Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Uncovering the Life of Jesus - Book Review

This is a very short book about some of the events and lessons in Jesus' life on earth (from the book of Luke), including the prodigal son, the centurion who proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God, and the resurrection of Christ. There are questions to get you thinking, and places to write your notes. I enjoyed it, but wish it were a bit longer and in depth and more helpful in witnessing (which I thought would be the theme of the book). It also seems to be from an Arminian perspective, which goes against what I believe the Bible teaches. However, there were a few new thoughts to me, and it could be a helpful book for those who are new to the Bible, and could be applied to witnessing.

My thanks go to crossfocusedreviews.com for this book to review!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tears in Room 001

Take a moment, if you will, to read this touching and inspiring account by a friend of mine!

Tears in Room 001

Friday, April 3, 2015

His Mercy Surrounding - Short Story, Part 1

I started writing this over a year ago, and it's still unfinished, but I thought I'd post what I have of it, and perhaps be more motivated to finish it.  I hope you like it!  Comments and critiques are welcome.

His Mercy Surrounding
Copyright 2015, Melissa Merritt

The light bulb flickered, then died, plunging the room into darkness.

"Stupid light," Greta mumbled, then rummaged for a flashlight in the purse that weighed down her shoulder.  She always came prepared for anything.

The beam of her flashlight revealed cracked walls, warped cardboard, and old pallets.  She thought she heard rustling.  Probably rats or a stray cat.

"Why did you have to pick this place, Adam?"  She clenched her jaw, turning slowly and scanning every corner of the room.  One never knew who else might be using this old warehouse as a rendezvous.

She heard footsteps shuffling.  Adam always walked like that, with his hands in his pockets and a quiet smile on his face.

"Hey, babe," Adam said, grinning as he reached her.  "What'd you call me at this deep, dark hour for, sounding so mysterious and frantic?  Missed me that much?"

Greta felt herself trembling, and tried to still herself.  She even managed a half smile.  "You wish."  She took a deep breath.  "I'm pregnant, Adam."

His eyebrows rose.

"I don't know what to do!"  She pressed her lips together to keep from crying.

He breathed a laugh.  "Well, what do you think?  Either you hide away in Australia, or you get an abortion."

She put her hands to her forehead.  "But it's your child!  We could--get married.  It's still early enough."

Adam shook his head and backed away.  "No way. I'm not ready for that!  We're in high school, for crying out loud!"

"I know.  I know!"  She huffed out a breath.  "I never thought this would happen.  It would kill my dad!  You know him."

Adam smirked.  "Yeah. Mr. Preach-to-all-the-world-yet-neglect-his-daughter.  He deserves the humiliation."

Greta's eyebrows knit together.  "But--isn't abortion murder?"

"You swallow that lie from your father?"

Greta turned and looked at the floor, its grime glaring in the round circle of flashlight.  "He might be right about some things."

Adam put a hand on her shoulder gently.  "Greta.  He's a hypocrite.  I'm sorry to say it, but he is.  How could he be right when he's so wrong about so much?"

Greta bit her lip.  Her father did advocate being a loving parent, leading the home in righteousness.  He never seemed to have time to live out his words.  Television crews and huge crowds  flocked to him, and he drank it up.  He only had one child, yet he didn't even take an interest in her beyond asking how her week was or what she was studying in school, and that while he was surfing the internet or reading a book.

She sniffled and blinked away tears.  "Maybe you're right."


Becky pulled her crocheted cardigan on and hummed a line of Handel's Messiah.  The sky was cloudy gray, but there was one little pocket of sky where the sun shone through.

May Your light shine, oh, God, she prayed.  May there be someone saved from darkness today, and some little lives kept.

The tea kettle whistled shrilly.  She poured a mug, stirring in honey, then letting the tea bag steep for a minute while she chomped down a banana.  She carried the cup to her mom.  "I'm about ready to leave.  Pray for us.  Love you."

Her mom smiled.  "Thank you, honey.  I love you, too.  I'll be praying."

Becky nodded, then paused with her hand on the door-frame.  "I'll be praying for you, too.  Hope your doctor's visit goes well."

"I'm sure it will.  It's just a check-up."

Becky drove her car to her friends' house.  Mrs. Harper was in the van waiting.  Becky hopped in the van and was greeted warmly.

"Peyton is running late, as you can see," Mrs. Harper said with a grin.  "I think that girl would be late to a baseball game, and you know how much she loves those! . . . Wait, she has been late for one."

Becky smiled.  "The main thing is she's coming.  I'm so glad you could both make it! Thank you for taking me."

A minute went by before Peyton came jogging out, a bagel in one hand, a satchel on her shoulder, and a Bible in her other hand.


Does anyone care about me?  Do you care, God?

Greta gripped her purse strap tightly, feeling metal dig her skin.  She swallowed and gazed at the abortion clinic through a clump of tall bushes.  Women, some weeping, some with head held high, were ushered into the clinic through the big gates.  They were greeted with smiles, but the workers seemed in a hurry.  Outside the gate, there were a few sign-clad people, and some shouting, some praying.

Other women came out of the clinic, looking broken.  Was that what she would look like when she came out?  If her nerves were any indication, it was more than likely.

Adam seemed to think it would be easy, that it was the only option.  But they didn't have to operate on him.

She wiped her face, making up her mind.  She turned, hopped in her car, and revved the engine.

Then she saw a similar building across the street and a little farther down.  The sign had a stylized drawing of a mother and baby on it, and read Hopeful Care.  The name might have sounded cheesy to her at another time, but right now . . . Hopeful Care sounded . . . hopeful.

She parked, looked at the small, flagstone building, and got out.

No one was there to hurry her in like a fugitive.

Inside, a brunette in her thirties looked up with a smile.  "Hello, there!  Welcome to Hopeful Care.  I'm Lindsay. Have a seat, please.  What's your name?"

Greta sat down, glad to rest her jelly-like legs, then ventured, "I'm Greta.  What is this place?"

"Well, Greta, we're here to help troubled women who are pregnant, giving other options besides abortion."


"Yes.  We can give you an ultrasound, first off, to see if you really are pregnant.  Then we discuss the options of keeping the child, giving him up for adoption--"

Greta bit her lip and looked away.  "But what--what would I do in the meantime?" she murmured.

Lindsay reached a hand out to squeeze Greta's hand.  "We'll talk about that, too.  Let me introduce you to some other ladies."

Greta squared her shoulders and followed Lindsay down a hallway and into the first door on the left.

Two girls about her age and a gray-haired woman were in the midst of filling plastic bags with diapers.  They looked up.

"Greta, meet Mrs. Harper, Peyton Harper, and Becky Murray.  Becky's been here for a few months, but the other two are new."


Becky smiled at Greta, noticing the tightly crossed arms, the trembling lips.  "Hello, Greta.  I'm glad to see you." Becky looked at her two friends.  "I think Greta and I will get acquainted, and you can continue packing for now.  Right this way, Greta."

"Are you going to give me a test?" Greta asked.  "Because I already took one, and it was positive."

"Yes, but they can sometimes be wrong.  Rarely, but it's standard procedure to check, and give you a chance to look for yourself."

"Look?  At the fetus?"

"Yes, the unborn baby."

Greta shook her head.  "I really think--well, my boyfriend thinks I should get an abortion.  It would be easier . . ."

Becky's eyebrows pinched together in sorrow.  "It may seem so, Greta, but . . . there are scars from things like that.  Deep, heart scars."

"How would you know?  Have you had an abortion?"  It was tossed out impertinently, but there was something fragile in Greta's eyes that Becky caught.

"No," Becky answered softly.  "But I have a friend who did."  Becky rubbed the chain to her silver heart-shaped locket.  "The pain went so deep she--wanted to kill herself."

Greta froze, then cleared her throat.  "What happened?"

"She tried it, but her parents stopped her before she could finish the job."  Becky's voice trembled a bit, but there was a peaceful smile on her lips.  "And Someone else stopped her, too.  God took hold of her and made her see that there is forgiveness in Him.  There is life.  But there was no going back.  She still regrets her decision to kill her own baby."

Greta pressed her lips together and blinked.  "But how could I take people--looking at me?  My dad . . . everyone.  If God forgives, it can't be so bad to--you know.  Most people don't even think a fetus is a baby yet."

Becky swallowed, adjusting her thoughts into words.  Talking didn't always come easily to her.  "It is a baby--we'll show you pictures of a  baby's growth and functions.  And thus, it is wrong to kill an unborn life.  God forgives, yes, but that is no reason to sin."  Becky prayed a three-second prayer for help and for Greta's heart.  "Think of the horrible price Jesus paid on the cross.  Sin is very serious to God!"

Greta squirmed and sighed deeply.  "Okay, then.  Give me the test."


Greta shut the door behind her, then clenched her jaw.  Her father was sitting at the couch near the door, and he looked up from his Bible only briefly.

"Hi, Dad."

"Hello, sweetheart."  He looked back down and scribbled something in his study notebook.

All veneer, no solids.  Greta would take the rough-and-tumble, not-word-perfect, yet heartfelt dad any day.  Would he even care about anything but his own reputation if she told him that she was pregnant?

"Did you have a good day?"  His words were said nearly every day, like a ritual.

Greta decided to be honest and see if he noticed.  "Just horrible."

"That's good," he mumbled, buried deep in his writing.

Greta rolled her eyes and hurried to her room.  She plopped her leather purse on her bed, then quickly took out a folded paper.  Her fingers trembled, wanting yet not wanting to unfold it.  She swallowed once, twice, then flipped the paper open.

Just as she had seen at Hopeful Care.  Black and white and a bit fuzzy, but there was a hand, a head, and the cutest little nose.  A sob rose in her chest.  She felt like vomiting.  This little person she had thought of putting an end to--why, it was murder, wasn't it?  Dad or no dad.  Perhaps he didn't even mean the words, just said them to sound good . . . but he was right.


To Be Continued . . .