Christianity, Lifestyle & Culture, Society and Culture, Thank You, Uncategorized

So, I’m Thankful

Thankfulness?

I’ve devoted a lot of time to the new direction of TheTDarrisBlog, and I’ve decided that I should start back with one thing that I think about each day: thankfulness. You might wonder, “Why thankfulness?” Well, it seems that a thankful heart is generally a happy heart, or at least a content one. A thankful attitude seems to make complaining uncomfortable, and it seems that thankfulness is the one thing which helps to keep the mind thoughtful all while keeping one’s passions sober.

I’m not as thankful as I should be

A major reason why I’ve decided to blog about thankfulness is because as I read the Bible, I am regularly reminded that I should be thankful. The Bible has many stories in which people who endured some terrible circumstances were able to sincerely tell God, and others, “Thank you”— or, they expressed some sort of gratitude and appreciation either during, or after these hard times. And, they were sincere about it!

Were they thankful for the hard times they endured? I doubt it. But, there seems to be a pattern of thankfulness concerning the troubles they endured because these experiences prepared them for a new phase in their lives, and other times, thankfulness was expressed because these indiviudals knew that their situations could have been worse! Certainly, there are other reasons why people were thankful, but that’s not the focus of this post 🙂

I want to develop a thankful heart

I want to be sincerely thankful for my life, and the experiences, etc., which God sees fit for me to endure. This will require a lot of courage, and of course, trust in Him— but I’m okay with that. Two years ago, I made a daily commitment to find a reason to be thankful, and to express that thankfulness to God during daily prayer time, in addition to living out that thankfulness each day of my life— I’m not perfect, I only get it right on some days, and on other days…not so much.

Thankful people are free!

And, I want to be free! I want to be able to endure life’s ups and downs, and still be thankful! I want to always find and hold on to the good in any situation, and allow it to further teach and mold me into being the person I should be.

I could go on, and on, but I think you get the point: I am dedicating a portion of this blog to thankfulness. Maybe I’ll even post on different aspects of thankfulness, like “how to be thankful”, effects of thankfulness and the need for more gratitude in everyday life. But, all-in-all, I’ll be blogging about reasons why I am thankful.

Some of you might remember the “Thankfulness” blog posts I published two years ago. This is a [better] continuation of that. And for those of you who like to dig a little deeper and read more about thankfulness, I will be adding some links and higlights from other articles, videos, etc., on some aspect of thankfulness. I’ll start with Merriam-Webster’s definition of thankful, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible’s definition article, enttitled, “Thanksgiving“. I hope you find this informative and useful as I have: Thankful and Thanksgiving.

Right now

2016 has been a very difficult year for me, but I’ve learned that I can, and will, endure these challenges. And one day, I hope to look back with even more thankfulness in my heart, and insights to share with others who need them.

So, tell me— why are you thankful?

Bible, Book Reviews, Books & Reading, Christianity, Opinion & Commentary, Reviews, Society and Culture, Uncategorized

Book Review: “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit” by A.W. Tozer

61ltk5gsbel-_ux250_I received A.W. Tozer’s “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit” from Moody Publishers.

This book holds another poignant message which challenges the Christian to attend another meditative self-review of his, or her, innermost values, and desires, so that he, or she, may realize the degree of importance to which he, or she, holds the personal relationship to, and with, God. In the first chapter, entitled, “Who is the Holy Spirit?”, Tozer begins by first distinguishing the difference between the natural world and the spirit world.

Then, in chapter two (“The Promise of the Father”), Tozer provides a brief, but constructive, introduction to the Holy Spirit as he describes His origin, role, and purpose, as a member of the Holy Trinity (or, Godhead) and as God in the Christian’s life. Tozer is clear in his description of the Holy Spirit even as he establishes the fact that the Christian must depend totally upon the Holy Spirit in order to effectively live for Jesus Christ.

Next, in the third chapter, entitled, “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit”, Tozer explains how the Christian can be filled with the Holy Spirit— but after he asks seven vital questions:

  1. Is the Spirit-filled life for you (pg. 40)?
  2. Can you believe this part (i.e., to be Spirit-filled) is part of God’s plan (pg. 41)?
  3. Can you believe the Spirit is loveable (pg. 42)?
  4. Can you believe this is scriptural (pg. 43)?
  5. Do you want to be filled (pg. 44)?
  6. Do you want Him to be Lord of your life (pg. 46)?
  7. Are you sure you need Him (pg. 48)?

It is after the position of these questions, and some insightful commentary, that Tozer explains how to receive the Holy Spirit by referencing the Holy Bible:

  1. Present you Body to Him (Romans 12:1 – 2).
  2. Ask to be filled (Luke 11:9 – 13 and Psalms 2:8).
  3. Obey the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).
  4. Have faith in God (Galatians 3:2).

Finally, Tozer explains how to cultivate the Spirit’s companionship as he cites the scripture, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3).” Perhaps Tozer’s statement (on page 56) not only summarizes Chapter 4 (i.e., “How to Cultivate the Spirit’s Companionship”), but it also harmonizes the message of this entire book:

“I don’t want to say this, but I think that some of you may not be ready for the message because you are more influenced by the world than you are by the New Testament. I am perfectly certain that I could rake up fifteen boxcar loads of fundamentalist Christians this hour in the city of Chicago who are more influenced in their whole outlook by Hollywood than they are by the Lord Jesus Christ. I am positive that much that passes for the [G]ospel in our day is very little more than a very mild case of orthodox religion grafted onto a heart that is sold out to the world in its pleasures and tastes and ambitions (1952).”

In this final chapter, Tozer also presents six important things which Christians must do in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit after he poses one important question (on page 54)— “Are you ready for this?”

After this question, Tozer enumerates some of the blessings and benefits of allowing the Holy Spirit to take on His rightful role in the Christian’s life. Then, Tozer lists the six important things which the Christian must either remember, or do, if he, or she, is ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit:

  1. The Holy Spirit is a living Person [therefore, the Christian must relate to the Holy Spirit as the Person He is] (pg. 57).
  2. Be engrossed with Jesus Christ (pg. 58).
  3. Walk in righteousness (pg. 59).
  4. Make your thoughts a clean sanctuary (pg. 60).
  5. Seek to know him in the Word (pg. 61).
  6. Cultivate the art of recognizing the presence of the Spirit (pg. 63).

So, to summarize this book, Tozer is explaining that while a Christian can have sincerely accepted and received the free gift of salvation offered to all by the Self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ, it is also possible for that same Christian to not be filled by the Holy Spirit, and as a result, miss out on a very intimate, life-changing and wholesome experience with the One whom Jesus promised would be our “Comforter” , and the One who would teach us all that we would need to know after Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven (John 16:7).

This is another one of Tozer’s works which I have added to my personal library, and I highly recommend that Christians who wish to know how they can live out their purpose read this book. Tozer’s message can help the seeking Christian to understand that the Christian already has a purpose (Isaiah 43:7)—- the Christian just needs to know God’s plan for his, or her, life so that living out that purpose can be done (Jeremiah 29:11 – 13). But, this is done by cultivating an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Tozer’s fearless assessment and rebuke of the modern Church’s seemingly mass abstention from the influence and leadership of the Holy Spirit, and its widely evident conformity to many of the world’s ways and attitudes, further encourages me to take greater critical self-assessment in order to truly understand my personal need for more of the Holy Spirit’s influence and leadership in my life, and I hope this book encourages other Christians to do the same.

Books & Reading, Lifestyle & Culture, Poetry and Prose, Publishing, Uncategorized

How to Make a Chapbook

Here’s a great way to make a handmade poetry chapbook using the YourStory thermal book binder (and laminating) machine. This was the first time I had used a thermal machine of this sort to make books. Prior to this I’ve only used a glue gun, or just made books using the “saddle stich” (or, staple bound) method.

Moreover, I made this video using the WeVideo mobile app. I’m trying to gain skills making good quality videos using mobile apps, and of course, my Nikon video camera and video software.

30 Days of Thankfulness, Challenges

I’m thankful for my daddy

My daddy used to call me his “Brown-eyed girl”. He is a pillar of my life. He was my teacher, leader, defense and strength. I was his little girl.

He pushed me and my siblings to study music and to explore the arts. He was so proud of us that he would showcase our talents to his friends whenever they’d come visit us on Saturday mornings.

He’d make us play the piano and keyboard. My brother would play his clarinet. My sister and I would play the violin. I would play the trombone— which my mother did not approve of me playing because she thought it would make me have big cheeks like Satchmo and Dizzy Gillespie— LOL!

It wasn’t until I started undergrad that I realized that so many people come from households which did not include their fathers and mothers living as one with their children. And just as I said in a previous post about my mom, I don’t know what my life would be like if I did not have my daddy.

I am thankful for the strength and life lessons he poured into me all my life before he died. And I’m thankful for the identity he gave me, and for the legacy which he passed down to me.

There is so much that I could say about him, but tears are rolling down my eyes as I think about him— maybe this post should be a podcast instead of a text post so that I can fluently express the gratefulness I have for my daddy 🙂

He gave me some instructions before he left this life, and I’m so glad to say, “Daddy, I’m doing everything you told me to— thank you. I love you. 🙂

God, I just want to tell you THANK YOU for my daddy 🙂

(In today’s post, I’m embedding two videos from YouTube: One is Van Morrison’s Brown-eyed Girl, and the other is the Temptation’s My Girl— he used to sing these songs to me 🙂)

Uncategorized

I’m Back from My “Blogcation”

You’ve probably been wondering what happened to my daily posts on thankfulness, and the other “ple*thor*a” of things usually featured on the TDarris Blog? Well, I needed to take a break, and I’m back. You’ll be able to read the rest of the ’30 Days of Thankfulness’ and more great content beginning tonight! Yippeee 🙂

If you’re into GoodPoetry, then, you’ll be able to read and listen to some more GoodPoetry at http://www.GoodPoetry.org. Our podcast will be published soon for those who want to hear GoodPoetry by poets from the past, and some from today. We’re also working to bring you some GoodPoetry from today’s poets from all over the world. More information about that project will be featured at GoodPoetry.org and highlighted on the TDarris Blog. We hope that you will enjoy the work of the narrators and poets who will contribute to this project.

While on my “blogcaction”, I’ve come across some very interesting stories, situations and questions which I want to share with you in a new column on TheTDarris Blog about Religion, Society and Culture— specifically Christianity, and some other very interesting topics which I think you may find interesting and I look forward to your responses, as well.

It’s getting late….goodnight 🙂

30 Days of Thankfulness, Challenges

Day #12 – I’m thankful for computers

Some of my earliest memories involve me playing on the Mac OS computer in my parents’ bedroom during weekend mornings. It was essentially a corded gray box, with a small screen, a keyboard, and a square mouse— which I thought was simply amazing.

It opened up new worlds to me. On it, I played educational games and explored the operating system while trying to satisfy every possible whim a little kid could imagine that was worth trying to understand about the gray box with the small screen, square mouse and keyboard which sat on the table in my parents’ bedroom each weekend.

Although the computer was intended for educational use by one of my brother, I still found ample opportunities to explore this technology which would set me on the course for a life that has grown and evolved as computer technology has evolved.

I don’t want to focus today’s post on myself and how I use computers. I want to focus today’s post on a little boy who learned how to speak English using Duolingo— an app which I have been using for over a year in order to stay fresh on my French and Spanish, and to pick-up German and Portuguese.

I am thankful that God has blessed mankind with the ability to create evolving technologies which allow us to connect to the cultures and languages of the world and to immerse ourselves in them (at least in the “second-person…[I hope I said that right :-)]).

So, I take this time to reflect on the many benefits I enjoy as one who basically walks around with a computer in her pocket, and uses them for work, in daily living, and explores them as a hobby.

God, I thank you for computers 🙂

More content:

30 Days of Thankfulness, Challenges

Day #10 – I’m thankful for chairs (late post)

What would the world be like if there we no chairs? Or, what would the world be like if our legs bent the other way, and our chairs were shaped…..???? (er…?) What would our chairs look like?! And how would this affect the world in which we live?

Then there’s the practical chair which you’ve probably used several times today : What would your life be like if you never sat in a chair because it did not exist?

I think it’s safe to say that there would be load more tired people in the world, humanity would probably not be any where near as productive as it is currently without chairs.

Chairs help us to get things done. (I’m typing this blog post while sitting in my desk chair.)

God, I thank you for chairs 🙂