What Does God Say about Books & Reading?

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I love reading; I’m a book collector, and a constant scout for new stories to read. I have a growing list of books I want to read this year…but I might need to get creative with my time to plow through them all.  If you have any title suggestions to add to my reading list, I invite you to share! Then I can blame you if my list grows so long it has to wrap around the earth twice 😉 Nah, I’d be thrilled! I’m not endorsing the books on my list, I still have to check them out and see if they are good books, but the titles and descriptions look solid! 

But what does God think about books and reading? Have you ever wondered? I read an interesting description by Institute for Creation Research on this topic, and I encourage you to read it too! After that, check out my book list below and see if you recognize any book titles, or if you’d be interested to read any of them yourself. 

THE BOOK OF BOOKS

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him.” (Genesis 5:1)

The Bible (literally “the book”) contains over 200 references to books. This implies, among other things, God’s approval of communication by books. Our text, containing the first mention of the word “book” in the Bible, indicates that the very first man…. (Continue reading). 

 

A Few Books on my Reading List for 2017

  • For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by DUNCAN HAMILTON 
  • Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the raid on the Entebbe Airport, the most audacious hostage rescue mission in history by SAUL DAVID 
  • Beyond the Call: The True story of one World War II Pilot’s Covert Mission to Rescue POW’s on the Eastern Front by LEE TRIMBLE WITH JEREMY DRONFIELD 
  • When God Looked the other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile and Redemption by WESLEY ADAMCZYK 
  • The Forgotten 500: The untold story of the men who risked all for the greatest rescue mission of World War II by GREGORY A. FREEMAN 
  • No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland’s Forces in World War II by  Kenneth K. Koskodan 
  • Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot 
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman and Andrew Postman
  • Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust–Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour by  James A. Grymes
  • The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isaevich
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik 
  • Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • A Good Place to Hide: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II by Peter Grose

Can you tell I’m fascinated by WWII stories? 

A little bit of politics

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, (1 Tim 2:1-3).

In America, the presidential inauguration is tomorrow. For some of you reading this on the other side of the world, it already happened. There are a lot of ideas about this election and upcoming president. As Christians, we do not put our trust in men, in presidents and politicians, but if God granted us the freedom to live in a free country where we can vote, I believe we should use those civil liberties to further the Kingdom of Christ on Earth till His coming. Just as Paul the apostle used his civil liberties as Roman citizen often, I think it is Biblical to do so. God can also use people in power to bring temporary relief and benefit to the Church in the world. But we must sustain the blessings of freedom and peace through prayer. 

So I wanted to share this article that shows exactly why the Lord used Trump’s election as a blessing to America and the nations around her.
I pasted the article here, because I don’t trust you will click the link to view it 😉
Plus, it’s short and very well written!

Thank God for Barack Obama (he cleared the field for Donald Trump)
By Arthur Herman

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/01/19/thank-god-for-barack-obama-cleared-field-for-donald-trump.html

As America watches Donald Trump take the presidential oath on Friday, it’ll be worth taking a moment to think about what the future will show was a truly providential moment in our history: the presidency of Barack Obama.

It’s time to realize that the eight years of Obama were a gift that kept on giving, one that has cleared the field for Trump in ways we can’t see.

Why? Because in his eight years in office, Obama managed to expose the intellectual bankruptcy of liberalism. He revealed once and for all that it’s an ideology based on a flawed view of reality and of human nature, and that it has been a destructive force in our country going back to the New Deal, and going forward to ObamaCare.

Obama exposed the bankruptcy of the mainstream media and its bogus claims to be an objective information filter, when, in fact, outlets like CNN, NBC and the New York Times are mouthpieces for the Democratic Party.

He exposed the political bankruptcy of the so-called civil rights movement and groups like Black Lives Matter and showed that, instead of trying to improve the lives of African-Americans, they are geared to raise racial tensions for political gain.

He exposed the bankruptcy of Keynesian economics. After eight years of trying to use government borrowing and spending to grow the economy, Obama and his advisers have left us poorer, less competitive and with more adult Americans not working than at any time since the days of malaise in the 1970s.

Four years weren’t enough to expose these truths. It actually took eight years and Obama’s reelection in 2012 to fully reveal the lies, deceptions and fallacies on which his presidency was based.

Eight years for him to hollow out the Democratic Party at the national and state levels, so that Trump enters the White House with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and with only four states out of 50 with Democratic governors and Democratic majority legislatures. The Democratic national leadership has been reduced to a politburo of septuagenarians and refugees from the SDS.

In the perpetual divide between liberalism and conservatism, Obama has shown us which is on the side of law and order, and which is not. He showed us side which cares about our veterans, and which does not.

He showed which supports our allies like Britain, Japan and Israel, and which does not.

He showed which side cares about national security, and which does not — and which feels free to let a traitor like Chelsea Manning go free.

He showed which is more concerned about protecting terrorists from Americans, including springing them from Gitmo, than protecting Americans from terrorists.

He showed the American people that federal agencies like the IRS, EPA and CIA have become politicized to a degree that makes them ineffective and even hostile to American interests.

He showed this nation and the world that appeasement of our foes, like China, Russia and Iran, doesn’t work, and that when America fails to lead, we are all put in peril…

Finally, after eight years in office, Barack Obama has left official Washington broken, exhausted and paralyzed by partisan rancor. Even Washington now recognizes it’s time for new blood and new ideas, and that whatever happens it’s bound to be better than what we’ve suffered since 2009.

All in all, it’s an opening for our new president like none since Ronald Reagan, or even going back to 1832 and the inauguration of Andrew Jackson.

And let’s face it. After eight years of Obama, Donald Trump has nowhere to go but up.

Nine Characteristics of an Apologet

What is Apologetics?

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, it means a systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine), and a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity. So it is a defense of the faith. All Christians are called to defend the faith. 

The Profile of an Apologet

If we take a look in Acts, we will find the exact description of an apologet. Some renown apologets in Scripture are the apostle Paul, Apollos, Jude, Aquila & Priscilla and John. Let’s build the profile of an apologet based on the text from Acts chapter 18. I will include the Greek terms for more clarity. 

1. An apologet is Eloquent (logios, λόγιος) 

Whoever defends the Gospel of Christ must be diligent to be learned, to study, to be a person of letters, and be rational and wise. Often times the Lord gifts apologets with eloquence in speech or writing. 

2. An apologet is Mighty (dunatos, δυνατός) 

One must be able to strongly and powerfully defend the true doctrine of Scripture and put down the shrewd arguments of those who attack the Word of God either directly or indirectly. 

3. An apologet is Instructed (katecheo, κατηχέω)

Whoever is involved in apologetics must be able to instruct and teach others either orally or through other ways, the Truth that Scripture contains, and how to defend it. That is what all the apologets in the book of Acts did. Paul was teaching regularly, Apollos taught, Priscilla & Aquila taught Apollos and so forth.

4. An apologet is Fervent in Spirit (zeó, ζέω)

The meaning of this Greek word zeó means to be boiling with heat, to be hot, to be seething with emotion, ardently committed to something. This should characterize all Christians, and this kind of attitude is needed when defending the most precious Word of God. 

5. An apologet must be Accurate (akribós, ἀκριβῶς)

The meaning of this word is exact, careful, strictly exact to the finest detail. It means Christians must be very factually precise about the Word of God and the doctrine. The word akribós means that accuracy is gained through comprehensive probing and investigation. It also comes from being humble enough to learn from others who are more advanced than we are-  as Apollo was when he learned more accurately the the way of God from Priscilla & Aquila who were more informed than him (v. 26). 

6. An apologet must be Bold (parrésiazomai, παρρησιάζομαι)

An apologet must be able to speak freely (or at least write freely) without inhibition. Our confidence as Christians comes from knowing that God is always right- His Scripture is True and will ultimately win, no matter what! So this should make us as bold as lions.

7. An apologet will Greatly Help the Saints (polus, πολύς ; sumballó, συμβάλλω)

The Greek word used in this verse is polus which means much, many/numerous and often. Then the word for helped is sumballó which means together, conversing or pondering, or disputing. So Apollos was a man who conversed and worked together with others to help many saints and brought them together to discuss truth, and disputed the errors of false teachers. 

8. An apologet will Powerfully Refute False Prophets and Errors (eutonós, εὐτόνως ; sumballó, συμβάλλω)

This interesting word eutonós means well stretched and fully extended to the limit, in a well strung manner. It also has the sense of vigorously and vehemently. So a Christian and an apologet must be vehemently defending the Word of God against errors! The word diakatelegchomai means to utterly refute, prove all the way through, convict. So Apollos vehemently proved all the way through the truth of God’s Word and the falsity of those false teachers! In fact, the real meaning of the word diakatelegchomai means: ‘he met the opposing arguments in turn (dia), and brought them down to the ground (kata).’ So he basically punched the living daylights out of the false arguments like a boxer. Those opposing him had nothing left to say! 

9. An apologet will Demonstrate Truth through Scripture (epideiknumi, ἐπιδείκνυμι)

The Greek word epideiknumi means to show and prove. So as Christians and apologets we must prove the correctness of our arguments backed up by Scripture, the ultimate Truth. 

Midweek Music: Two Brothers, One Song

My sister discovered these virtuoso brothers on youtube- and I we’ve been listening to them for weeks on end. Vladimir and Anton come from a musical family of 6 children and obviously everyone in the family plays an instrument. Their mother is Slovakian and their father is Russian. 

The brothers moved to Ireland because of course, it’s the land of fiddlers and violin players! Vladimir found a wife there and has three children. Now the brothers are gaining popularity, and have even played at the BBC Proms concerts. 

Their talent and skill is enviable and they bring out the beauty in each song they play. As you will see, the songs Vladimir and Anton play, prove that there is beautiful and dynamic music out there, and it doesn’t have to be rock or contemporary pop music for it to be dynamic. 

I couldn’t decide which song to add to our Midweek Music, so I decided to let you listen to two of their songs! Let me know which one you like most. 

 

 

Instead of New Years Resolutions

 

I cannot believe how quickly 2016 has passed by! For me it has been a very busy year, but also a very fruitful year by God’s grace.

I have experienced many answered prayers and I was humbled and thrilled to see how the Lord would answer specific desires that I prayed. Last year instead of doing a New Year’s Resolutions list, I did something different which I’ll repeat this year too.

Prayer and Goals List for the New Year 

I felt that the most efficient and sure way to see change in my life, to see goals accomplished and dreams granted was through making a prayer/goals/dreams list for the upcoming year. I titled it “Prayer List for 2016”. I added on that list things that were high on my priority list, all the way to smaller things. For example, I put my request to graduate with honors, to pass my final exam in the first try- and both of those were answered. Also smaller things in some people’s eyes (but that meant a lot to me) like getting a pair of roller blades- and that was answered too! I put ministry goals in there as well, such as my apologetics ministry and writing books for little children.

Then I prayed on that list throughout the year.  As time passed, I saw how the Lord answered prayers and I saw my list being check-marked! He granted me my desires for the year! How good the Lord is! Of course, I am not saying that the Lord is there to do whatever you want Him to do- but He loves us so much and delights when we pour out our hearts to Him and entrust our dreams and goals for our life. It is a tangible way to experience God’s love when you see Him answer specific prayers!

So I urge you to make a goals/dreams list and pray on it for the upcoming year instead of making a New Year’s Resolution. Put stuff on there like traveling to The Ark Encounter, or other travel plans, ministry goals, family goals, school goals, and any other thing you have on your heart.

Thanksgiving List of the Previous Year

Along with my goals/prayer list, I made a thanksgiving list too. I recounted all the significant and beautiful events of the previous years and put them all on a long list. I added huge events like our roadtrip to Chicago, all the way to small things like getting compliments on a group project from my teacher, or winning a giveaway, or getting a molar fixed! It may sound ridiculous to some people to list such “insignificant” things, but in all those things I saw God’s hand, His goodness, and lovingkindess, so I wanted to remember them in gratefulness to see how He was with me in the big and little things in life.

What Will YOU be doing for the New Year?

Did you hear this Christmas Carol?

I thought my last post would be the Midweek Music until the New Year comes around. But I couldn’t help sharing one more Christmas carol. 

Most of you probably heard this all over Facebook. The song Mary Did You Know? is one of my favorite Christmas carols. Mark Lowry is the co-writer of the song, and the soloist in this video. Together with the Voctave band, he and they do an incredible job of singing this song acapella. Their harmonies blend so well, and it makes you marvel at the beauty and capability of the human voice- the creation of God! We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made! 

 

Midweek Music: The Shepherd on guitar

Merry Christmas week! I should have done a “12 Days of Carols” on the blog with my favorite Christmas carols, but maybe Lord willing next year.

I wanted to share this touching Christmas guitar melody. It was composed by an Italian. The melody starts slow and then has a dynamic crescendo. I would love to know what you thought of the song. 

Look below this video to read some life snippets about my Christmas season. 

 

 

Some verses that have been on my heart recently from my daily Bible devotion: 
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:7-9)

Also, an encouraging verse I read today:  “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Book I am currently reading is: Rebel with a Cause Autobiography of Franklin Graham. It’s a great story, giving you a glimpse into the real life of Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, and captivating too. I received it for free when Samaritan’s Purse ministry said they have some free copies, so I signed up. 

 

Book I am planning to read: The Secret Rescue- An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines. I don’t know how good the book is, but the title sounds absolutely delightful- just up my alley! I borrowed it from the library but I have to look it up and see if it has any bad stuff, cause I might end up not reading it after all. 😦

 

This year the house is decorated earlier for Christmas: The lights are put up, the stockings at the fireplace and there are ornaments in the windows and paper snowflakes hanging from the light fixture. It didn’t take as much time as last year- maybe because I was not as stressed out, since I’m graduated from college- so odd. College felt like it’s never ending. 

Been sick with the flu: I’ve been so sick with the flu the past week, it almost didn’t feel like Christmas. Fever, and coughing and muscle aches! It was terrible. I lived on ibuprofen, vitamin C, cough drops, tea, onion tea (yuck), elderberry syrup, silver solution. Because of that, we couldn’t do our annual tradition of going Christmas caroling in front of stores as shoppers go in and out. I miss that. 

Planning to bring cookies: to all our neighbors, cashiers at our local store, bank tellers and a few other people. Or maybe my family and I will make cinnamon rolls- I’m not sure. 

This year everyone’s hectic: Wherever you drive people are bustling around like crazy! I feel like this year it’s more than previous years- everyone is out there doing shopping, and there are so many distracted drivers! 

Listening to Christmas carols: really puts me in the mood for Christmas. How do you focus on the Christmas story? 

Looking forward to spending time with family for Christmas: it’s so neat when you get to have relatives come over and celebrate important holidays like Christmas together! Usually we have a quiet Christmas- just me and my immediate family, but this year will be a bit more festive. Singing Christmas carols together is wonderful!

Attended a Christmas concert: at my former college! It was a lovely orchestra and choir. The nice thing was they sang real Christian Christmas carols, not the fake “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” or stuff like that. Of course they had a few other ones like the Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, and some Jazz, but at the end the audience joined the choir to sing Handel’s Messiah Alleluiah, which was awesome! 

Christmas is on a Sunday- once in 7 years: I look forward to having Christmas on Sunday, it seems like just the right thing! We can celebrate the birth of our Savior together with other believers at church. It happens about once in every 7 years, I heard. 

Merry Christmas in the Lord to all of you around the world- and a blessed, safe and beautiful New Year! 

Please share with me your Christmas traditions, or what you do to focus on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!