Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Book of Revelation by Chuck Missler – Hour 2 – Revelation 1


I excitedly got all my homework done – even reading the book of Revelation in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon.  I did my homiletics.  It wasn’t part of the homework, but I want to really, thoroughly study this book.  I’m even reviewing a commentary on Revelation!  So I’m prepped, and psyched to dive into the meat of this prophecy.

Revelation is the unveiling of Christ.  Blessing is promised to the reader and the hearer of the words of this prophecy.  It is penned by the apostle John on the Island of Patmos in 95ish AD.  He was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day at the start of his vision.  The Lord’s day is believed to refer not to the Sabbath, but to the eschatological term referring to the end of the world and Judgment Day.  John saw a vision of the risen Christ and describes Him for us in all His glory.  Hallelujah!

This vision is that “which thou hast seen” as referenced in Revelation 1:19.  The “things which are” refers to the seven churches that we will study over the next several weeks.  The “things which shall be hereafter” is covered in chapters 4 through 22.  We are in for a wild ride!

Homework for next time:  Read the entire book.  Carefully examine chapters 2 & 3.  Outline chapter 2:1-7, summarize the Ephesians’ report card.  Read Acts 20:16-38.  Read Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Book of Revelation by Chuck Missler – Hour 1 – Introduction


It’s exciting to begin another Bible study with the intensity that Chuck Missler brings to the teaching.  I love that he constantly reminds his audience to pour over the Scriptures, themselves, rather than believing what he tells them.  In fact, I do the same in my own teaching ministry.  He did provide some instruction on how to research the Scriptures.  He mentioned different resources like commentaries and concordances, and if you don’t know how to use them, you can check with a pastor or Bible teacher.

So, the book of Revelation (singular, not plural) is a treasure hunt.  It is in a code that touches virtually every other book of the Bible.  It’s the only book that promises a blessing to those who read it and those who hear the words of this prophecy.

Dr. Missler gives an overview of the author and a mini-lesson on eschatology (they study of last things) to set the stage for what is to come.  He begins what promises to be an exhausting list of “sevens” found in the book.  He also shares several study helps that will prove to be incredibly valuable if you use them.  The Secret Journal is one of my favorites.

In the Secret Journal, you purchase a journal – a bound book with blank pages, lined or unlined.  It’s called Secret because it’s just for you.  Don’t ever show it to anyone so you can be candid in your writing.  When you come across a verse of Scripture that is unclear, record the date, the verse/address and WHY the verse is confusing.  Then close the journal and pray to God.  He has promised that the Holy Spirit will reveal all things to you, so ask Him to fulfill that promise by clarifying your understanding.  This may not happen right away.  But when (not if) it DOES happen, go back to that page of the journal and write the date and HOW God brought you understanding of the verse.  This will be an invaluable map of God’s footprints in your life that you can look back on.

One thing I learned during this video teaching is if you’re confused about the meaning of a passage, place Christ at the center of it and it will become clear.  I can actually think back to times when this technique was proven absolutely true.  So I will definitely use this in the future.

Homework for next time:  Read the entire book.  Carefully examine Chapter 1.  List the identities in chapter 1.  What do the seven lampstands represent?  List some of the churches that weren’t included in the seven.  Why these seven churches?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Ransom by MaryLu Tyndall


As a member of MaryLu’s Motley Crew, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to my Captain for sending me a copy of "The Ransom" in exchange for an honest review. I am truly grateful for the privilege of supporting a wonderful author who loves Christ and doesn’t shy away from presenting Him in her books!  Huzzah!

“The Ransom” by MaryLu Tyndall is a luminous treasure!  Overflowing with rich plot twists, sparkling humor, exotic settings and brilliantly crafted characters, this crown jewel of a novel is the long-awaited fourth offering in the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series.  “The Ransom” reads beautifully as a stand-alone novel.  The other books in the series (The Redemption, The Reliance and The Restitution) are wonderful, and I highly recommend them as well.

Miss Juliana Dutton is living a lie!  Following in her deceased mother’s footsteps, she has a heart for the less fortunate of Port Royal, Jamaica and frequently cares for their needs, but her father’s failing health has forced her to take on the task of running the family shipping business with no help from her flighty drunkard brother who has a gambling problem!  She is also dealing with the attentions of three men:  the obnoxious Captain Nichols, the foppish Lord Munthrope and the dashing and dangerous Pirate Earl!

Captain Nichols wants it all - Juliana’s affections and the head of the Pirate Earl!  Juliana, wanting nothing to do with the arrogant Captain, accepts a proposition from Lord Munthrope that will hopefully dissuade the Captain from pursuing her further.  Lord Munthrope hopes to win over Juliana’s affections as they spend time together because of their bargain.  But Juliana’s heart beats a bit faster whenever she encounters the Pirate Earl, who always seems to show up as her protector when she needs the Lord’s deliverance the most.  The notorious Pirate has watched Juliana from afar since she arrived in Jamaica.  He is touched by her kindness and genuine caring for the undesirables of Port Royal, so he has appointed himself her protector as she endeavors into the seedier parts of the city to care for her friends.  This has given her the reputation of being the “Pirate Earl’s Lady”, a title that simultaneously thrills and repulses her!

 “The Ransom” is crafted as meticulously as one of Shakespeare’s comedies and detailed as richly.  The scenes play out so crisply in the mind’s eye, I can’t help but feel this novel (and the others in the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series) would make a wonderful film!

What a beautiful picture of Christ this novel paints.  When Jesus came to earth, He was rejected because many saw Him as the foppish Lord Munthrope, weak and mad.  But there were a select few who saw Him as the strong and protective Pirate Earl!  My prayer is that those who read this amazing novel will see the Lord Jesus as a strong, caring and sensitive protector who put Himself in harm’s way to save our very souls!  And that the realization will draw us to a place where we cannot spend enough time in His presence.

Malachi – Week Seven


The Promise of Pirouetting Livestock (Malachi 3:13-4:6)

This week’s study asked the question:  How does Christ’s second coming influence my daily perspective?

Do you resemble your Heavenly Father?  I don’t always look like Him.  Where are your struggles?  Are you bringing those struggles to Him?  Are you asking Him to reveal the root causes of those struggles so you can pray for His help when they surface?  I need to work on these things, too.  At least we have a starting point, now.

This hasn’t been my favorite study.  I feel like I’ve read Scripture from everywhere BUT the book of Malachi.  Not that I think it’s bad to study multiple Scriptures when concentrating on a book, but I feel like I’ve only studied Malachi conceptually.  Still valuable, but I wanted to know Malachi better than I do.

This week’s activity involved planning a reunion with your small group within the next month.  But I ask you to please return next week as we begin Chuck Missler’s study of the book of Revelation.  You definitely don’t want to miss this one.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Malachi – Week Six


God's Miraculous Return on Our Meager Investments (Malachi 3:6-12)

 

This week’s study asked the question:  How can I give God more of myself?

I’ve had a few favorite teachers in my academic career.  I would like to have a living mentor for my spiritual walk.  Maybe one day God will bless me with one.  In the meantime, He is my Mentor.  If this is truly the case, should I want a flesh-and-blood guide?  I think not.  I’ll stick with Him!  In this capacity, I have to meet with Him often, giving Him more of myself.  The true benefit of this, though, is that I receive the reward of getting more of Him.  Isn’t it wonderful how He blesses?

This week’s activity called for celebration while preparing your tithe in a private place.  I may have to remember to do this one more often.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Dancing With Fireflies by Denise Hunter


First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Denise Hunter and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Dancing with Fireflies" 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.

“Dancing with Fireflies” by Denise Hunter is a thoughtful and touching romance that brings home the truth of God’s love and acceptance in spite of heart-wrenching circumstances.  Jade McKinley has just returned home to Chapel Springs from Chicago, needing the love and strength of family for the upcoming season of her life.  Daniel Dawson is getting ready to throw his hat into a larger political arena at the promptings of his parents, but he’s torn about remaining the Mayor of Chapel Springs where he feels he can really help the people.  It doesn’t hurt that staying at home would also keep him close to Jade, whom he’s been crazy about for as long as he can remember.

This is a beautiful love story.  I did get a bit frustrated with the characters as they denied their feelings and talked themselves out of being honest with each other, which is a fairly predictable way to create tension in a romance novel.  But Denise Hunter has a way of writing a very satisfying romantic story in spite of those things.  She takes the reader to the brink of that frustration and then rewards the reader for her persistence to turn pages with delicious moments.  This is the second Chapel Springs romance, but “Dancing with Fireflies” reads well as a stand-alone novel.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

“Claiming Mariah” by Pam Hillman

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Pam Hillman and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Claiming Mariah" 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.

After the death of her father, Mariah Malone writes a letter seeking forgiveness for his past regrets.  What she doesn’t expect is for the sons of the letter’s recipient to show up on her porch claiming her land!  Even more farfetched is the idea that she could fall in love with Slade Donovan, the bitter man who wants to take her home.

“Claiming Mariah” by Pam Hillman is an engaging historical western romance.  With a solid plot and likable characters, this book is an enjoyable weekend read.  There were a couple of moments where a character’s inner monologue seemed to come out of left field just to create more conflict, but overall this is a good book – romantic and suspenseful with a thread of godliness woven throughout.

Malachi – Week Five


When Divine Grace Masquerades as Discipline (Malachi 2:17-3:6)

 

This week’s study contained a wonderful story that conveyed the idea that God’s best gifts sometimes come in packaging that makes our hands bleed when we open them.  This is so true!  I’ve been here, myself.  Have you?

 

This week’s study asked the question:  Why do I resist God’s discipline since I know He disciplines those He loves?

 

I struggle regularly with the spirit of entitlement that seems to be running rampant in the world today.  I’m sure it’s not a new thing.  I’m just noticing it more often now.  Probably because it’s the shape of the plank in my own eye.  Have you ever noticed that the things we despise in others are part of our own character?  Anyway, this was the first time I ever really thought about it, but entitlement and insecurity really do go hand in hand.

 

The language lesson this week is on the Greek word for patience, makrothymia, meaning “long heat”.  The picture painted in someone who takes a long time to get hot over a situation.  I must confess:  I’m not anywhere near the ballpark on this one!

 

When will I quit trying to bargain with God to get what I want and simply beg for His mercy?  Do you do the same thing?  “I promise to go to church every week if You just get me out of this predicament, God.”  How many times have we done this?  Too many.  And we’re not alone.  Our Scriptural counterparts did it too.

 

Another treasure:  sinners are hypocrites and they are housed inside of critical spirits.  There’s another part of myself I need God to carve out.

 

This week’s activity involved researching and singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”.  This was a very interesting exercise.  I don’t want to spoil the task for you, so I won’t publish my results here.  I will admit, however, that I never knew the lyrics before, and they are beautiful!