Category Archives: Book Recommendations

Why we like Mark Cahill’s resources

Just so you can see for yourself the impact of a righteous mission-minded man on a young teen’s heart, I’m sharing this letter my oldest daughter wrote a few months ago. I hope it encourages you to check out Mark Cahill’s resources for your own family. We highly recommend them all, but our favorites, ones that we’ve watched over and over again in the past 5 plus years, are Lukewarm No More and Stand Out. They’ve had a phenomenal impact on our Christian walk. Here’s the blurb given at his site for this particular DVD:

There is now a DVD of the talk I have been giving called “Lukewarm No More.” The message is taken out of the book of Revelation Chapter 3 about the Laodicean church.

Is it possible that you are going to a lukewarm church? Or is it possible that you are lukewarm in your faith? Watching this DVD will make it very easy for you to figure that out.

The first time I ever gave this talk, there were numerous people who told me after listening to the message that they repented of numerous things in their lives that did not line up with the word of God. They stated they are now living a holy life that has been given over completely to the Lord. Listen and be challenged to make sure that you never fall into the category of lukewarm ever again.

Also includes the message “Stand Out”—two talks on one DVD!

My daughter’s letter to Mark follows…

Hey Mark,
I’m sure you don’t remember me since you communicate with so many different people in so many different ways, but I feel like I know you personally from watching all of your DVDs except for your newest one (and that problem will soon be remedied!), reading your books and first tract, and visiting one of your speaking events. You also gave our small country church a whole box of One Second After You… booklets and we have really enjoyed giving them away.

I can feel in my veins the urgency to reach lost souls before it is too late. The return of our Lord is imminent and I think that the Devil knows it more than anyone and is working over time to keep his slaves from being freed. He seems to be more aware of the present battle that is raging than most Christians these days. This year I have felt more worldly temptations than ever before, and yet every time I begin to feel discouraged the Spirit of the Most High God reminds me that I am wholly and solely His: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”(2Cor.6:17-18) That verse always makes my heart leap!

One thing that is very disheartening to me lately is the disinterest in reaching the lost on the part of SO many Christians. I’m afraid that sometimes it makes me less zealous instead of making me work for my Lord more heatedly. Thank God, I have several friends who truly love the Lord and they are a huge blessing to me. After all, you and I are only two of the “7,000 in America, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” If only we could keep our focus on God rather than man. I have decided that one of Satan’s greatest footholds in a Christian’s life is to keep them from reading the Holy Word of God and thus shift their vision from Christ. As Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law happy is he.”
And Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” You’ve seen these before but it doesn’t hurt to see them again. It never does when you’re talking about God’s Word!

I didn’t exactly mean for this to be so long. I know that you are super busy. I just wanted to encourage you to keep up the good work and that I am fighting for the cause of Christ as well. Stay on the straight and narrow path, Mark, and when you begin to feel discouraged let the utter GREATNESS of our Lord Jesus Christ overcome it. We are praying for you…

Thanks so much for the DVD and booklets. I am fourteen and will be sharing these resources (or should I say “Weapons of our Warfare”?) with many young friends. The DVD will be watched at several sleepovers (or battle planning sessions) and will be loaned to many families. We have some loaned out right now actually and I just watched Watchman on the Wall this afternoon…*smile*.

Well, I had better go! Stay true until the nets are full, Mark!
Forever in Christ…

***********

Be sure to check out Mark Cahill’s site and be as blessed by his evangelistic resources as our family and many others have been! As Mark is so fond of saying…

“Until the nets are full,”

Mary

Winter Fun for your Family

Today a new post of mine is up at Writer…Interrupted, called “Indoor Winter Fun For Your Children”. Check it out for details on some of our family’s favorite snow day activities for all ages.

With temps in the 20’s this past week, we’ve had a lot of indoor fun, breaking out the Sculpey polymer clay and making all sorts of oceanic creatures to fill our Apologia “ocean boxes” as recommended in our recently finished science book, Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.

Every other year or so, we go scissor happy crafting delicate snowflakes, which we then use to decorate our windowpanes all winter. Usually we find inspiration at online sites such as Dave’s snowflake pages, which are incredible, but this year on a friend’s recommendation, I ordered Cindy Higham’s book, Snowflakes: Creative Paper Cutouts. My kiddos keep asking me when we’re going to have our “snowflake day”! The book hasn’t arrived yet, so I keep putting them off…

There are a couple of other ideas for those wintry afternoons when staying inside is just the best idea of all. I hope you go check it out, and in the meantime, share your favorite wintertime family activities in comments!

Blessings,

Mary

The Amazing Word

John 1:1-4 tells us that Jesus is the “Word”…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus, the “Word” is life! His words give life.

I want to share an amazing phenomenon here, discovered years ago by Periander A. Esplana, a Christian from Camarines Norte, Philippines. I read about it in G. A. Riplinger’s Hazardous Materials book. The examples shared further below were taken directly from this book, pages 1,181-1, 184.

We know that Jesus Christ is the Word. He also said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and What thou seest, write in a book…” Rev. 1:11

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. So here, Jesus is saying, he is not only “words“, he is “letters“.

Stay with me because this is just so awesome!

Example 1

This example is just for the FIRST VERSE and the LAST VERSE of the King James Bible.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Gen. 1:1

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Rev. 22:21

Count the number of letters in the first verse of the KJB: __44__

Count the number of letters in the last verse of the KJB:  __44__

 

Count the number of vowels in the first verse of the KJB: __17__

Count the number of vowels in the last verse of the KJB:  __17__

 

Count the number of consonants in the first verse of the KJB: __27__

Count the number of consonants in the last verse of the KJB:  __27__

Example 2

One of the most important verses in the Bible is 1 John 5:7. It distinguishes the Christian religion from all false religions (The chapter ends saying, “This is the true God…”) This verse identifies the trinity and states that Jesus is God.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7

Jesus is not only “the first and the last,” he is “in the midst” of the New Testament in 1 John 5:7 (Matt. 14:24, 25; 18:2; Luke 5:19, 6:8, 9;24:36 “Jesus himself stood in the midst.” John 8:9, 8:59, 18:19, “Jesus in the midst,” 20:19, 20:26.)

Count the number of letters in the first verse of the KJB:   44

Count the number of letters in the last verse of the KJB:  +44

Count the number of letters in 1 John 5:7 of the KJB:           88

When the letters in the first and last verse are totaled, they equal the same number of letters in 1 John 5:7.

Count the number of vowels in the first verse of the KJB:  17

Count the number of vowels in the last verse of the KJB: +17

Count the number of vowels in 1 John 5:7 of the KJB:         34

When the number of vowels in the first and last verse are totaled, they equal the number of vowels in 1 John 5:7.

Count the number of consonants in the first verse of the KJB: 27

Count the number of consonants in the last verse of the KJB: +27

Count the number of consonants in 1 John 5:7 in the KJB:       54

The number of consonants in the first and last verse equals the same number of consonants in 1 John 5:7.

Example 3

As if the fact that the first and last verses of the KJV Bible match identically were not enough, (and they also match 1 John 5:7), it gets more interesting.

First verse letters= 44

Last verse letters=44                               Total 88

First verse vowels=17

Last verse vowels= 17                              Total 34

First verse consonants= 27

Last verse consonants =27                    Total 54

First verse words= 10

Last verse words =12                  

Words in 1 John 5:7= 22                          Total 22

Therefore, the total letters, consonants, vowels, and words in 1 John 5:7 equal the total of those in “the first and last” verses in the Holy Bible.

John 11:40 says, “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God”

Do you have 1 John 5:7 in your Bible? If you aren’t reading a KJV, you don’t have 1 John 5:7 in your Bible.

Consider this. If God tells us that the very hairs of our heads are numbered (Luke 12:6-7) and that a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without His notice, that His Son is the Word, and the Alpha and Omega (letters!), how much more would God carefully preserve the most important tangible gift he’s left to us on this earth–His words of His Holy Bible?

Scholars today suggest that the Trinity of 1 John 5:7 does not belong in the Bible, in spite of manuscript evidence to the contrary. In spite of what we’ve seen here, which phenomenon only occurs when counting the letters of the King James version Bible.

For more information on this subject, check out AVpublications.com

Foundations

Samuel Gipp’s “Understandable History of the Bible” is a 557 page must-read for the serious Christian who is just embarking on the journey of learning more about where their Bible came from.

Where did our Bible today come from? 

Most existing manuscripts of the Bible are divided into two “manuscript families”. These two “families” disagree with each other in many areas. Every English Bible today proceeds, more or less, from one of these two groups. In general, these families are represented by the cities of Alexandria, Egypt and Antioch, Syria. Alexandrian manuscripts, or Antiochian manuscripts.

When you come to the issue of Bible translations, without any preconceived notions, just an honest desire for God to direct your paths by the light of His word, what should logically stand out based on the names of these regions?

For me, the city of Antioch grabbed my attention. In scripture, we recognize it as the birthplace of the first Christian church. All of its mentions are in a positive light…I will soon list them here for your personal study. One thing that I also recommend you do, is a scripture hunt for all the mentions of Syria in the Bible, it’s good stuff, mon!

Biblical references to Antioch, Syria

 Acts 6:3,4,5–“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:” One of the first deacons, Nicolas, was from Antioch! He is the only deacon whose home town is listed…why is that, I wonder?

Acts 11:19-21, “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that rose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” The first great Gentile awakening occured in Antioch!

Acts 11:22-24, “Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith” and much people was added unto the Lord.”

Acts 11:25,26, “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” So Barnabas seeks the young convert Saul…remember that Barnabas defended Paul’s conversion to the doubting disciples in Acts 9:26, 27. He finds Saul, but does he bring him back to Jerusalem? He returns with him to Antioch, the spiritual capital of the New Testament church. And in Acts 11:26, we find that born again believers were called “Christians” for the first time at Antioch.

Acts 11:27, 28, “And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.” Jerusalem is spiritually abandoned…in Acts 11:29, 30 we see that the saints who God is blessing in Antioch, must send monetary aid to the saints who God is not blessing in Jerusalem.

Acts 13:1-3, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabus, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” First missionary journey originates in Antioch!

Acts 14:25-28, “And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down unto Attalia: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples.”

Acts 15:23-27: “And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.” In Samuel Gipp’s The Answer Book, he says after this scripture, that after completing this mission, Judas returned to Jerusalem and oblivion, while Silas elects to stay in Antioch, and it is Silas who we find gaining a prominent place in Scripture as Paul’s missionary partner on his second missionary journey. This second missionary journey originated in Antioch, as Acts 15:40 illustrates.

“What was it that was so attractive to God that He chose it as the center of New Testament Christianity?

It might be noted that, Antioch although it was a cultural center, had not abandoned itself to pagan religion, pagan education and pagan philosophy as had such prominent sites as Rome, Athens, and Alexandria.

It might also be weighed that Antioch, unlike the above mentioned cities, or even Jerusalem, was located almost exactly in the middle of the known world, and was built at the crossing of the East-West trade routes. It even boasted a sea port, via the Orontes River. These are all important attributes for the capital of Christianity, which is known for its mobility.

It may be that many of the original autographs of Paul’s epistles were penned in Antioch.” S. Gipp, The Answers Book, pgs 43-44

Also, history records that by the end of the first century, there were over 100,000 Christians living in Antioch.

Okay, so that was the scoreboard for Antioch, which as we saw above, sybolizes the Christian’s new life apart from the paganism of the Gentiles’ religions and the ritualism of Judaism. Now, let’s see what God says about Alexandria, Egypt. He actually says a lot about Egypt…in the Bible, Egypt is a type of “this world”, and “the old life“. But He also brings up Alexandria. First a few of the more well known references to Egypt…for more you better buy Gipp’s book, he spends 18 pages (Chapter 5,” The Localities”) on this subject in his Understandable History of the Bible!

Biblical references to Alexandria and Egypt

  1. God called His Son out of Egypt, Matthew 2.
  2. God called Jacob out of Egypt, Genesis 49.
  3. God called Israel out of Egypt, Exodus 15.
  4. God called Joseph’s bones out of Egypt, Exodus 13.
  5. God never wanted His people to return to Egypt, Deuteronomy 17:16.

This one gives me chills. In Revelation 11:8, the context is God denouncing Jerusalem, and He compares it to Sodom and Egypt:“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”

Now for the four specific scriptures referencing Alexandria:

It’s first mention is in Acts 6:9, “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Crenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.”  Okay, so Jews from Alexandria were partly responsible for the stoning of Stephen. Gipp points out that the blood of the first martyr was shed by people from Alexandria. We’re not off to a good start here.

Now we’re introduced to Apollos, from Alexandria. Acts 18:24, “And and certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.” Gipp says of Apollos,

“Here we find that an unsaved Jew from Alexandria named Apollos was fervent in spirit but was misinformed concerning the Gospel. Not knowing the true Gospel of salvation by faith through death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ he went to Ephesus and preached instead the baptism of Jon the Baptist as the way to salvation, (Acts 18:25). In Acts 19:3, we find some of his ‘baptized  believers’ who were no more saved than he was. Apollos was not saved and neither were his converts.

Later in the passage we see that Apollos is intercepted by Aquila and Priscilla (verse 26) and led to Christ. How do we know he got saved? Look at the radical change in the message he preached. In Acts 18:25, Apollos is preaching “salvation” through the baptism of John. In Acts 18:26 he gets saved. And in Acts 18:28 we find that his message had changed from preaching John’s baptism to ‘preaching Christ.’

But we must take note that in its second mention we find that Alexandria is synonymous with bad Bible teaching.”

Paul is arrested in Acts 21, and he is sent to Rome and eventually his death, on a ship from Alexandria! Acts 27:6, “And there the Centurion found a ship  of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.” We know the story, Paul’s ship is sunk by a tempest.  Paul spends 3 months on the island of Melita. He is then sent on his way to eventual death on another ship. Guess where this second ship is from? Acts 28:11, “And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.” Okay, so no positive mentions of Alexandria, Egypt here either.

Above we gave you a little glimpse into Antioch and what it was like back then. Now it’s Alexandria’s turn.

“It must also be noted here that Alexandria was a center of education and philosophy. (Col 2:8). It received these terrible twins from Athens about 100 BC. (Acts 17:16). There was also a school of the Scriptures founded there by one Philo, who was an unsaved philosopher. Philo did not believe that the Bible was the inspired word of God. He interpreted Scripture both philosophically and allegorically. That is to say that philosophically he believed truth to be relative, not absolute. He did not believe that the Bible was infallible. By looking at the Bible allegorically he believed that men such as Adam, Noah, Moses, and David existed only in Jewish poetry and were not true historical characters…

He was succeeded as head of the school by Clement of Alexandria and later by Origen–men who shared his skepticism. These men carried manuscript corruption to new heights–or new depths, depending on how you view biblical infallibility.

It was Origen, deceived by the dual intoxicants of education and philosophy, who upon receipt of pure copies of Scripture altered them to parallel his twisted thinking.”

Origen, the first Bible critic, is responsible for the physical manuscripts which delete such verses as Luke 24:40, Acts 8:37, and 1 John 5:7, as well as the Alexandrian mentality that the Bible is full of mistakes and mistranslations. In other words, “the Bible is not perfect and can be improved upon.”

Samuel Gipp sums this topic up as follows:

“It is to be noted that the five uncial manuscripts which today’s scholars have used to supplant the Received Text of the Authorized Version all come from Alexandria. So here you have well over five thousand witnesses, the vast majority of which testify to the authenticity of the King James Bible, and just a literal handful of opposing witnesses and yet scholarship, deluded by their infatuation with Alexandria turns a blind eye to them and scuttles off to Egypt to bow their knees to a tiny gathering that God refuses to acknowledge.”

The big question is, can we afford to ignore the Bible on this issue? In 1 Kings 11:7, Solomon ignored the Bible’s directives concerning Egypt and ended up sacrificing his children to Molech. Where are we going to end up if we do the same?

Part 2, Where, historically, do the Alexandrian and Antiochian manuscripts go from here? Stay tuned.

Sowing Seeds, Reaping Harvests

The Biblical concept of good trees bearing good fruit and good harvests, and bad seeds bearing bad, is interesting to contemplate.

Jack Moorman says this in the preface to his book, When the KJV Departs from the Majority Text,

“The debate over the King James Bible is as crucial as any we face today. A nation, church, individual is only as strong as its Bible. The harvest can only be as good and full as the seed sown. The final court of appeal is no longer final if there are others of equal standing. Many of God’s people no longer have an ultimate authority. ‘What does God’s word say?’ has been replaced by an anemic, ‘How does this version render the passage?’ Leaders and groups that have experienced growth in their ministries, give an impression of being bigger and more blessed than the Bible itself. Those who defend the God-honored version are made to appear divisive, while the ones introducing the new and criticizing the old; have a more balanced view.’ And so it goes.

Faithfulness to a school, church, mission board is often placed above faithfulness to that Book which brought these institutions into being.”

I can relate to sitting in past Bible studies and discussing whether someone else’s version would shed better light on our reading of God’s word. I never thought twice about it perhaps being the wrong approach. I’m also one who enjoyed using a Strong’s Concordance, and the Hebrew-Greek interlinear in the back of my Bible, never questioning what kind of men were behind these “English definitions” of God’s words, or which Greek and Hebrew texts they might be drawing from. I never stopped to wonder why God never suggests in His word that we might need a degree in linguistics to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, or to discern which is the “best translation”. God straight-forwardly tells us,

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth“…2 Timothy 2:15.

Before we rely on 20th Century Bible study tools, shouldn’t we check them out ourselves, and make sure that these men behind the lexicons, Greek and Hebrew texts and Bible dictionaries were godly men, who sought first and foremost to “rightly divide the word of truth“? I believe that every Christian must study these things themselves, not blindly trust that other “experts”  have done this homework for us. How else can we answer to God, in light of 2 Timothy 2:15? A practical place to start would be with this fully documented, eye-opening book, Hazardous Materials by G. A. Riplinger.

A friend and I were emailing about the dangers of having so many differing authorities, in terms of God’s word. Here’s what was said,

“In an age where absolutes are rejected in favor of relativism…I’m afraid we’re seeing how that plays out in the pulpits of America today. There can not be one absolutely correct version, according to modern scholars, there must be many from which to pick and choose. When a person doesn’t believe any version is inerrant/perfect, he can pick and choose whichever translation he prefers to make his points.  He is his own authority.  He is ‘free’ to ‘correct’ the KJV or NASB or any other version, since in the final analysis it is his preference that is his final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  Dangerous ground? There doesn’t have to be manuscript evidence or lack thereof – he can make his subjective choice rather than being ‘confined’ to the objective written word of God.  There is no sense of any version being the actual living words of the living God to whom he will be personally held accountable. With 200+ current English versions now on the market, there is plenty of wiggle room to justify a lot of beliefs, etc.”

Most Christians would automatically say that all Bibles are correct and accurate…but I say,  God promises to perfectly preserve His words from this generation forever. “Perfectly preserved” doesn’t quite equal “good and accurate”. How about a Bible today that contains the “inspired” and “infallible” word of God?

I believe that there is a “perfect” Bible out there, because I believe God’s promises, but out of the 200+ English versions, which one is it? Paul warns us about corrupt Bibles in 2 Corinthians 2:17, and gives a heartfelt plea for watchmen in Acts 20:29-31,

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. “

So back to Matthew 7:17 , the scripture on good trees bearing good fruit, and corrupt trees bringing forth evil fruit. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.d says of this verse, in his Understandable History of the Bible,

“It is undeniable that we in America have more ‘Bibles’ in our language than any other country. No, even England has not published as many ‘Bibles’ as America. Yet in America, we have situations where a six-year-old boy can take a gun to school and shoot a six-year-old girl to death…Two teenage boys can go to their high school and shoot fourteen of their fellow students to death. A mother can strap her two infant children into a car and then drive it into a lake, killing them both. High school girls can have babies and then leave them in a dumpster to die…”

How can this be true of a nation with so many Bibles in their language? I can think of more than one answer to this…perhaps, people are not reading their Bibles to begin with, or…

Could it be because Matthew 7:17 is true? If you sow apple seeds you will reap apples, if you sow orange seeds you will reap oranges. If you sow corrupted seed…what will you reap? 

Luke 8:11, “…The seed is the word of God.”

1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Matthew 7:18-20, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Food for thought. For 300 years, the KJV produced abundant fruit for God’s kingdom. Many say of the KJV, that the test of a translation is what God has done with it. The greatest missionary work in church history occurred between 1700 and 1900. Many great preachers such as Billy Sunday, Spurgeon, Moody, Whitfield, Edwards, Wesley, etc. saw great revival as they preached from their KJVs . The King James Bible was the Bible our great nation was founded upon. It was the Bible of the two spiritual Great Awakenings. It was the Bible that was used to teach our forefathers grammar and reading in public schools over 200 years ago.

One last thought from Samuel C. Gipp’s Understandable History of the Bible,

“There is no Bible that exalts Jesus Christ any higher than the Authorized Version. There is no Bible which is more hated by Satan  and the Roman Catholic Church than the Authorized Version. There is no Bible which teaches doctrine more clearly than the Authorized Version.”

When Gipp states that there is no Bible that more highly exalts Jesus Christ than the KJV, he is referring to the fact that modern bibles often remove references to Christ’s deity, that He is the “son of God”, and they also shorten the references to His name, calling Him “Jesus” instead of the KJV’s “Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”.  We are not referring to single instances, but hundreds of instances depending on the version. His statements about it being hated by Satan and the Roman Catholic church are referring to the strong historical opposition to the pure line of manuscripts which form the KJV, for which so many millions of martyrs gave their lives.

Incidentally, Daystar Publishing has a bundle deal in honor of 2011 being the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. For only $30, you can buy four wonderful books (I know, because I own 3 of them!) at 30% off…Gipp’s Understandable History of the Bible, The Answer Book, Is Our English Bible Inspired, and A Charted History of the Bible.

(Please note, I am not advocating here, that we throw out all Greek and Hebrew study helps, obviously, just cautioning the need to prove which ones are pure and acceptable in His sight…)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers

Chicken Soup BookI’m published! *Smile*

A few months ago, Shelley Ring,  my good friend and critique partner, emailed me suggesting we both submit devotionals to the Chicken Soup people. They were looking for submissions to fill their Devotional Stories for Mothers project and the deadline was a week (or less?!) away!

So we churned out our stories, and both of them got through all the rounds to the finals! How exciting to be published together, in the same book, for the first time.

My wintertime story detailing a particular home front crisis of  “cabin fever emotions” is on page 294 titled, Rebuilding Castle Walls.  Shelley’s story, Hug ‘Em and Pray, shares from a step-mother’s heart the struggle to meet the cry of her step-son in his dark hour. You’ll find it on page 90.

Every story in this newly released book is preceded by a scripture verse and ended with a prayer. This encouraging collection of heart-squeezers would be a fantastic gift for the moms on your list!

Product Description

Throughout time, women have shared their joys and sorrows, thoughts and feelings, experiences and life lessons with one another. The tradition continues in CSS Devotional Stories for Mothers with 101 stories of friendship, faith, and comfort that affirm God’s unconditional love and His wisdom. Women will find encouragement, solace, and strength in these personal stories and prayers that cover motherhood from its joys and everyday trials to tests of faith.

About the Author

Susan M. Heim is a long-time Chicken Soup for the Soul editor and Christian author, specializing in family-oriented books and women’s issues.

Karen C. Talcott is an author and educator with an expertise in women’s issues, faith, and angels.

Foreward by Lisa Whelchel, best known for her long standing role as “Blair” in the television series, The Facts of Life, is a wife and a home schooling mother of three children. She has appeared in several feature films and is an author, vocalist, Grammy nominated songwriter, and an inspirational speaker at churches and conferences nationwide.

Buy the book now at Amazon.com!

Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Child

sleepy1Upon marriage, my husband and I were polar opposites when it came to reading. I came from a family of readers and writers…the TV was rarely on in our house–we didn’t even own a VCR until the 90’s. My parents have a vast library, yes, a real room lined with bookshelves floor to ceiling, of fiction and non-fiction titles reflecting their great love of the written word, and I’ve had a lifetime exposure to it. I’m sure my ‘bookish background’ is one of the main reasons grammar, spelling and writing were such an enjoyment to me in my K-12 years. As an adult, my reading has self-educated me on many topics of interest, as I gather resources to make smart decisions for my family. Whether on nutrition, herbal remedies, homesteading, homeschooling, organic gardening, autism, ADHD–books hold the key to educating yourself…yes, the internet is a great tool–but you have to be serious about reading there too, in order to filter through to the right information. TV can teach, but it doesn’t compare. You’d have to watch hours and hours of educational programming to replace the pages of a single book.

So not only do we want our children to love reading to succeed in school…we want them to love reading to excel in life!

My husband agrees with me. In contrast to my childhood, his didn’t hold any special emphasis on reading. Neither of his parents had any interest in reading for enjoyment, and whether indirectly or directly, my husband also had no desire to read. He spent many quality hours outside riding ponies and being daddy’s helper, but his indoor hours were usually spent playing, drawing, or watching favorite TV shows. It took my husband several years of marriage before he gave reading for enjoyment a chance. He still would rather thumb through a magazine, but he sees the value of reading, and wishes it didn’t come so hard for him to sit there and *want* to read.

#1 reason to read aloud to your child to promote a love of reading:

God’s Word. An adult that has never learned to love reading, will have a really hard time sitting down to read the Bible and make sense of it. This is SO sad. In this whiz-bang modern age of ours, most children are conditioned to fast paced TV, video games and constant action…sitting for an hour in church puts them to sleep or drives them crazy, why would they want to read a black-and-white book with no pictures? If they love to read anyway, they’ll be more likely to open the Bible and reap the benefits of a real relationship with their Creator.

More Reasons

  1. Reading is a gentle activity that keeps brains engaged and imaginations soaring, while promoting problem solving, concentration, wonder at a number of fascinating people, places and events.
  2. Reading provides background knowledge on a number of topics. Between the covers of any book you can experience life in any country, on the moon or under the sea, as a mailman or a scientist or a factory worker.
  3. Reading builds vocabulary. This is a biggie. No explanation required!
  4. Children who love to read become naturals at writing stories of their own. The rich language patterns they’ve heard from childhood read-alouds translate naturally, as does proper story structure. Clauses and conjunctions and modifiers and all the strictures of the “printed word” aren’t a big hang-up, because they’ve been exposed to well-written sentences from a very young age.

Conclusion:

Reading, as I tell my kiddos, builds “strong brain muscles”, whereas, watching TV builds “fat pig muscles”.

Disclaimer:

I’m not advocating a couch potato lifestyle here. In fact, the polar opposite lifestyles reflected by my husband’s and my upbringings had both positives and negatives. Hubby was raised actively, in a hard-working family. He was probably handing tools to his daddy from toddlerhood on up. As a result, he’s able to fix anything, build anything, create and problem solve pretty much anything. Don’t give him a manual to read, he doesn’t need it!

I’m much more likely to want to while away an afternoon with a good read. Definitely was accused of being a bookworm as a young girl. So many good books, so much time out the window never to be recaptured.

So try for the happy medium. A love of reading isn’t always easily instilled, but it’s becoming a lost art in these days of fast food living.

Promo:

If you’ve ever wanted to see just how much wealth you can find in one children’s book…check out a book such as “The Story About Ping” by Marjorie Flack, and read it to your child every single day for a week. Learn about China, the Yangtze River, Ducks, bouyancy, water safety, houseboat life, consequences of disobedience, awesome artwork, etc. And if you need direction in how to go about reading in this way, check out Jane Claire Lambert’s Five In A Row series. Volume 1 covers everything you need to know to enjoy “The Story About Ping”, among many other classics.

Happy Reading!

I Love Homeschooling!

The old-fashioned way of doing things grabs me. Not that I don’t appreciate modern conveniences, but yeah, you just might catch me utilizing a washboard for kicks. And I’d absolutely adore an outdoor kitchen fitted with an enormous antique white stove like great-grandma’s.

I was thinking that about myself this morning–my tendency of appreciating the old and reliable things of my life–as I scrubbed my stove-top with comet. We’re one of the few families left still cooking on a stove with four detachable burners. I still have a phone with a cord on the wall. We don’t do TV, video games, etc. Obviously, we have internet, but even at that, it’s dial-up!

Is there something wrong with that? *Wink*

Maybe that’s why homeschooling brings me such joy. It’s the way things used to be, back when our country was a youngun’, before women went out for careers, before the government mandated preschool. (Okay so maybe it’s not mandated, but the age of compulsory school attendance is getting lower and lower.)

We’re getting our first full week under our belt and I’m increasingly thankful for the freedom I have in this country to choose how to educate my child. What a gift! It’s right up there with the best of God’s blessings. No material comforts we’ve sacrificed compares to what I’m getting back in terms of relationships with my girls.

Here’s a few things I’ve loved this first week back…

First Day’s Treasure Hunt

treasurehunt2We ALWAYS do a treasure hunt to kick-off school. Here the girls are at 7 a.m. raring to go. This year’s hunt was complete with a total of 27 clues, split 3 ways for 3 girls. Each girl found treats along the “trail” of clues with their names attached…things ranging from mini-candy bars to alarm clocks and each girl’s hunt ended at the horse barn, in the tack room…at a big box of this year’s new school books. True treasure, we remind them every year, is what you keep stored in your heart and mind. And, yes, they do get extreasurehunt4cited to see what new books mom’s ordered for their learning enjoyment!

Here is my oldest trying to find the yellow clue taped in the top right-most roosting box.

We had clues in the garden beneath a cherry tomato plant, beneath the stone walkway to the garden, under a shovel in the sandbox, in the “dog barn” on a pet’s gate, on a post by the horse pen, in the play house, down the hill in the barrel of chick feed, in one of the sheds on the seat of the four-wheeler, and so on.

Memorable note about this year’s hunt–we did it in pouring rain! Yup, soggy clues, wind-misplaced clues. What an adventure under blackening skies! And hot chocolate all around once we arrived back in the house for breakfast!

Making Bubble Snakes

bubblesnakes1FUN! While waiting at an orthodontic appointment last week, my oldest and I both read the same Family Fun magazine at different times, and don’t you know, we both zeroed in on the same fun activity to try at home later.  I’d determined to gather the things necessary w/o telling any of the girls, and my oldest daughter pulled it off before I could. We cracked up once we realized we’d both intended on doing the same activity without any consultation whatsoever. And that’s another fun thing about homeschooling. My older girls are all about putting fun things together for their sibs to enjoy.

Bubblesnakes4Here’s what you need for some Bubble Snake fun of your own!

  • recycled plastic water bottle with the bottom half cut off
  • a square of toweling
  • a rubber band
  • blowing bubble solution, dishsoap or best of all, bubble bath

bubblesnakes2To assemble, rubber band the piece of towel to the bottom of the plastic bottle. Get the towel damp-to-wet. Put a thin layer of dishsoap or bubble bath in the bottom of a small bowl and dip the toweled end of the plastic bottle in it. Blow through the drinking hole and you get these lovely snakes! Magical fun for an hour at the very least! And then again when Dad gets home to see!

More of a recess activity, but we counted it as Kindergarten science because we experimented with all of the above soaps to see which worked best! Mr. Bubble!

Such fun catching the floating bubble snakes…you should have seen our lawn afterward…bubble snakes galore!

Other Highlights

For the first time ever, thanks to a generous homeschool-mom friend loaning me her FIAR books Vol. 1-3, I’m using Five In A Row with my Kindergartner, a wonderful many-faceted approach to all school subjects via the premise of reading the same classic literature for “five days in a row”.  This week, we’re reading The Story About Ping. Each day, after reading, we tackle a unit study about some theme in the book, whether it be ducks (Ping is a duckling that gets lost in the Yangtze River in China), China, the beautiful crayon and colored pencil drawings of Kurt Wiese, etc.

Yesterday we were discussing the copyright page, and what makes a book a classic. The Story About Ping was written and published in 1933. A classic is a book read by many generations, so I tried to home in on that fact by asking my 5 year old if she knew who was born in 1934, the year after Ping was written. (her grandpa)

She leaned forward, eyes huge and completely serious. “God?”

Obviously I’ve failed to impart the eternal aspect of God to this girl.

But giggles aside, we have been having so much fun with Ping. Found all sorts of neat helps at homeschoolshare.com for a lapbook on the study, and youngest and I were having such a great time that her older sisters had to come to the table and get involved as well.

Last but not least, my oldest and I are enjoying such a cool friendship. Yesterday after school was done, after we’d helped out at the CSA farm for a couple hours, when we were back home and I had a messy house to deal with for company coming the next day…my younger two vamoosed outside to escape me putting them to work, but my oldest volunteered herself for duty. Her only request? Christian music. Loud.

So while we were cleaning the DJ comes on and tells about how Maria Chapman’s “House of Hope” opened in China recently, and how 700 orphans are living there now…and of course, anyone who knows about the tragic death of little Maria (Steven Curtis Chapman’s little adopted girl from China) would be moved to tears to hear the story behind why this orphanage is called “Maria’s House of Hope”. My daughter and I paused with our dustcloths and bawled happy tears together.

Moral of this happy ramble…

If you love having fun and spending time with your kids, if you want to be there when they learn to read-when they lovingly and patiently help their younger siblings learn to read, if you want to impart what’s most important to you (God, morals, character, family), there’s no easier way to do it than homeschooling.

I pray we have many more years of freedom to parent our children the way we choose in America.

And long live homeschooling!

Tricia Goyer’s Blue Like Play Dough

bluelikeplaydoughThis book kept me up late! Check out the book cover…see the subtitle in small print?

“the shape of motherhood in the grip of God”

I love that!  Tricia’s done it again, with God’s blessing, of course! This spiritual memoir of how God’s molded and shaped her life really hit home with me. Every mom will be able to relate and be blessed by this fantastic gal’s personal journey of ups and downs and how God’s using it all for His glory.  I can’t wait to pass it around my circle of moms.

In chapter four, “If Love Showed Up in Sneakers”, I found myself nodding at Tricia’s fetish for perfect housekeeping and her realization over time that people are more important than clean houses. Oh I’ve struggled with that one! My heart squeezed when she described her choice  to see “love” in the upturned couch cushions and messy sock drawers of her life.  Such love is represented only in a home blessed with husband and kids.

In chapter 22, “Pressed In-Between”, tears dripped off my chin as I read how the Goyer’s dream vacation to Disney World with Tricia’s live-in Grandma went from being half-dreaded to a memory that her family will cherish forever.

Talk about being stretched like play dough… Tricia is in her mid-thirties– she homeschools, takes care of her live-in Grandma, writes books, helps her husband and kids in a children’s weekly drama ministry at their church, is hugely involved in her local Crisis Pregnancy Center…if anyone is qualified to write a book on the topic of being stretched beyond–WAY beyond–our comfort zones, it’s Tricia.

With no further ado, here’s the good info!

tgoyer-headshot-2009Blue Like Play Dough

In the everyday stretch and squeeze of motherhood, Tricia Goyer often feels smooshed by the demands of life. In Blue Like Play Dough, she shares her unlikely journey from rebellious, pregnant teen to busy wife and mom with big dreams of her own. As her story unfolds, Tricia realizes that God has more in store for her than she has ever imagined possible.

Sure, life is messy and beset by doubts. But God keeps showing up in the most unlikely places–in a bowl of carrot soup, the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon, a woe-is me teen drama, or play dough in the hands of a child.

In Tricia’s transparent account, you’ll find understanding, laughter, and strength for your own story. And in the daily push and pull, you’ll learn to recognize the loving hands of God at work in your life… and know He has something beautiful in mind.

About the Author

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children’s book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions.  She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana.

Important Links for the Blue Like Play Dough Blog Tour

Read an excerpt here!

Visit Tricia’s Website

Purchase the book!

Follow the other Bloggers for this tour!

A Special Note from Tricia:

Are you a mommy who feels squeezed by Motherhood? Could God be shaping something beautiful in you?

In my new spiritual memoir, Blue Like Play Dough I invite women to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary! To learn to see God’s hand lovingly at work in every aspect of your life—from laundry-folding to the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon.

And now I’m inviting YOU to come bring your stretched self and attend a fun Facebook Launch Party for Blue Like Play Dough!

I know you’re busy (and tired) so I’m bringing the festivities to you! So grab your comfiest chair and slip away from that long To-Do list and join me for a two hour Play Dough Party. I’ll be sharing some of my mothering experiences (the good and the bad), hosting a fun trivia contest, giving away Mommy Play Dough Packs, answering questions, and getting to know YOU!

I’d be honored to have you as my guest – and to prove it I’ll be giving away 2 ginormous Mommy Play Dough Packs to two party attendees at random! The winners will be announced at the end of the party. Grab your friends and let’s party! oh, and don’t forget your camera! Snap pictures during the party and upload them during the festivities. I’ll be giving a prize away for the best photo!

So come join me on July 27th from 5-7 pm (PST)! Friend me on facebook and join the fun!

Get One, Give One Campaign (GO-GO)!

(http://triciagoyer.com/gogo.html)

With the release of this book Tricia is also launching the Get One, Give One Campaign!

For every copy of Blue Like Play Dough purchased, she’ll donate a copy of My Life Unscripted or Generation NeXt Parenting to a pregnancy, teen or family support ministry (while supplies last).

All you have to do is buy a copy of Blue Like Play Dough on Christianbook, on Amazon, or at your local bookstore, and then go to Tricia’s Go-Go page and fill out the form. EASY!

In My Garden

This intriguing fellow is only one of the fun finds galore on gardening days at our place! He was so not happy, that “grin” is really a snarl, if  you can’t tell! Yikes!

This picture, gingerly taken by soil-dirty fingers belonging to yours truly, shows you the view from my garden facing North, toward our house.  Behind the red tiller is our puppy run, current home to three adorable Australian Shepherd puppies.  See our Suburban behind my potato patch? The potato patch I’m forever scaring our chickens out of. My hubby swears he is going to catch me on film and turn it into millions on “Funniest Home Videos”–I guess I’m rather a hilarious sight to behold, giving those hens a piece of my mind for enjoying the loose soft dirt around my taters. Poor taters–er, chickens.

Tonight, at 10 p.m., on my way back to the house after shutting our chickens up for the night…I just couldn’t resist a visit to my garden.

It’s one of those cool, rustly summer nights. If the wind in our state could ever be termed “peaceful”, it is tonight. Loving the sound of it in the treetops, I panned my flashlight through the garden fence, tiptoeing to the old wooden gate as if my light hadn’t already scared away those pesky rabbits who made away with my cauliflower and lettuce transplants a few weeks ago. But even the rabbit raids make for great memories, as my eldest and her daddy have taken to “rabbit hunting” with their rifles at dusk. They’ve eliminated a few rabbit pests from the property in past weeks. I’ve eliminated rabbits from my garden with good old cayenne pepper on the plants. *Smile* (Thanks for the tip, hubby’s mom!)

The garden is dry, in spite of the wonderful rain we received on Tuesday. I bend to pull some weeds in my lettuce bed and realize I’m unearthing radishes–oops. Best save weeding for daylight. Weeding wasn’t meant to be done by the glow of the moon anyway. About as unromantic as a gardener that mistakes radish tops for weeds. Ah-hem.

I’ve meant all spring to write a post about the fun we had making soil blocks at Farmer John’s, which we planted and stowed beneath grow lights in the basement. Perhaps I still will post about it, I’ve got some great pics to share, and soil blocking is a super fun and economical way to start seeds. The second picture on this page showcases my Romaine and Salad Bowl lettuce still in flats on planting day several weeks ago!

Here’s a picture of my wide row of yellow onions, the first thing in the garden–pic taken back in April. I’d love to keep a garden journal, from year to year, not only for the memories, but for the practicality of having a record. My memory is mush when it comes to details. Too many in my life already!

And last but not least, my garden is full of these homemade stone markers. Since we grew most of our plants with the help of grow lights, we needed garden stakes or markers to know what was growing where. Rather than buy blank stakes and keep track that way, my girls and I decided to paint stones. Here’s the one we did for “cherry tomatoes”.  For watermelon, we painted a triangle shaped rock pink with a green “rind” and dotted it with dark brown seeds…

This will be our first year gardening “organically”. I do hope the cutworms and squash bugs don’t dampen my resolve at first sighting! I keep asking Farmer John about organic pest control, and he keeps saying…vigilant patroling of plants and a lot of bug picking.

Joy.

Speaking of Joy. My mom would agree that our favorite gardening book of all time is The Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond. Farmer John thinks it’s a must have as well. If you even think you might want to learn about gardening, this is a book  you won’t be able to put down. It’s full of great pictures, how-to’s and tips from a pro on everything from starting seedlings, to tilling, creating raised soil beds, wide row techniques, composting and root cellar storage. I even take my copy to the garden with me, and have dirt smudges on the pages to prove it.

Who all is growing veggies this summer? Do you have a favorite book on the subject? Organic pest control tips? I’d love to hear them in comments!