Friday, May 31, 2013

Bible Study: Meet Jesus, Son of God/Son of Man - John - Chapter 8

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the Gospel of John, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, fall 2009 through late spring 2010, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 8 of the book of John. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…


8:1-6 – SETUP! TRAP!!!

Who comes to mind when you think of this woman? Was her father there?

8:1-4 – At dawn, the teachers of the law and Pharisees dragged a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus in the temple where He was teaching. What questions does this situation raise in your mind?

Caught in the act of adultery – if she was caught in the act, where was the man she was with? Why didn’t they drag him to the temple, too? Were they incapable of overpowering him? Or was he part of the trap?

8:1 – After teaching at the Feast, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Why do you think He went there? He knew what the day ahead would hold for Him. I believe this was time for Him to prepare for it. It would benefit all of us greatly to begin our day in prayer and worship of The Father as I believe Jesus did, here.

8:2 – Jesus went to the temple courts at dawn and sat down to teach.

8:3 – Scripture doesn’t specify the time that this accusation took place. Since it was so early in the morning, this supports the evidence that this was a trap set for Jesus. Something doesn’t sit right with me that a couple in a tryst would meet at dawn.

Check out the layout of the temple. Was Jesus teaching in the court where women were allowed?

8:5 – See Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22. The Law didn’t specify that “such women” be stoned as the teachers of the law and Pharisees claimed. The Law demanded the lives of BOTH PARTIES! The teachers of the Law should definitely have known this!

8:6 – Jesus bent down to write on the ground at this point. Was He writing what the Law actually said about this?

Can you find the Old Testament reference for the punishment they wanted to inflict upon her?

write – Greek word means write against.

8:7 – The teachers of the law and Pharisees kept questioning Jesus, but Jesus didn’t answer as they expected, I’m certain.

Jesus straightened up to answer them.

8:8 – Jesus stooped down to write on the ground, again.

8:9 – Those who heard His words left, beginning with the older men. I used to believe that it had something to do with whatever Jesus was writing on the ground. Maybe the crowd thinned as the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments in the dirt. Perhaps specific vices or names were carved in the earth, causing conviction and retreat. This time, when I read this verse, my attention focused on the fact that the older men started leaving when they heard what Jesus said. This certainly may have been compounded by what Jesus wrote in the sand.

The crowd began to break up, beginning with the older men who heard what Jesus said. Jesus’ words to them that the one who is without sin should be the first to cast a stone at this woman actually seemed to convict them. The last few to leave may have done so because they didn’t want to be the only ones to mete out such a violent punishment, not because they heard Jesus or felt any conviction.

8:10 – Jesus stood again to speak to the woman.

8:11 – go now and leave your life of sin – She had received a taste of real love. Jesus told her not to “look for love in all the wrong places” anymore.

Jesus didn’t gloss over the fact that this woman sinned. He told her to stop.

8:12 – The second “I AM” Statement – Jesus is the light of the world. Light illuminates and guides.

What path has He illuminated for you today?

8:13-18 – Jesus’ testimony about Himself is valid.

8:19-20 – Jesus talks about His Father in the temple near where the sacrifices are put.

What is the significance of the location?

8:21-24 – Jesus confused the people with talk that He is going away and they cannot follow Him.

8:24 – If you don’t believe in Jesus as the source of your salvation, you will be responsible to bear the penalty for your own sin. That penalty is death!

8:24 – Jesus is the Great I Am!

8:25-30 – Many put their faith in Him as He talked about Himself and His Father.

8:31-41 – From children of Abraham to disciples.

8:31-36 – What sort of freedom is Jesus speaking of?

8:42-47 – Those who don’t hear don’t belong to God.

the devil is a liar!

8:43 – Can you find another passage that explains why they couldn’t “hear” Jesus?

8:44 – Describe the father of these people.

8:48-59 – Jesus’ claims about Himself.

8:51 – What does Jesus mean?

8:58 – I am! – Jesus was claiming to be God.

8:59 – Jesus hid from danger.


• The book of John is called the “Love Gospel”. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Singing Grammarian by H. Daniel Zacharias


First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to H. Daniel Zacharias and his publisher for sending me a copy of "The Singing Garmmarian" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
 
“The Singing Grammarian” by H. Daniel Zacharias is a nifty set of videos that teach songs designed to help Greek students learn grammatical rules and exceptions to those rules.  The songs are catchy and will be meaningful to students of the Greek language.  Since I am not such a student, I cannot tell you if these songs teach the basics of Greek grammar or if their subject matter is more advanced.  But as a layman who has never taken a Greek class, I can tell you that my Biblical word studies have led me to be familiar with some of the terminology (like Aorist Active) even though I don’t know what the terms mean.  Also, I have studied other languages, so I am familiar with the concepts of articles, participles, infinitives and imperatives.

The documentation included with the 18 QuickTime videos is minimal.  I didn’t see any real benefit of having the documentation.  The 18 songs are a few minutes each, but if you are unfamiliar with the grammatical rules they are teaching, the lyrics won’t make much sense.

I was planning to use these videos to learn the Greek alphabet and a bit of Greek grammar to use in conjunction with my Bible study tools in an attempt to deepen my understanding of Scripture.  But I don’t believe this will be a useful tool for someone who hasn’t already had some training in the Greek language.

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.
mind.

About the Author
Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters.
She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.
Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.
Here is my review of this wonderful romantic western:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Karen Witemeyer and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Stealing the Preacher" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

I absolutely adored “Stealing the Preacher” by Karen Witemeyer! This second book in the series chronicling the lives and loves of the Archer men named for Alamo heroes is wonderfully humorous and addresses serious spiritual matters. Crockett Archer has left home to pursue the life of a preacher. On the train ride to his audition, he is sidetracked by the father of a pretty redhead who is praying for her local church to be brought back to life and salvation for her father.

I was particularly convicted by Crockett’s example to work as unto the Lord. This character would be a wonderful role model if he were flesh and blood. And Joanna is a beautiful picture of a godly woman whose true beauty comes from the inside. This novel was not only entertaining in the romance and western adventure genres. The research done regarding art and painting added dimension to the story and made me want to pick up a brush. But the motivation didn’t stop with hobbies that I’d like to re-engage, it moved into the spiritual realm as well. Who would believe that a work of fiction could make the reader want to pray and work diligently and put things of God first in life? Well, it did. So, I would say this book was a worthwhile way to spend a weekend!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 17 – Acts


I have heard the book of Acts referred to as “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” (my personal favorite) and “The Acts of the Apostles”.  Now, I will add another nickname for this book to my vocabulary:  “Luke, Volume Two” because the book is authored by the writer of the Gospel account that bears his name.  It is believed that both books were written in part because trial documentation was required to precede a prisoner to Rome, so these accounts were sent when Paul appealed to Caesar during his imprisonment.

The arrival of the Holy Spirit to inhabit every believer lights up the candles on the birthday cake of Christianity.  Other significant events such as  the stoning of Stephen and introduction of Saul figure prominently in this book that Dr. Missler refers to as being the gateway to the epistles.

One of my favorite moments in this video teaching involves the story of Philip and the eunuch who happens to be the treasurer for the queen of Ethiopia.  There is some confusion about the Scripture this man is reading on the Jerusalem-Gaza road and Philip takes the opportunity to explain the Scriptures and this man receives Christ and is baptized.  I’m not going to give away the punch line on this one.  You must watch Chuck Missler’s video teaching for this.  Trust me:  it’s worth it!

Paul’s life and ministry were quite remarkable.  It’s too bad that only one hour was dedicated to this incredible topic.

Homework for next time:  Romans

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bible Study: Meet Jesus, Son of God/Son of Man - John - Chapter 7

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the Gospel of John, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, fall 2009 through late spring 2010, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 7 of the book of John. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…


7:1 – Jesus avoided danger.

7:2-3 – Jesus’ brothers tried to convince Him to go to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles so that people could see His miracles. Why? Did his brothers believe in His miracles? (See verse 5)

If they did, why would they want Him to put Himself in the position to be captured by the Jewish leaders who wanted Him dead? If they didn’t, why did they bait Him like this?

7:4 – They thought He wanted to be a public figure.

7:5 – His own brothers weren’t believers.

7:7 – Why wouldn’t the world hate His brothers?

Why did the world hate Jesus? If the world hated Him then, does it seem logical that it would hate Him today?

7:9 – Jesus didn’t go to the Feast with his brothers.

7:10 – Jesus waited until His brothers left and then went to the Feast in secret. Why do you think He did this?

7:11 – The Jews at the Feast were watching for Jesus.

7:12 – Jesus created quite a buzz. Some spoke well of Him, others not so well.

7:13 – People didn’t speak of Him publicly because they feared the Jews. The leaders asking about Jesus may have started individuals talking about Him, though.

7:14 – Jesus waited until halfway through the Feast to go to the temple and teach.

7:15 – His teaching amazed the Jews.

7:16-17 – Jesus told them that His teaching came from God.

7:17 – How can we know that Jesus’ teaching is from God?

7:19 – Does Jesus bring up Moses and the law because that is what He was teaching on in vv. 14-15?

7:20 – “you are demon-possessed” – was this a colloquialism of the time? Or were they really accusing Him of being possessed?

7:21 – Jesus is referring to the healing at the pool on the Sabbath from John 5.

7:26 – Some of the people wondered if the authorities had concluded Jesus was the Christ. They wondered about this because no one was stopping Him from preaching. I think this is an awesome display of God at work!

7:30 – How did it look for the people to try to seize Him, but not be able to do so?

7:37-39 – Jesus is a source of sustenance and life. Those who believe in Him will have that life and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

7:38-39 – The streams of living water is the Holy Spirit.

7:42 – The people knew enough about scripture to know the Messiah would come from David’s line and Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

7:43 – This divided the people.

7:45 – The temple guard recognized the authority with which Jesus spoke.

7:50-51 – Nicodemus stood up for Jesus.


• The book of John is called the “Love Gospel”. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

Cafe Chocolat Retreat Kit by Group Publishing



 
I’ve never been involved in the planning of a women’s retreat, but the “Café Chocolat” retreat kit by Group Publishing seems to have everything you need to do just that. The “Read Me First” insert gives a good overview of the contents of the kit and how the retreat is supposed to work. This card also showcased a couple of the product bundles available for purchase for each retreat guest.

The kit contained the “Café Chocolat Extra Value Pack” consisting of the Café Chocolat Tote Bag, Journal, Music CD and God’s Grace Bracelet. The Tote Bag is a bit on the flimsy side. It holds the other items in the kit with room to spare, but I don’t think you could put much more in there because of the thinness of the material the bag is made of. The Journal is absolutely a MUST-HAVE for each guest! This charming book is a terrific take-away from the retreat containing all Scripture verses, song lyrics, a devotional, a Bible study sample and much more. I will personally refer to this book again and again. The Music CD is fantastic! There’s a country flavor to these beautiful worship songs that had me and my daughter singing along as we sampled it! This is a keeper, too. The God’s Grace Bracelet is a delightful keepsake of the event. The strawberry shaped charm is lovely but the elastic that holds the bracelet together is flimsy. It broke the second time I took it off my wrist. But I liked the charm so much I added it to a cross necklace that I wear.

The Leader Resources are heavy-duty tri-fold booklets containing the teaching for each of the six sessions of the retreat and a separate guide for worship. Each booklet contains all of the information you need to run each session.

The Director Resources consist of a step-by-step guide for planning and preparation of a delightful event that will draw women of all ages to encounter God’s grace. The supply list in the back was a complete shopping list for the event.

There is also a DVD for leader training and a CD with just the music for the songs as well as promotional clip art and other printables.

The chocolate theme entices all age groups to come learn about God’s grace. In fact, I brought the session books to work to look them over and every co-worker who came into my cubicle had to ask me about it and look at the delicious photographs on the materials.

So, after reading through the materials, I planned a mini-retreat for myself at locations around my neighborhood and home to just get away with God and be refreshed by His personal teaching. The Director Resource materials came in handy for planning. I created a shopping list based on the recommendations in the guidebook. I made a centerpiece for myself based on the instructions in the book. And I will make these centerpieces again! They are lovely.

Instead of making one chocolate wrap as a service project, I made chocolate scented candles and gave them to the ladies in my Sunday School class. I celebrated the completion of my retreat by eating my centerpiece! After this experience, I can see that this retreat could be orchestrated with very few volunteers depending upon the number of attendees. This kit was a thorough way to plan a fun and life-changing retreat experience.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 16 – The Final Week of Christ’s Life


The Final Week of Christ’s life begins on a Friday in Bethany, continues with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Saturday, the Last Supper on Tuesday and the Crucifixion on Wednesday.  There are many fascinating evidences for a Wednesday crucifixion.  Thank you, Dr. Missler, for reminding me that I must search the Scriptures daily and not take what I hear from others to be the absolute truth.

Dr. Missler discloses the many illegalities of the Jewish and Roman trials of Christ.  There is some very remarkable teaching about Pontius Pilate and Barabbas as well.  You must tune in to this video teaching to learn how the resurrection is tied to the resting of Noah’s ark!  It’s incredible.

My favorite part of this week’s message is Chuck Missler’s thoughts on why the people who knew Christ best didn’t recognize Him after He was resurrected.  According to Scripture, the Lord’s beard was ripped out.  Do you know anyone who’s had a beard for a long time then shaved it off?  They’re barely recognizable!  Imagine the scars that would be borne by one who had his beard ripped out!  No wonder Mary Magdelene thought Jesus was the gardener!

Homework for next time:  Read the book of Acts

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Catch a Falling Star by Beth K. Vogt

Successful career gal Kendall Haynes is tired of wishing on stars for a home and a family. Can God's dreams for her be even better than her own?
What does a girl do when life doesn't go according to her plan? At thirty-six, Kendall Haynes has seen some of her dreams come true. She's a family physician helping kids with severe allergies and asthma achieve more fulfilling lives-a childhood struggle she knows all too well. But are Kendall's dreams of having it all-a career, a husband, children-nothing more than a childhood fantasy? God says He knows the plans He has for her-why can't Kendall figure them out and be content with her life?

Griffin Walker prefers flying solo-both as an Air Force pilot and in his personal life. But a wrong choice and health problems pulled him out of the cockpit. His attempts to get out of "flying a desk" are complicated by his parents' death-making Griffin the reluctant guardian of his sixteen-year-old brother, Ian. How did his life get so off course? Can he get his life back on track...or has there been a divine plan all along?

About the Author
Beth K. Vogt believes happy endings aren't limited to novels. She provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God's lavish grace. Married to her husband Rob for 31 years, as the mom of three adult children and one 10-year-old, Beth embraces her less-than-perfect life. Her degree in journalism helped establish her as a nonfiction writer. Beth was the editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) International, for four years and continues to be a consulting editor, as well as a bimonthly columnist for MOMSnext, their ezine for moms of school-age children. After focusing on magazine writing and her book Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35 (thanks to a surprise pregnancy at 41), Beth turned a season of burnout into her debut novel, Wish You Were Here.

Learn more about Beth at http://www.bethvogt.com



Here is my review of this terrific romance:
 
First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Beth K. Vogt and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Catch a Falling Star" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
Beth K. Vogt’s “Catch a Falling Star” is a delightful romance that is difficult to put down.  Dr. Kendall Haynes had dreams for her life that included marriage and family.  But another birthday has come and gone without the appearance of lasting romance on the horizon.  Lieutenant Colonel Griffin Walker has also lost sight of the horizon.  The medically grounded Air Force pilot has his hands full with a vertigo diagnosis and as the guardian of his adopted brother since their parents died four months ago.  The lives of the doctor and the pilot collide and neither of them will ever be the same.

This is a well-written, engaging novel that draws the reader so deeply into the tale that you’ll be surprised and how much time and how many pages have passed.  The likable characters are thick and colorful.  The situations are plausible.  The romance is chaste.  The conflicts are emotional because of the reader’s investment in the tale.  This is a thoroughly entertaining way to spend a few hours over the weekend.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she's forced to return home to Texas and to
Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of his empire. The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's Thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.
Bo knows he ought to resent the woman who's determined to take from him the only job he ever wanted. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them and earn her love.
Just when Meg realizes she can no longer deny the depth of her feelings for Bo, their fragile bond is broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their relationship--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?

About the Author
Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University.
As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States.
A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas.

Learn more about Becky at
Here is my review of this incredible book:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Becky Wade and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Undeniably Yours" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Becky Wade’s “Undeniably Yours” is a deliciously engaging read. Megan Cole is downsizing the assets of her inheritance after her father’s death. One of those assets is a thoroughbred farm run by Bo Parker. Megan came to their meeting prepared to let Bo go with a generous severance package. Prepared by rumors he heard about the Cole heiress, Bo came to their meeting ready for a fight. But he’s come to trust his own instincts – about animals and people – and what he saw in Megan ignited his desire to protect her. But will he be able to convince her to keep the thoroughbred farm in the six months she gave him to get rid of it?

This novel is a terrific way to spend a weekend. Megan’s struggles with her past and her present bring multiple dimensions to the story. Bo’s strength and integrity provide the reader with awareness that there are still good guys out there. The supporting cast is equally likeable and comedic at times. It was nice to be vicariously wealthy for a few hours as a fly on the wall watching emotional walls being torn down and the building of loving relationships.  This is a lovely book.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Once Upon A Prince by Rachel Hauck

Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn't going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon's Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family's tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna's aid under the fabled Lover's Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He's a royal prince. She's a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. It's the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God's will or their own?

About the Author
Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of ACFW Book of the Year winner Sweet Caroline, and RITA Finalist Love Starts With Elle, Bestselling The Wedding Dress, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, The Songbird Novels.

She lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane plagued, central Florida with her husband and their ornery pet.

Rachel earned a degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

She is the past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves on the Executive Board.
Visit her web site at www.rachelhauck.com to sign up for her newsletter, read her blog, and to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Here is my review of this delightful fairy-tale romance:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Rachel Hauck and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Once Upon A Prince" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“Once Upon A Prince” by Rachel Hauck is the wonderful, heartwarming first installment in the new Royal Wedding series.  Susanna just ended a 12-year relationship.  While recovering from that disturbance to her life plan, she learns that she is going to have to move out of her home.  Being thrust into the unexpected seems to ignite a confidence in God.  She doesn’t realize Nate is a prince when she meets him.  These two develop an easy friendship that turns to true love for the prince.  But this love cannot be a reality for the future king.

Prince Nathaniel’s description of Susanna made me realize the kind of person I want to be.  Susanna’s prayers brought tears to my eyes.  This story is a beautifully crafted modern-day fairy tale that will appeal to the little princess in every woman who cracks the cover on this book.

On a side-note, Blake Shelton is a baritone.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bible Study: Meet Jesus, Son of God/Son of Man - John - Chapter 6

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the Gospel of John, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, fall 2009 through late spring 2010, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 6 of the book of John. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…


6 – Portrait of peace.

6:1-15 – Fourth piece of evidence for Christ – Jesus feeds 5000. He is the Master of quantity.

6:1-14 – God often introduces spiritual needs through physical ones. (A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place – Beth Moore)

6:1-13 – See Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17. What similarities exist in these parallel accounts? What additional information do you glean from these passages? What does this tell you about the perspective of the writer, John? How does this knowledge enhance your understanding of the event?

6:2 – People followed Jesus because He healed the sick.

6:7 – Eight months’ wages wouldn’t feed the crowd one bite each – was Philip exaggerating?

6:8-9 – WOW! What did Andrew think Jesus could do with five loaves and two fish? What faith!

What a contrast between Philip’s and Andrew’s behavior! Which apostle reflects your own behavior? Does that please you? If not, what will you do to change that?

6:13 – There was one basket of leftovers for each apostle.

6:14-15 – The crowds wanted to make Jesus king by force. Soon, these same voices will cry out for His execution. Did this take place in Jerusalem?

6:14 – The Prophet? See Deuteronomy 18:15,18.

6:15 – The people saw Jesus go off by Himself.

6:16-24 – Fifth piece of evidence for Christ – Jesus walks on water. He is the Master of the laws of nature.

6:16-21 – See Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:47-51. What similarities exist in these parallel accounts? What additional information do you glean from these passages? What does this tell you about the perspective of the writer, John? How does this knowledge enhance your understanding of the event?

6:16-17 – The people also saw the disciples leave separately.

6:19 – the disciples were in the middle of the lake.

6:21 – The disciples had to be willing to bring Jesus into the midst of their difficulties for Him to rescue them. We must do the same. Have you invited Jesus into your boat?

Is Christ the first person you invite into your problems?

6:22 – The next day, the crowd realized that Jesus didn’t go with the disciples.

6:24 – The crowd jumped into boats that arrived on shore that morning to go looking for Jesus.

6:25 – Why did the people ask Jesus when He got there? See 15-17,22 for a hint.

6:26-27 – The people were hungry. They just didn’t recognize their hunger as spiritual in nature.

6:28 – The people seemed to think they could earn God’s favor through works.

6:29 – Jesus tells them they can’t earn God’s favor, they only need to believe.

Do you believe? Have you told God? If you’d like to commit your life to Christ and begin a relationship with Him, pray with me. There is a prayer at the top of this blog page. After you pray, contact me or a Christian friend or local Christian church and ask about how to develop your new relationship with God.

6:30 – They asked Jesus for signs. Do you?

6:31 – Is this crowd obsessed with food, or what? At least they’ve added a miraculous element to their questions, now.

Jesus was represented in the manna.

6:32-33 – Do you regularly dine on the true bread from heaven? How?

6:35 – see Leviticus 24:59 – Christ is the bread of the presence.

The first “I AM” Statement – Jesus is the bread of life – he is the living bread from heaven (6:51)

Have you feasted on His presence today?

6:36 – Jesus declares that the people still don’t understand. So they must still be trying to fill their stomachs.

6:37 – Gives assurance that, if you’ve come to Jesus, He will never drive you away. How does that make you feel?

You cannot lose your salvation.

6:38 – What Jesus gives is better than manna.

6:41-55 – This segment talks about Jesus’ identity – Son of Mary (and Joseph) vs. Bread of heaven (Son of God).

6:41-42 – The people grumbled about Jesus’ heavenly origin because they knew His parents. Some may have even known Him as a boy.

6:44-45 – No one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws him. But everyone who listened to the Father and learns from Him comes to Jesus.

6:44 – God draws men to Jesus. We won’t acknowledge Him otherwise.

6:45 – Everyone who listens to God and learns from Him will come to Jesus. All are taught by God.

6:48-51 – Christ is the bread of heaven who, when eaten, brings eternal life.

6:52 – This teaching was offensive to the Jews.

6:53-57 – Jesus’ flesh and blood are real food and bring eternal life. Can you explain this in reference to the Passover celebration? Communion?

6:62 – Jesus must ascend for the Spirit to be given to believers.

6:63 – When the Spirit comes, He will guide believers in all truth. See John 16:13.

6:66 – Have you found something offensive or challenging in the Bible and stopped following Jesus because of it? If so, stop right now and pray. Have a candid discussion with Jesus about this, asking Him to open your eyes to the truth, to speak to your heart, and draw you back to Him.

6:67 – Jesus asked the 12 if they wanted to leave, too. Why might He have done this?

6:68-69 – Peter asks where they would go since Jesus had the words of eternal life and is the Holy One of God. What an amazing spiritual insight!

What amazing spiritual insight has the Holy Spirit given you lately?

6:70-71 – Jesus chose the 12 including His betrayer, Judas Iscariot.


• The book of John is called the “Love Gospel”. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women, Insights for Everyday Life Notes by Lysa TerKeurst

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card Insight Notes author is:


and the book:

Zondervan; Special edition (March 19, 2013)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and national speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith. She is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author of 15 books, and encourages nearly 500,000 women worldwide through a daily online devotional. Her remarkable life story has captured audiences across America, including appearances on Oprah and Good Morning America. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children.

Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This Bible will help you live up to your God-given potential. Insightful daily devotions written by the women at Proverbs 31 Ministries help you maintain life's balance in spite of today's hectic pace. Dive into the beauty and clarity of the NIV Bible text paired with daily devotions crafted by women just like you---women who want to live authentically and fully grounded in the Word of God.





Product Details:
List Price: $34.99
Hardcover: 1536 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (March 19, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310439361
ISBN-13: 978-0310439363


AND NOW...SOME SAMPLE PAGES (CLICK ON PAGES TO ENLARGE):








Here's my review of this devotional Bible:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt "Thank you" to Lysa TerKeurst and her publisher for sending me a copy of "NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women, Insights for Everyday Life Notes" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Since I've spent over 30 years reading and studying the Bible and I have a bunch of devotional books, I was excited to receive the "NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women, Insights for Everyday Life Notes" by Lysa TerKeurst. This is a lovely hardcover book that sprinkles devotional writing throughout the New International Version text. I like how the devotions are numbered rather than labeled with a day of the week so I can skip a day and pick right back up instead of feeling like I have to wait until "next Tuesday".

The devotional articles are from several different writers with different styles. I was challenged and inspired and encouraged. This is a thought-provoking and prayer inspiring Bible that would be a good gift for someone else or treat for yourself.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 15 – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John


The Gospels are a fascinating topic of study that I would love to spend several hours on.  This hour fanned a flame in me to study what Christ may have said on the road to Emmaus, a study I have been working on and off for a couple of years.

This week we examined the Old Testament prophecies that were quoted in the Gospels.  We looked at the genealogy of Christ and the blood curse of Jeconiah.  We talked again about the daughters of Zelophehad and I understand the concept better now.  Every detail of the Old Testament is in place by deliberate design and those details always point to Christ!  We looked at the design of the Gospels and the rhetorical devices used in the Scriptures.  They we took a brief look at each of the four Gospel accounts.

While discussing Matthew, I learned quite a bit about the Magi.  I also learned when and why Jesus taught in parables.  Another fascinating aspect of this study was how the seven kingdom parables in Matthew 13 have a correlation to the letters of the seven churches in the book of Revelation.

While examining the book of Mark, I learned that this Gospel account is actually longer than Matthew’s Gospel except for the discourses.  Because Matthew was a tax collector, he was able to take shorthand.  Therefore, he was able to record Jesus’ words VERBATIM!  Doesn’t this make you want to curl up on the couch with Matthew’s account?

Luke’s account is historically authenticated.  His Gospel and the book of Acts were the background documentation used to substantiate Paul’s appeal to Caesar.  As a physician, Luke used technical and medical terms in his Gospel.  He also included an obstetrical genealogy of Jesus!  I will never again forget which Gospel records Mary’s lineage!

In the synopsis of John’s Gospel, Dr. Missler includes a rough outline of the book, a list of the eight miracles included in the text, a list of the people who received Jesus whose conversions are told in this Gospel and lists the seven “I Am” statements of Christ.

Out time ended this week with Dr. Missler narrating a slideshow of the combined Gospel accounts both chronologically and geographically.  I would love to get my hands on a copy of this so that I could study with it and test it out.  This was an incredibly stimulating way to end the hour.  I will need to watch this video several times.

Homework for next time: Review the final week of Christ’s life.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad


When Love Calls

By Lorna Seilstad

With historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of camaraderie and companionship that blossoms into love. Readers will get lost in this sweet romance and will eagerly look forward to championing the Gregory sisters’ dreams.

Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list doesn't include following rules. So when she is forced to apply for a job as a telephone switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won't be easy. "Hello Girls" must conduct themselves according to strict, and often bewildering, rules. No talking to the other girls. No chatting with callers. No blowing your nose without first raising your hand. And absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training.

Meanwhile, young lawyer Lincoln Cole finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to enforce the bank's eviction of the three Gregory girls from their parents' home. He tries to soften the blow by supporting them in small ways as they settle into another home. But fiery Hannah refuses his overtures and insists on paying back every cent of his charity.

When one of Hannah's friends finds himself on the wrong side of a jail cell, Hannah is forced to look to Lincoln for help. Will it be her chance to return to her dreams of studying law? And could she be falling in love?

About Lorna Seilstad:

A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves, A Great Catch, and The Ride of Her Life. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with her husband. Find out more at www.lornaseilstad.com.

Praise for When Love Calls:

"Hannah Gregory is my kind of gal: smart, feisty, loyal and resilient. When Love Calls is a delightful story filled with entertaining, endearing characters. Lorna Seilstad's trademark is to embroider her novels with historical detail while providing a wonderfully satisfying read."

-          Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of the Stoney Ridge Seasons series and host of weekly radio show Amish Wisdom

 

"Lorna Seilstad has a way of dropping her characters into interesting times, and she's done it again in When Love Calls.”

-          Ann H. Gabhart, author of Angel Sister and The Gifted

 

"Filled with witty prose and engaging characters, When Love Calls is a thoroughly charming love story."

-          Maggie Brendan, author of the Heart of the West series and the Blue Willow Brides series



Here is my review of this enjoyable novel:
 




First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Lorna Seilstad and her publisher for sending me a copy of "When Love Calls" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.


  Lorna Seilstad’s “When Love Calls” is a charming historical romance that transports the reader to Iowa in the early 1900s.  Hannah Gregory has given up on her dreams of law school and a career in justice.  With the death of her parents, the responsibility to care for her younger sisters has fallen upon her.  So she quit law school and applied to become a telephone operator.  While training to become a “Hello Girl”, she must refrain from entertaining gentlemen callers.  She didn’t think this would be a challenge until attorney Lincoln Cole begins to get under Hannah’s skin.

This engaging romance has lots of action, suspense and humor.  I really enjoyed the well-developed characters.  I used to work in a building where a plug-in switchboard was operated.  I used to sit in the switchboard and chat with the operators on breaks.  This novel allowed me to reminisce and educated me a bit on what those ladies from my past were doing.  This was a fun read.

Friday, May 10, 2013

An Interview With "Take A Chance On Me" Author Susan May Warren

Where do you get your inspiration?

Great question! I get inspiration everywhere – the news, facebook posts, sermons, radio

talk shows, conversations. It’s always about a question, something that makes me

think…what if?

I got the story about Izzy, (My Foolish Heart) the talk show host to the lovelorn from a

Brad Paisely song, Online, about a guy who lives in his parent’s basement, but online

he’s awesome (because he’s created that persona). I added to that the idea of falling in

love over the airwaves, and whalla! Izzy’s story was germinated.

I got the idea for You Don’t Know Me while sitting on a plane to Seattle. The woman next

to me was openly agitated, and when I talked to her (during the food and beverage

service!), she told me was flying to Seattle to put her daughter into the witness protection

program. Forever. The daughter was 21. The questions surrounding that situation

birthed the story.

I got the idea for Take a Chance on Me from an event that happened in our town – an

accident that killed a well-regarded man. In the aftermath the town took sides for or

against the person who hit him, and it birthed a slew of ideas about blame and

forgiveness.

I always look at the idea and see if I can ask a big spiritual question about it, or touch an

emotional issue, or even raise a social question. Then I start exploring the characters

interacting with the question, and how they might find answers.

*****

 

During your childhood/teenage years, who encouraged your love

for reading? For writing?

I never had any champions, but you know how it is as a writer – it’s in you and you can’t

escape it. I loved to go to the library and pile up my backpack with books. They

represented new friends, new adventures, and I spent most Saturdays plunked down in

the middle of the library, turning pages. I started writing when I was fourteen – wrote my

first novel on a summer vacation with my family, about a girl and her horse. It wasn’t until

I married and began writing newsletters for our ministry that people began to really

encourage me to write, but by then, I had the bug and was already penning novels that I

never thought would be published. However, it was our supporters who pushed me to

send the novels in to publishers. They believed in my books on the shelves long before I

did.

*****

 

If you were to cast the movie based on your book, who would

you choose to play the key roles?

Take a Chance on Me? I have a key list of actors I used as prototypes:

John would be played by Tom Selleck

Ingrid would be played by Bonnie Hunt

Darek would be played by (Thor) Chris Hemsworth

Ivy would be played by Emma Stone

Jenson would be played by Scott Speedman

Claire would be played by (90210) Arielle Kibbel

******

 

What is one thing on your "bucket list"?

I would like to learn how to dance the Charleston and get better at the Lindy Hop.

Actually, I’d like to take regular dance lessons and become a better all around ballroom

dancer.

 

What are your 5 favorite things, excluding family?

Sitting on my back deck on a warm summer day, reading.

Throwing a great party.

Exploring a new place (esp. on vacation). Eg.

Dancing. All kinds.

Brainstorming stories!

******

 

How did you become a writer? What inspires you to write? Who is

your favourite author and why?

Writing was always something I loved to do, so I think I was born with it in me. Words are

definitely my love language, so I love a well crafted sentence or poem, a great story. It’s

how I communicate my worship, and how I find understanding and work out my thoughts.

I’m inspired to write by things that move me, things I want to explore, and great moments

of emotion – joy, sorrow, fear, love. One of my favorite types of writing, however, is

travel writing. I like to take a journal and go somewhere new and just sit and capture the

setting in words. It’s better than a picture.

Rachel Hauck. I love her stories, her depth, her words. I’m also a fan of Siri Mitchell, Dee

Henderson, Francine Rivers, Ronie Kendig, Beth Vogt, Melissa Tagg, Lisa Jordan and

Dee Gist.

 

Which character do you relate to most?

MaryAnn Wallace, the character in the Great Christmas Bowl. But I’m also a lot like

Ingrid Christiansen.

*****

Laura Vernet Price Hilton Why do you think Deep Haven scores a touchdown with your

readers?

I love the way you phrased that question! I think it is the small town where everyone

knows your name, the family connections, the beauty of the north shore, and the sense of

Mayberry or maybe Mitford set in the north woods. I think reader like to escape with

people they know, and learn more about their lives.

****

 

When did you decide that you wanted to write?

I was always a writer, but as I began to pen newsletters for my ministry family, and our

supporters, I realized I loved to tell a great story. I thought maybe I’d try and write a short

story – so I wrote Happily Ever After as a short story and sent it into a contest. It won,

and I began to wonder if I could write for publication. I remember getting on my knees

and asking God if I should be writing articles or short stories and he said, “Write Novels.”

I’d never written a novel, but that’s where I felt God asking me to invest my energies. So I

began to research and study the art and craft of fiction. I wrote four novels before I got

the first one published. I’m still amazed at the fact I am published –what? Whoa!

 

How do you find time to write with a family?

I am very focused. I write, and I spent time with family, and I attend church. I don’t have a

lot of outside pursuits. My social life is spent in the bleachers, watching sporting events,

or in the auditorium, at play or band rehearsal. I show up to all my kids events – but I

admit, I don’t attend a woman’s bible study or exercise class. Maybe someday, but until

the kids are grown, that’s my priority.

***

Several of your stories have been set in MN, are you from this area?

Yes! I grew up in Minneapolis, and I now live on the north shore of Minnesota, in a little

town 30 miles from the Canadian border called Grand Marais. Come and visit sometime!!