Monday, April 6, 2020


By Ada Brownell

      “The police came last night to our house to get Daddy,” the little boy announced. “He hid in the back on the shelf in the closet and they didn’t find him!”
      His eyes sparkled with triumph.
      The report came during our opening moments at the Dunamis Academy, an after-school and summers program where I heard similar stories. Dunamis means supernatural power.
       I started the program at our church daycare after retirement so kids to latch onto Jesus.. A number of the elementary children in the class were Social Services children who didn’t attend our church.[1]        When I had the idea for the after-school program, I was concerned about latch-key children because I’d written about them in my work as a daily newspaper reporter. I prayed about it and thought God would raise up a  someone with the vision to use the church’s empty space during the week to reach youngsters who needed the gospel, and also bring the congregation’s children into deeper knowledge of the Word, and tutoring children not doing well in school. I hoped spiritually mature teenagers and other volunteers would help.
      Then I spoke to the daycare director and she also caught the vision because the older children already enrolled in the daycare after-school-and- summers needed something constructive to do.
      The first summer the director taught the lower grades and I took upper elementary and a few junior high youth. We continued the program after school and summer for two years. We charged a nominal fee to children not enrolled in day care. There was no charge to students already enrolled.
      Summers for three hours Monday through Thursday we sang, prayed, played, studied Bible stories, memorized scripture, did skits, saw object lessons, participated in discussion, listened to guest speakers, did crafts and learned how to operate puppets in ministry (the children’s pastor taught puppetry).  Daycare children stayed for a leisurely afternoon.
       Because we were only 40 miles away, on Fridays we went on all-day field trips to ministries in Colorado Springs to show children some of the ministries for which they could prepare. We watched a Christian radio missionary who was broadcasting the gospel around the world. We visited Focus on the Family. At David C. Cook we saw how artists create illustrations for their publications. We visited the Navigator’s castle and others. The next year we visited soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other charities in our city, Pueblo, Colo.
      We had guest speakers for the older children, two I’d like to mention. The guest teenager emigrated from Africa, and told about the differences in freedoms between there and America.  She also taught a song in Swahili: “Hold on to Jesus.”  The other guest was a public high school teacher who taught about preparing for your future, and that included through playing a game called “Virus X” that taught how quickly sexually transmitted diseases spread.
      According to the last statistics I gathered at that time, five million elementary-age U.S. children grow up with no supervision after school. Twenty-two million adolescents are unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m. on a typical day, according to the U.S. Department of Health’s Child Care Bureau.
      That happens while thousands of large church buildings are unoccupied except for a few people working in the office.
      Large numbers of America’s youth have never heard the gospel. The church is losing young people to secularism.  Some churches have eliminated Christian education, thereby carelessly dropping their sterling silver youth down the garbage disposal. Churches that emphasize discipleship often have only a small percentage of children and youth receiving training.
      The first summer of the Dunamis Academy, the two daycare assistants in my classes put the date they accepted Jesus as Savior during that time. Most of the children and youth also invited Jesus into their hearts.
      I wrote my own curriculum, Dynamite Decisions for Youth, and that plus teaching was a great deal of work, But sharing the gospel to those young people was an amazing spiritual reward. If I were young again, I’d love to help establish more programs like it.
      One note I’d like to add. Quite a few churches have after-school programs, but the ones I’ve seen don’t emphasize the gospel. We informed parents we would teach undenominational Bible classes and had them sign their permission. We didn’t have one parent opt out. In fact, we had great feedback, with parents coming to awards ceremonies.
      I imagine they were like my dad when our family started going to church. He told Mama, “Let them go. I heard they teach children to obey their parents.”


[1] Social Services ended that program, which required children from at-risk families to have supervision when their parents weren’t home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Testimony from the 1918 influenza pandemic

A suspenseful historical romance: LOVE'S DELICATE BLOSSOM

By Ada Brownell
Author's note: This book is from the era of the 1918 flu pandemic. The author's mother, Rita Shepherd, nearly died from the sickness, and her brother did die. The book relates some of the details Ada's mother related about her experience, including a glimpse of heaven. Although the book has a lot of truth in it, and some of the scenes happened, the novel is fiction.
The professor had an earnestness about him that clung to his shiny black suit, stiffly starched white shirt, and the black and white spotted tie he wore. He put his hand to his tie, stretched his neck, apparently trying to make it more comfortable.

“More of our soldiers are returning home from the battlefields with disease than are being wounded” he said. “That might sound better than having your head blown off by a bomb, but communicable diseases like mumps, flu, typhus and cholera can be just as deadly as a bullet or a bomb.”

A chill wiggled up Ritah’s spine.

“Pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis, body lice which causes trench fever, and other parasites are causing our soldiers great grief. When they come home they need someone to take care of them. That might be you.”

Another chill made Ritah shudder.

She feared for Stuart and hoped Bud wouldn’t be drafted when he got old enough. She’d already seen one hospital tent where soldiers were being treated for sickness and injuries and she kept her distance.

“Sanitation is utmost where there is communicable disease,” Smith continued. “What do your parents do to sanitize your home when someone is sick?”

Rita stuck up her hand. “We wash everything with lye soap, and sometimes boil the clothing. We don’t have any other kind of soap, and it’s great at cleaning. I heard it even prevents head lice.”

Smith nodded his head and the white hair he’d combed over his bald spot lifted, then settled again. "Lye soap is a great disinfectant, especially if you have some tea tree root in it. Some hospitals and other places use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect sick rooms. In 1913 five businessmen invested one hundred dollars each to found a commercial liquid bleach factory. They called it the Electro-Alkaline Company. A year later they began production of a concentrated industrial-strength bleach with 21 percent sodium hypochlorite. It will make white fabric really white, and it’s also a disinfectant. You’ve probably heard of it. The brand name is-Clorox.”

“Can just anybody buy it?” one male student asked.

Smith smoothed his hair, turned his head to the side and said, “I think so. It might be the greatest thing we’ve found yet to clean sick rooms and infectious clothing.”

One of the male students with a deep voice coughed and it sounded as if he was tearing his lungs up. Ritah stuck up her hand. “What is the best treatment we have for pneumonia?”

The doctor glared at the student who had coughed. “Cover your mouth, young man, when you cough. If you have a doctor, you’d better go see him.”

A rumble of low voices went through the crowded classroom.

“Mustard packs sometimes can help a great deal with pneumonia,” Smith continued. “But pneumonia still is a deadly disease. Too many people of all ages die from it.”

When class was over, Ritah almost wished she hadn’t taken the class. Too many people she loved were at risk.

Ritah woke up in bed, aching all over, burning up and struggling to breathe.

The heels on Mama’s shoes kept stomping about the house, and the noise seemed like a sledge hammer to Ritah’s head.

Then she remembered. Bud was sick. She had to get up and help Mama take care of him. He probably needed water right now. That was one thing the health professor said. “Get clear liquids down the flu patient. Bud hadn’t been drinking much.

She struggled and sat up. Everything went dark. When she stirred again, she hung partly off the bed and she knew she’d almost fallen in the floor. But she had to get up and help Bud. Keep him breathing. Keep him brea--.

Deep sleep keep pulling her down, but finally she woke enough to cry, “Mama.”

Yet Mama didn’t come. Perhaps Mama hadn’t heard her call because her voice was so raspy. “Mom.”

Someone talked softly in Bud’s room. Perhaps he was better now.

She threw the blankets aside and tried to sit up again. She barely lifted herself from the bed before she fell back again. The fever dropped Ritah back into darkness.

The sun slipped beneath the trees outside Ritah’s window, and her eyes popped open. “I have to get up.  I have to get up and help. I have to--.

She heard Daddy’s voice in Bud’s room. “Is Bud better now? Oh, Lord, help Bud to be better.”

Dizziness consumed her again, but she needed to talk to somebody. Wanting to shout, she lifted her shoulders and looked toward the door. “Is anybody out there?”

She faintly remembered Doc checking on her, Mama putting cool cloths to her head, but then Daddy was there—when he shouldn’t have been. No. Daddy will get the flu.

Then deep sleep turned the lights out.

She aroused to voices in the next room and then Mama finally came into her side. “You’re awake, Ritah. That’s good. I have another mustard poultice for you.”

Her mother seemed to be a long distance away, but yet Ritah was so happy to see her. “How’s Bud? I wanted to get up and help, but I couldn’t make it.”

“Speak up, Ritah. I can’t hear you.”

“I said…”  Deep sleep drew her back.

The mustard plaster was hot. So hot. It hurt.”

Mama pulled down the window shade. “Everybody’s praying for you,” Mama said.

Ritah struggled to get her eyes open. Mama looked tired. Mama needed help. I need to get up.

Yet her body didn’t move, but she opened her eyes enough to see her wonderful mother in the dim light, and tears ran down Mama’s cheeks.

“Don’t cry for me, Mama. I’m going to be all right.” But Ritah realized no sound came from her mouth.

The next morning the house was silent. No one walked around, and if anyone talked they spoke in whispers. Daddy apparently didn’t fear catching the flu anymore, because he’d been inside for hours.

“Mama. Daddy. What’s going on?”

Then deep man-size groaning and weeping filled the house, and the screen door loudly clapped shut, and she couldn’t hear the crying anymore. At first she thought it was Bud in terrible pain or something, but he wouldn’t be going outside.

That afternoon she heard the parson talking in low tones and she couldn’t understand what he said. Then he came into her room laid hands on her and prayed.

“God we know you hold the power of life and death, but you demonstrated when you were on earth that you could heal sick bodies, and we’re asking you now to touch Ritah.”

Mama was crying again in the background. Ritah tried so hard to tell her not to weep, but her voice box simply wouldn’t work.

They disappeared and before long the most beautiful place Ritah had ever entered opened before her. Flowers lined the shiny path under her feet. The whole landscape was filled with flowers. Red roses. Yellow daffodils, Blue bells. Orange Tulips. White magnolias. Lavender lilacs. Lilies of many different colors.

She reached out and touched a white lily, and rubbed the silky petals between her fingers.

Then it seemed Ritah looked down and could see herself lying in the bed. She also could see into Bud’s bedroom.

She awakened rubbing the sheet between her fingers. Her head no longer hurt. No dizziness seized her. Even though she still had some congestion, she could breathe easier.

“Mama?” she called.

Her mother quickly came to her side. Ritah reached for her hand.

“Mama, I had the most amazing dream. It looked like heaven and when I came back I could see me in the bed and Bud in the next room.

A deep sob tore from her lungs, clawing at her insides as the cry came out. “Mama, Bud is dead, isn’t he?”


Thursday, February 27, 2020



By Ada Brownell

Jews and Christians continually are criticized in the United States today, but the world would be a sorry place without its Judeo- Christian heritage.

Those who obey the Bible change the world for the better, and not only by bringing good news of redemption and eternal life. Christian charities have housed and fed the homeless and hungry around the world for centuries. Missionaries often bring 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. But with the Reformation came a desire for everyone to read scripture. Until then, it was read in churches. The first moveable-type printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg, 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 were hired 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 80 years included the New Brunswick Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church of America.

The world still is being educated by Christians. Wycliffe 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. In their “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 600 million people in 176 countries.

The church birthed most of the hospitals in our nation.

Jews also established hospitals, some of the best in the world, such as National Jewish Hospital in Denver, and Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, Israel. The Israeli hospital was founded by Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, which still underwrites a large part of its budget. In 2005, Hadassah was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of its equal treatment of all patients regardless of ethnic and religious differences, and its efforts to build bridges to peace.

A Hadassah member told me the medical center treats Palestinians injured in the wars and conflicts between their states.

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

The church teaches children to obey their parents--then they provide wholesome activities for youth—mostly for no charge.

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

Yet, we don't do that to earn our way to heaven. "It is not because of works of righteousness that God saved us and gave us the promise of eternal life, but because of his mercy" (Titus 3:5).

-- Ada Brownell is a retired newspaper reporter and free lance writer.

Friday, February 21, 2020



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

Excerpt from the book IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU by Ada Brownell

 Chapter Five

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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


By Lorraine Golightly as told to Ada Brownell

An excerpt from the book What Prayer Can Do by Ada Brownell

*Summary of What Prayer Can Do follows

I became a believer in divine healing because I saw my father receive his sight when he was prayed for in a revival meeting.

The accident that caused Daddy’s blindness happened in 1950. I was 9 years old.

Daddy (John Feliciano) was doing construction work in Honolulu, Hawaii, where we lived, when dynamite exploded in his face. One eyeball was completely destroyed; the other was damaged considerably. The blast was so severe that doctors said Daddy should have been dead. Tiny pebbles embedded in his skin all over his body.

“Daddy probably will never see again,” Mom told us when she got home from the hospital.

I was panic-stricken.

“There’s still hope,” said Aunt Virginia, who had come home with Mom. “Jesus can heal your daddy.”

We didn’t know what to think of that. Daddy liked Aunt Virginia, but wouldn’t even let her talk about her religion in our house. When Daddy saw people from her church in street meetings, he’d always yell at them, “You crazy holy rollers!”

Daddy went to church, however, and believed in God. He just didn’t like Aunt Virginia’s kind of religion.

When he came home from the hospital, he had no hope of a miracle. His eyes were in bandages, and he was very depressed.

“’I’ve got seven children to support!” he’d say several times a day. “How can a blind man feed seven children? I might as well be dead!’

It was true that he couldn’t support us. Soon we had to live on welfare.

Surgeons hoped surgery would give Daddy sight in his remaining eye, but the operations were unsuccessful. After the last operation, the eye doctor told him there was nothing more they could do for him. There was no hope he ever would see again.

Because of his youth (Daddy was 31 when he was injured) he immediately was trained in a school for the blind. He learned braille and how to use a seeing-eye dog. He even learned how to feel money so he could tell denominations apart.

Yet he remained depressed and saw no reason for living.

“I’ll never be able to see my family again,” Daddy groaned one day. “I can’t take being blind. Killing myself is the only way out.”

Mom tried to talk him out of his despondency, but without success. He actually intended to commit suicide.

Finally, Mom called Aunt Virginia and asked her to come over and talk to my father.

As soon as Aunt Virginia got inside she began talking to Daddy about the Lord and told him what Jesus could do.

“We’re going to have a revival, and the evangelist will pray for the sick,” Aunt Virginia continued. “Will you come?”

“I guess I can try,” Daddy answered, “but I don’t believe it will do any good.”

When the revival started, my aunt and uncle, Dad and Mom, and all of us seven children went to the Pentecostal church. After the lady evangelist preached, it was time for prayer for the sick. Mom took Daddy by the arm and led him to the healing line.

The meeting was in a large church and people were getting healed and praising the Lord. Daddy couldn’t see what was happening around him, but he could hear, and he was scared. He began shaking.

One woman who was healed of deafness gave a big shout when her ears opened. Daddy was more frightened than ever.

Then it was his turn.

“Do you believe in Jesus?” the evangelist asked Daddy.


She began praying that Daddy would receive his sight. Nothing happened.

“Do you really believe?” she asked my father again.


She put her hand on Daddy’s eye and prayed again. Suddenly he began to shout, “I can see! I can see!”

“What do you see?” the evangelist asked.

“I can see shadows,” he cried. “Thank God.”

“The Lord isn’t through yet,” the lady minister told him. “Now believe! Believe!” She began praying for Daddy again.

“Come here,” the evangelist told us children, and we went to the front. I was scared and crying as she lined us all in front of my father.

We discovered the shadows had disappeared, and Daddy could see clearly. One by one we went to him and let him look at us. As he called each child—Margaret, Priscilla, Lorraine (me), Elenore, Johnny, Gordon, and the baby Diane, who was 3 years old, he hugged and kissed us and we cried together.

My sister Margaret and I accepted the Lord Jesus as our Savior that night. Mom and Dad did too. One by one the rest of the children gave their lives to the Lord, and all of us are still serving God.

After he was healed, Daddy was supposed to go back to the doctor, so he kept his appointment. The physicians didn’t believe it when he told them he could see. They were amazed when they took tests and discovered he recovered his sight.

“God did it,” Daddy said.

Daddy had served God faithfully for 19 years when he went to be with the Lord.

I’m glad God’s healing power is available to us today. Doctors thought my sister had a brain tumor, but after she was prayed for, they could find nothing.

I had an annoying, persistent ear problem accompanied by dizziness and ringing in my ears, which doctors couldn’t seem to help and over which I couldn’t get victory. Then I remembered how God instantly healed Daddy of blindness, and knew the Lord is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.” Immediately the ear problem disappeared.

Now I can say with the Psalmist, ‘Come and hear, all of you who reverence the Lord, and I will tell you what He did for me: for I cried to Him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But He listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it! Blessed be God who didn’t turn away when I was praying and didn’t refuse me His kindness and love” (Psalm 66:16-20 Living Bible paraphrase).

The Pentecostal Evangel, October 16, 1977


A Collection of true stories by Ada Nicholson Brownell Published by The Pentecostal Evangel

By Ada Brownell

Ennis L. Surratt clutched the cool metal handle of his .45 pistol. Through the weeds he could see three men coming. He knew they would come near where he crouched because they would be coming after the barrel of whiskey that had disappeared from his still the night before.

When the men were only a few feet from the barrel, Ennis stepped out.

“You’re not taking this barrel,” Ennis growled, keeping his right hand next to the gun. “You stole it last night, and we’re going to settle it right here.”

He drew his gun and aimed it at the thief.

“Shoot!” the thief yelled as he whirled with his double-barreled shotgun. An explosive charge sounded and Ennis fell to the ground. He raised up on one knee and fired the pistol.

With a cry of anguish, the thief dropped the shotgun and fell into the weeds.

Ennis became known as “the meanest man in town.” That caught the attention of two lady evangelists holding a tent revival who knew how to pray. Ennis Surratt became an evangelist as well as his sons and grandsons.

Read many other testimonies and truths in What Prayer Can Do, Purchase at

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ia falling in love an unavoidable dive?

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

By Ada Brownell
An excerpt from the book, IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU

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.


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.


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.


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.


A motivational Bible study by Ada Nicholson Brownell

This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.

Unexpected bonuses include facts about science and faith, and information about sexually transmitted diseases. The author is a retired medical journalist, and worked with youth thirty years.

Review:  How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion!

Also Available in audio!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020



By Ada Nicholson Brownell

A crying infant suddenly is grasped by the ankles and hurled against the wall.  A teen-ager kills his parents, then marches into a school and shoots several students and a teacher.  A mother walks out on the most important thing in her life—her family.

Angry people are said to be mad.  Perhaps that’s appropriate, because anger sometimes causes people to act insane.

Anger can consume your happiness, rob your joy, affect your health, end relationships, mangle your faith and may even lead to murder.

When I was a child, I’d get so angry with my older brother’s teasing I’d start swinging at him. I was a scrawny freckled-faced redhead and two years younger, so no wonder he laughed hysterically as he held me at arm’s length with his hand on my forehead while I swung into the air.

After I married and had five children, I grew weary of going to bed feeling guilty about my angry outbursts that day.  I asked forgiveness from God, my husband and my children.  About that time I read Henry Drummond’s book, “The Greatest Thing in the World.”[1] In his comment on” love is not easily provoked” (1 Corinthians 13:5), he says, “No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to unchristianize society than evil temper.  For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, in short, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power this influence stands alone.

Here are 10 ways to help control inappropriate responses to anger compiled from my experience, research and an interview with the late Derrald Vaughn, Ph.D., a psychologist, educator and former pastor:

1.     Realize anger is one of the emotions God gave you and is not a sin in itself.

“We all have anger,” said Vaughn, “but most of us don’t lose control.”

If you have something to be upset about, you can communicate it and probably should before the problem gets worse, Vaughn noted. For instance, this helps spouses with serious problems get into counseling and usually at least one of them will be helped.

2.     Acknowledge that being hot-blooded, a redhead or someone who needs to vent feelings are not plausible excuses for out-of-control outbursts.

3.     Realize actions are controlled by the will, so you can decide to control anger’s behavior. You can stop and pray for help. Sometimes anger should be vented to God alone. Or you can write a letter and destroy it.  You can take anger out by doing housework or washing the car.

4.     Decide what is important to be angry about.  Don’t bother with spilled milk, scratched furniture, dented cars or money. With children get upset when they rebel, disobey, lie or break any other of the Ten Commandments. Get riled when a child does things that will hurt him or someone else.

To find appropriate places for anger, study the Bible and pray for wisdom.

5.     Use anger constructively, but accept what can’t be changed. We must not take matters into our own hands, however. “Bombing an abortion clinic is inappropriate use of anger because it breaks the same commandment abortionists are breaking,” Vaughn said. “It is not righteous indignation.”

Anger at Satan’s work should take us to our knees to intercede for family, friends, neighbors and nations; cause us to volunteer to teach Christian education, visit the sick, love the broken, feed the hungry; vote and speak out on moral matters.

6.     Humble yourself and listen to other people.  Much anger is caused by pride—you are always right, you know better than anyone.

7.     Ask forgiveness from those offended by your angry outbursts.

“Sometimes we use anger inappropriately because we are rewarded for it temporarily,” Vaughn said. “However, it doesn’t solve problems in the long run.  When we ask forgiveness, that’s punishment and becomes a deterrent.

8.     Forgive those who cause anger.

9.     Avoid substances that unleash anger and investigate other causes.

Alcohol affects inhibitory pathways in the brain, sometimes causing angry outbursts, violence and even murder. Research has found drinking intoxicating beverages is the number one predictor of physical and sexual abuse.

Grief also could be involved because anger is a stage of the grieving process for any loss.

10. Cultivate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 6:22-23). When you’re filled with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, there’s little room for inappropriate anger.

 What the Bible Says About Anger

·       “A soft answer turns away wrath; but grievous words sir up anger” (Proverbs 15:11).

·       “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God (James 1:19,20).

·       “Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:26-31-32).

·       “He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32).

·       “Anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7-9).

·       “Provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

·       “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The Pentecostal Evangel April 11, 1999

Reprinted in the Book, 50 Tough Questions, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO 65802, 2002.

[1] Westwood, New Jersey, Fleming H. Revell Co.