Thursday, April 22, 2010 Warrior

Luke 21:13-15 (NIV) 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

The Bible mentions many times that we are not to worry. I hate to admit it, but I still do. Maybe not as much as I used to, but still more than I'd like. It is a constant struggle as negative thoughts try to crowd in. I have wasted LOTS of time and energy on worries that usually have not happened. The media is set up to help us worry so I have tried to limit my exposure. I'm aware of where the world is eventually heading.

I had a thought recently. It is time to fight back against the worries. Become a warrior using prayer as our weapon. There have been times I have felt like giving up. I always remind other people to keep fighting the good fight. Time to take my own advice!

1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NIV) 11
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

John Bunyan by Kevin Belmonte Book Review

I recently finished reading John Bunyan by Kevin Belmonte from the Christian Encounters series published by Thomas Nelson. John Bunyan is most well-known as the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, which I did not realize was written in the 1600s. I found it interesting that he was also a son, Tinker (occupation), soldier, husband, father, preacher, and a prisoner of conscience due to standing up for the right to preach. Mr. Bunyan’s background greatly influenced his writing and the lives of others even well after his death. The book also mentions other works by John Bunyan that I was not aware of, including Grace Abounding, an autobiography. The main point of the book is to answer how such a great work as Pilgrim’s Progress was written by a man of very modest beginnings.

This biography covers a lot of period history which I found very interesting. The author quotes numerous sources from previously written biographies, which at times can be a little distracting. There are numerous resources listed in the back of the book. A timeline of Bunyan’s life and historical events in the Appendix is very informative. Biographies are not usually my first choice for reading material. However, I found this book to be an interesting look at a writer I was not very familiar with. This book also made me want to read some of Mr. Bunyan's other works.

The greatest lesson I learned from reading this book is that the written word outlives the writer and the effort can affect people through several generations and hundreds of years later.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Value of Empty

Usually, if something is empty, it is not worth much. In the age of foreclosures due to the economy, mortgage companies move pretty quickly if the house becomes vacant because of the inevitable loss of value as upkeep is not being provided. The more you use of something, the less there is until eventually, the package is empty and discarded or recycled. Once a package becomes empty, the value is gone.

After Jesus was crucified, he was taken from the cross and brought to a tomb. A large stone was rolled in front of it. Guards were sent to watch so that the disciples would not be able to take the body and claim that Jesus was no longer dead.

The Guard at the Tomb
Matthew 27:62-66 62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

65 "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Per Websters: Empty - not occupied or inhabited

Thankfully for us, what Jesus said was true. He did rise on the 3rd day. The tomb that was prepared for him could not hold him captive. Death's grip and sin in the human race could not keep him there. He died and rose to break those bonds once and for all.

Matthew 28:2-6 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

The tomb is EMPTY. The King is risen! Time to adjust our view from where God isn't to where He is. Because the tomb is empty, WE don't have to be. God will fill us with His holy spirit. All we have to do is ask.

Thomas did not accept the fact that the tomb was empty....until he actually saw and felt the scars on Jesus. May you be blessed and recognize the value of an empty tomb as we celebrate Easter and a risen King!

John 20:29
(NIV) Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."