Embracing Grace: The Book of Heaven

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 34

Scripture: Job 15:31; Romans 3:9-26; 2 Timothy 3:12-20; 1 John 1:5-10; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Hebrews 10:26-27.

Photo Credit: Anna Cervova. Public Domain.

One of the benefits of home schooling is that if you aren’t already well read, you will be in a very short time. It’s the steep learning curve that gets to most of us. Case in point, our youngest daughter finished a report the other day on a book written by James Henry Daugherty1, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, Pioneers of Oregon, published in 1953 by Viking Press and The Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd. Unless you are aware of the materials Christian home school educators advocate, you may not know the level of esteem to which Daugherty is held by folks within these circles. He had the ability to draw readers into his story with colloquialisms and historical details which made realistic individuals out of names on a page. Authors like this are what makes history come alive, not the endless listing of dry facts.

I was not very far at all in skimming through this book in preparation for grading the report when my eyes were caught by these words:

Four Nez Percé Indians had come to St. Louis from beyond the Rockies. They said they had come to learn about the white man’s God. They asked that they might take the white man’s Book of Heaven – the Bible – back to their people.

“When I tell my poor blind people, after one more snow, in the big council, that I did not bring the Book, no word will be spoken by our old men or by our young braves. One by one they will rise up and go out in silence. My people will die in darkness, and they will go on the long path to the other hunting grounds. No white man will go with them, and no white man’s Book will make the way plain. I have no more words.” These were the words of The Rabbit-Skin Leggings as reported in the Christian Advocate2 for March 1833. And all good churchgoers read them and said it was a shame that the “Wise Men from the West” had gone back without the Bible. But no one seemed eager to go with them across the Great American Desert and teach them Christianity.3

The white man’s Book of Heaven?

No wonder Daugherty’s books are no longer used in many of our public schools.

I have to wonder, though, what sort of spiritual hunger these four Nez Percé experienced that caused them to humble themselves and come to a white settlement and ask for God’s Word. This data does not line up with the diversity mantra the leftist elites are today force feeding the public.

Imagine that.

Could it be, perhaps, that we are not being told the whole truth regarding the settling of the American west? It seems to me that the goal of all such political correctness is to divide, not unite, the exact opposite of what progressives claim they are doing. The goal: to destroy national sovereignty in order to pave the way for one world governing.

Aren’t you being too opinionated and political for this devotional? What about separation of church and state?

Glad you asked.

When God looks at you, He sees the color of your heart, not your skin. Since my growth as a follower of the Biblical Jesus is the goal of these devotionals, I need to look at the whole person to accomplish this, not just “safe” topics. It is time the sacred cows are talked about openly. After all, the first synonym for sacred cow listed in Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus is “god.”

I rest my case.

Second listed and others following are “goddess, golden calf, hero, idol, object of worship, protected interest, sensitive issue, tin god.”4

Sacred cow doesn’t mean idol in this instance; it means protected interest or sensitive issue.

Since you brought it up…

The Unabridged www.dictionary.com website, which is based on The Random House Dictionary, lists the first definition of synonym as “a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the language, as joyful, elated, glad.”5 The first synonym for the word synonym listed is “equivalent.”6

That may be true, but the second synonym listed for “synonym” is metonym, and we are, after all, talking rhetoric here.

Ah, we have a rhetorical analyst for a reader.

The noun, metonymy, is defined as “a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related.”7 The word comes from 1540-50 Late Latin, metōnymia, and from the 1560s Greek, metōnymía, which literally is “a change of name.” It is used when “the name of one thing is used in place of another that is suggested by or associated with it (e.g. the Kremlin for “the Russian government”).”8

In short, both the dictionary and thesaurus state that the words sacred cow and idol in essence means the same thing. By their parameters of definition, therefore, both of these phrases, protected interest and sensitive issue, in essence also mean the same thing as idol.


My point in this exercise of rhetoric is to show that our publicly accepted tools of defining the English language condemn me when I try to hang onto my golden calves. We all know what God says about idols.

I cannot insulate my mind from what is true and expect to grow spiritually.

In equal measure, I must embrace God’s Truth, even when my mind does not understand it, trusting that as I walk in obedience to His Word, He will open my understanding.

Read: Job 15:31; Romans 3:9-26; 2 Timothy 3:12-20; 1 John 1:5-10; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Hebrews 10:26-27. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, please enable me to embrace the entirety of your Word, the Book of Heaven. Come, be my strength and move through me in gentleness to reach my world, to all who call themselves “wise men.” In Jesus’ name, amen.


1 Born June 1, 1889, in Asheville, North Carolina, James Henry Daugherty went on to study art in D.C. at the Corcoran School of Art and the Philadelphia Art Academy, then to London, where he studied two years under artist and master engraver, Frank Brangwyn. He spent a large portion of his life writing and illustrating children’s books, winning the coveted Newbery Medal for his self illustrated book, Daniel Boone, Wilderness Scout (1940), and runner-up for Caldecott Medals with two books: Andy and the Lion (1939), and Gillespie and the Guards (1957).
2The Christian Advocate, Volume 11. Edited by Ashbel Green. Published by A. Finley, 1833. An online version may be read at Google Books. March begins on page 112, http://books.google.com/books?id=wN42AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Christian+Advocate,+1833&source=bl&ots=4i7wkUjFDO&sig=qpTwciS9O6rcivXV7rtBZdZ1I0g&hl=en&ei=4x55TYeRI8XerAGxjuzwBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#
3Exceprt, p. 15. Marcuss and Narcissa Whitman, Pioneers of Oregon. James Daugherty. Copyright 1953, New York, Viking Press. Copyright September 1953, The Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd.
4 “sacred cow.” Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Philip Lief Group 2009. 10 Mar. 2011. <Thesaurus.com http://thesaurus.com/browse/sacred%20cow?__utma=1.1359876381.1299711677.1299782717.1299788829.4&__utmb=|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none)&__utmv=-&__utmk=9180853>.
5 “synonym.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 10 Mar. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/synonym>.
6 “synonym.” Bold mine. Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Philip Lief Group 2009. 10 Mar. 2011. <Thesaurus.com http://thesaurus.com/browse/synonym?__utma=1.1359876381.1299711677.1299782717.1299788829.4&__utmb=|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none)&__utmv=-&__utmk=211505813>.
7“metonymy.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 10 Mar. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/metonymy>.
8 “metonymy.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 10 Mar. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/metonymy>.

Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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