Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Future in View: What will Heaven be like?

Heaven:  The Future in View

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled "The Future in View."  The Scripture text is from Revelation 21:1-2.

A new world is coming so don't get attached to this one.  Look forward to Heaven.
Joy is the serious business of Heaven. - C.S. Lewis
You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

The Future in View

1.  An incredible future place awaits us.

God is going to recreate everything.  New Jerusalem is a real city.
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed. - Revelation 21:9-25

But just as it is written,Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” - 1 Corinthians 2:9
Think of the most beautiful place you know.  That place is still under a curse.  However, New Jerusalem will be perfect.  There, we will see God face-to-face for the first time.

2.  An incredible restored relationship awaits us.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12

And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” - Revelation 21:4
Our pastor recommends the book titles Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  

Imagine what Heaven will be like.  There will no longer be any sicknesses.  No cancer, no diabetes, no arthritis, Crohn's Disease, or other autoimmune diseases.  There will be no broken relationships.  No divorce or feuding families.  There will no longer be any death. 
There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. - Revelation 22:3-4
After Jesus' resurrection, He appeared to people who recognized Him.  Therefore, we believe we will recognize people we know here on Earth.

Animals will not eat each other in Heaven.
The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord. - Isaiah 65:25
Jesus is coming quickly.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. - Revelation 22:20

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”  Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” - Revelation 21:5-8
Heaven:  The Future in View


Friday, September 27, 2019

The NIV Quest Study Bible: Answers to Thousands of Questions About the Bible

NIV Quest Study Bible

*As a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member, I received the NIV Quest Study Bible from Bible Gateway in exchange for an honest review on this blog.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

It would be impossible for me to read through the entire Bible and read all the extra that this Bible offers before my deadline for this review.  However, I have had this Bible for a couple of weeks now.  I've used it at church and at home.  I do like it a lot and I'm happy for the opportunity to tell you about it.

The NIV Quest Study Bible

NIV Quest Study Bible

The NIV Quest Study Bible has a lot to offer its readers.  You'll find an introduction to the books of the Bible, side column notes, reading plans, and so much more.  I really like the cultural context side notes.  At church, our ladies' Bible study class is focusing on learning to study the Bible in the context in which it was originally written.  Understanding those cultural concepts is important for learning scriptures in their original context.  Taking verses out of their original context poses the danger of misinterpreting scripture.  We don't want to misinterpret scriptures.  When we misinterpret a Bible verse, we tend to assign a meaning to it that fits our own personal agenda, rather than the meaning God intends for it.

NIV Quest Study Bible

If you enjoy reading plans, you'll love these!  Many Bibles have a plan for reading the Bible through in a year or something similar.  The NIV Quest Study Bible offers you something extra.  Take a look at the photo above.  You'll notice that this Bible offers you reading plans with a purpose, not JUST to read it though.  There is a reading plan for the life and teachings of Jesus, the life and teachings of Paul, and a two week reading plan on the Old Testament.  These reading plans are considered Course 1 of 3 courses offered in this Bible.  Course 1 (above) is an Introduction to the Bible.

Course 2 is called A Guided Tour of the Bible.  Some of those reading plans are:

The Northern Kingdom of Israel
The Southern Kingdom of Israel
Starting Over
Cries of Pain
Responses to Jesus
Paul's Legacy
Vital Letters

NIV Quest Study Bible

Course 3 is called Every Word in the Bible.  This is the course for reading the Bible through, but it is not designed to read it through in a year.  It is designed to read every word in the Bible and to read it with understanding.  It is recommended for a 3 year study.

NIV Quest Study Bible

With this Bible, you'll get a historical overview.  If you don't already know this information, you'll learn about the Pentateuch, history books of the Bible, books of poetry, the prophets, the gospels, and the letters.  You'll get a historical overview of each genre of scripture.

NIV Quest Study Bible

Earlier, I mentioned that you'll get an introduction to each book of the Bible.  Here is the introduction to the book of Genesis.  They tell you why you should read the book, who wrote the book, the period of history the book covers, why it was written, to whom it was written, and what to look for as you read the book.  At the bottom of the page is a timeline to help you visualize the historical significance of the book.

NIV Quest Study Bible

When I was younger, I didn't appreciated the significance of Biblical maps.  Now, I absolutely love using maps when I'm studying the Bible.  I enjoy placing events in the Bible on the map and then realizing where that event happened on our modern maps.  The Bible is not just a book.  It is real history!  It is a book about things that actually took place.  Using maps helps us remember that the people we read about in the Bible were real people who lived in and visited real places, places you and I might live or visit today.

NIV Quest Study Bible

The side column notes are helpful.  They build on the information you get at the front of this Bible but they are right there with you as you read.  They'll sometimes insert small maps which I have learned to love.

NIV Quest Study Bible

The NIV Quest Study Bible is written in single column format.  Some of the pages have more space for notes than others.  This particular page has a lot of space for notes on the left side column.  Other pages have less.  Some have none at all, but when there is no space for notes, that's when they have a lot to tell you about that particular Bible passage.

NIV Quest Study Bible

You'll get a table of weights and measures.

Here are a few other special extras you get with the NIV Quest Study Bible.

NIV Quest Study Bible

Promises from the Bible

Reading Bible promises is encouraging during trials and difficult times.  We all go through trials and difficult times.  It is truly said that every person is either about to go through a trial, in the middle of a trial, or coming out of a trial.  Maybe you are in all three stages at the same time but due to different circumstances.  This section of the NIV Quest Study Bible will help.

NIV Quest Study Bible

Perspectives from the Bible

Perspectives from the Bible is designed to help you through various circumstances in life.  Does your faith need strengthening?  Read Genesis 15:1-6, Proverbs 3:5-9, Romans 5:1-11, and the other passages listed.  Do you need to control your tongue?  Read Psalm 39:1, Proverbs 10:18-20, Matthew 15:1-20, and James 3:1-12.  You get the idea.

NIV Quest Study Bible

Index to Subjects

Do you want to study a particular Biblical subject?  Look it up here and find a list of verses to read on said subject.

NIV Quest Study Bible


Do you want to know what a word means, particularly inside the context in which it was written?  Look it up in the dictionary/concordance.  You'll get a meaning for the word and cross references where the word was used in other places within the Bible.

NIV Quest Study Bible

Index to Color Maps

NIV Quest Study Bible

Color Maps

Remember how I said I have learned to love maps when studying the Bible?  The NIV Quest Study Bible has a large section of color maps in the back and an index to go with it.  

I've enjoyed using the NIV Quest Study Bible over the past couple of weeks.  It will make a great addition to my Bible study library.  It would also a great addition to yours.

NIV Quest Study Bible
This item is available here.

NIV Quest Study Bible

If you have questions about the NIV Quest Study Bible that I did not answer in this post, ask them in the comments below.  I'll answer them to the best of my ability.  

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Will You Follow Jesus?

Salvation - Will you follow Jesus?

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled "Will You Follow Jesus?"

The scripture passage for today is in John 14.

You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Will You Follow Jesus Christ? | September 22, 2019 | Pastor Jeff Crook from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

 Will You Follow Jesus?

We don't need to fear anything that happens in this life as long as long as we follow Jesus Christ.
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. - John 14:1-6
Some people say to believe in something.  It doesn't matter what you believe, but believe in something and remain true to it.  They say it doesn't matter in the end.  This is not true.  Jesus says that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one goes to the Father in Heaven without Jesus.

Will you become a follower of Jesus today?

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death.  Wages is something we receive for work done.  We receive wages in the form of a paycheck when we have completed the work expected of us in our jobs. Because of our spiritual death, rebellion, and sin, the wages we deserve is death.  We deserve Hell, eternal separation from God.

BUT . . .

Look at the second part of Romans 6:23.  The free gift of God is eternal life IN JESUS.  Jesus took our sin upon Himself and paid the price for our sin.

What Jesus did is like a scenario in a courtroom.  Imagine being in court about to receive sentencing for something done wrong.  You are about to be sentenced to death, but someone steps in and says he will take your place and set your free.  Only Jesus can do this for us.

Will you follow Jesus today?

Perhaps you are a regular church-goer.  Maybe you are in church every Sunday, but you still don't have a relationship with Jesus.  Remember that good works and regular church attendance doesn't get you to Heaven.  You must have a relationship with Jesus.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. - 1 Timothy 2:5-6

Be sure to watch the video above to watch my pastor's demonstration of our separation from God.

Even if we always do everything right, we still remain separated from God without a relationship with Jesus.

Jesus built a bridge.  He made a path.  Jesus says He is the the way.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16
Salvation through Jesus is a precious gift.  It doesn't cost us anything, but it is a gift that must be received.  You must personally receive your gift from God.  

Will you receive your gift of eternal life today? 

How do you receive this gift?  It's really as simple as a prayer, but the prayer must be sincere.  You must realize your need for God.  We are sinners.  You are a sinner.  You can't make excuses for your sin.  You can't say you were born this way or that you inherited your sin.  You must own your sin.  You must realize that you need a relationship with Jesus Christ and you must be willing to change.  Turning from your sin is called repentance.  You turn around - turn away from your sinful addictions and turn to God.

You must believe the gospel.  You must believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ.  You must believe in the power of the cross.  You must believe that Jesus is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Then, personally receive your gift of salvation.  Receive Him by faith and begin your sincere relationship with Jesus Christ.

In your own words right now, tell God how much you need Him.  Then ask Him to forgive you.  Ask Him to enter your life.  If you are sincere in this prayer, tell  God that you want Him to become not just the forgiver in your life, but also the leader of your life.  Now, thank God for hearing your prayer and saving your.  :)

If you just sincerely prayed the prayer above, welcome to the family of God, my new brother or sister in Christ.

Now, your first act of obedience is to be baptized.  I encourage you to attend a Baptist church in your area.  If you have never attended church, you need to start going.  Get there, get plugged in, make Christian friends, and develop your relationship with Jesus and with other believers.

Read all posts in this View-master Series here.

Salvation - Will you follow Jesus?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

God's Design for Sexuality

As part of our pastor's Viewmaster Series, we are studying the Bible as it relates to our Biblical Worldview concerning "hot topics" of today.  Today's lesson is about God's design for sexuality.  The world will tell us that all sorts of sexual identities and practices are "normal" or acceptable.  However, sex was created by God and He has a design for it.  It is important that we know what God's design for sexuality is.  Our worldview on this topic should be shaped by God's Word, not the world.

God's Design for Sexuality

Our pastor quoted a sad statistic.  He says that only 10% of the American population believes in an absolute truth.  Even more sad, 80% of professed Christians make decisions based on how they feel, rather than the truth of Scripture.  Friends, our feelings should NEVER supersede the revelation of Scripture.

You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here as our pastor preaches this sermon.  My notes on this sermon are found below the video.

God's Design For Sexuality. | September 15, 2019 | Pastor Jeff Crook from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

God's Design for Sexuality

1.  God's Design

Loveless truth and truthless love are BOTH wrong.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - Genesis 1:27
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. - Genesis 1:18-25
God created only 2 sexes to compliment one another for the purpose of creating children in the context of marriage.  

Current worldly culture tells us that there are different ways to look at this but God has already spoken His design for sexuality and His plan (design) for human flourishing is evident throughout the whole Bible.

God's Word is VERY CLEAR about what we are to NOT do.
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. - Leviticus 18:22
It's right there in the Bible.  The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination.

When we step out of God's design, we are stepping into sinful rebellion.  God's design for gender identity is just as specific as sexuality. 
A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God. - Deuteronomy 22:5
This verse in Deuteronomy is not talking about women wearing jeans or men wearing a pink shirt.  This verse speaks to women pretending to be men and men pretending to be women.  Like homosexuality, the Bible calls this practice an abomination.

The roots of gender rebellion are in atheistic evolution/revolution. 
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries. - Mark 7:21
Read the entire chapter of Leviticus 18 here at Bible Gateway.  This chapter clearly describes God's design for sexuality from the Old Testament to the New Testament. 

Both marriage and celibacy are blessed by God.
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”  And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?”  He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.  And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”  But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” - Matthew 19:3-12

Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:13-20

2.  Our Rebellion

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. - Genesis 3:6-7
All sin comes out and when it comes out, it hurts.  

Sin will take you further than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay, and make you stay longer than you want to stay. (I'm not sure who originally said this, but I remember this same true statement from one of my earlier Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer Bible studies.)
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. - Romans 1:21-27
When we violate God's divine design, we bring judgement upon ourselves.
There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death. - Proverbs 14:12

3.  Hope for Sexual Sinners

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” - Genesis 3:13
We are ALL broken, but just because you have a "feeling," you don't have the freedom to act on it.

It is import for us to remember that we should not "throw stones" at one another.  

We need to stop excusing our behavior and repent.

Allow God to transform you into a person living under His divine design.

As Christians, what is our roll?  We are to stay true to Scripture and love people back to Jesus.

View all posts in this View-master Series here.

God's Design for Sexuality

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Life is Sacred

Life is Sacred

 Life is Sacred

All humans are created by God.  All humans are made in the image of God.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” - Genesis 1:26-28
The body is an exquisite masterpiece of human design.  Think about all our functioning systems and how they all work together to keep us alive.  AMAZING!
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! - Psalm 139:13-17

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5
Life is Sacred
This item is available here.

"Image of God" means relationship

"Image of God" means representation.

Our lives represent who God is.

Our pastor references a bus junk yard just north of our area.  It sits off of one of our main state roads just north of the county line.  We have always called it the bus grave yard.  The lot is home to who knows how many old school buses.  The old schools buses were once fully functioning school buses.  They used to safely transport students to school and back home.  Now, they are broken, rusty shells of what they once were.  

Someone who is not walking with the Lord is like one of those old school buses.  They are made in the image of God but they no longer look or function like there were created to look and function.

With our lives, we either live the life God created us to live and bless those around us or we function like an old broken school bus.
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. - James 3:9
Be careful with your keyboard.  Social media is both a wonderful and terrible place.  Let's be careful how we represent the God we serve both online and off.  We are ambassadors for Christ.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:20

View all posts in this View-master Series here.

Life is Sacred

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller is set 110 miles from Antarctica's largest base, McMurdo Station. The start year is 2022. This story spans 4 years, 4 summer seasons at Semotus Base, Antarctica. Semotus Base houses Lucas and Jane Whyse, their son, other scientists and several labs during each 4 month summer stay in the region as they implement their Split Horizon Project of which Jane, a physicist, is the leader. For almost a decade, Lucas and Jane have been working with NASA on their idea of piezoelectric jet propulsion. Piezoelectricity is defined as electric polarization in a substance, especially certain crystals, resulting from the application of mechanical stress. In other words, an electrical field is created when certain crystals are squeezed. Lucas has modified his quartz crystals so that they will produce enough of a surge for faster-than-light travel (FTL) when paired with Jane's capsule design. They are in Antarctica to study the cold temperatures which will hopefully bring them a step closer to simulating the deep freeze of space.

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller
Going Back Cold Image Used by Permission from Kelley Rose Waller
*Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller was provided by Kelley Rose Waller in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review of the book.

At the beginning of the first summer, Lucas, Jane, and the rest of the crew at Semotus Base have had a few days to acclimate to the Antarctic climate. They are ready to start working. Everything seems to be going as planned until Jane is delivered surprising news . . . very surprising news.

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller

Having read Kelley Rose Waller's previous novel, The Senator's Youngest Daughter, I expected an exciting level of suspense. As I settled into the story, all of the characters seemed sincere and trustworthy. I kept wondering when I might become suspicious of a character's motives. Then, it happened. I had a character to distrust . . . maybe.

Going Back Cold takes place only a few years in the future. It took me a little bit of time to understand the science in this novel (and there is a lot of it) but once I got the hang of it, I enjoyed the science and the lingering suspense that somewhere, somehow, something is soon going to go very wrong. I hadn't expected a twist in the story that made my heart cry as I remembered my own personal pain from a very similar situation. For a while, Jane's heart and mine were beating to the same rhythm of sadness and grief.

The grief that Lucas and Jane endure brings to surface a truth of which we as believers are sometimes not aware or we choose to ignore. Sometimes our faith is tied to our circumstances. It's easy to trust in God and praise Him when everything is going well. It's easy to have faith in God when your faith has never been truly tested.

Sometimes, when a person's faith is truly tested, not as in a failed test grade after praying to ace it kind of test, but the kind of test that leaves a person so engulfed in agony that he or she can't breath - that kind of test - sometimes after that kind of test, a person might no longer believe in a God who could allow such hurt. Lucas and Jane are scientist. They aren't the kind of scientists who deny the existence of God, but the kind of scientists who KNOW there is a God BECAUSE of what they have learned about the universe through scientific study. Even after tragedy, they believe because "His fingerprints are everywhere they look."
“You just said you still believed,” Lucas pointed out.

“Yes, I do… but it’s not like I could possibly face the universe now thinking no one was in charge and that nothing happened for a reason,” she said sadly. “I understand too much real science to possibly shake the idea that there’s a Creator. His fingerprints are everywhere I look. (Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller)
Another passage revealing the truth that science proves a Creator:
“More than that,” Lucas said. “Science. Science doesn’t surprise me because I know the Creator.”

“That’s a big perspective.”

“I guess,” Lucas replied. “But it’s the only one that makes sense for me. The deeper you get into this stuff, the more obvious God becomes.” (Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller)
Several chapters into the story, I realized that this story is not about a government secret, a spy, a traitor, or government sabotage.  This story is a story about great loss and how we respond.

Although this is a story about loss, it does include a certain degree of suspense. The reader, especially readers who love sci fi stories, will absolutely love the science in Going Back Cold. At first, I thought the science was the main focus, but after a while, I realized that the science of traveling faster than the speed of light and the possibility of time travel were the background stories. The main focus of the story is about dealing with tragic loss. The main focus of the story deals with the popular question about how a loving God could allow such a terrible thing to happen, especially to people who are faithful to Him.

Lucas and Jane must come to terms with accepting God's plan for their life together even if it isn't the plan they had in mind. There was an element of time travel in Going Back Cold that I had never thought about when lining it up with God's plan for the universe. Well, I've never actually tried to line up the idea of time travel with God's plan for the universe but this story made me do that. Even if time travel was actually possible, how could it be right?

In the story, Lucas asks Jane, "Is it OK for us to determine that we are going to redo something that God has already ordained?"

This gives us something to think about in today's reality. The next time I wish I could go back and change something, I'll remember that time belongs to God. He ordains our steps.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. - Proverbs 16:9
I have endured 22 years of grief over the same kind of tragedy as Jane and Lucas. At the time, if I could have gone back in time to change the outcome, maybe I would have; but if I had, would I have been living in God's established order? No.

At one point in the story, Jane asked the question, "How can there ever be real hope for tomorrow when today is spoiled by yesterday's heartbreak?"

I think that's a good question and many people whose hearts are suffering might be asking that same thing. We must place our hope in the One who owns all of time and everything in it.

Even when tragedy changes our plan and causes great suffering which might never completely go away, we must trust His plan because even though God does not cause tragedies to happen, He allows them. When He allows hurt, we must endure it knowing that we are living in God's established order.

Lucas and Jane find comfort in a special Bible verse:
The Lord's loving-kindnesses indeed never cease for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23
They learn that it is OK to move forward without moving on.

Candace, another character in the story has a secret of her own. She bears her own heavy burden alone, but must find a path to peace and forgiveness.

With all the sci fi and heavy hurt in this story, I should mention that there is plenty of humor in Going Back Cold as well - suspense, humor, tragedy - all set in front of a background of science fiction excitement.

By the way, I had to look it up but I leaned that piezolectricity is a real thing.

To sum up: Set in front of a background of exciting science fiction, Going Back Cold is a story of the reality of hope, forgiveness, and healing after great hurt. It is a story about a faith that sustains through suffering and a sovereign God who will never leave us.

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Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller
Image Used by Permission from Kelley Rose Waller

Kelley Rose Waller
Kelley Rose Waller
Kelley writes fiction to imagine new life experiences. Her debut novel, The Senator’s Youngest Daughter, was released October 1, 2016. This conservative political thriller pits a young woman and her family against a media tycoon backed by the president of a very different United States.

Kelley’s day job as a marketing strategist offers her the opportunity to write and plan for clients in diverse fields. Kelley and her husband are Pennsylvania foster parents. She lives and writes to uplift and glorify the name of Jesus Christ.

Kelley is a ridiculous fan of science fiction and board games. She has a B.A. in English and lives in Lancaster, PA, with her husband, three sons, and their dog.

Visit Kelley Rose Waller's at:

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Meaning of Life

Way too many people feel like their lives are meaningless and the suicide rate is alarming.

Do you feel like your life is meaningless?  I'm here to tell you that your life has meaning.

The Meaning of Life

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled "The Meaning of Life."  You are invited to watch, listen and worship with us here.

The Meaning Of Life. | September 1, 2019 | Pastor Jeff Crook from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

The Meaning of Life

Many circumstances might cause you to begin to question the meaning of life, the brevity of it.  Birth, marriage, a stillborn child, loss of a child, a milestone birthday, something else you experience that leaves a huge impact on your life whether it be positive or negative - all of those things (and many others) could cause a person to question the meaning of life.

When we look at the Scriptures, we will find that we inherit meaning and purpose.

What is our aim in life as believers in Jesus?  To glorify God and enjoy Him.

Those who do not have a relationship with Jesus often find themselves asking what more is there to life.  There must be something more.

There is nothing more outside of God.  Nothing makes sense apart from God.
Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You.”
As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. - Psalm 16
We tend to measure our worth based on the people and things around us or a position we hold at work on in our communities.  However, our meaning, our purpose, is nothing apart from God.

As a child of God, every relationship I have is tied to my relationship with the Lord.

We were made by God and for God.

Life is not random.

Life is no accident.

We have purpose and meaning in the Lord.

We usually want these things:

1.  We want to choose the right path in life.
2.  We want to find what makes us happy.
3.  We want the path we are on an the happiness we feel to last.  Take another look at Psalm 16:11

We want joy instead of happiness.  Happiness is circumstantial.  Joy is not. Even when your circumstances are not good, you can still have joy.

Joy in the Lord lasts forever.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. - John 10:10

For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ - Acts 17:28

View all posts in this View-master Series here.

The Meaning of Life