Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Road of Life

by Stephen Z. Biller

Life, the Christian life in particular, has often been compared to a road. This seemingly trite comparison took on new meaning for me recently when I read something by Charles Stanley. It was on the life of Samson.

Samson was born for a purpose, and Mr. Stanley pointed out that he was also given everything he needed to succeed. Let's consider: good parents, an upbringing sheltered from the sins of his culture, and even a special gift from God. Yet, Samson also had a weakness, and he chose to indulge in that weakness instead of relying on his God to help him stand against it.

Whenever I read this, I immediately saw the similarity this has with the child of a conservative Christian family. Most of us homeschooled conservative kids have good parents. We have had a positively sheltered upbringing (it really is a good thing!). And finally, we even have a special gift(s) from God. (I believe everyone has a special gift from God; a talent, if you will, that is intended for the glory of God.) And we all have our own weaknesses. They may not be in the same category as Samson's, nor may they seem all-consuming. Yet, one thing that I have read many times in the writings of great Christian authors/teachers is that anything that is not in line with the will of God is sin for us and a pot hole on our road to salvation.

A man does not progress down a road by driving his car into every pothole. If he did this, he would eventually come to a hole that was too deep to get out of. Instead, he finds ways to avoid the potholes. Likewise, we need to avoid the potholes on our roads. The great thing is that we have a Navigator (the Holy Spirit) and a Compass (God's Word) to help us along the Way.

I am throwing myself into the arms of Jesus to help me avoid my weaknesses. Won't you do the same?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Your Mind is a Farm

By Stephen Z. Biller

Did you ever think of your mind as a farm or even a garden? God considers it one! In Jer. 4:3b, the Lord says to "Break up your unploughed ground and do not sow among thorns." when one considers the verses around v. 3, it is not hard to imagine that He is referring to something spiritual.

V. 1: "[P]ut your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray."

V. 4: "Circumcise your hearts."

It struck me that perhaps in v. 3b God is referring to our minds (or our minds/hearts). The thorns referred to may be a reference to temptations or (considering the context of this passage) sin itself. The "unploughed ground" could be a hardened heart or a neglected part of our being. A part that has soaked up the good teachings of our parents, but has yet to be used to it's potential. The Lord seems to be saying, "Leave behind things of the past--this field of thorny sins. You are making no progress by plowing these thorns. You cannot overcome them for they are stronger than you.

"Instead," He counters, "Plow up new soil in your heart and mind. Take these seeds of hope I have given you and plant them min untouched, unadulterated soil. Or--even better--plant them in nourished and cultivated soil that has been prepared by good training."

This is quite liberating because it breaks the cycle of temptation so many fall into. The tenet is simple--do not stay in a place of temptation (physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally) because, if you do, you will find yourself sinning again. Instead, leave that field of thorns, cut the evil from around your heart (circumcision of the heart) and plow up those fields within you that God is desiring to use.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update 5/22:
Check out the exciting update on iblue!

I wanted to tell you all that there is some important news on the iblue website (our ezine). It was sent out by Dr. Dobson and requires immediate action.

I think it's pretty important...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Amish as a Light

Here is an interesting discussion that is taking place in one of my class' discussions. It is about the witness of the Amish/Mennonite community really has. If you have a moment, I would like to know what ways you have been touched by this community of believers. Blessings, Stephen

Clark (a classmate) said:

The one thing that I have never agreed with [the Amish] was the fact that they do not associate with any one except ones in their colonies. They have no form of out reach or witness.

My Response:

I think I must humbly disagree with you on this. I grew up in various states around the country (and even spent a year in Japan), and speant the majority of my growing up years in Southern Cali and Central OK. So, I have had little to no personal interaction with the Amish people, yet their way of life has been an inspiration to me since I was little.

How? Because my mother (herself an admirer of the simple, devout way these people live) bought books from Amish/Mennonite publishers. So I grew up hearing, and then reading, moral stories with Amish/Mennonite settings and characters. These books were supplemented with picture books by secular publishers about these people. From these, I have gone on to read Christian novels set in Lancaster (and other Amish communities), as well as read non-fiction books about these wonderful people of God.

These brothers and sisters in the faith encourage me and teach me about the importance of living in the world but not of the world. Honestly, I would not be adverse to taking a place in a Mennonite community, if it were not for some distinct differences in doctrine. Perhaps this is a bit extreme, but I highly doubt that I am the only Western believer to have been inspired by the Amish/Mennonite way of life through the reading material published by this community.

My point is, they do have a very great form of outreach and witness. I have concentrated on their writings in this post, but it is their presence that is so great a witness. Sometimes I think we of the Evangelist tradition forget that simply following God's way of life is a witness in and of itself. The Holy Spirit desires a holder for the candle of truth that Christ's love lights in our hearts. The Amish and Mennonite people are a loving, kind community who stand as a "city on a hill" for the rest of America and the Western Hemisphere.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Faithful Following

This week, one of my classmates (named Millie) said, "Still, no matter what obstacles tried to stop it, God's plan still prevails and He still calls us to "Go." "The expanding Kingdom is not going to stop with us(although it may leave us behind)" (Winter,213).

I replied with this:

Thanks for these apt words! They are an excellent reminder that we are not God's plan, but only players in it. I know that I personally need reminders from time to time that I am here to be used by God--not to use God for my own purposes.

Especially lately, I have struggled with patiently walking along beside Christ instead of running ahead and navigating our trail. I realized this afternoon that I have been demanding to know what God has planned for my life, instead of asking how I could serve Him in this day, this moment.

No doubt, if I were to focus on the many different jobs and opportunities for ministry He has given me right now in my life (for my plate is very full at this moment!), Satan would find it harder to tempt me into doubting and questioning. How patiently, how loving, and how persevering is our God. He never stops His plans' progress, yet He is always willing to let us pick up our part of the work--even if we arrive late!

So, I am going to start working on following FAITHFULLY
that One Who is well worth following. Lead me on, Lord Jesus!

Amen! Amen!

P.S. I know we have not posted in a loooooooooooooong time and I'm sorry. Both mine and Ter's schedules have been packed lately. Thanks to our faithful friends who will find and read this! : )

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Can They Live?

Hello everyone! As a rule, we are not much into music videos or discussing our musical preferences with others (something that is OK for one person may not be OK for another...). The video below, however, is getting a pretty warm response from both mainstream and conservative Christians, so we thought we would share it on here. It is a very powerful song and video, so be prepared to cry!

The song is by a rap artist named Nick Cannon, but this particular song is more gospel than rap. It deals with his true story--his teen-mother made the decision to not abort him. The video is not graphic in any way, nor is the song obscene. It is simply beautiful! You'll understand if you watch it...

(The lyrics are after the video.)

Can I Live

I’m talking, mom, I know the situation is personal
But it’s something that has to be told
As I was making this beat
You was all I could think about
You heard my voice

Just think, just think…
What if you could just, just blink yourself away?
Just, just wait, just pause for a second
Let me plead my case

It’s the late seventies, you seventeen
And having me, that will ruin everything
It’s a lot of angels waiting on their wings
You see me in your sleep, so you can’t kill your dreams

Three hundred dollars, that’s the price of living?
Mommy, I don’t like this clinic
Hopefully you’ll make the right decision
And don’t go though with the knife decision

But it’s hard to make the right move when you in high school
Now you gotta work all day and take night school
Hopping on the bus and the rain is pouring
What you want, morning sickness or the sickness of mourning?
Can I live?

I’ll always be a part of you
Trust your soul, know it’s always true
If I could talk I’d say to you
Can I live?
Can I live?

I’ll always be a part of you
Trust your soul, know it’s always true
If I could talk I’d say to you
Can I live?
Can I live?

I’m a child of the King, ain’t no need to go fear me
And I see the flowing tears, so I know that you hear me
When I move in your womb that’s me being scary
‘Cuz who knows what my future holds?

The truth be told you ain’t told a soul
You ain’t even showing, I’m just two months old
Through your clothes try to hide me, deny me
Went up three sizes

Your pride got you lying, saying ain’t nothing but a migraine
It ain’t surprising you not trying to be in WIC food lines
Your friends look at you funny, but look at you mommy
That’s a life inside, take a look at your tummy

What is becoming, Ma? I’m Oprah bound
You can tell he’s a star from the ultrasound
Our spirits connected, doors open now,
Nothing but love and respect, thanks for holding it down
She let me live


It’s uplifting for real, y’all
I ain’t passing no judgement
Ain’t making no decisions
I’m just telling y’all my story

I love life, I love my mother for giving me life
We all need to appreciate life
And a strong woman who had to make a sacrifice

Thanks for listening…
Thanks for listening…
Momma, thanks for listening

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


This week, in a public speaking class I am taking, we are studying the "art" of listening. It is truly more complex than we often think of it. To really listen to someone--not just hear their words but understand what they are saying--it takes work. There are many things that obstruct communication-- conflicting noises and hard-to-ignore biases are very common.

The symbol above helps drive the point home. It is a Chinese verb meaning "to listen." It is constructed of four parts: undivided attention, ears, eyes and heart. This is a good reminder that it takes all of these to truly listen.

I'm going to practice listening this week--not just hearing, but really listening to what people say. You might want to try it to! -Steve

"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." -Prov 12:15