Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Best Books RE-READ in 2017

I re-read 18 books last year. Here are the two best books RE-READ in 2017. I first read ALL IN in 2013 and JESUS CONTINUED in 2014. I appreciated them more the second time!

All In: You are One Decision Away from a Totally Different Life
By Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson makes a case for the fact that Christians often say they are following Jesus when they really are inviting Jesus to follow them. Many of us have "bought in" to Christianity but we haven’t "sold out." Missionaries a century ago bought a one way ticket on board a ship when going to the mission field. And they each packed all their belongings in a coffin. They didn’t expect to return.

Batterson says: “Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous.” All In is a challenging book with many stories and biblical examples of those who did go “All In”; totally committed and giving their all to Christ. As I read this book two songs came to mind – “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no holding back” and “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to thee…” 

This book will teach and inspire us to consecrate ourselves to Him and do everything for His glory.

Jesus Continued: Why the Spirit inside you is better than Jesus beside you
By J. D. Greear

This is an excellent book about the Holy Spirit. The book is divided into three sections: The Missing Spirit, Experiencing the Holy Spirit and Seeking the Holy Spirit. Throughout the book Greear weaves Bible stories or references and the words of well known scholars, as well as sharing his own experiences and stories. For example, a touching story to illustrate God’s adoption of us brings this concept to life as he tells of he and his wife adopting four siblings at once. 

Are there times when you can’t feel God’s presence? Greear says “If you are a believer the feeling of being alone is always an illusion.” The section on seeking the Holy Spirit is challenging. We long for revival and for Holy Spirit power. “Revival is the intensification of the normal operations of the Holy Spirit.” Greear outlines steps to revival. These are not easy steps – think humility and repentance. “The Holy Spirit… is power for those who know they are powerless.”

This is a life changing book.

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the twelfth section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. My thoughts follow each verse.


81 My soul languishes for Your salvation;
I wait for Your word.

Father, My soul is sad about this fallen world and longs for your salvation;
I am saved and wait for your second coming promised in your word.

82 My eyes fail with longing for Your word,
While I say, “When will You comfort me?”

Father, my eyes and heart long for Your coming promised in your word,
When will you comfort me?

83 Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget Your statutes.

Father, though I’m getting quite up in years,
I do not and will not forget your statutes.

84 How many are the days of Your servant?
When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?

Father, How long do I have to put up with all this?
When will you judge those who persecute Christians?

85 The arrogant have dug pits for me,
Men who are not in accord with Your law.

The stuck up people lay traps for Christians,
They are unbelievers who reject your law.

86 All Your commandments are faithful;
They have persecuted me with a lie; help me!

All your commandments are true and good for us,
But the world is tearing down all these standards, help us!

87 They almost destroyed me on earth,
But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts.

They are nearly destroying the morals of this country,
But those who love You, including me, do no stop obeying your precepts.

88 Revive me according to Your loving kindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.

Send revival to our country with your loving kindness and grace
So our country will be saved by your marvelous moral laws and precepts of your word.

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


This is the ninth in a series of blog posts with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes. We decided to combine these two beliefs so you will get the bad news along with the GOOD NEWS. 

By Betty Haynie

God had a relationship with Adam and Eve. He walked with them in the Garden and all was wonderful. Earth was Paradise, Heaven here on earth. God was there in their midst. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, He left. This is what has made earth un-heavenly - the absense of God's presence. Now, if you have accepted God and have the Holy Spirit within you, you carry God every-where you go and life is full of unwarranted blessings and joy, as close to heaven as we can get while still in our bodies and grounded on this earth.

I believe that when we give our lives to God through Jesus we will spend eternity in a special place where there is no pain, no tears, no sorrows, only peace and love and God will be there with us. WOW!! In fact, once you accept Christ you are ALREADY in your eternity! Your “heaven” has already begun!! Of course it is still bound by your human experiences so there are trials and sorrows and illness, but your SPIRIT is in close relationship with God and THAT is heaven.

As far as Hell is concerned, I’ve heard some people complaining that God condemns millions of people to hell when He claims that you can only get to heaven by accepting Jesus as His son. Well, from what I’ve learned, and I believe, God does not want anyone to perish and spend eternity in hell. It grieves Him when one of His creations turns from Him and rejects His gift of Grace.

“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9 

 If God offered me a free gift and I refused it, the consequences of that action are not God’s but mine. That seems logical to me. That offer is FREE to EVERYONE. There are no exclusionary clauses in His offer, so those people that you say He condemns to hell, are those who have refused His offer of eternal life. The absence of God is Hell!!

Heaven HAS to be exclusive. If anyone could get in no matter how they lived or what they believed it would be meaningless. In fact it would be just like it is here on earth!! The whole point is - everyone has a choice. Each person can choose to accept God’s gift or they can refuse it. The thief on the cross next to Jesus believed in Him and went to heaven because of his faith at the last moment!! But none of us can count on having a “moments-before-death” opportunity for acceptance.

So God is good! We are not! We try to be, but how good is good enough? I hear people all the time saying “of course I’m going to heaven. I’ve been a good person.” Well, folks, I hate to say this, but logic tells me you can’t get there just by being good. You can’t get there just by being bad either (wise guys).

The good news is, also, that God knows our hearts and IF we are truly sorry for our sins and accept Him as Lord there is simply no punishment - no condemnation!!

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

What could be better than knowing that?

Blessings, Betty

By Dottie Parish

Hell is a difficult, even disgusting doctrine for Christians and non Christians to understand, much less accept. C. S. Lewis said he would remove this doctrine if he could. Many wonder why does a loving God condemn unbelievers to Hell no matter how good or bad they are? It is difficult to grasp the fact that being good does not get anyone to heaven – not even Mother Teresa. Every person is a sinner. We all fall short of the glory of God. He is holy and beyond us.

We wonder how a loving God can judge people, condemn people eternally and subject them to eternal torture. Many think of Jesus as loving in all he says and does and many believe the Old Testament to be full of God’s wrath and judgment. This is false. Much of the clear teaching on Hell is given by Jesus in the New Testament. For example Jesus is talking to his disciples about end times and tells what the King (God) will say:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels….And these will have eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:41,46

Mark Clark in his book, The Problem of God, says that in other parts of the world people have the opposite view. They see evil being committed daily and wonder how God could be a God of Justice if there is no hell. The truth is, God is good and loving because he is also just. Clark says:

 “Hell is real. And scary. But in that there is a seriousness that can give way to security if we trust in the one who took hell on himself for us. God worked through his Son, driven by love and a desire for none to perish, to save us from hell to something glorious and wonderful.” Clark is referring to the fact that the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross is what enables those who accept him to go to heaven. His blood covers our sins and wipes them out.

C. S. Lewis says: “What are you asking God to do? To wipe out the past sins of the damned and at all cost to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help. He has done so in Jesus. Are you asking God to forgive them? They do not want to be forgiven. Are you asking God to leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what he does.”

Hell is real and so is Heaven. Do you believe this life is all there is? Even Old Testament Scripture says: God has “set eternity in the hearts of men”. Ecclesiastes (3:11) Heaven is described throughout Scripture. Jesus repeatedly talks of heaven:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

“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

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

For a more complete understanding of heaven read Randy Alcorn’s and Joni Eareckson Tada’s books on Heaven. I read Randy Alcorn’s book about ten years ago and studied it with a Sunday school class. At that point I couldn’t believe what he said. 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.

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.” We will keep our unique identities and will recognize friends and family members we have known. Billy Graham also spells our in detail the fact that heaven will be glorious, perfect, joyous, active, and certain.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

So, dear reader, what will you choose? No one is too bad to seek the Lord, ask for forgiveness and accept his offer of heaven. Study the book of John in the Bible and the books on Heaven noted here. Read The Problem of God by Mark Clark. Reread our Reasons to Believe blogs. Talk with a Christian who believes all this. Ask for forgiveness from God and tell him you want to know Him. Don’t miss the glory of heaven and being in the presence of God forever.

“If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit living in you.” Romans 8:11

Blessings, Dottie

Look for the next Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE IN ONLY ONE WAY TO GOD in late February by Betty and Dottie


Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Q. I’ve heard there is a type of therapy that focuses on solutions rather than on problems. As I understand it, in solution focused treatment the past history of a person is not important. I’ve also heard that change happens much more quickly with this type of treatment; that this really works. What can you tell me about this type of treatment?

A. Solution focused therapy is quite different from a more traditional, passive model of therapy in which the therapist listens to and focuses on the client’s thoughts, history, dreams, symptoms, fears, angers, hurts, guilt, resentment and pain. The focus of traditional therapy has been on problems and pathology; on the past and on unconscious issues or issues we attempt to avoid. 

In solution focused therapy little time is spent exploring with the client “Why?,” “How long?” or “How does it make you feel?” Instead, the Solution Focused therapist will be more active in directing the therapy and will focus on solutions and the future. 
Solution focused therapy is based on a number of assumptions. Some of these are:
1. Each person has strengths and abilities to help themselves. Once these have been identified and verbalized, the person knows how to solve their problem. Instead of dwelling on pathology, the focus is on the strengths and abilities the client has and what they can do about their problem. 
2. The therapist cannot change a client. Clients can change themselves if they want to do so. Some clients believe their problem is external, “My son has a problem,” or “My husband has a problem.” Their son or husband may have a problem but the person seeking the help can only change their own behavior or attitude. This in turn, will affect their relationships.

3. A small change can lead to bigger changes. “A journey of one thousand miles begins with one step.”   
4. No one can change the past. So how much information is necessary? Often therapists and clients dwell on the past. With someone who has been abused, who has experienced a trauma or who is grieving, focus on the past may be helpful, I believe. Eventually, however, we must let go of the past. 
5. Human interactions are very complex and are not due to true cause and effect. Therefore, does the cause matter? There are usually many factors causing family conflict, for example. Even if you knew the cause would it solve the problem? The answer is no.

6. If something works don’t fix it. If it doesn’t work, do something differently. Often we keep doing the same thing over and over trying to solve a problem. If we keep doing the same thing we will keep getting the same result. 
Solution focused treatment asks future-oriented questions that help the client envision life as they want it to be and figure out from this how to achieve it. For example, clients are often asked, “If you were to wake-up tomorrow and your problem was solved, your life was improved, what would be different?” Similarly, the therapist will help clients note the times the problem does not occur and look at these exceptions. The question is asked, “What are you doing differently during the times your life feels good?” 
Solution focused treatment is very practical and is conducive to change. Since it is future oriented, it guides the client to setting realistic goals in the future to make their life and relationships move in the direction they desire. 
To learn more about the solution focused approach to change read Divorce Busting and Fire Your Shrink both by Michelle Weiner-Davis. There is much that is worthwhile and effective in this approach.

Another solution focus that works is prayer and seeking God’s presence and wisdom to guide you. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Q. Life is too busy. We are constantly under time pressure to get chores done, go some where, and do something.  I yearn for time alone, time to unwind and time to enjoy my family. We seem to only achieve rest and relief while on vacation. How can we lessen our busyness and stress?