Last Candidate Standing

August 26th, 2019 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Are you already sick and tired of the 2020 election? I am!

Let’s have America’s national elections staged as a reality TV show! How ’bout America’s Got Candidates, The Amazing Political Race, Keeping Up with the Kandidates, Dancing with the Issues or Survivor: Electoral College? Or better, yet To Tell the Truth.

And the best part? It would run only from September through November during “sweeps” every four years! Here’s how it would work: [Continue reading]

I’m Jim Watkins, and I approve this message.

Last week, two New York City police officers committed suicide: one 56 years old and another only 35. In fact, more officers take their own lives than die in the line of duty.

While these two tragedies made national news, the World Health Organization estimates that one million people in the general population worldwide die each year of suicide. That’s one death every 20 seconds. Twenty-five times that number attempt suicide every year. I’ve had my own thoughts while driving past a cemetery of “Lucky stiffs!” as I deal with clinical depression.

So, here are some posts I trust are helpful if you or a loved one are dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Hope and help for suicidal thoughts
If you’re thinking about suicide
Do those who commit suicide go to heaven?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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

In July, Joshua Harris, the author of the best-selling—and controversial—book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, as well as former pastor, publicly announced he no longer considers himself a Christian and now is a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ movement.

In August, Hillsong United worship leader Marty Sampson publicly admitted he is “genuinely losing his faith” after struggling with questions about God’s goodness.

Serious questions about faith are nothing new. But publicly proclaiming them to a worldwide audience is new! These influential voices feel it’s their obligation to struggle online. Here’s why I think that’s spiritually dangerous,

Open doors
One of my favorite talks and posts is God’s will is not lost—for those trying to find it. The premise is based on Proverbs 3:5-6:

      Trust in the Lord with all your heart
      And do not lean on your own understanding.
      In all your ways acknowledge Him,
      And He will make your paths straight (NASB).

My point is that “God’s will” is not some mystery we must try to solve nor even a specific path we must follow. It is simply 1) trusting God with all our hearts, 2) not leaning on our own understanding, and then 3) acknowledging (yada, to know intimately) him.

Unfortunately, I had gotten sucked into mission statements and five-year plans. Maybe you’ve bought into the “responsible” way to approach life as well. [Continue reading]

August 4, 2019 7:30 am EST

Twenty-nine people are dead and 42 injured in two mass shootings just 13 hours apart. Saturday at 10:39 am local time, 20 people were killed in El Paso, Texas. Then at 1 am Sunday morning, nine people were killed in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Lone gunmen are responsible for both killing sprees. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims.

In 2017, 12,839 people died from homicide from firearms prompting many to call for stricter gun control.

However, in that same year, more than three times that number were killed by another deadly cause, and yet there are no demands for stricter control of it. Why the discrepancy in concern? Because those 37,133 deaths were caused by vehicles with 10,874 of those caused by drunk driving. (There was an attempt to control alcohol during the days of Prohibition, but that did not prove an effective solution.)

In the case of mass shootings, guns are to blame. In auto deaths, the drivers are held responsible. The truth is that in both cases it is the person who is responsible. Banning vehicles would be much more effective in decreasing auto deaths than banning guns. Illinois has some of the toughest gun control laws in the United States, yet it has one of the highest rates of gun-related deaths.

Rather than calling for stricter gun control—which has proven time and time again ineffective—we need to be addressing the moral, social and mental health causes that are contributing to this alarming effect. But it’s much easier to blame an amoral, inanimate object than to address the real human issues.

Related posts
Rx for gun control
Talking to your children about terrorism, school violence

Note: Gun control advocates use the total number of deaths from firearms per year—36,383—but don’t distinguish that 22,274 of that number are suicides, 496 are police shootings and 295 are accidental.

Photo: New York Times

Copyright © 2019 James N. Watkins

I’m speaking at Taylor’s Professional Writers’ Conference that is specifically designed to help writers get published.

There are three secrets to publishing success: 1. Network 2. Network and 3. Network. Writers’ conference are the best place to get your face in front of an agent, editor and professional writer who can help move to the next level.

Today, I’ll be speaking on . . .

Taking the Word to the Worldwide Web: planning, producing and promoting your website

From Stage to Page: Taking a talk and turning it into an article or book (It’s more than just transcribing a recording!)

• And, here’s a whole ream of writing resources

God, I don’t understand

August 1st, 2019 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

God I dont understand
My 2017 book, The Psalms of Asaph, is getting a new title and ad campaign. Admittedly, the title, which was supposed to be intriguing turned out, instead, to be simply esoteric.

The psalmist, Asaph, (Psalms 50, 73-83) watched the glorious rise Israel and the building of the magnificent Temple as well as the moral collapse and complete destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. His writing is filled with raw, honest anguish struggling with unanswered prayer, unfulfilled promises, and unpunished evil.

God, I Don’t Understand better describes the theme of the book. And includes an important update that I shared earlier.

Here’s are some excerpts from the three chapters on unanswered prayer:

Seven reasons God may not be answering your prayers

I’ll let you know as soon as the new edition is available.

During the American Civil War, the Confederate Navy filled Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico with mines, which at the time were called “torpedoes.” As flag officer David Glasgow Farragut led the Union’s fleet of 18 ships into the bay, he issued one of history’s most memorable orders:

“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

The tactic succeeded. Only one ship was lost, and the last Confederate stronghold on the Gulf of Mexico fell to Union control. (And Farragut was made admiral of the U.S. Navy and honored with two postage stamps.) It’s also a good strategy for our emotions:

So, damn the emotions! Full speed ahead! [Continue reading]

Bible study tools

June 19th, 2019 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I’m teaching a class for a writers’ conference at Wheaton College this week called Correctly Handling the Word in Writing. So, here are several of my favorite resources:

Bible translations
Bible Gateway
Blue Letter Bible
Parallel translations

Bible Hub
Bible Study Tools
Christian Classic Etherial Library

Word studies
Study Light (Hebrew and Greek)
Greek lexicons
Hebrew lexicons

Other resources
Bible dictionaries
Got Questions
Flavius Josephus Historical context
Theopedia An encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity

And, here’s a quick summary of my four-day talk

If you found this post helpful, please bookmark it and recommend to your friends. Thanks!

Gay Pride month musings

June 17th, 2019 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

NYC Gay Pride parade
Here are some musings as the LGBTQ community celebrates Gay Pride month:

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning, I want you to know I care about you.

I’ve written several newspaper columns condemning hatred and violence against LGBTQs such as God hates

If you’re straight, I want you to know that gender identity is a complicated issue.

And when an issue is so complicated, compassion and understanding should be the first response. I’ve written several columns and book chapters on this as well.

So, I’ve attempted to write these excerpts from my books on sexuality as well as recent posts with truth and grace, so thank you for your consideration and comments.

My sexual identity crisis

Is sexual identity nature or nurture? Yes!

God and the Gay Christian conversation

The B-I-B-L-E and LGBTQ

Why are some people so bent out of shape about homosexuality?

A “civil” debate on same-sex unions

It’s not about orientation. It’s about obedience

If you found these posts helpful, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

Photo: Fox News