Hillsdale College Tribute on Memorial Day 2016

Remembering the fallen and their families this weekend…Thank You!

Katherine's Chronicle

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What If You Never Publish? He’ll Never Leave You! by Peter Leavell

At age 36, I lay in my bed, dying. Blood tests showed I no longer made testosterone because of an autoimmune disorder.

Treatments helped me recover over the course of a year. I still take treatments.

I lived.

Christ was with me.

At age 36, my brother Chris was weak from cancer, and at 37, he lay in bed, dying.

Tests showed there was no hope.

Treatments didn’t help.

He died.

Christ was with him.

What do we know of such things? Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (NIV)


—He studied a few weeks and plinked out a thriller, then finally cracked into the publishing world with a great contract. He hit the best seller list.

—He studied all his life, and finally decided to self-publish and sold 8 copies. One person grew closer to God because of the work, but the author never knew.

What do we know of such things? Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (NIV)


—The bookstore sales team was cutthroat, underselling everyone, pinching pennies from publishers and authors. Good commerce practice. Their business grew fast until they were a household name.

—The bookstore sales team tried to honor God. They made mistakes, but tried to be sincere. They couldn’t meet their creditors’ demands, and had to close their doors.

What do we know of such things? Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (NIV)


Where do we, as Christian writers, put our hope? How do we make sense of a world that looks like a chaotic jumble of unfair events so horrible we’re filled with pain—physical and emotional?

The questions that must be answered? No, they aren’t the simple ones that only make us toss and turn at night—mere distractions. These are life and death. These are good and evil. Heart ripping, soul crushing, suffering and agony. Losing a son. Staying up with a daughter who overdosed. Loving when the heart has passed exhaustion long ago.

What are the answers?

Is our journey to live happy lives? Our vision and dream is to publish? Instead, grow closer to Christ. Want to be beautiful? Who cares? Grow closer to Christ. Want to have a happy family? Is that your life goal? Eh. Grow closer to Christ. A house? A great job? Nice car? Pshhh. Grow closer to Christ.


John 15:5— I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (ESV)
Christ is beauty and art and hope and dreams fulfilled. Peace with rest. Humility with respect. Love without end. Warmth.
Our only job is to cling to that Vine as tightly as we can with every heartbeat (love the Lord your God with all your heart Matthew 22:37) and the rest is simply details.
Easy for you to say, Peter. You’re an internationally published, award winning author. I’m not sure which is harder, before being published, or after. But who cares?
What do we know of such things? Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (NIV)
(To learn more about growing closer to Christ, read the Bible’s Gospel of John)
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com.
Posted:March 13,2017
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A Public Service By Thomas Sowell

Sometimes someone inadvertently performs a public service by bringing an unbelievably stupid and dangerous idea to the surface, where it can be exposed for what it is.

The New York Times can be credited — if that is the word — with performing this public service in a recent editorial against proposals to allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed guns. They refer to what they call the National Rifle Association’s “fantasy that citizens can stand up to gunmen by shooting it out.”

Nobody has suggested any such thing. Data collected over many years — but almost never seeing the light of day in the New York Times or the rest of the mainstream media — show many thousands of examples of people defending themselves with a gun each year, without having to pull the trigger.

If someone comes at you with a knife and you pull out a gun, chances are they will stop. The only time I ever pointed a gun at a human being, it was when someone was sneaking up toward me from behind a shed in the middle of the night. I never fired a shot. I just pointed the gun at him and told him to stop. He stopped.

Actually having to shoot someone is the exception, not the rule. Yet the New York Times conjures up a vision of something like the gunfight at the OK  Corral.

Concealed guns protect not only those who carry them but also those who do not. If concealed guns become widespread, then a mugger or a car jacker has no way of knowing who has one and who does not. It makes being a mugger or a car jacker a less safe occupation. Gun control laws are in effect occupational safety laws — OSHA for burglars, muggers, car jackers and others.

The fatal fallacy of gun control laws in general is the assumption that such laws actually control guns. Criminals who disobey other laws are not likely to be stopped by gun control laws. What such laws actually do is increase the number of disarmed and defenseless victims.

Mass shootings are often used as examples of a need for gun control. But what puts a stop to mass shootings? Usually the arrival on the scene of somebody else with a gun.

Mass shooters are often portrayed as “irrational” people engaged in “senseless” acts. But mass shooters are usually rational enough to attack schools, churches and other places where there is far less likelihood of someone being on the scene who is armed.

Seldom do we hear about these “irrational” shooters engaging in “senseless” attacks on meetings of the National Rifle Association or a local gun show or a National Guard armory.

The fallacy of believing that the way to reduce shootings is to disarm peaceful people extends from domestic gun control laws to international disarmament agreements. If disarmament agreements reduced the dangers of war, there would never have been a World War II.

The decades leading up to that war were filled with international disarmament agreements. As with domestic gun control laws, the agreements were followed by peaceful countries and ignored by belligerent countries that built up huge war machines, such as in Nazi Germany and imperial Japan.

The net result was that the belligerent countries had every incentive to start wars, and that they inflicted devastating losses on the peaceful countries that had drastically curtailed their own military forces.

Eventually the Western democracies got their act together and turned things around, after they belatedly beefed up their military forces. But thousands of lives were lost needlessly before that happened. World War II was in its third year before Western forces won a single battle.

Undaunted by history, the same kind of thinking that had cheered international disarmament treaties in the 1920s and 1930s once again cheered Soviet-American disarmament agreements during the Cold War.

Conversely, there was hysteria when President Ronald Reagan began building up American military forces in the 1980s. Cries were heard that he was leading us toward nuclear war. In reality, he led us toward an end of the Cold War, without a shot being fired at the Soviet Union.

But who reads history these days, or checks facts before leading the charge to keep law-abiding people disarmed?

Thomas Sowell, a National Humanities Medal winner, is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
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Grand Canyon in All of Its Glory



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Mary And Her Little Lamb

The childhood nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is familiar to all, but did you know it’s based on a real Mary and a real lamb and a real incident that took place at school?

The real Mary, Mary Sawyer, was born in 1806 in the town of Sterling, Massachusetts, the United States. One day, when Mary was about ten, she discovered two recently born lambs on their family farm. One was abandoned by the mother and was nearly dead from cold and neglect. Mary asked her father if she could adopt it as a pet, and although her father was reluctant at first because he feared the lamb would die and Mary would be sad, she was able to coax her father into submission.



“I got the lamb warm by wrapping it in an old garment and holding it in my arms beside the fireplace. All day long I nursed the lamb, and at night it could swallow just a little. Oh, how pleased I was,” remembers Mary. “In the morning, much to my girlish delight, it could stand; and from that time it improved rapidly. It soon learned to drink milk; and from the time it would walk about, it would follow me anywhere if I only called it.”

Both Mary and her lamb became very attached to each other.

“I used to take as much care of my lamb as a mother would of a child. I washed it regularly, kept the burdocks picked out of its fleece, and combed and trimmed with bright-colored ribbons the wool on its forehead.”

“We roamed the fields together and were, in fact, companions and fast friends. I did not have many playmates outside the dumb creatures on the place. There were not many little girls to play with, and I had few dolls; but I used to dress up my lamb in pantalets, and had no end of pleasure in her company. Then I had a little blanket or shawl for her; and usually when that was on, she would lie down at my feet, remaining perfectly quiet and seemingly quite contented.”

One day, her brother suggested that they take the lamb to school. Once they got to the schoolhouse, Mary hid the lamb under her desk and covered it with a blanket. Everything was going fine until Mary was called to the front of the class to recite. The lamb followed her and the entire class including the teacher burst into laughter.


The Redstone School (1798), now in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is believed to be the schoolhouse mentioned in the nursery rhyme. Photo credit: Dudesleeper/Wikimedia

Visiting the school that day was a young man named John Roulstone, who was nephew of a minister. Young Roulstone was so pleased with the incident that he wrote the now famous poem about Mary and the lamb and gave it to her.

The original poem contained three verses, and ran like this:

Mary had a little lamb;
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.

And so the teacher turned it out;
But still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did appear.

Later, when the American writer Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, who was a friend of the minister’s wife, published a small book of poems, she included the three verses and added a few lines of her own.

The poem made it into wider circulation when it was included in a grammar school text, and over the years it has been read and memorized by countless schoolchildren all over the world.

As for John Roulstone, the original author, the poor fellow died of tuberculosis when he was just seventeen.

The Redstone School, to which Mary went and took her lamb with her, was purchased by Henry Ford and relocated to a churchyard on the property of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts, where it can be still seen today.

At Mary’s hometown, Sterling, there stands a small statue representing Mary’s Little Lamb. The historic house at 108 Maple Street, where Mary was born stood until 2007, when it was burned to the ground by an act of arson. A reconstructed house now stands there.


A reconstruction of the Mary Sawyer’s home after it was destroyed. Photo credit: John Phelan/Wikimedia


Photo credit: lynnvalois/Flickr


Inside the school house. Photo credit: Dudesleeper/Wikimedia

Source: Wikipedia / Telegram / New England Historical Society / Story of Mary and her lamb

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The Bible Project–1st and 2nd Chronicles

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5 Questions To Ask of a Book Before You Read It By Tim Challies

They are far and away the most common questions I receive (beyond, perhaps, how to pronounce my name—it rhymes with “valleys”): Can you tell me anything about this author? Have you heard of this book? Is it safe to read? Sometimes people ask to avoid wasting time or money on a book that would not be worth either one, and sometimes they ask to avoid the influence of false doctrine. Since I can’t answer all the questions, and since I can’t know all the books and authors, I’ll offer a few tips on sorting it all out and do so in the form of 5 questions you can ask of any book.

Who wrote you? Familiarize yourself with trustworthy authors. As a reader you should have your list of favorites, the short list of people you regard as especially influential and trustworthy. I believe there is a lot of value in tracking a few authors through the course of their career and reading—or at least considering—every one of their books. This is difficult with an R.C. Sproul since if you begin today you are 100 books behind, but much easier with younger authors who have a shorter list of works. Don’t know where to begin? Then ask a friend or pastor. Or ask me. I’d try people like H.B. Charles Jr., Kevin DeYoung, Gloria Furman, Russell Moore, Andy Naselli, Barnabas Piper, or Jen Wilkin—people like that. They have each written a few books but not so many that you’ll need to spend two years catching up, and they are all likely to write quite a few more. Find “your” authors and read what they write. But then also track who endorses their books, who speaks at conferences with them, and so on. Start to look for connections.

Who published you? You should familiarize yourself with Christian publishers and learn which of them are especially trustworthy. There are quite a lot of excellent publishers whose books may vary by quality and secondary theological issues but which will never fall outside the conservative Evangelical stream. Learn to trust these ones. Among them are Banner of Truth, Christian Focus, Crossway, Evangelical Press, Matthias Media, P&R, Reformation Heritage, Reformation Trust, The Good Book Company, (and, I hope, Cruciform Press since I was involved in founding it). If they publish it, you can be quite confident in it. Other publishers publish a much wider range of titles and, depending on the company, the imprint, or the department, their titles may range from very good to quite concerning or from very good to outright heretical. For these you will need to exercise a bit more caution. Here I refer to IVP, Eerdmans, Multnomah, Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, as well as the faith or Christian imprints of large mainstream publishers (Harper Collins, Penguin, and so on).

Who endorsed you? If you don’t know the author or publisher, or you are still looking for more information, check the endorsements or, more properly, the endorsers. Look there for trusted or at least familiar names. The value of endorsements is not so much in what the endorser says but in the fact that the endorser is willing to put his or her name to the other person’s work. Your favorite and most trusted authors can also become your most trusted endorsers. Not only that, but their friends can become your friends. I have learned that there are some authors who are very slow to put their name to a book so have an extra measure of trust for them. Names that mean a lot to me include : Randy Alcorn, Thabiti Anyabwile, Nancy Leigh Demoss, Mark Dever, Gloria Furman, Mary Kassian, John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Andy Naselli, Burk Parsons, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul. There are others who endorse so many books across such a wide spectrum that I no longer put much stock in their endorsements, but it would be inappropriate for me to say who they are.

Who reviewed you? Avid readers read more than books—they also read reviews of books. Reviews are helpful in giving an in-depth overview of a book or providing some in-depth engagement with it. They also serve to keep you updated on books you have not read. As you commit to reading more and more, begin to find reviewers you can trust. When I haven’t read a book, I find myself looking to see if it has been reviewed by Aaron Armstrong, Books at a Glance, David Steele, The Gospel Coalition, Themelios, or any of my favorite bloggers. For children’s books I look to Redeemed Reader. WORLD magazine is also a useful source if you have a subscription. For general market books I am an avid reader of the book sections of New York Times and Macleans.

Who will I find in your endnotes? If all else fails, look at the book’s sources. Few books stand on their own and most authors rely on work that has already been written. You can learn a lot by flipping to the endnotes to see who the author is quoting and interacting with. Look especially for your favorite authors and publishers. If it is a book on the spiritual disciplines and contains hundreds of quotes from Richard Foster it will be a very different kind of book than if it contains plenty of quotes from, say, Donald Whitney. A book on preaching that draws from Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John MacArthur will be very different from one that draws from Joel Osteen and Rob Bell. The more you familiarize yourself with Christian books, the more information you will be able to glean this way.

All of this is designed to help you filter the few books you will read from the thousands you could read. Not only that, but it is designed to help you get a sense of what a book is all about before you begin to read it. When you are quite new to Christian books, there is value in choosing your books carefully to avoid bad influences. As you familiarize yourself with doctrine and as you better ground yourself in truth, you will become better equipped to exercise discernment when reading and to read “bad” books without fear of being unduly influenced by unworthy books.


Posted: May 9,2016





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