slow.) I prayed fervently for five years about a broken relationship before God answered. And I’ve been praying for ten years for a very important issue without an answer.

Apparently God doesn’t own a wrist watch. He lives in the eternal “now.” “You must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). Unfortunately, we do live in time, and a day can seem like a thousand years!

The psalmist is encouraged by two things: simply praising God despite the circumstances and remembering the many ways God has answered prayers in the past:

      I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
      I will praise you among your assembled people.
      Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
      Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
      Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
      For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
      He has not turned his back on them,
      but has listened to their cries for help.
      I will praise you in the great assembly.
      I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you (22:22-25).

The psalmist will praise God and remain faithful to his lord, even though his heart cries out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” And he hopes for a better future:

      Our children will also serve him.
      Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
      His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
      They will hear about everything he has done (22:30-31).

If you’re going through a time of feeling abandoned by God, I’d love to send you a free ebook of Squeezing Good Out of Bad. Just email me at jim @ jameswatkins.com.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Related posts
Are you listening to Goliath or God?
“Don’t be afraid”
Feeling inadequate, ill-equipped, in the dark?
God is such a drama king
Hope in a hand basket
I’m a giant killer! [Print and audio]
I’m giving up fear for Lent
Is it a hangnail or hand grenade?
“It Is Well with My Soul” The rest of the stories
Keeping your dreams alive
Soaring with eagles, walking with emus [Print and audio]

If you found this post helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

Share

Liar! Liar! Pantsuit on fire!

November 7th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

preztruth-280
November 2015

I’m a fierce independent and someone with a journalism background, so if Ben Carson is lying about his rags to surgical scrubs story, that is a valid inquiry. It just wish Hillary Clinton was held to the same journalistic standards.

1. Clinton told “Today” that her daughter was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9-11 and was in a nearby coffee shop when “She heard the plane hit. She heard it. She did,” Chelsea told “Talk Magazine” she was at a friend’s house four miles away. Her friend called her out of a deep sleep to tell her the first plane had struck.

2. Clinton told an audience during her 2008 run for president, that while visiting Bosnia in 1996 as first lady, she remembered “landing under sniper fire.” A greeting ceremony had to be cancelled, she said, as her party “ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” Video of the Bosnia landing showed Clinton and her daughter calmly walking across the tarmac to be greeted by a little girl with flowers and a crowd of well-wishers.

3. Clinton claims she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first two men to climb Mt. Everest. The mountain climber didn’t gain fame for climbing the peak until Clinton was six years old.

4. Clinton kept State Department emails on a private server in her home, but “I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.” Early on the in federal investigation the inspector general for 17 spy agencies told Congress that two contained information deemed “Top Secret.” Other emails were not labeled “Top Secret” but were indeed top secret and she knew it, investigators claim.

Other statements are harder to nail down.

Did or didn’t Clinton know that the attack on the Libyan embassy was a well-planned out terrorist attack and not a reaction to an anti-Muslim video? (She did tell the Egyptian prime minister less than 24 hours after the attack: “We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.” However, for days later, the official story continued to be the attack was inspired by the video.)

And were the Clinton’s really “dead broke” when they left the White House—to make 12 million dollars during the year after leaving.

If Carson has fabricated some of his story, he needs to come clean. And Clinton needs to be held to the same standards as Carson.

Truth is not a Republican or Democratic commodity. The bright light needs to shine on all: conservative and liberal, Democrat and Republican, mainstream media and online news outlets . . .

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Note (June 2016)

Donald Trump, the “presumptive” Republican candidate, is no “Honest Abe” either. New York Times‘ columnist Timothy Egan wrote:

      [T]he nonpartisan PolitiFact has rated 76 percent of his statements lies—57 percent false or mostly false, and another 19 percent “Pants on Fire” fabrications. Only 2 percent—2 percent!—of his assertions were rated true, and another 6 percent mostly true. Hillary Clinton, who is not exactly known for fealty to the facts, had a 28 percent total lie score, including a mere 1 percent Pants on Fire.

      The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has dinged Trump with 30 of its Four Pinocchio ratings—lying 70 percent of the time.

Share
WordPress Backup