Saturday, June 19, 2010

In Memory: An Unconquerable Soul

I've been re-reading one of my favorite devotional books, "The Manhood of the Master" by Harry Emerson Fosdick. This book was printed in 1913 and belonged to my dad (and maybe my granddad). The author examines the gospel stories and especially the words in red to give a tremendously fresh interpretation of what a radiantly overflowing personality Jesus must have been.

The section on Jesus' joy reminds me of my dad.  Here's an excerpt:

"The sources of [Jesus' Joy] were not at the mercy of men and circumstance. . . . all through the final months of his ministry you can hear the click of closing doors around his life, until at last they shut him into the upper room to face a terrible tomorrow. Every door which the hand of man could reach was closed. 

Then that wonderful thing happened, which is the mark of all exalted souls and supremely of the Master; he fell back on resources which the hand of man could not touch. . . . When his trouble was at its climax in the upper room . . . his joy was unquenched.... "Be of good cheer," he said, "I have overcome the world." [Jesus] . . .could stand anything that men or circumstances could do to him and still have resources of joy. He was an unconquerable soul."

"The men who have most cheered their fellows are not the men of untroubled lives, but those who spirits were too glad to be submerged by sorrow. Men like Robert Louis Stevenson who, exiled to Samoa for his health, and sure to die there soon, prayed, "Give us to awaken with smiles. . . ." 

Such men have been the joy-bringers of the race, and Jesus is the Master of them."

Such men like Bruce Campbell. At 69, he experienced a massive stroke and did not walk or speak normally again for 14 years. But like his master, he had joy that strengthened him and encouraged others.

During the last and probably most difficult year of his life, the first words out of his mouth each morning were the song, "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it." It makes me happy to imagine how greatly this must have vexed the devil.

I'm so proud of my dad for the joyful and victorious life he lived. Happy Father's day, Daddy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

If I Could Ask God Anything by Kathryn Slattery

When I die, will I become an angel? Why do some Christians carry John 3:16 signs at football games? What's the difference between a disciple and an apostle?

The first thing that struck me about this book were the variety of Bible and cultural questions. They're really good ones . . . ones you might not think of on your own. The book provides good kid-friendly answers that could easily springboard into great discussions around the family dinner table or during family devotions. Each answer includes Scripture references so that you can research the question yourself or fine tune the answer for your family and your denominational beliefs.

A nice resource for families and Bible teachers.