Bible Study~Mark Ch. 4

This is part of Mark, chapter 4, and I’d like to share it with you.

Jesus was teaching by the sea side, and so many people were there to hear him, that he had to get into a ship, and teach from the water to the people on land.

A portion from THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER:
Mark 4: 5,6 –  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth;  and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

But when the sun was up, it was scorched;  and because it had no root, it withered away.

Now, Jesus explains the parable, and this is the part that pertains to the above Scriptures:

Mark 4:16,17 – And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground;  who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time:  afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

See that word, “offended”?  It is used 29 times in the New Testament, and here are the meanings:

Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
skan-dal-id’-zo Verb
Definition
  1. to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend
    1. to entice to sin
    2. to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey
      1. to cause to fall away
      2. to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority
      3. to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of another
    3. since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels annoyed
      1. to cause one displeasure at a thing
      2. to make indignant
      3. to be displeased, indignant

Are YOU one who has NO ROOT in yourself, and you are offended, or do you wither away, and shrink back,  when affliction or persecution happens to you because of your Christianity, your profession of Jesus Christ as Lord of your life?  Do you get angry, or do you wither away when people, or one person in particular, makes fun of you, or calls you names, or rejects you?  BE CAREFUL, you will fall away into HELL, unless you work to establish that ROOT in yourself, by renewing your mind DAILY, by reading the King James bible, read it EVERY day, think about it during the day, and when bad thoughts arise in your heart, THINK ABOUT the bible’s wisdom and admonition, think about God’s promises, and establish a very good and deep root system for yourself!  You don’t want to be one who falls away when persecution arises for the word’s sake!!  Be STRONG in the LORD, and in the power of His might!  Put on the whole armor of God, and if you don’t know what the whole armor consists of, LEARN IT!  Ephesians 6:10-18!

May you submit your thoughts and life to God today, and every day from now on.  Pray for me, and for one another.

 

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Book Review~ Night Preacher by Louise A. Vernon

This is a book about Menno Simons, who became the leader of the Anabaptists, now known as Mennonites. Menno was born in the Frisian ( a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea in what today is mostly a large part of the Netherlands, including modern Friesland, and smaller parts of northern Germany.)  town of Whitmarsum, in 1496,  which is in the Netherlands.

** Little is known about Menno’s childhood and home. His parents were probably dairy farmers. Menno may have received his training in a nearby monastery. He had some knowledge of the church fathers, knew Latin and a little Greek but no Hebrew.

Menno Simons - engraving by Jacob BurghartMenno was consecrated  a (Catholic) priest at Utrecht, in 1524. For twelve years (1524-1536) he served as a parish priest, first for seven years in his father’s village Pingjum, later for five years in Witmarsum. He would later write about how he and his fellow priests lived an easy going life, spending their time “playing cards, drinking, and in diversions as, alas, is the fashion and usage of such useless people”. quoted from:http://www.mennosimons.net/life.html

This story is told from the viewpoint of Bettje, Menno’s daughter, who is about 10 years old at the time.  Since the Catholic church was in control of things at the time, severe persecution was part of the risk of being an Anabaptist in parts of the Netherlands, and this book tells of the constant danger Menno and his family were in, simply for speaking the Gospel, and telling people the truth about what Jesus REALLY says in the Bible. Since it was against the man-made law to practice any religion except the Catholic one, most of Menno’s preaching and teaching was done at night, in in country fields, attics or barns, or secret house meetings.  There was always the danger of neighbors spying on Anabaptists, and turning them over to the Catholics, so meetings had to be arranged in strict secrecy.  Sometimes, though, there were untrustworthy people in the groups, and eventually, this would lead to Menno and his family having to pack up everything and sneak out of the city and move to another safer abode.

During one move, someone told about the Hollanders who were draining marshy land in Oberland, and establishing whole villages of no one but Anabaptists.  This was exciting news, being able to have a self-contained community where they could worship Jesus Christ properly, without fear of persecution or martyrdom.

**http://www.mennosimons.net/life.html

Hermes Micron, John a Lasco, and Gellius Faber, and the Muensterites are also mentioned in this book.  You might find it interesting and valuable to your store of knowledge to find out more about them.  This is a good introductory book for young teens and older children, to learn about Anabaptist’s/Mennonite’s  beginnings.

Product details

  • Age Range: 9 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 – 7
  • Series: Louise A. Vernon
  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Herald Press (September 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0836117743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0836117745
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches

 

Book Review of Sandi’s Anchor of Hope by Romaine Stauffer

Sandi’s Anchor of Hope
by Romaine Stauffer

This is a true story about a woman who survived years of abuse and neglect growing up in a very dysfunctional home. Sandi struggled almost daily with her mother’s alcoholism, verbal and physical abuse,
neglect, and selfishness. She had understandable fears and insecurities, which manifested themselves in both her childhood through adulthood. No sense of permanance, since her mother would move the family almost every year, from one run-down dwelling to another. Sandi attended many schools, and had no one
to help her with her studies at home, and as a result lagged behind in academics.

This true story may seem too sad and depressing to read, but it’s really not. You get to see how God orchestrates events in Sandi’s life that eventually lead her to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is a painful journey to take with this battered child, who ached for love and freedom from threats of danger, but it’s a happy ending indeed. No matter what your situation is, no matter how hopeless it is, how crushing andfrightening, there is an answer and a way out. Read this story of a person who found security, love, and
acceptance in Jesus Christ, who gave her answers and direction in her life.

It really does have a happy ending, and is also an interesting introduction to the Mennonite community. I became interested in finding out more about them, as a result of reading this book.
It would be wonderful, I think, to be in a congregation of conservative believers who reject worldliness and support one another in staying strong in the faith.
I hope you can get a copy of the book, Sandi’s Anchor of Hope, by Romaine Stauffer, and take time to read it. God’s love and mercies are there in our lives,

even before we seek Him. 

Betteken’s Refuge, by Diane Yoder

This is a moving, beautifully portrayed story of a Dutch Anabaptist martyr’s life, as seen through the eyes of her young daughter, Betteken Wens. The year is 1573, and the historical fiction story takes place in the city of
Antwerp, Belgium, the richest city in Europe at this time. In this story, the persecution of the Anabaptists is becoming more ominous, one reason being because they refused to join the state church, which was the Catholic church. Time after time, Betteken, her parents and family are witnesses to the public humiliation of devout born again Christians by the Catholic’s Spanish soldiers, who march both men and women through the streets, and then burn them alive, all because of their faith in Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

Even though this book was written for a much younger audience, I believe Christians of all ages will benefit greatly from reading Betteken’s Refuge.
Several footnotes document the persecution of the Catholics against the Protestants and the Anabaptists, such as the reference to St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, in 1572.


The reader gets to know Mattheus and Maeyken, the parents of Betteken, and Adrien, and Hans, her brothers. You feel the tension in the air as the father leaves home again, in order to preach the Gospel to others in villages and cities, helping seekers to truly repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life and God the Father.
There are incredibly deep moments of faith and truth presented by the author, and many times I paused to think about the profundity of the perseverance of the saints in those times of great difficulty as their faith was tried, literally, by fire. Please take time to read this book, it will profit you greatly, and deepen your resolve to stand firm and remember that no matter what, for the believer, The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jesus will sustain ALL who surrender to Him.

If you have not yet repented of your sins and dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now. We know that God hears and answers prayer. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Read Romans 10:8-13, and be born again.
The back of Diane Yoder’s book has a full 2 pages explaining the way to God and peace. She is a faithful witness, and may her work continue to glorify God the Father, and Jesus Christ His only begotten Son.

Bible Study

I’ve been working through a good bible study course, offered free by  a church in Greenville, MI, called Liberty Baptist Church:  http://www.libertybaptistgreenville.com/

So far I’ve finished a study on Islam, and a study booklet about music, what is Godly, and spiritual, and how to tell if music is appropriate for Christians to listen to.  They talk about content, control, and context of music.

Some quotes from the booklet:  “There is no such thing as neutral music.  All music has an effect upon the listener-without a word ever being spoken.  That is why God stated that all music which Christians listen to must have a melody to it, something with harmony, organized tones, and a sweet and agreeable sound. Very little of today’s contemporary Christian music can pass this test.”

They also bring up the fact that many churches entertain rather than exhort, reprove, and rebuke the members.  The booklet states:  What is true of babies?  They cannot do anything for themselves.  They have to be entertained, or they cry.  …… He cries out…..I cannot understand that old King James bible, so he finds a church that entertains with worldly music and a watered-down translation of the Bible.

If you’re interested in this free Baptist bible study, you can get some booklets mailed to your home or office, free.  Go here:  http://www.libertygospeltracts.com

Here’s the church’s web page:  http://www.libertybaptistgreenville.com/

 

Also, I’m reading another book by Cathy Gohlke, called, “William Henry is a Fine Name“.  It was her debut novel, and it won a well-deserved Christy Award.  The book will appeal to everyone from young adult to senior citizen.  A review is coming soon, God willing.  In the meantime, get yourself a copy, and read it.

Bible Memorization

Psalm 145:16- Thou openest thine hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing.   Psalm 145:16

After a rough week, I decided it would do me well to memorize bible verses.  I found I could only recall a few verses to help me through, even though there is such a depth of riches in God’s holy Word that I could have thought of to help me, strengthen me, and calm my fears and anxieties.

So, I remembered seeing a little plastic loaf of bread on a relative’s table, years ago, and it was Our Daily Bread bible promises, in the King James version, which is the only completely inerrant version.  I found a King James online store, and ordered one for myself, and some as future gifts.  Here’s the store:  https://www.thekjvstore.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=our+daily+bread

I hope YOU get a little bible promise box for yourself, and memorize Scripture.

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

First of all, I liked the intelligent writing of Heidi. If you read this book, you’re going to have to pay attention to the words, not just skim and speed read. Mrs. Chiavaroli does have a gift, a talent from God for writing interesting historical fiction. The book was very interesting, and even grippingly suspenseful at some points. Gritty, even. Part of the story revolves around a school shooting.

There were 2 rape scenes in this book, so be forewarned. She mentions Chris Tomlin as a Christian musician. In my opinion, he’s not. Christian Contemporary Music has successfully watered down most worship into carnality and idolatry. This book, in my opinion, could present a stronger, firmer Christian perspective than what it does.

Now, if God gives you a talent, and you tell people you’re a good Christian, shouldn’t you use that talent to glorify Him as much as possible? In my opinion, I think the author, in her own way, was trying her best to present all 3 main stories, and sub-stories, in a good way, but I must say I didn’t like the shaky morality in her book, and, her philosophy of no moral absolutes was easily recognized through her book. Each character hid behind a facade, and the fiance of the hanged Nathan Hale, Mercy, was the one who rationalized her lies more adamantly than Natalie, the mother of Chris and Maelynn.

I can’t say her book was uplifting spiritually, and some of the factors that helped me come to this conclusion were: some of the character’s rationalizing of habitual, lifestyle lies, her mention of Yoga (!) and “vibes”, which are both evil, and so foreign to true Christianity that it should not be used in conjunction with Christianity. So, vibes and yoga, were strikes against it, then she mentioned the movie, The Patriot, which should NEVER be in the video library of ANY serious, born again Christian. The Patriot has graphic violence, and that, my friend, is something Jesus does not condone ANYWHERE in a Christian’s life. Also, one of her characters had gone through a horrible ordeal, and she has the woman thinking the Word of God might be lies. Blasphemy! Jesus says: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

The thing that bothers me MOST about this book is, it’s marketed as being CHRISTIAN Historical Fiction. If Mrs. Chiavaroli had sold this book under secular, non-Christian advertising, I’d have no problem with it.
She won an ACFW Genesis award. What’s ACFW? https://www.acfw.com/about ~ “ACFW’s mission is to advance Christian Fiction by inspiring writers to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry.”

In my opinion, this is not a Christian book, it’s a secular book. No where in the bible does God condone lying, or worshiping other gods, (Hinduism, et al.) which is what yoga is. To make one of the main characters practice yoga is inconsistent with pure Christianity.  I was dismayed to see these things presented in a good light.

I did like her story about Natalie, Mike, Chris, and Maelynn. It brought up a good point: parents are sometimes CLUELESS and in denial about their teens, which can lead to all kinds of sin and disaster. She took a heavy subject, and at least brought some awareness of the problems that contribute to tragedies like that in families.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.


 

A Dangerous Legacy~ an introduction to moral relativism?

Book Review for A Dangerous Legacy, author Elizabeth Camden

This was an interesting, well-written historical fiction novel. Elizabeth Camden truly has a
gift from GOD for writing books that will absorb the attention of the reader. The story takes place in New York City, in 1903, and Mrs. Camden has done her research to provide her patrons with plenty of details,
intriguing plots, and engrossing characters. I did, for about half the time, enjoy reading A Dangerous Legacy, but I have to say some things about several events presented by the author in her novel, which I disagree with.

First of all, Camden’s  fans know she has won a Christy award, which is given to authors of Christian novels that portray excellence, imagination, and creativity in Christian writing.  So, naturally, readers will trust this book to be good and decent.  Which is one of the very reasons why I chose to read this book.
Mrs. Camden has won the RITA award for a book she wrote under the Inspirational Romance category,
which is fine, but I’m wondering if she is straying away, far away, from Christian romance in general, based on this book’s story?

Examples: The main characters, Lucy Drake and her brother Nick, are busy illegally installing water pumps and valves that bring water to apartment renters, making it easier for them to have water in their homes. The installation is phrased as “not technically legal”.
An excuse is given to the reader for this infraction of the law, under the heading of Christianity. False teachings, IMO.  Morality is not a neutral concept.
Another example: Lucy is a telegrapher, and her brother spliced a single wire into the Western Union cables, therefore Lucy is able to eavesdrop on private transmissions of another person. The author outright acknowledged in the book, via Lucy’s thoughts, that it’s illegal,and her characters, Lucy and Nick, know they could end up in jail.

They KEPT breaking the law ANYWAYS.
Christian ethics? Not on your life! This was just wrong. If you’re going to write this kind of novel, please don’t call it Christian.
Another example, which really disheartened me, and made me decide to write this review: Lucy and Nick hire a “slick” lawyer to draw up papers that basically propose extortion.

What does God say in the bible about extortion? 1 Corinthians 6:10 [9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
[10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

“Technically”, the protagonists did NOT commit extortion, but the reader is swept up and along in the
confusing muddle  of “what if they do?” Lucy and Nick were prepared to extort money, in case the person they were threatening didn’t give in to their demands.   Morality is not relative.  Extortion presented as she did, is still immoral.
In conclusion, I can not recommend this book as a Christian book. Not in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps Mrs. Camden will apply Christian rules to her future books, and  stay with bible morals as outlined in the bible, not as presented by MORAL RELATIVISM.

The other thing that bothers me is, because of the ethical dilemmas she presented in her book, she might actually cause another Christian to stumble, it is a possibility!
I’ll browse through her follow-up book, but with healthy skepticism.

I give this book a thumbs-down as a Christian historical fiction novel.

Jesus and Your Sins

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

 

[67] Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

John.19

[1] Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
[2] And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,
[3] And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

[16] For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
[17] I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
[18] They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

[11] And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
[12] His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
[13] And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
[14] And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
[15] And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
[16] And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

[8] But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
[9] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
[10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
[11] For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
[12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
[13] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Book Review: In Places Hidden

Mystery! Romance! Political corruption, deception, wealth, poverty, a tear-jerker, Christian historical fiction has been exceeded in quality by this novel! Tracie Peterson has set the bar higher, and I’m so excited to tell you a little about her book, “In Places Hidden”, Golden Gate Secrets book 1.  The cover art is BEAUTIFUL, too!


The 3 characters you meet first are Camri, Judith, and Kenzie. Camri irritated me as I read each new chapter. Camri is self-centered, without much Godly wisdom, and inconsiderate of other’s desires and opinions about matters. One might even say she’s haughty. Judith is from a poor family, an only child, but very much a woman with good manners and an easy going personality. Kenzie is middle-class, her upbringing was both easy and hard work, helping her dad in his shop. Kenzie is recovering from a humiliating rejection from her fiance.

Each woman matures and their personalities develop into deeper, more meaningful characters. I liked that a lot.
I liked the sermon preached at Caleb’s church in San Francisco. The preacher said the Jews hoped for a fierce Messiah who would set them free, and set everything right again, but they did not expect their King to show up as Jesus. Jesus DID set all who will trust in Him, free, and He does make everything right again. When Jesus returns, he will be fierce and full of fury and judgement. Look up and hope for His blessed appearing, for at that time we will be truly set free and live eternally in Heaven with God the Father, and Jesus his only begotten Son the Savior.

Romans 10:9-13;  John 3:16-21


The exchanges between Patrick and Camri are amusing to watch, as she demurs and then slowly begins to
see her faults and work through her pride. We all have that hurdle to jump, and Tracie Peterson adeptly
arranges the story, to open readers towards self-examination in my opinion.

The candy factory job is a whole story unto itself, and the characters involved are colorful, interesting, and
sometimes provide risible enjoyment. I found myself smiling and chuckling at some of the situations.
George Lake at work is like a crazed twittering sparrow.


Political machinations, corruption, and one person’s trust in another vaporizing with new questions and
more factors to consider. The twists and turns of the plot will draw you in and capture you.

I’ve enjoyed reading EVERY chapter of this book so far!