Thursday, February 14, 2019

IS FALLING IN LOVE AN UNAVOIDALBE DIVE, OR A DECISION



Excerpt from the book by Ada Brownell, Imagine the Future You


IMAGINE YOU FALLING IN LOVE

Is falling in love an unavoidable dive, or a decision?


By Ada Brownell
Would you like your parents arranging your marriage? That still happens in many foreign countries. How would you guys feel about not knowing who your bride is until the ceremony is over and you lift the veil to kiss her? Some men experienced that.
An 11-year-old girl, apparently from Yemen, recently made a passionate plea to her parents to stop pressuring her into an arranged marriage. The resulting video caught international attention.
 In 1960, the Encyclopedia Americana reported more than one half of the total female population of India married before fifteen years of age, and sometimes while they were still infants. In the western provinces of India, a bride remained at home with her parents until she went through puberty. But in Bengal, girls commenced their married life at age nine.
In some countries, a hopeful suitor would give a girl’s father a certain amount of money or goods like cattle or sheep for his daughter, and sometimes the bride brought a dowry of property to her bridegroom. The amount depended on the status and economic circumstances of the families involved.
 Historically at the engagement, the suitor often gave an ornament of some value, which signified his pledge. That was the predecessor of the modern engagement ring.
IMAGINE WORKING SEVEN YEARS FOR A WIFE
In Old Testament times, many marriages were arranged.
Jacob met Rachel leading sheep and was so smitten he kissed her and wept (Genesis 29:11). Perhaps it was on the cheek. Who knows?
Jacob stayed with Rachel’s father, Laban, a month, working for him like a ranch hand. Finally, Laban asked what Jacob expected to be paid, and Jacob told Laban he was in love with Rachel and he agreed to work seven years for her.
Finally there was a wedding feast, and after the ceremony, Jacob discovered he had been given Rachel’s older sister, Leah, instead.
He protested, and Laban said he couldn’t give the younger daughter before the older girl married.
Despite having a wife, Jacob worked another seven years to get Rachel. In Old Testament times, God allowed men to have more than one wife.
IMAGINE GOD GIVING A MATE
Abraham arranged the marriage for his son, Isaac, and a servant picked her out. You can read the story in Genesis 24. He must have been worthy of the trust, because the servant traveled some distance to find her and then asked God to show him the right girl out of the dozens of women who came to a well to draw water.
“Oh Lord, God of my master,” the servant prayed, “give me success and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey. See, here I am, standing beside this spring, and the young women of the village are coming to draw water. I will ask one of them for a drink. If she says, `Yes, certainly, and I will water your camels, too!’ Let her be the one you appointed as Isaac’s wife. By this, I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
As he prayed, a beautiful young woman, Rebekah, arrived with a water jug on her shoulder. She went to the spring, bent over, filled her jug, and straightened. Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a drink.”
“Certainly, sir,” she said, and she quickly lowered the jug to fill it from the well. When he finished gulping the refreshing liquid, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough!”
She emptied the jug into the watering trough and ran down to the well again. She kept carrying water until the camels’ intense thirst was quenched.
The servant watched Rachel in silence. When the camels finished drinking, he gave her a gold ring and two large gold bracelets.
The servant stayed with her family and told them about how his prayer was answered. But Isaac wasn’t even there.
The father gave Rebekah to the servant, but only after Rebekah agreed to go.
Isaac saw the servant coming home with someone. Excited, he raced out to meet them.
When Rebekah saw Isaac coming, she dismounted, covered her face with a veil, and ran to him.
Rebekah became Isaac’s wife and he loved her, the Bible says. She was a special comfort to him because his mother had just died.
WHY ARRANGED MARRIAGES SURVIVE
There is a reason arranged marriages work: Falling in love is an act of the will. Cupid doesn’t shoot you with a poison love arrow and “twang!” you’re a goner. Love happens to you because of several circumstances.
You are around the person of the opposite sex frequently (that’s called propinquity—what happens when you are near in time and space).
You desire someone in your life.
Your God-given instincts are telling you to create a family.
 The person will build your ego. You think, Won’t everyone be surprised I have a boyfriend? Won’t everyone be impressed with how pretty she is or how handsome he is? Won’t everyone be impressed because of how popular he or she is? He’s so tall he makes me feel so feminine; or, She has such a great figure it makes me feel great to walk beside her. She or he treats me so nice it makes me feel special.
Because you decide to fall in love to create excitement in your life.
Because no one better is available.
Because you have similar interests.
Because you are lonely.
Because someone else thinks it’s a good idea.
Most important: Because while you were in the womb God had a plan for both of you, and your love is so strong you feel you can’t live without one another (Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalms 37:33).  Some Pharisees came and asked Jesus, “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for any reason?” “Haven’t you read the scriptures,” Jesus replied. “From the beginning God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:3-6KJ)
There may be dozens of other reasons you fall in love, but even if you aren’t conscious of why it is happening, you allow yourself to love someone else. It’s a decision. If love happened spontaneously without your will being involved, people who are greatly overweight would have as many proposals for marriage as others. So would the handicapped or someone with facial deformities or pure physical ugliness.
I once knew a young woman whose father was quite wealthy, but one of her eyes was noticeably higher than the other. She was an old maid, at least the last I heard. But she was a sweet, talented young woman, and really not so bad-looking.
It seems Americans don’t know the meaning of love, although it’s before us all the time.
Well, we do know how we want others to love us, but many aren’t willing to give that kind of love back. We want others to love us unconditionally— the way God loves us, no matter how we look, how we act, or what we do.
God talks to us about love in 1 Corinthians 13. The Bible chapter is read during many weddings—but most couples don’t absorb what it says or promptly forget it. That scripture passage tells us if we don’t love others, we’re like clanging cymbals—all noise and little music. The fellow who tries to persuade his girlfriend to have sex before marriage is like that clanging symbol. If he really loved her, he wouldn’t think of stealing her chastity. If he really loved himself, he wouldn’t want the sin, the guilt, the possibility of disease, the guilt of an abortion, or perhaps bringing a child into the world whom he would be required by law to support until it turns eighteen.
There is no such thing as a “love child” born out of wedlock. It is a “lust child” if it was conceived before the wedding. Of course, this isn’t the child’s fault, and it should be loved no matter how it was conceived.
The scripture tells us, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8).
Spiritually, marriage is a union between a man and a woman so they can enjoy, love, and protect one another, and also to protect the family. Children need a father to help guide, discipline, love, and financially support them. Children need a mother to nurture them, guide them, discipline them, and love them.
Even biologically, the object of marriage is to ensure the survival of the species and of the race, according to Drs. Abraham and Hannah Stone’s A Marriage Manual.[1]
God invented marriage and the family when he made Eve for Adam and they began to have children.
Marriage is a wonderful thing, and there is nothing more romantic than a guy and a girl vowing before God and the public, “I will love you and you only until death parts us.”
Americans probably talk and sing more about romance than any other society. We are allowed to choose our own mates, instead of our parents choosing them for us. Yet, half of all marriages end in divorce.
Just like falling in love in the first place, staying in love involves the will. We decide we will love our mates even when they get bald, fat, ugly, wrinkled, or sick, or we’re broke. We decide we will love them even when they’re grumpy or angry.
Some people say, “Our love just died,” or “It was a mistake in the first place.”
Perhaps. But in most cases, if both ride out difficult times, the passion will rekindle, romantic sparks will fly, fireworks will go off again, and the romance will be deeper and more satisfying than it was in the beginning.
I know. I’ve been married several decades, and even though it’s all about commitment, there still is romance and deep love.
As a reporter, I collected marriage license records from couples who remarried each other after divorce. There were about a half dozen when I contacted a few and interviewed them for a story. Most said the same thing: “Although we know we’re not perfect, we couldn’t find anyone better after we divorced. We were still in love and knew what we were doing the first time. Being apart was worse than dealing with our problems and learning how to make a marriage work.”
There are four important types of love: storge, natural affection between a parent and a child; phileo, the type of affection we have for friends; eros, romantic love; and agape, God-like unconditional love. We need all three types of love in marriage, and except parent-child affection, all are a matter of the will.
When you begin to court, look for real love.


[1] A Marriage Manual (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), 3.

. IMAGINE YOU FALLING IN LOVE

Is falling in love an unavoidable dive, or a decision?

Would you like your parents arranging your marriage? That still happens in many foreign countries. How would you guys feel about not knowing who your bride is until the ceremony is over and you lift the veil to kiss her? Some men experienced that.
An 11-year-old girl, apparently from Yemen, recently made a passionate plea to her parents to stop pressuring her into an arranged marriage. The resulting video caught international attention.
 In 1960, the Encyclopedia Americana reported more than one half of the total female population of India married before fifteen years of age, and sometimes while they were still infants. In the western provinces of India, a bride remained at home with her parents until she went through puberty. But in Bengal, girls commenced their married life at age nine.
In some countries, a hopeful suitor would give a girl’s father a certain amount of money or goods like cattle or sheep for his daughter, and sometimes the bride brought a dowry of property to her bridegroom. The amount depended on the status and economic circumstances of the families involved.
 Historically at the engagement, the suitor often gave an ornament of some value, which signified his pledge. That was the predecessor of the modern engagement ring.
IMAGINE WORKING SEVEN YEARS FOR A WIFE
In Old Testament times, many marriages were arranged.
Jacob met Rachel leading sheep and was so smitten he kissed her and wept (Genesis 29:11). Perhaps it was on the cheek. Who knows?
Jacob stayed with Rachel’s father, Laban, a month, working for him like a ranch hand. Finally, Laban asked what Jacob expected to be paid, and Jacob told Laban he was in love with Rachel and he agreed to work seven years for her.
Finally there was a wedding feast, and after the ceremony, Jacob discovered he had been given Rachel’s older sister, Leah, instead.
He protested, and Laban said he couldn’t give the younger daughter before the older girl married.
Despite having a wife, Jacob worked another seven years to get Rachel. In Old Testament times, God allowed men to have more than one wife.
IMAGINE GOD GIVING A MATE
Abraham arranged the marriage for his son, Isaac, and a servant picked her out. You can read the story in Genesis 24. He must have been worthy of the trust, because the servant traveled some distance to find her and then asked God to show him the right girl out of the dozens of women who came to a well to draw water.
“Oh Lord, God of my master,” the servant prayed, “give me success and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey. See, here I am, standing beside this spring, and the young women of the village are coming to draw water. I will ask one of them for a drink. If she says, `Yes, certainly, and I will water your camels, too!’ Let her be the one you appointed as Isaac’s wife. By this, I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
As he prayed, a beautiful young woman, Rebekah, arrived with a water jug on her shoulder. She went to the spring, bent over, filled her jug, and straightened. Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a drink.”
“Certainly, sir,” she said, and she quickly lowered the jug to fill it from the well. When he finished gulping the refreshing liquid, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough!”
She emptied the jug into the watering trough and ran down to the well again. She kept carrying water until the camels’ intense thirst was quenched.
The servant watched Rachel in silence. When the camels finished drinking, he gave her a gold ring and two large gold bracelets.
The servant stayed with her family and told them about how his prayer was answered. But Isaac wasn’t even there.
The father gave Rebekah to the servant, but only after Rebekah agreed to go.
Isaac saw the servant coming home with someone. Excited, he raced out to meet them.
When Rebekah saw Isaac coming, she dismounted, covered her face with a veil, and ran to him.
Rebekah became Isaac’s wife and he loved her, the Bible says. She was a special comfort to him because his mother had just died.
WHY ARRANGED MARRIAGES SURVIVE
There is a reason arranged marriages work: Falling in love is an act of the will. Cupid doesn’t shoot you with a poison love arrow and “twang!” you’re a goner. Love happens to you because of several circumstances.
You are around the person of the opposite sex frequently (that’s called propinquity—what happens when you are near in time and space).
You desire someone in your life.
Your God-given instincts are telling you to create a family.
 The person will build your ego. You think, Won’t everyone be surprised I have a boyfriend? Won’t everyone be impressed with how pretty she is or how handsome he is? Won’t everyone be impressed because of how popular he or she is? He’s so tall he makes me feel so feminine; or, She has such a great figure it makes me feel great to walk beside her. She or he treats me so nice it makes me feel special.
Because you decide to fall in love to create excitement in your life.
Because no one better is available.
Because you have similar interests.
Because you are lonely.
Because someone else thinks it’s a good idea.
Most important: Because while you were in the womb God had a plan for both of you, and your love is so strong you feel you can’t live without one another (Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalms 37:33).  Some Pharisees came and asked Jesus, “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for any reason?” “Haven’t you read the scriptures,” Jesus replied. “From the beginning God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:3-6KJ)
There may be dozens of other reasons you fall in love, but even if you aren’t conscious of why it is happening, you allow yourself to love someone else. It’s a decision. If love happened spontaneously without your will being involved, people who are greatly overweight would have as many proposals for marriage as others. So would the handicapped or someone with facial deformities or pure physical ugliness.
I once knew a young woman whose father was quite wealthy, but one of her eyes was noticeably higher than the other. She was an old maid, at least the last I heard. But she was a sweet, talented young woman, and really not so bad-looking.
It seems Americans don’t know the meaning of love, although it’s before us all the time.
Well, we do know how we want others to love us, but many aren’t willing to give that kind of love back. We want others to love us unconditionally— the way God loves us, no matter how we look, how we act, or what we do.
God talks to us about love in 1 Corinthians 13. The Bible chapter is read during many weddings—but most couples don’t absorb what it says or promptly forget it. That scripture passage tells us if we don’t love others, we’re like clanging cymbals—all noise and little music. The fellow who tries to persuade his girlfriend to have sex before marriage is like that clanging symbol. If he really loved her, he wouldn’t think of stealing her chastity. If he really loved himself, he wouldn’t want the sin, the guilt, the possibility of disease, the guilt of an abortion, or perhaps bringing a child into the world whom he would be required by law to support until it turns eighteen.
There is no such thing as a “love child” born out of wedlock. It is a “lust child” if it was conceived before the wedding. Of course, this isn’t the child’s fault, and it should be loved no matter how it was conceived.
The scripture tells us, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8).
Spiritually, marriage is a union between a man and a woman so they can enjoy, love, and protect one another, and also to protect the family. Children need a father to help guide, discipline, love, and financially support them. Children need a mother to nurture them, guide them, discipline them, and love them.
Even biologically, the object of marriage is to ensure the survival of the species and of the race, according to Drs. Abraham and Hannah Stone’s A Marriage Manual.[1]
God invented marriage and the family when he made Eve for Adam and they began to have children.
Marriage is a wonderful thing, and there is nothing more romantic than a guy and a girl vowing before God and the public, “I will love you and you only until death parts us.”
Americans probably talk and sing more about romance than any other society. We are allowed to choose our own mates, instead of our parents choosing them for us. Yet, half of all marriages end in divorce.
Just like falling in love in the first place, staying in love involves the will. We decide we will love our mates even when they get bald, fat, ugly, wrinkled, or sick, or we’re broke. We decide we will love them even when they’re grumpy or angry.
Some people say, “Our love just died,” or “It was a mistake in the first place.”
Perhaps. But in most cases, if both ride out difficult times, the passion will rekindle, romantic sparks will fly, fireworks will go off again, and the romance will be deeper and more satisfying than it was in the beginning.
I know. I’ve been married several decades, and even though it’s all about commitment, there still is romance and deep love.
As a reporter, I collected marriage license records from couples who remarried each other after divorce. There were about a half dozen when I contacted a few and interviewed them for a story. Most said the same thing: “Although we know we’re not perfect, we couldn’t find anyone better after we divorced. We were still in love and knew what we were doing the first time. Being apart was worse than dealing with our problems and learning how to make a marriage work.”
There are four important types of love: storge, natural affection between a parent and a child; phileo, the type of affection we have for friends; eros, romantic love; and agape, God-like unconditional love. We need all three types of love in marriage, and except parent-child affection, all are a matter of the will.
When you begin to court, look for real love.


[1] A Marriage Manual (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), 3.

Monday, February 11, 2019

5. IMAGINE YOUR MENTAL WEALTH




Excerpt from the book, Imagine the Future You

By Ada Brownell

IMAGINE YOUR MENTAL WEALTH

What you need to know and what you don’t want to know


You came into this life “empty-headed.”

When we were kids, my brother used to tell me he could look into one of my ears and see out the other. Then I had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of my brain so I could do a firsthand story on the latest technology.

I started the newspaper article with “My brother was wrong. There is something in there.”

What I mean by “empty-headed” is that no stored information existed in our brains when we came into this world. New brains are like a blank sheet of paper, although fantastic stored data governing our neurological systems and instincts operate even while we’re still in the womb. What God “programmed” into us commanded our arms, legs, fingers, toes, and so forth to move even before birth. Instincts God installed in our DNA prompted us to suck, swallow, cry, and feel hunger, as well as caused the various inner parts of our body to function. Babies arrive with a brain download to literally cry for love, care, and being held, and they won’t thrive without these things.

When we were a few months of age, we learned to coordinate movements so we could reach for things because our muscles and brains developed that capacity.

Nevertheless, we all needed outside stimuli to use the potential from the brain. Children who are given no attention often don’t learn to sit, walk, or talk.

We learned our language skills by imitating. If Mom kept saying “Mama” over and over to us, soon we worked our mouths and tongues around, using our vocal cords so we could come up with a fairly good imitation. Sometimes the child says “Dada” first and learns later what it means.

If the parents speak Chinese, the child obviously will learn Chinese instead of English, and children of Spanish-speaking parents communicate in Spanish or whatever language is spoken in the home.

All through childhood, children imitate what they see and hear. Adults imitate other people—at least in some degree—all their lives. For instance, we like to imitate the experts on everything from sports to dancing, to gardening, to playing or singing music, to doing tricks on a bicycle or skateboard.

But imitation isn’t all there is. At some point we think for ourselves.

IMAGINE THINKING FOR YOURSELF

As children, we started thinking for ourselves when we gagged and spit out the spinach baby food and then decided which cold cereal we like best. If we were born into a poor Oriental family, we might like rice instead. If we lived in an African slum, we’d be grateful for slimy oatmeal gruel in a dirty bowl.

In some parts of the world, you’d think putting live bugs between two slices of bread was a special treat, even though bugs crawled around on your fingers as you ate them. In other countries you’d eat dog and monkey. In times past it was quite common for Americans to eat cow and pig brains and kidneys. They made “head cheese,” which was a meat jelly made from the head of a calf or pig. You can still buy pickled pig’s feet. I don’t know if they still sell head cheese but it became popular in a society that didn’t waste anything. In hard times, people also ate squirrels and turtles.

You cringe at the thought. Your stomach turns. That’s because you think for yourself and form an opinion.

Your head is not empty now. You learned by experience and from other people. That’s the only way we assimilate knowledge.

After we learn something, we usually can recall it spontaneously. We ride a bike without thinking about how we balance. We can type, text, cook, clean, repair cars, and program computers. We balance checkbooks, do income tax, use math to buy and sell, and make chemical formulas to create medicines that save people’s lives or to invent guns, bombs, and rockets to kill them. You can store billions of information blocks in your memory.

 According to Kenneth Higbee, author of Your Memory and How it Works and How to Improve it,[1] your two-pound brain can store more than today’s most advanced computers.

Everything you put into your mind, especially what you experience, changes you. You study to learn or pick up information from your friends, your parents, or through the media, and you are affected.

IMAGINE BEING ON GUARD  

I am choosy about what goes into my brain and hope you are, too.

The Bible says when we have a close relationship with God, He will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Yet, you decide whether or not to post that guard, the Holy Spirit, at the door. If we listen to what our conscience and scripture tells us, 24/7, and resist, Satan and his cohorts flee in fear.

The Holy Spirit, through our conscience, convinces us of sin (so we’ll know what it is), righteousness (so we’ll understand that), and judgment (so we’ll know God will reward those who live for Him and punish those who do not).[2]

It helps to think on things that are true, things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.[3] That means we are careful about what we read, what we watch on television, the movies we go to or rent, and what activities we practice. We pray for His wisdom and knowledge and actively reject smut, lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, the pride of life, vulgar language, gossip, backbiting, and wrong attitudes.

IMAGINE GREAT DOWNLOADS IN YOUR BRAIN

 We also are able to put some beautiful things in our brains: God’s Word, good music, good information, a willingness to learn, a willingness to work, a determination to love, a determination to help, a determination to make heaven our home.

Although His covenant is etched into our hearts, we still need to study good things that “Ca-ching!” profitable character. We’re told in the book of Timothy to study to show ourselves approved unto God, so we will rightly interpret the Word of Truth.

But even if we memorize the Ten Commandments, such as “thou shall not lie” or “thou shall not steal,” and “do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” we can turn away when Satan tempts.

If we use our excellent knowledge of good things, our character and integrity grow. Our will becomes stronger. It’s like seeing a growing baby every day. He looks the same size if we see him often, but if we wait six months or a year, we see a big difference! And you and others will see a change in you when you put positive things you learn into action.

When we make good decisions, we become more mature, more trustworthy, more dependable, and our potential for doing great things increases.

IMAGINE A STRONGER BRAIN GUARD       

In addition to a spiritual guard over the brain, often we need to reject evil that constantly crashes into the door of our mind and tries to burst through.

Ungodly things we assimilate into our brains (even alcohol or an illegal drug) can do things to our brains we can’t fathom.

Could be like what happened to Jones, my sister Clara’s Chihuahua, a little darling dog who did tricks for Clara’s husband, Blackie. They would put some glassless eyeglasses on Jonesy, as we called him, and he’d sit up, take his front paws, and act as if he were reading a newspaper. He’d play dead when Blackie pointed his finger and yelled, “Bang!”

Jonesy did all kinds of tricks and received his hamburgers “made to order” and a human-style cookie for dessert, not doggie treats.

But one day he coughed, sneezed, and gagged all through the night. He wouldn’t eat, and he continued coughing, sneezing, and gagging for several days.

My sis thought Jones was dying, and she couldn’t bear putting him to sleep. Her son was fighting a war, and he was attached to the dog, too.

“We can’t let Jonesy die!” she said.

After about a week of the dog not eating, Jonesy gagged and Clara noticed something in the back of his throat. A long blade of grass hung down his throat and through his nose! She reached in and pulled it out. Jonesy immediately got a drink of water and started eating and lived for several years after that.

Sometimes a tiny amount of filth or ungodliness can give us great grief.

If we are forced to read ungodly material, we can pray as we read for God’s protection against our minds, but we can go even further. We can go to the teacher or person in charge and say the book offends us and ask for a substitute. Teachers usually provide something else, especially if you come with a respectful attitude and your grades show you’re not just trying to get out of something.

I obtained a substitute book in college when Hugh Hefner’s biography was required reading. I didn’t want that stuff in my brain. When I overheard another student say of the biography of the Playboy empire owner and founder, “That’s really a raunchy book!” I knew it wasn’t for me.

A much more serious problem with our brains arises that’s more difficult to talk about. Yes, we should respect those over us, but we also need to be aware there is some brainwashing going on.

A THIEF AT THE DOOR

I am a graduate of a secular college and saw brainwashing firsthand. Secular college professors often want to “reprogram” students who have faith in a personal God. I encountered anti-God teaching in psychology classes, a course on the environment, and even in music history classes. Mass communications classes seemed to be saturated with obscenity and we spent most of our time in the media law class studying obscenity law.

If you are a science major, changing your belief systems is a top priority in a secular college.

In secular learning institutions, Christians often are ridiculed, discriminated against, and even given lower grades or flunked if they don’t embrace the theology of secularism.

Most colleges and universities promote a one-world government, teach against freedom and capitalism, and work to make secularism everyone’s religion and the earth their God.

Today, the progressive political system and secularists, and even other religions, are inserting anti-Christian and ungodly doctrines into public school education to brainwash out the Christian teaching implanted by the church and parents. You make up your mind whether to reject it.

IMAGINE RECALL

One thing we learn about our brain is once we put something into it, it’s there for recall. Sometimes the things you try the hardest to forget are the ones that stick. That’s why we need to be careful what we put into our heads.

IMAGINE BRAINWASHING

Webster’s New World Dictionary says brainwashing is “to indoctrinate so intensively and thoroughly as to effect a radical transformation of beliefs and mental attitudes.”

In other words, to brainwash you is to change not only how you think, but also what you think. Furthermore, if you are brainwashed, it changes who you are.

Armies who keep prisoners of war often brainwash one person at a time, but communists and Nazis brainwashed entire societies. In America, we not only have brainwashing in institutions of learning, but it’s done by gangs, politicians, and the media. Gangs and governments can brainwash you so thoroughly you’ll kill your brother, grandmother, or mother.

 The media brainwashes you by portraying the majority of Christians as crooks and adulterers. A few high-profile ministers have been great sinners, but if they break God’s laws, they are no longer Christians in God’s sight.

The media rarely mention powerful things accomplished by Christians and Jews. Christian charities have housed and fed the homeless and hungry around the world for centuries. Missionaries often bring feeding programs, build orphanages, and offer free health care and medicine when they go to tell the world about Jesus. Christians are there, too, when disaster strikes.

Religion was the reason people learned to read. Since the Middle Ages, there has been near-universal literacy among Jewish men because they were required to read the Torah by age thirteen.

In the early church, Christians copied the apostles’ writings by hand, as was done meticulously for centuries with Old Testament scriptures, with everything being continually checked and rechecked for accuracy. That is what the scribes did. With the Protestant Reformation came a desire for everyone to read scripture. Then Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, and the first book printed was the Gutenberg Bible.

According to the Encyclopedia Americana, education in colonial New England grew out of the Reformation as well. Puritans made sure their children could read the Bible. In the Middle Colonies, religious sects birthed early schools. In the Southern Colonies, parents tutored their children or educated them in a private school, often so they could read God’s Word. In New England, teachers got their jobs because of their soundness in the faith. The home and church provided most education until the early 1900s.

Universities and colleges were started by religious organizations: Harvard to train preachers; Yale for training in church work, civil duties, the arts and sciences; Vanderbilt for teaching law, medicine, theology, and the arts; Baylor was the fruit of the Baptist General Convention; Boston University was started by Methodists for training in theology; Boston College was Catholic, as was Fordham; Cornell College was Methodist; Rutgers University for eighty years included the New Brunswick Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church of America. Universities were established by other denominations and religious organizations that included biblical training as well.

 Christians are still educating the world. Wycliffe Bible Translators live with primitive tribes and give them a written language and teach them to read. Wycliffe translated the Bible into hundreds of languages and brought literacy to many nations. Through its Last Languages Campaign, Wycliffe’s translators hope to have the 2,200 last languages translated by the year 2025. Currently, Wycliffe has 1,400 translation literacy and language development programs, touching nearly six hundred million people in 176 countries.

Beyond that, Jews and the church birthed most of the hospitals in our nation.

Christians visit those in prison, mental hospitals, and nursing homes; care for orphans; and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves, such as infants in the womb.

Churches teach children to obey their parents—then they provide wholesome activities for youth, mostly for no charge. They teach marriage and parenting classes, provide grief support, and offer recovery groups for alcoholics and others—without charge.

Christians will come to our side when we’re dying and comfort those left behind.

THE USE OF PROPAGANDA

Those who brainwash use propaganda, which aims to accomplish a systematic changing of your beliefs, practices, and ideas. It’s similar to how some journalists and politicians “spin” facts, spinning the listener’s mind away from the truth, convincing the audience to believe a lie.

The most successful propaganda usually always has some truth in it. If it were all lies, most people would resist it.

“For a long time propagandists have recognized that lying must be avoided,” says Jacques Ellul, author of Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes.[4] “In propaganda, truth pays off.”

Where propaganda goes to work to change minds is in the “interpretation” of the truth, or the “slant” placed on the truth.

Ellul’s book says in France between 1921 and 1936, the Communist Party made progress because of election propaganda, and the same was true for the Nazi Party during 1929 and 1933.

Mao Tse-tung said propaganda can “force” people to become Marxist. His first techniques failed, but then he went to public discussion, criticism, persuasion, and Marxist education, especially for children, and he turned China to his way of thinking.

This was in spite of Mao executing an estimated two to five million people and sending several million to labor camps.

 To have the greatest effect, propaganda must base itself on existing tendencies, Ellul said,[5] and not go against ingrained attitudes. Instead of going against what you believe, it gives you something else to believe—using your own desires and needs as a basis. Without knowing it, your attitudes are replaced.

Ellul said preexisting attitudes fade quickly in real propaganda campaigns, which surround people from morning to night, childhood to old age, in all they read and hear, without giving them rest or a moment to pause, think, or catch their breath.[6]

Dave Roever, a US Navy SEAL who served in Vietnam, in his book, Scarred,[7] tells how he was trained by the Navy to resist propaganda should he ever be taken prisoner.

“They took all our clothes away from us and left us standing naked and shivering in the cold rain while they issued tattered, ruined old World War II `greens,’” recalled Roever  “We were forced into formation for inspection, and then beaten because a button was missing. We were given hard labor because a zipper wasn’t zipped, when it wasn’t even there.”

 They put him in a box the size of a baby coffin, in a sitting position.

“Three or four men forced me into a folded position, my face on my knees, and they hammered the lid on the box. For many hours I remained in the box. They would come with large chains and beat on it. The sound was horrific. I went numb from my waist to my feet.”

      The trainers continued the torture, and every time they stopped, Roever smiled. One officer became so angry, he struck Roever with his fist and knocked the young trainee’s teeth through his lower lip.

The men were starved, shown food, then the “pretend” captors did despicable things to what had been served—before they threw it in the dirt.

Eventually, machine guns firing blanks erupted out in the bushes, US troops clothed in full uniform and carrying American guns came in, and the exercise was over. The trainees shredded the North Vietnamese flag that had been flying over the compound and sent up the American flag while a bugler played “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The training exercise had been tough, and Roever wondered what it would be like to be captured by the Vietcong.

Roever was not captured by the enemy, but he underwent even greater challenges when a phosphorous grenade exploded in his hand one day in Vietnam, blowing off his face, several fingers, and an ear, and severely damaging an eye and his chest. The battle he fought was not only to live, but also to want to live and to fulfill God’s call on his life.

Today Roever is a preacher who goes back to Vietnam with humanitarian missions and hopes someday to win that nation for Christ. He also has a program for wounded soldiers in Colorado.

Today you need to be aware some people and organizations would like to brainwash you. We need to actively resist. Roever did, and he came out smiling.

When someone is trying to steal your faith, mentally say “reject, reject.” Dave Roever had his name, rank, and serial number to answer every attempt by his interrogators to bend his will and force him to reveal military secrets. Christians have hundreds of scripture verses that not only will help us to resist but also send the enemy, Satan, to flight.

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7) is one example of these scriptures.      

IMAGINE YOU IN BATTLE      

Now, when you’re young, is the time to fill your brain with things that will help you in the future. Your youth is similar to basic training, because much of what you learn won’t be used until you reach the battles of adulthood.

But if you invite Him to, God will be there to help you in the difficult choices you need to make. Basic training in the military shows young men how to make split-second decisions that save lives or a nation. Basic training helps them build bodies so strong they can build bridges in hours, dig trenches for cover in minutes, and stand against the enemy for days with almost no sleep or food.

Learning all you can now will make you strong enough to stand up to Satan and his devices and not only save your own soul, but lead others to freedom through Jesus Christ. But you’ll need the whole armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10–18: the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breast plate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the sword of the spirit (God’s Word), and feet fitted with readiness of the Gospel of peace.

Submitting to God’s love for us and His plan for our lives will give us the greatest joy that can be achieved on this earth. You might have heard of the biblical “Joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8) and the “rivers of living water” (John 7:38 that will flow through you.

 But that’s not all. Accepting salvation through Jesus Christ, who died for us, will give us eternal life, and our souls will never die.

That’s the most important information of all to put into our brain’s memory system.





[1] Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.,1977, 1.
[2] John 16:7–9
[3] Philippians 4:8
[4] New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1973. 53.
[5] Propaganda, 279.
[6] Ibid. 280.
[7] Scarred (Fort Worth, Texas: Roever Communications, 1995), 26.


IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU (Summary)

By Ada Brownell

Will you be the person you dream of becoming, or the person in your nightmares?

Ready or not, you are headed into your future.

Would you like to achieve your dreams of being all you can be inside and out? Would you like to deposit good information in your brain you can spend and invest in your future?

Read or listen to Ada Brownell’s book, Imagine the Future You.

This author, who taught church youth for more than 30 years, spent a good hunk of her life as a journalist interviewing successful people who achieved great things, but also met and wrote about those whose lives had become so entangled with baggage they needed a miracle to turn them loose. In addition, she has picked brains and studied how to believe in yourself and things greater than you.

You need this book.  E-book, paper and audible. Great narrator.

Mom: Our teenage daughter loves this book!


Friday, February 8, 2019

How Christianity changes the world




·        By  Ada Brownell 

·        

I was a kid. A visiting missionary stretched a snake skin over the church altar. That day in the early 1940s, it seemed to cover the mourners' bench and go from aisle to aisle.

“That kind of snake hides in the trees in Africa,” my brother told me. “They drop on you, squeeze you to death and swallow you whole.”

The missionary showed a home movie of almost-naked Africans who heard the gospel for the first time. I thought hearing about Jesus and his love was good, with them living with big snakes and all. Then my brother informed me some were cannibals.

The missionary then told how a witch doctor came to Jesus and the whole village accepted Christ and danced with joy.

I remember what happened when Christian missionaries took the gospel to remote Indian tribes in Ecuador during the 1950s. Jim Elliot and his wife, Elisabeth, studied Spanish, tropical diseases and learned to do some medical treatments. Jim and Elisabeth also translated the New Testament into the Quechua language and ministered to the Quechua Indians from their missionary station at the base of the Andes Mountains.

One day the pilot, Nate Saint, who flew in supplies regularly, spotted Auca Indian houses. The five men on their team prayed for a way to reach Aucas with the gospel.

After trading gifts with the Indians, the missionaries found a beach where they could land. They prayed, and Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian set up camp.

Three Aucas acted friendly, but on January 8, 1956, hostile Aucas speared the missionary men to death.

Yet, Elisabeth Elliot and her daughter, Valerie, along with Rachel Saint (Nate Saint’s sister) went back and lived with the tribe. With the help of Dayuma, an Auca woman, Elisabeth created a written language and used it to translate the Bible. Now many Auca Indians are literate Christians.

Following Jesus has always been dangerous. In the 20th century, Christians were among millions killed or starved by Communist dictators Mao (China), Stalin (Russia), Leopold (Belguim), Tojo (Japan) and the world has no idea how many thousands or millions have been killed by Islamic radicals in the 21st century.

Nevertheless, nations have been changed by Christians who teach what Jesus taught: “Love your neighbor as yourself; Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you; Love your enemies and do good unto those that despitefully use you.”

A 2011 Pew Research poll showed China now has an estimated 67 million Christians. Africa is the zone of Christianity’s greatest growth today, according to Crux, a Catholic publication. Africa is the world’s most populous Christian continent, with slightly more Christians than North America. The Pew Forum projects that by 2050, sub-Saharan Africa will have 1.1 billion Christians, almost twice as many as its nearest rival, Islam.

The turning of wicked individuals and nations to Jesus is not only a story of courage, but also one of unconditional love, healing and forgiveness.

Gospel light blazed from mouths and actions of missionaries, evangelists such as Billy Graham, Christian organizations that built hospitals, schools, universities, and charitable agencies that do something about illiteracy, disasters, hunger, disease, poverty and orphans. Christians lift up the value of human life, equal human rights, compassion and mercy; value of education, marriage and family; and political freedom. Also rising from biblical teachings is a strong work ethic and the joy of music and singing.

My friends Ruth and Curtis Butler went to the Philippines to teach the gospel and stayed despite finding cobras in the kitchen. They weren’t harmed and served 31 years in missions, obeying Jesus’ command to go into the world and preach the gospel. After retirement, they taught the Ablaze Bible Class at Pueblo Christian Center for 10 years before Curtis’ death, and Ruth continues to teach.

Why take risks like deadly snakes to spread Christianity?

Because each person needs to know God loves him, will forgive sin and gives eternal life. No one can be forced to believe and receive salvation. It’s a choice, but “how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14).

Ada Brownell is a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain. A freelance writer, she has eight published books and writes occasionally for Christian publications. Her blog is inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Castle and the Catapult: Joe the Dreamer




Fiction By A.B. Brownell

Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. Joe Baker’s parents are among the missing and he finds himself with someone after him. He joins a gang committed to preventing and solving crimes in their neighborhood with harmless things such as noise, water, and a pet skunk instead of blades and bullets. Praying for his parents’ return, in his dreams Joe slips into the skin of Bible characters, but cries out in his sleep. He ends up in a mental hospital. Will he escape or be harmed? Will he find his parents? Does God answer prayer?



Enjoyed by mid-grade and up ---including adults.



 No fantasy. No wizard, but suspense. Christian payload. Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult

Reviewer: “A.B. Brownell weaves a tale of intrigue and faith which captures the reader from the opening page.” Another reader: This book is relevant to what is happening today. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in years.

In paperback or e-copy.  http://ow.ly/VmcHh 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

LIVING RAILROAD HISTORY






By Ada Brownell



The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad’s main line lay between me and school when I was a kid, and I had to cross those tracks. When a steam engine whistled a warning in the distance, no crossing arms barred me from danger--only noisy clanging and big red eyeballs flashing. Then every hoof of the massive engine’s horsepower pounded by and the swaying cars followed.

I hated trains. Somebody told me if you stand too close, you’ll be sucked under.

Then I grew up. In 1953, an agent-telegrapher chose me for his wife and I had to make friends with the monsters.

In Avon, Colo., near Vail, we lived in the depot only a few feet from the tracks. Les’s office had a bay window where he could see both ways down the rails.

 Often the clicks of the telegraph “bug” echoed into our living room carrying an urgent message in dots and dashes. Trains approached from the East and West on the one set of rails. The crew followed too closely, needed to go into a siding to allow another train to pass, or a rock slide or other trouble lay ahead.

 Les quickly transcribed the Morse message, tied it in twine, attached it to a long Y stick, and ran outside.

A few minutes later, a massive behemoth clothed in tons of steel and the gold and black Rio Grande cape, whistled still going a pretty high speed, spit steam, and thundered toward the depot. Les stood beside the tracks, his clothes flapping in the breeze as he extended the Y stick up to a small high window in the engine.

The engineer leaned out, stuck his arm through the loop, pulled the twine inside, read the message, and usually guided the train into the next siding.

We resided in the beautiful Avon valley when it was us in the depot, the couple in the general store, and the rancher and his family. About 10,000 people live in Avon today. A statue in the middle of town of the rancher and his horse remind everyone of the man who used to own that property.

 We lived in a log cabin at Pando, on top of Colorado’s Tennessee Pass, across the highway from Camp Hale. One soldier jumped off the train with his duffle bag and checked out the place.

“Mountains this way. Mountains that way. Mountains over there and over here. The only way out of this place is up!”

“Cabin” accurately described our dwelling. We used the restroom in the depot, probably about 500 feet from where we lived.  We had a sink with running water in the kitchen, but the water pipe only went through the wall and had no receptacle. To make sure the water didn’t freeze when we left for the weekend, the faucet was kept running. When we returned, no fire in the coal stove, the water had frozen from the faucet’s mouth, through the drain, and became a huge icicle outside.

When we moved to Minturn, our house rested in a mountain’s niche above the depot. Les worked evenings, so near suppertime I jumped on a sled, hiked up the canyon, slid all the way to the depot and delivered his full lunch pail.

In Malta, a smelter town near Leadville, Colo., a boxcar with a “lean-to” became our home. Relatives visited overnight and after lights were out, my little niece shakily asked, “Is a train going to come in the night and take us away?”

Because he kept getting “bumped,” Les’s job caused us to roam Colorado like the trains, and we moved 12 times the first three years of our marriage. Making a shack, a depot, or a railroad car into a home challenged my work-a-holic nature. The living situations, especially having no bathrooms, no hot water or other conveniences, fit right into Paul’s example to be content in whatever situation I found myself.

 Everywhere we went, we found a church, wonderful people, and made friends,

The first years—before children—were an adventure. But then we landed in Thompson, Utah: population 100, no church, four taverns, and we had to buy groceries in a bar. The nearest church was 38 miles away, but we traveled the distance to Moab and back every Sunday evening.

We lived in Thompson a short time once and had a house with a bathroom that didn’t work, probably because the pipes froze and the owner wouldn’t fix them. We left and came back to Thompson months later and the only house available in town was a tar paper shack with an outhouse, a faucet, but no sink.

By then we had nice furniture so I polished up that shack making the worn linoleum floors and the windows gleam. I decorated kitchen shelves with colorful paper with pretty edging, hung curtains. But the roof leaked, mice skittered everywhere, and I had no friends and our oldest son was a toddler.

My home-builder uncle stopped by to see us there. Embarrassment colored my cheeks, especially when he looked around and said, “I could build a place like this for about fifty dollars.”

Then with a grin he added, “Tell you what. Take a picture of this and when your kids grow up and want to borrow money, tell them, ‘We started out the hard way.’”

Finally, we bought a beautiful ten-by-fifty mobile home and brought it to Thompson. Hot and cold running water, bathroom, gorgeous new everything. But it didn’t solve all our problems.

The railroad allowed us to park the home without charge on railroad land, but Les had to bring in the water and build a cess pool. We planted a beautiful lawn, flowers, shrubs, and using discarded materials left in railroad cars, we built a white fence around it.

Only thing, we lived maybe 15 feet from a vacant building that was about to fall in. Being in the middle of the Utah desert, I knew rattlesnakes might hang out there. The Lord and I had many intense conversations as I pled with Him to keep the snakes away from our two children when they were out playing on the swings in our yard. Our doctor was 90 miles away in Grand Junction, Colo.

We were not far from the tracks and one day sparks from a “hot box,” a boxcar with a stuck wheel, ignited a nearby trestle bridge. Sparks from the fire burned a large hole in our awning, but didn’t burn the mobile home, praise the Lord.

God did a work in me and I learned to love Thompson and the people there. God sent a wonderful Christian woman my age to town and we started a Sunday school in the one-room schoolhouse. Many children had never heard the name of Jesus other than a curse word.

Our mobile house ended up in two-mile-high Leadville and winter snows showed no mercy. Before Les left for a temporary job in Texas creek, he said, “Leave the bathtub water running to prevent freezing.”

One frosty night, I took a relaxing bath. I was tucked in bed when my mother-in-law, who lived with us, flushed the toilet. I woke to a sucking sound and remembered I turned the water off.

Fearing broken pipes and not wanting my mother-in-law to know I hadn’t turned the faucet back on, I threw my fake-fur coat over my nightie, pulled on snow boots, grabbed a fusee-torch, matches, a broom and ventured into the darkness.

I swept a path, then I tunneled through the deep snow and crawled, pulling myself with my elbows to the pipes.

Bummer! I got the matches wet!

I backed out and headed for the door. My bare hand stuck to the frosty knob. When I got my hand free, the door wouldn’t open. The deep snow on the roof was melting from the warmth inside, dribbled down, and the door froze shut.

I knew no one. The tavern over the fence had just closed and drunks wandered about.

I rang the doorbell. My mother-in-law woke up, pushed and I pulled until with a crunch the door opened.

Next time, I dressed warmly, left the door open a crack, kept my matches dry and succeeded in my mission. The next day, I discovered the temperature was 30 degrees below zero.

Soon Centralized Traffic Control, where dispatchers govern train movement with traffic lights, closed many depots. Teletype and later, computers, nudged telegraph into history.

But the monsters, now diesel powered, scurry over our nation, still whistling, bringing food, fuel and merchandise. I hope the handsome creatures never become extinct. After all, because of them I learned contentment whether in the beautiful homes in which we lived, a depot, or a tar paper shack.