July 17, 2017

To Kill a Mockingbird


When you think of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, you may think of racism in the southern United States during the 1930's, but I found this book to be so much more.

I first read this book in high school many years ago and I've always had fond memories of it. So I finally decided to pick it up again this year, and I'm so glad I did. I just love this book so much!

This book is about family, and about treating others fairly and equally. It's about teaching your children these things and how important the home and family are for children.

It's about a single father (Atticus) in his later years (50 years old) raising two small children after his wife passes away.  Atticus is a lawyer and wonderful father, I loved so much about him. The way he talked to his children as fellow human being, the way he treated others fairly and with grace, and the way he lived a simple, but meaningful life.

This book deals with the serious issue of racism, but like I said earlier,  it's so much more than that. Attitudes start in the home and a parents expressed thoughts often become deeply rooted in their children.

I thought I'd share one conversation Atticus has with his young daughter Scout, about racism and name calling.

"'Atticus', I said one evening, 'what exactly is a n_____-lover?'

Atticus's face was grave. 'Has somebody been calling you that?'

'No sir, Mrs. Dubose calls you that. She warms up every afternoon calling you that. Francis called me that last Christmas, that's where I first heard it.'

'Is that the reason you jumped on him?' asked Atticus.

'Yes sir...'
 
'Then why are you asking me what it means?'

I tried to explain to Atticus that it wasn't so much what Francis said that had infuriated me as the way he had said it. 'It was like he'd said snot-nose or somethin.'

'Scout,' said Atticus, ' n_____-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything - like snot-nose. It's hard to explain - ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favouring Negros over and above themselves. It's slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.'

'You aren't really a n_____-lover, then , are you?'

'I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody...I'm hard put, sometimes - baby, it's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you. So don't let Mrs. Dubose get you down. She had enough troubles of her own.'"

This conversation has so much meaning, for so many reasons.

1. Atticus is talking to his daughter as he would talk to any human being. With respect and helpfulness.
2. He doesn't direct his anger towards those who said this, but generalizes the type of person who uses this language.
3.He is clear on what is right and wrong.
4. He explains ignorance.
5. He has no problem being called this because he thinks of all people as equal and are meant to be loved.
6. He thinks of others and their troubles, so advises not to let these words get his daughter down.

This conversation lets his daughter know clearly, that this language is wrong and ignorant, but also teaches her to love all people and remember everyone is going through something.

There were many wonderful conversations between Atticus and his children. It's one of the things I love most about this book.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when the children's housekeeper Calpurnia, because Atticus is away on business, takes the children to her African American church. At the end of the service the minister asks the congregation to donate to the family of Tom Robinson because he has been falsely accused and is sitting in jail awaiting trial.

"Reverend Sykes closed his sermon. He stood beside a table in front of the pulpit and requested the morning offering, a proceeding that was strange to Jem and me. One by one, the congregation came forward and dropped nickels and dimes into a black enamelled coffee can. Jem and I followed suit, and received a soft, 'Thank you, thank you,' as our dimes clinked.

To our amazement, Reverend Sykes emptied the can on to the table and raked the coins into his hand. He straightened up and said, 'This is not enough, we must have ten dollars.'

The congregation stirred. 'You all know what it's for - Helen can't leave those children to work while Tom's in jail. If everyone gives one more dime, we'll have it -' Reverend Sykes waved his hand and called to someone in the back of the church. 'Alec, shut the doors. Nobody leaves here till we have ten dollars.'

Calpurnia scratched in her handbag and brought forth a battered leather coin purse. 'Naw, Cal,' Jem whispered, when she handed him a shiny quarter, 'we can put ours in. Gimme your dime, Scout.'

The church was becoming stuffy, and it occurred to me that Reverend Sykes intended to sweat the amount due out of his flock. Fans crackled, feet shuffled, tobacco-chewers were in agony.

Reverend Sykes startled me by saying sternly, 'Carlow Richardson, I haven't seen you up this aisle yet.'

A thin man in khaki pants came up the aisle and deposited a coin. The congregation murmured approval.

Reverend Sykes then said, 'I want all of you with no children to make a sacrifice and give one more dime apiece. Then we'll have it.'

Slowly, painfully, the ten dollars were collected. The door was opened, and the gust of warm air revived us. Zeebo lined On Jordan's Stormy Banks, and church was over."

A pastor who encourages his congregation to help a family in need and won't take no for an answer! I so enjoyed reading this and the straightforwardness of this pastor! : )


If you haven't read 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' I highly recommend you do. It had a huge impact on me as a teen and now I've been reminded why. It's a moving and beautiful story everyone should read.


*Warning: There are a few mild curse words and the use of the 'N' word throughout.


Buy it HERE on Amazon


July 10, 2017

Taking God at His Word


I think this is an extremely important book for the times we live in. Times where even those who profess Christ are rejecting the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

Kevin DeYoung says of his book here:

"This is a book unpacking what the Bible says about the Bible. My aim is to be simple, uncluttered, straightforward, and manifestly biblical."

I believe this was accomplished with this book. It was easy to read and understand, as well as encouraging. It's fairly short, but included a lot of great insights.

One of the main points of the book, I found to be, was the importance of realizing God speaks to us through the Scriptures.

The God of the universe speaks to us through the Scriptures.

How privileged are we to hear His voice whenever we pick up His Word.

I've heard and read of many Christians, in this world, who would do anything for a Bible, to hear God speak, and yet many have one and rarely pick it up.

I loved what the author says here:

"There is no calamity like the silence of God. We cannot know the truth or know ourselves or know God's ways or savingly know God himself unless God speaks to us. Every true Christian should feel deep in his bones an utter dependence on God's self-revelation in the Scriptures. 'Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.' (Deut. 8:3;Matt. 4:4)."


Chapter seven stood out to me the most. Titled 'Christ's Unbreakable Bible' it delves into what Jesus believed about the Scriptures.

The author says here:

"...we must conclude that whatever the perfect Son of God believed about the sacred writings, we should believe the same. There should be nothing controversial at all in affirming that Christ's doctrine of Scripture should be our doctrine of Scripture."

I am someone who agrees with what this author teaches about Scripture. So for me reading this book was a bit of a refresher. But I found this particular chapter really encouraged me, as I'd never thought of believing the Bible because Jesus believed it. It gave me a lot to think about.

Quotes like this were eye-opening...

"Our Messiah sees Himself as an expositor of Scripture, but never a corrector of Scripture. He fulfills it, but never falsifies it. He turns away wrong interpretations of Scripture, but insists there is nothing wrong with Scripture, down to the crossing of t's and dotting of i's. "

And here:

"Jesus believed Scripture was the Word of God, and as such, it would be gross impiety to think that any word spoken by God, or committed to writing by God, might be an errant word, a wrong word, or a broken word."

And here:

"In the Gospels we see Jesus reference Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah, Isaac and Jacob, manna in the wilderness, the serpent in the wilderness, Moses as the lawgiver, David and Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Elijah and Elisha, the widow of Zarephath, Naaman, Zechariah, and even Jonah, never questioning a single event, a single miracle, or a single historical claim. Jesus clearly believed in the historicity of biblical history."

And  here:

"Jesus has no problem referencing human authors of Scripture like Moses, Isaiah, David, and Daniel. But they stand in the background. They are the sub-authors working beneath the principle author of Scripture, namely, God Himself.

So Jesus can quote from Psalm 110, saying, 'David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared' (Mark 12:36), just as Paul in Romans 9:17 and Galatians 3:8 can use 'Scripture' as the subject where God is the Old Testament speaker. Holy Spirit, God, Scripture - they are not three different speakers with three different ranks. They refer to the same divine author with the same divine authority. 

Which is why Jesus can talk down the Devil by saying 'it is written,' and why he can claim, without any hint of controversy or hyperbole, that the Creator of the universe wrote Genesis. For Jesus, Scripture is powerful, decisive, and authoritative because it is nothing less than the voice of God."

And finally here:

The Lord Jesus, God's son and our Savior, believed His Bible was the word of God down to the sentences, to the phrases, to the words, to the smallest letter, to the tiniest specks - and that nothing in all those specks and in all those books in His Holy Bible could ever be broken."

Kevin Deyoung elaborates on all these points and shares Scripture to support them.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and if these points have interested you, I highly recommend reading it.



Buy it HERE on Amazon



July 1, 2017

6 Books I Still Think About - Part Two


A few years back I did a post on '6 books I still think about' and I thought it would be fun to do another one. There are so many books I've read in the past that have had an impact on me.

So here are 6 more books I still think about...


Night - This book is a memoir of a young Jewish boy who was taken from his small village to a concentration camp during WW2. I often think about this book and the extent of evil, human beings are capable of.

When I read books like this I'm reminded to pray...

"Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies." Psalm 141:4


We are all capable of evil. If we let it grow in our hearts. Many people have done horrific things throughout history, WW2 being no exception.

There were things in this book that I've never been able to shake off. Things I don't even want to talk about. One incident was so horrifying I just weep as I read it.

How could someone do the things some did?

It's the evil intent of the heart, when given into.

God help us. We need to look to You and call Your Name for help.

"Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;
O LORD, make haste to help me!" Psalm 40:13




A Place of Healing - "The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace." Joni Eareckson Tada

This was such a beautiful book. Joni is open and honest with her struggles and questions about her paralysis and chronic pain, but also encouraging in her strong faith, her devotion to the truth of Scripture and her dependence on God.


Some may say she hasn't been healed because she doesn't have enough faith.

I believe that is just plain ignorant.

God has not healed her physically, as of now, because He is shaping her and growing her and making her stronger in Him. He is teaching her to depend on Him completely and she is blessed to know Him in a deeper way then most of us.

She is such an encourager in Christ and I will always think on this book and the profound and Godly counsel she shared.

Here's one of many wonderful quotes from Joni, where she turns the focus from herself to the Lord:

"I can't be glum or sour or peevish, even if I am a little tired of paralysis, and even if I am weary of chronic pain. God's got me alive - I'm still here! - and that means there's a purpose for my life, a race to run, and a plan for my life. God has ordained this day for me to bring Him glory as best I can and to serve Him with joy."


Peace Like a River - How do I describe this book? It is a literal story of a father and his children, but also an allegory of the love of God for His. At first I thought this book was a bit strange, but when I finished, I realized what the author was doing and the message was beautiful and impactful.


I don't want to give to much away, but when I finished this book, I took a deep breath and I thanked Christ for what He did for me. I will think about this book for a long time to come.


When Christ Returns - This book moved me and I think about it often. When I picked it up I thought it was about the 'end times'. But what I found, was a book about the importance of being holy in knowing Christ, over just knowing about Him. Knowing the One who is returning, over knowing about His return.

We are called to be holy, without a desire to be holy, no amount of knowledge of Bible prophecy, end times theology or discernment will bring us closer to Him.

Spurgeon says here:

"It is far better to meditate on the Atonement than to be guessing at the meaning of 'a little horn' (Daniel 8:9). It is far better to know the Lord Jesus in His power to save than to devise an ingenious theory about 'the number of the beast' (Revelation 13:18). "


Is your heart ready for Christ's return? Is He your everything, your confidence?

Spurgeon says here:

"I cannot tell you to 'stand fast in the Lord' unless you are in Him. Hence, my first inquiry is, Are you in Christ? Is He your only confidence? In His life, His death, and His resurrection do you find the grounds of your hope? Is He Himself all your salvation and all your desire? If so, 'stand fast in the Lord."

That's what this book is about.

Is your heart ready for the return of Christ?

"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13


Anne of Green Gables - This book was joyful. I loved it so much! L.M. Montgomery's writing was so beautiful and descriptive. I felt like I was on Prince Edward Island watching the cherry blooms fall from the trees or listening to the river flow.

I also loved Anne's character. I really loved the scene where she prays for the first time. So sweet!

I listened to this book on audio and it was an experience! One I'd enjoy listening to again.


If you've forgotten the beauty of nature and the gift it is from our Creator, and you need a reminder, read this book!

Then go outside, lay on the grass, look at the stars, run your fingers through a stream or smell a fragrant flower.

It reminded me that God is good and that the evidence is all around us.

And if you need a reminder of the beauty of relationships and how kindness changes so much in a persons life. Read this book!

Then go out and be kind to all you meet.


If: What do I know of Calvary Love - This is a very profound little book. I've talked about it often on my blog, as well as shared many parts of it.


It's a little book of poetic verses.

Each verse starts with 'if...' and ends with '...then I know nothing of Calvary love'.

Though each verse shines light on the sinfulness of the human heart, it also reveals the power of God's love.

He is Calvary love.

Here are a few examples:


If...I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another;
if I can in any way slight another in conversation,
or even in thought,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.


If...I have not compassion on my
fellow-servant,
even as my Lord had pity on me,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.


If...I want to be known as the doer of
something that has proved the
right thing,
or as the one who suggested that it
should be done,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.


If...I covet any place on earth but the
dust at the foot of the cross,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.


We don't come to God when we are ready to love Him, but He comes to us first in our pain, our messiness and our sin and shame.

And we love Him because of it.

"We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

I love this quote near the end of the book...

"There is no need to plead that the love of God shall fill our hearts as though He were unwilling to fill us: He is willing as light is willing to flood a room that is opened to its brightness; willing as water is willing to flow into an emptied channel. Love is pressing around us on all sides like air. Cease to resist, and instantly love takes possession."

God is love and He calls us to repentance so we can know Him.

"And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16



*Note: If you'd like to check out my other post on '6 books I still think about' ...click HERE



June 5, 2017

No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God


This was a really interesting book. There were some things that I'd never thought of before. Things about what the Bible says about women and their purpose in the world and church as God created them.

Aimee Byrd is a Christian speaker and writer and I found she had a beautiful and Godly way of looking at these things.

Discernment is something she is greatly concerned about in the church, especially when it pertains to women. I could really relate on this point, and enjoyed her perspective, which was very Biblical.

She mentions many popular women authors and speakers in the Christian women's market and explains the dangers in believing everything we hear them say, just because of their popularity. Near the end of the book she gives many examples from some of their writings to help you discern the truth on your own, encouraging you to turn to Scripture for the answers.

I did feel a little uncomfortable seeing some of these names which are extremely popular among Christian women, but I understand the importance of discernment. Aimee is careful to examine the content of what they teach and not judge the person.

This is often hard to do because we can get so attached to a speaker or writer we like. But I believe, as women of God, we need to look to Him and what He has given us through His Word to test others teachings. We should never test someone's teaching by anothers teaching. And we should never test a teaching by our feelings about it. This can be extremely dangerous.

Instead, test all things by Scripture.

"Test all things; hold fast what is good." 1 Th. 5:21

This is hard work.

It's so much easier to just believe what you read or are taught, then to search for ourselves, but if we don't, then we are just learning, and never coming to the truth.

"For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3:6-7

Theology is important in the life a believer, both for men and women.


Aimee focuses on this importance and shares in an easy to understand way, though I will say you need to read each chapter in context and not just in bits and pieces.

Aimee goes into detail about who women are in God's eyes and what our purpose is as Godly women. I found this really encouraging, as so many, throughout history, have warped and degraded our place in God's plan.

We as women of God, are equal to men of God. We as women of God, are called, as men of God are called. And we as women of God are to serve Him, as men of God are to serve Him. This may look different, but is equally important and precious to the Lord.

And we as men and women of God, were meant to work together for His glory.

This book delved deeper into things I'd never thought about before as a woman, and I so appreciated the encouragement and discernment Aimee shared.

I highly recommend it!


Buy it HERE on Amazon



May 29, 2017

Are You Good?

Are human beings basically good at heart? Many believe this today.

For me the Scriptures are clear, not because I just believe the words I've read, but because God has revealed my sin against His holiness and justice, and because of this revelation I am forever grateful for His loving grace and righteousness that He has imparted to me.


How often do we do things to make ourselves look good? When in truth we aren't good at all.

No one is good except God.

"No one is good but One, that is, God." Luke 18:19

"For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin." Ecc. 7:20

I think the issue here is the definition of good.

If God is good how can I, a sinful human being, be good as well?

If we compare ourselves to God, who is truly good, we can only then see that we are not.

This is not to discourage us, but to encourage us to come to Him. He knows what we need.

We need Him.

Christ gives the believer His righteousness, because we don't have righteousness on our own.

Doing good does not make us righteous, only Christ can do that.


"...and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith." Phil. 3:9

It's a gift that we often dismiss, trying to make ourselves the author of goodness. I tithe. I go to church regularly. I give to the poor. I read my Bible. I... I... I...

These are all commendable and should be done, but they don't make us good.

Christ makes us good when He imparts his righteousness to us.

"For if by the one man’s (Adam) offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17

It's Christ who restores us to life.

Much more abundant is God's grace towards us through His son Jesus Christ!

"And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Romans 8:10

There is freedom in this truth. We can rest in this truth.

And when we realize this truth, we are free to admit our brokenness, our shame and our weaknesses. It's not about us anymore, but about the One who loves us unconditionally.

There is nothing we can say or do that will make God love us more or less. He is love.

"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:10

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
 

nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Trust in Him.

We will never be able to be good enough on our own. Never.

Don't worry about being good enough, rather rest in His goodness.

Rest in Him.

Christ has paid the price and it is finished.

"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Psalm 34:8





I thought I'd leave you with this short 5 minute clip from Francis Chan talking about this subject...




May 23, 2017

5 books on my future reading list

Glory in the Ordinary 

Though I don't have small children anymore, I think this book will be encouraging as a stay at home wife and mom of 3 grown children. 

I still do the dishes, the laundry, clean the toilets and sinks and showers, paint the walls when needed, wash the windows, dust the baseboards and so on. You get the idea. : )

These are all mundane things that often go unnoticed, but I do them in love and I hope they make my house a comfortable and inviting home.

I'm looking forward to a little bit of encouragement through this book.

Goodreads says of it here:

"For stay-at-home moms, it's easy to view other people's work as more valuable to God, dismissing the significance of seemingly mind-numbing, everyday tasks. 

In this life-giving book, Courtney Reissig encourages moms with the truth about God's perspective on their work: what the world sees as mundane, he sees as magnificent. 

Discussing the changing nature of stay-at-home work and the ultimate meaning of our identity as image bearers, Reissig combats common misunderstandings about the significance of at-home work—helping us see how Christ infuses purpose into every facet of the ordinary."



Maud

This is a novel based on the early life of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the beloved 'Anne of Green Gables' series.

I recently listened to 'Anne of Green Gables' on audio book and absolutely fell in love with it! So beautifully written and heartfelt.

Amazon describes this book here:

"Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery -- Maud to her friends -- has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. 

Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman's place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister's stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren't a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn't sure she wants to settle down with a boy -- her dreams of being a writer are much more important.

     But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother's plans for her, which threaten Maud's future -- and her happiness forever."




North and South

This is the next classic on my list. I've heard only good things about it. I do remember watching the BBC mini-series years ago, but can't remember much of the story.

Goodreads says here:

"When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. 

Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. 

This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction."



 Reading the Bible Supernaturally

I've been thinking a lot about this subject and was excited to see this new book by John Piper. The Bible today is often left on the shelf in exchange for social justice or spiritual experiences.

But the truth is, the power of Scripture in what we need in our lives. It's God's gift to us to live and breath and walk with Him through His Word, by His Holy Spirit.

This book is described this way:

"God wrote a book, and its pages are full of his glory. But we cannot see his beauty on our own, with mere human eyes.

In Reading the Bible Supernaturally, John Piper aims to show us how God works through his written Word when we pursue the natural act of reading the Bible, so that we experience his sight-giving power—a power that extends beyond the words on the page.

Ultimately, Piper helps us experience the transformative power of Scripture as it informs our minds, illuminates our souls, and leads us to encounter God through the ordinary act of reading."



The Curiosity Keeper

This is a Christian fiction novel and the first book in the 'The Treasures of Surrey' series. I really enjoyed Sarah E. Ladd's 'Whispers on the Moors' series and I'm looking forward to reading these new ones.

Amazon says here:

"Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille must allow a mysterious stranger to come to her aid.

Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content to work as the village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may be the answer to his many questions.

Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, these two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear."


April 24, 2017

18 Big Books I'd Like to Read



I've got quite a few large books (close to or over 500+ pages) that have been accumulating on my bookshelves. It will probably take me years to complete them all, but thought it would be fun to share them here with you.


No Compromise: The life story of Keith Green by Melody Green and David Hazard (500 pages)

I've had this book on my shelves for years and have still to pick it up.

Keith Green was a singer who had a passion for God. He wrote many beautiful songs that are still enjoyed today. My favorite has always been...

Oh Lord You're Beautiful

Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me


Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love

That burns with holy fear  

I want to take your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to you


Oh Lord, my body's tired
But you keep reminding me
Of many Holy tireless men
Who spilt their blood for Thee


He died very young at the age of 29 in a plane crash along with 2 of his 4 children. This is his story, told by his wife Melody.




Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (430 pages)

I love this beautiful cover! My copy is a thrift store buy and I've been contemplating getting this edition.

This is a Russian classic about a man who believes intellectuals are above the law and decides it's his right to murder two people he thinks are vile to society. Thus begins a battle for morality of the mind and soul. It sounds like a fascinating, physiological read.




5000 Years of Royalty by Thomas J. Craughwell (499 pages)

I found this book at a local used bookstore and thought it looked interesting. Each royal (king, queen, prince, emperor and tsar) has one page of information along with a full length picture opposite it.

I've just started looking through it and think it's a wonderful, though brief, introduction to these lives that have lead kingdoms and countries throughout history.




Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (1124 pages)

I've mentioned this book before, but haven't got around to picking it up yet. Like most of these books it's length is very intimidating!

I discovered it when I read that it was Elizabeth Elliot's favorite novel. Elisabeth Elliot was the wife of Jim Elliot who was one of several missionaries that were murdered while out on the mission field in South America back in the 1950's.

This novel takes place in 14th century Norway and follows a young girl throughout her life. I've never read anything set in Norway, so I'm looking forward to getting to this one.




Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton (442 pages)

This is a biography of Martin Luther. I'm fascinated by this time period of change within the church and Martin Luther's part in it.

Alone, he stood before the church leaders of the world and said:

"Since then your sere Majesty and your Lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed. Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.

I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen."




Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1304 pages)

I've seen the play and I've seen the movie and I've loved them both. This is such a beautiful story of redemption, grace and the love of God. I can't wait to delve deeper into these characters through Victor Hugo's writing, as I follow the many lives shared within these pages.




Middlemarch by George Eliot (889 pages)

This is another lengthy novel I'm excited to read. It takes place in the provincial town of Middlemarch in the 1830's. It follows the many lives of those who lived there and sounds like a great study of 19th century English country living.




The Early Years & The Full Harvest Autobiography by C.H. Spurgeon (vol.1-547/vol.2-508 pages)

These two volumes are the autobiography of Charles Spurgeon. I've had them on my bookshelves for many years and started the first one but didn't get to far. I will have to dedicate time to carefully get through these. I love Spurgeon and find his work inspiring and encouraging.

One of my favorite quotes from Surgeon is this:

“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”

It has encouraged me to test all things against Scripture, and to be careful to only put my faith in Christ.




The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (580 pages)

This is one of my all time favorite movies. It's another epic story of redemption and the grace of God. I've always wanted to read the book. I have a mass paperback copy, but I thought this cover was so beautiful so I'm sharing it. : )




The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin (525 pages)

I've had this book for over 20 years and have read bits and pieces here and there. Each chapter discusses a certain cult such as Scientology, Mormonism, New Age cults and Jehovah's Witnesses.  It's very informative and is a book much needed today, with so much of these cult ideas seeping into the church.

I have an old copy, but this revised edition for the 21st century sounds interesting as well.




The Brontes by Juliet Barker (979 pages)

I love the Bronte sisters. Their novels aren't all feel good books, but I think they give us a deeper view of human nature and our need for a gracious Savior. Whether it's Wuthering Heights (Emily) or Jane Eyre (Charlotte) or Agnes Grey (Anne), we find broken characters who we can relate to.

This is a very long biography of these sisters and there lives together along with their family.




David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (985 pages)

The name Charles Dickens is usually associate with long works of fiction. And this is one of those!

This is about a young impoverished boy who grows up to become a novelist.

It is known as Charles Dickens favorite of his written work. That alone makes me want to read it. : )




Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (988 pages)

I started this one a few years ago and got to chapter thirteen. I've been meaning to get back to it!

It's a long one filled with much wisdom and gives you so much to think about. I can't believe Calvin was only 25 years old when he started writing it!




Heaven by Randy Alcorn (476 pages)

Randy Alcorn is becoming one of my favorite living authors of non-fiction. His work is easy to understand and biblically sound. This book is a study on heaven and what the bible has to say about it.




 Villette by Charlotte Bronte (586 pages)

I've mentioned this book before and I'm planning on reading it soon. It's next on my TBR pile!

I've heard this is about an introverted character named Lucy Snowe, and since I'm an introvert I'm really curious about this story. I've also heard this novel is autobiographical.




Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers (638 pages)

This is five novellas in one, but I'm including it here because my copy has all the books combined. I've read the authors 'Lineage of Grace' series which I enjoyed. It was about five women in the Old Testament.

This book is about five men in the Old Testament. Aaron, Caleb, Jonathan, Amos, and Silas.




Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (688 pages)

Ever since I read Elizabeth Gaskell's novel 'Ruth' I've been wanting to read 'Wives and Daughters.' I saw the mini-series years ago, but don't remember to much about it. I do know this was her last book and she didn't get to quite finish the last chapter before her death.




It will probably take my lifetime to get through all these books!

I tend to read books between 250-400 pages the most. I think it's because the longer books are so time consuming and often very dense, especially the classics.

Have you read any long books lately? Let me know if you've read any of these or of any others you found worth reading.



April 10, 2017

Unashamed by Lecrae


I've read and heard many testimony's similar to Lecrae's, and I find they never get old. What Christ does in a life never loses it's luster.

I listened to Lecrae read his book on audio, and found it very moving. He is open and honest with his past and lays it all out there for the glory of Christ.

There were many things I couldn't relate to... his lack of a father, gangs, guns, drugs, sexual promiscuity.

But there were many things I did relate to. Things I think we can all relate to.

My need for salvation in Christ. My goodness not being good enough, and the struggle with self-righteousness.

He also shares a lot about his music and his journey from the darkness he came from to the light of God's truth. He shares about his time as a 'Christian artist' and how God showed him he was really just an artist who was a Christian and that He had bigger plans for him. Plans to reach people that would never be reached in Christian circles.

Lecrae is a work in progress, like us all, and I appreciated his honesty and candor. In a world of political correctness, Lecrae stands out. His faith is real, messy and biblically sound.

Overall I really enjoyed this memoir and highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with this quote from near the end of the book. It sums up the beauty of Lecrae's heart...

“Was I the rebel kid? The lost college student who just wanted to be accepted? The legalistic man who battled self-righteousness? Was I a husband or a father or a hip-hop artist? Like a tree trunk, all those people were a part of me. They are a part of me. 

But more than anything, Lecrae is a child who is unconditionally loved by God. I’m a sinner who has been rescued by God from my brokenness and called to glorify the One who has never left my side. That’s who Lecrae is, and that’s who I’ll always be.”  


*Note - This review is based on Lecrae's book alone. I haven't heard his music other then 1 or 2 songs which I liked. Also, I just found out he is part of 'The Shack' soundtrack which I do not endorse.


Buy it HERE on Amazon



April 3, 2017

A Few Thoughts on WM. Paul Young's New Book


I love reading C.H. Spurgeon. I love reading A.W. Tozer. And I love reading C.S. Lewis. They all wrote books lifting the name of Jesus Christ on high. All wrote of His greatness and majesty. To them, even now, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.


"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11



William Paul Young, in his new book, 'lies we believe about God" writes of a god who partners with us, co-creates with us. A god who is on our level. And a god who submits to man.

"The language of God is about partnering, to co-creating, and participating, it's about an invitation to dance and play and work and grow." Page 62

So very different.

I've never bowed down to a partner or a fellow participate. I do bow down before the almighty God.

Throughout the book there is a theme that God submits to man. This is a concerning issue. It's an attack on God's sovereignty. On His Holiness. On His Lordship.

It sounded so similar to the new age teachings of co-creating and combined effort to make the world better. Neale Donald Walsch ( an occult/new age author) says here on page 157 of his book 'Conversations with God'...

"...let me make something clear. The era of the single Savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined effort, collective co-creation."

This is eerily similar to the tone in this book.

This book is filled with errors. One right after the other. Page after page. At one point in chapter eleven, 'God blesses my politics,' I thought, finally, a chapter I can agree on, but then I got to the end and he says this:

"Government is not instituted by or originated by God." Page 103

What?

2 Chronicles 20:6 says:

“O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?"

And here in Psalm 103:19:

"The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all."


God rules/governs over the nations...He always has and always will.

Again, the author belittles the sovereignty of God.


I found the author quoted 'The Shack' more than the Bible and when he did use Scripture he used it out of context, twisting it's meaning and at one point makes it up himself.

In chapter 17, where he says it's a lie that the cross was God's idea, he quotes a few verses from Isaiah chapter 53 (not telling us what verses) The first part of the quote 'kind of' sounds like verse 4, and the second part? I have no idea. It's not in the Bible, yet he quotes it like it is.

"Although he bore our sin and suffered at our hands, yet we considered him punished and afflicted and stricken by God...and in Jesus, God encountered/embraced (paga in Hebrew) our twisted rebellion and brokenness." Page 151

What verse is this? He has no notes to back anything up.

Here is Isaiah 53:4...

"Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted."


This is dangerous ground.

A.W. Tozer says here and I agree:

"God's words are not for me to edit and tinker with, but to believe and obey."

The author also didn't use Scripture to back up his claims and ideas, but instead used story and quotes from his own writings. This was disconcerting and left me feeling cheated.

It's very clear now that he wrote 'The Shack' to share his own ideas about his god.

Don't be fooled by his ideas.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction." Prov. 1:7

 

Now lets get to the part where he finally admits he is a universalist.

From chapter 13 where he teaches you don't have to get saved...

"Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!" Page 118

But...

...in Acts 16 a keeper of the prison Paul and Silas were in, was about to kill himself after an earthquake had opened all the prison doors. Paul yelled at him “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Acts 16:28

The keeper than asked them “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30

They answered... “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31

So what does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?

It means to put your trust fully in Him. To put your faith in who He is and what He says.

In Luke chapter 13 there is a conversation between Jesus and his followers that goes like this...

"There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
 

'I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

'Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?

 'I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5

What is Jesus saying?

He is saying, unless you repent, no matter who you are or what you have done, you will not be saved, you will perish.

Perish means: suffer death, typically in a violent way, sudden, or untimely way: Suffer complete ruin or destruction.

Not easy to read, but meant to be believed and obeyed. Why?

Because He is God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.


Another chapter that was upsetting to me was chapter 3, 'God is in control' which the author believes is a lie.

In this chapter he refutes that God has a plan for humanity.

He says here:

"What if there is no 'plan' for your life but rather a relationship in which God constantly invites us to co-create, respectfully submitting to the choices we bring to the table?" Page 39

There's that co-creating again and God submitting to our choices? What?

God does have a plan and He does not submit to ours.

Our plans come to nothing and have no effect...

"The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.


The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.


Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." Psalm 33:10-12


Again, the author belittles the sovereignty of God.

To love God is to love who He is, and He is sovereign. What does that mean?...

"a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler. a person who has supreme power or authority."

Is Jesus a friend of sinners? Yes, but He is also the King of kings and Lord of Lords. And He is close to those who humble themselves before Him.

The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way. Psalm 25:9


For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15


And then there's the attack on the cross of Christ in chapter 19.

The author uses the story of Abraham and Isaac to make his point that God does not require a sacrifice.

He says here:

"Read again the story of Abraham and Isaac. (It's in Genesis, chapter 22). This is not a story about God requiring child sacrifice, but rather the opposite. The point of the story is that God will step into our darkness and speak our language in order to reveal something we didn't know: that this God does not require child sacrifice." Page 171

This is the most twisted view of Scripture I've ever read.

The story of Abraham and Isaac IS about the requirement of God sacrificing His Son.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" Romans 8:32

Charles Spurgeon says of the story of Abraham and Isaac...

"Christ is certainly to be seen upon Mt. Moriah where the beloved Isaac willingly bound, and laid upon the alter, is a living foreshadowing of the Well-Beloved of heaven yielding His life as a ransom." 

I highly recommend you read Charles Spurgeon's sermon on this topic. I've linked it here... Spurgeon's sermon

The story of Abraham and Isaac is a story foretelling what was to come. A Savior who would die in our place, take our punishment that we deserve, and set, those who believe in him, free.


I've decided 19 chapters is enough. I'm not going to read any further. There is so much more error then I've shared here, but this 'conversation' has just become to spiritually unhealthy.

Instead, I'm going to get on my knees and humble myself before God, thanking Him that He sent His son for me. Thanking Him for dying in my place. Thanking Him for taking the punishment I deserve and thanking Him for who He is...my Sovereign Lord.

Thank-you Jesus



"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Timothy 4:16



*Note - I thought I'd share this link to another review that may be helpful... Unshackled: The god of WM. Paul Young


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