Thursday, October 27, 2016


Here are book reviews on two excellent books about HEAVEN. With all that’s going on in the world it will help us to learn about heaven and keep our eyes on God and our future with Him.

By Randy Alcorn

This is an amazing book. Randy Alcorn gives detailed and convincing explanations of what Scripture says about life after death. He briefly describes the intermediate Heaven but spends most of the book describing the New Heaven and the New Earth.

I read this book about ten years ago and studied it with a Sunday school class. At that point I couldn’t believe what he says. Now I’m convinced!

I had pictured Heaven as a place where our spirits floated around on clouds and we sang praises to God. We were in His holy presence and it was wonderful with no more tears or sorrow. This last sentence is true but the floating around part is not according to Alcorn.

He maintains that Scripture promises a New Heaven and a New Earth and they will be like our physical earth and our universe. Our earth is physical and humans are physical creatures with physical bodies. The New Earth will be a physical one and will be united with the New Heaven, a new universe of stars and planets. Jesus will occupy the New Earth and we will help him rule it as he originally planned for Adam and Eve to rule our current earth.

Throughout the book Alcorn gives compelling Scripture references to prove the kind of New Earth we will live in. Through more than four hundred pages and forty-six chapters he meticulously describes what life on the New Earth will be like. He cites many other experts on this subject quoting from C. S. Lewis, Joni Eareckson Tada, Helen Keller and John Wesley and more. For example, R. A. Torry says “We will not be disembodied spirits in the world to come, but redeemed spirits, in redeemed bodies, in a redeemed universe.” Pg 110 We will keep our unique identities and will recognize friends and family members we have known. And Alcorn says there will be animals in heaven, maybe even your lost pets!

Toward the end of the book Alcorn writes: “Every person reading this book is dying. Perhaps you have reason to believe death will come very soon. You may be troubled, feeling uncertain or unready to leave. Make sure of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Be certain that you trust him alone to save you – not anyone or anything else, and certainly not any good works you’ve done. And then allow yourself to get excited about what’s on the other side of death’s door.” Pg 446 This book is worth reading and rereading!

Heaven: Your Real Home

By Joni Eareckson Tada

This is a beautiful, thoughtful, well written, and well researched book about Heaven as described in Scriptures. Joni Eareckson Tada, is a remarkable person. She is a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, has written a number of excellent books, is a national speaker, and has a ministry to disabled individuals. She pictures heaven in vivid, insightful and glorious images.

The book is divided into three parts.
1. What Will Heaven by Like?
2. Will Heaven be Home?
3. The Journey Home.

Throughout the book Joni gives illustrations from her own experiences and from the experiences of others, especially those with major handicaps. Chapter 5 Why Don’t We Fit on Earth? resonates with my own experiences. Our culture’s materialism, tasteless  entertainment and corrupt morality cause me to feel this world is not my home. Joni writes “I’m a little like a refugee who is longing for a better country called heaven.” Pg. 98

Throughout the book Joni gives inspiring and thoughtful insights. For example “We are not only to “set our hearts on things above where Christ is seated, but set our minds on things above as well. That’s hard.” Pg. 127 She explains in detail why that’s hard and promises we will have “the mind of Christ when we lay hold of Him and His ideas.” Pg.129 No book review can do justice to this book!

This is not an easy read. It must be read slowly and thoughtfully. It will challenge many Christians, especially Chapter 9 Getting Ready for Heaven and the scriptures about suffering. This book can be very helpful to anyone who is severely handicapped or who takes care of a handicapped person and wants to understand God’s perfect plan for their life. It will give all readers a glorious view of our future home and help us focus on HIm!

“Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pray Without Ceasing?

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 

Have you ever tried to pray without ceasing? I have. Our worship service and Sunday school class inspired me to do this – or at least to try. I woke up one Monday morning with the plan to pray without ceasing. I always pray while still in bed thanking God for the day. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” This day I began a running dialogue with the Lord. I thanked him for the good sleep. I thanked him for our warm bed. I thanked him for comfortable clothing as I got dressed. I thanked him for running water as I washed my face.

Taking a shower: “Thank you for this shower and for hot running water. You never had this when you were on earth, did you?”

Looking out the window: “Thank you for this beautiful day. You made a beautiful world.”

Driving: “Thank you for the good transportation. Guide me and keep me safe as I drive. The sun and clouds are so beautiful. You created a beautiful world.”

Exercising:  “Thank you for my body and for the ability to stretch, lift weights, and walk. Thank you Lord for the body you gave me. Thank you for my health. Heal me of my minor ailments.

Waking on the Treadmill: While walking I watched Gaither music videos – Christians singing His praises and I joined in with their praise. “Thank you Lord for strengthening me physically as well as spiritually.

Eating: Saying Grace and singing the Doxology. “I’m so thankful for this delicious food and our abundance of healthy food.”

Free time: “Thank you for time to relax. Thank you for your presence with me. I worship you, Lord. You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. You are Good, You are Love. You are the LIGHT of the world.“

Talking to my husband: I think “Lord, I thank you for my sweet husband. Bless him. Guide our conversation.”

Irritation: “Father forgive me for my anger. Help me calm down.
Forgive me for this.”

Working on a project: “Guide me, Lord.”

Well, I kept this up for an hour or two. I do pray many times a day – but not without ceasing as Billy Graham does.

Yes, Billy Graham does pray without ceasing. Jerry Jenkins interviewed him in his book Writing for the Soul. Excerpt below:

Jenkins: “Tell me how you keep your own spiritual discipline.”

Graham’s eyes lit up. “There’s no secret to that, He said. God doesn’t hide the key from us. The Bible says to pray without ceasing and to search the Scriptures. And I do that.”

Jenkins: I flinched. I had always hoped the Apostle Paul’s New Testament admonition to “Pray without ceasing” was something figurative. After two or three minutes of prayer, my mind tends to wander and I find myself wondering whether the Cubs will ever see another World Series. (Talk about a miracle.)

Jenkins: “You pray without ceasing? I said.

“I do,” Mr. Graham said, still with that air of pure humility. “And I have, every waking moment since I received Christ as a teenager.” 

He had to have seen the doubt on my face. 

“I’m praying right now as I’m talking to you,” he said……

I was nearly speechless. “And you’re searching the Scripture,” I managed. “How does that work?”

“Wherever I am,” he said, at home, in my office, or in a hotel room in some other country, the first thing I do in the morning is to leave my Bible open somewhere where I will notice it during the day. I pick it up at odd moments and read a verse or two or a chapter or two or for an hour or two. And this is not for study or sermon preparation. This is just for my own spiritual nourishment.”

We’re all on a journey to sanctification in which we grow in knowing God more fully and sense his presence more often. Praying more and more (without ceasing) and reading the Word daily are practices that help us abide with him and live for him. To God be the glory.

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 The Message

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, October 13, 2016


John 14:19-20 Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you.   

John 14:21-23 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father and I too will love him and show myself to him           

John 15:4-5  Remain in me and I will remain in you.....If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.

John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

John 15:10-11 If you obey my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

John 17:20-23 My prayer is not for them [the disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [the church through the ages], that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.        

John 17:26 I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

These scriptures are overwhelming to read – yet we are often too busy to take these words of Jesus to heart. We abide in him for five minutes and then go our merry way. Today, I suggest we read the above words over and over. Ask God to help us obey his commands. Ask God to teach us to remain in him, to abide in him. Ask God to help us be in complete unity (as the Church) with each other and with Him. Ask God to show us that we can do nothing without him. Books and lengthy discourses have been written about the ideas here. Simply put, the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and guides us but Is hampered if we don’t fix our eyes on Jesus, follow him in all we do; abide in him.

Woodrow Kroll questions why we give others so much access to our lives with our cell phones and instant access. He says, “Some of us even allow our phone conversations to be interrupted by other phone calls. We often fail to notice that our anxiety for connection with others competes with a connection we can’t afford to take for granted.” We are to abide in him as branches of his vine. We can’t live as independent branches. This is a call for us to be dependent followers, submissive to his will, clinging to Him.

Forgive us for not abiding in you minute by minute and day by day. Forgive us for every dropped connection and help us clearly hear your voice and do your will. You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and also the Lover of our souls. Without you we can do nothing. Today we will abide in you, we will remain in you,  we will live connected to your vine. We will keep our eyes and heart focused on you minute by minute.
In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


This is a talk I gave in 1991, edited some. I’m retired now but will keep this in the present tense as it was written.

A Counselor’s View of Divorce
Couples on the brink of divorce are angry, hurt, unable to communicate and in a power struggle. Some times the power struggle is a cold war, some times there has been actual violence. Sometimes one partner has had an affair. Often by the time I see them one has decided to get a divorce but is coming to counseling to satisfy their partner. Often they have walls up from years of holding onto resentment, from years of abuse or from years of miscommunication. 

I have seen the most disastrous appearing marriages turned around. I've seen couples regain hope and love and work out lasting solutions to their problems within a matter of months. Naturally I've also seen many who have not done this. When both are committed to making the marriage work, I believe, with adequate counseling they can do so.

When I see couples I attempt to:
1. Give them hope that things can work out. I do this by getting them to focus on the times in their courtship or early marriage when they were in love, to remember those good times and the love they began with. I also focus on what they like about each other now and what each wants the other to do now or in the future that would show they care. If couples are actively hating each other I may comment on the fact that hate is a connection and that the opposite of love is indifference. Also, if they feel no love for the other - I may wonder if they can or do love the other person's soul.

2. I focus on the fact that they're both responsible for the problems but no one need be "blamed". They didn't intend for things to end up this way.

3. I educate them about the fact that virtually all marriages reach the power struggle stage and that marriage takes work and commitment. They work very hard on careers and on raising children but often coast regarding marriage.They need to put as much effort into the marriage as they do into careers or child rearing.

4. I work on helping them let go of resentments, forgive each other, improve communication and change their current relationship.

5. The root cause of dysfunctional marriages is often dysfunctional childhood development. Many couples need to work through issues from their families of origin. I do this in the context of marital therapy as I believe this helps them better understand each other and learn to nurture and accept each other - to accept even the childish parts.

Other guidelines:
1. Moving out of the home during the crisis is more apt to result in divorce than to reconciliation. Moving out may also lead to the continuation of an affair.

2. When one person has been involved in an affair the injured partner may become obsessed with the affair. The focus needs to shift off the affair to the meaning behind it and to solutions. The injured partner may want to know all the details. This will only feed the imagination and be difficult to forget. The injured party does have a right to know who, when, where, and in general what happened, how long it lasted and whether it has ended. They also have a right to know about a pregnancy or any sexually transmitted diseases.

3. I recommend couples tell as few people as possible about their problems. Family members mean well but they unwittingly take sides and this complicates forgiveness and reconciliation and encourages continued conflict.

4. It takes a year or more to fully recover from an affair if both partners actively work on it together in counseling.

My comments today: Divorce is devastating to the couple and to extended family members as well as to children, even adult children. The aftermath of divorce is as painful as most marital problems. They will go through a year or two of grieving the loss of the marriage. Divorce is not an easy way out.

If you decide to work on your marriage choose a Christian counselor experienced in marriage counseling who will share your determination to resolve the problems. Groups such as the Third Option, Marriage Encounter and A Weekend to Remember are very helpful and work well along with counseling. An active faith in God, praying and worshipping together will also help solidify your marriage.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in God through Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 NLT

Blessings, Dottie