Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: The Armageddon Code - Billy Hallowell

In today's world, there is a piqued interest about "the end of days."  There are TV documentaries in addition to movie dramas about what is supposed transpire during the Rapture and the Tribulation. People make comments about leaders being like the "antichrist."  Many have a strong superstition of avoiding the number 666.  In the Christian community, we seem to have differing arguments on exactly how, and possibly when, the end is going to happen.  

The Armageddon Code by Billy Hallowell isn't just another book discussing end-time doctrine. It is the author's thorough reporting as a result of interviews with well known bible teachers and scholars relating to bible prophecies in the book of  Revelation, in addition to Daniel, Isaiah and Ezekiel.  There is discussion on the Rapture (is it even biblical?), the Tribulation (why there are the views of "pre, post and mid-trib"?), the Millenial period and other issues.  Israel's role, along with more in depth discussion of past church history as it relates to Revelation is also discussed.  The main topics of the end-times are debated, not in as much detail as some readers may want, but even the author states in the book's conclusion of the "limited lens through which I present each chapter of the book.  After all, some of the topics warrant - or at least invite - the potential for volumes of exploration."  

In my opinion, it is important when studying bible prophecy not to continually pursue the path through which is most comfortable, but to inspect and dissect the theories of both sides, even if you return to the viewpoint that you deem is correct.  Readers of this book will receive a good perspective of the main end time prophecy topics, along with the different arguments, in order to make informed decisions. 

After reading the book, have my current views of the end times changed?  I would have to say no. While I can understand the thought processes from those with opposing views, especially in regards to the events of Revelation having already occurring in the first century, I personally believe that we can expect to see events from Revelation coming to fruition in the near future.  

Why do I believe that?  Here is my "two-cents":    

1. First, we are taught that ALL Scripture is applicable for Christ followers TODAY.  For instance, although we no longer literally follow the laws given to Moses in the Old Testament because of Christ's sacrifice for us, it does not mean that we should no longer read, study and apply the Old Testament lessons to our lives. 

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work."
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

"For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
(Hebrews 4:12)

2. There is no "due date" on Scripture.  It is a forever, absolute document of God's Word.  

"Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
(Hebrews 13:8)

"the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations." (Psalm 33:11) 

With hundreds of prophecies already fulfilled (300 fulfilled with Jesus' first coming alone), why would we assume that God has stopped fulfilling prophecy when we are instructed to study prophecy?  

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, 
and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it,
because the time is near.
(Revelation 1:3)

Even if Revelation was only written to a specific seven churches that related prophetic events that have already been fulfilled, this book was certainly included in the Bible for a specific purpose. At the beginning of Revelation, God says:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God,
"who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."  
(Revelation 1:8)

And as we know, Jesus has not yet come.  

Knowing and understanding Bible prophecy is not something that should be discouraging -- it gives us hope for the future. "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4) God has not yet completed his master plan.  We know from Scripture that Jesus is coming again - the interviewed bible teachers and scholars with conflicting views all agreed that He is indeed coming back.  The important thing, aside from reading prophecy, is to live with readiness "because the Son of Man will come at an hour when yo do not expect him." (Matthew 24:44)  

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This book can be purchased from Amazon.  

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

The last few times I have visited my local Lifeway book store, this title has called to me from the shelf.  After reading the subtitle, "Imagine Your Life Without Fear," I did not think that this book would pertain to me.

This last month while I again visited Lifeway, the book was displayed on one of the front sale tables, and I decided to purchase.  I began reading the book the same day, and couldn't put it down over the next couple days.

We all have worries and fear about something.  Max covers many of these in the book: from the fear of not mattering, to the fear of disappointing God.  From being afraid of the world's worst case scenarios to what is next on the horizon.  For me, it was the chapter on fear of not protecting my kids.

Discussing the story of Jarius, the father of the sick girl who later died and Jesus brought to life (Mark 5), Max writes that Jesus saw then and still sees all the concerns of a parent's heart.  And this statement was a good reminder to me: "After all, our kids were his kids first.  'Don't you see that children are God's best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?' (Ps. 127:3 MSG) Before they were ours, they were his.  Even as they are ours, they are still his."

This book had so many good points, from the beginning all the way to the end.  I never fail to learn something precious from Max Lucado's books.  This is another one that cannot be missed.

You can purchase this book from Amazon.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

#musesofamom: My Ideal Bible. It's not what you think.

If you are a crafter or an artist, you are no doubt aware of the new "coloring" trends today: copic coloring, coloring books, and now  -- journaling bibles. You know the ones -- the bibles with the large margins that allow your creative genius to flow in word or illustration as you write prayers, praises, an journaling on each page.

While I absolutely adore the new journaling bibles, I have seen too many Instagram and Pinterest photos of beautifully illustrated, colorful, original artistic pages that will cause me #PinterestFail anxiety if I would try to embark on such a project.

For me, I find that illustrating my bible happens in a very different way.

It was quite awhile ago, but I came across this meme on Facebook and had to save it.

Currently, I have a New King James bible that I've had for almost 30 years. For the first 20 years, I only highlighted special verses with traditional yellow highlighter.  In the last ten years, however, I have highlighted, underscored, red-marked, captioned, commentated, numerated and defined so many areas of my bible that it has become the most precious of items that will not easily be replaced!

While is it not on the verge of falling apart - just yet - this quote from Spurgeon is something that I want to continually strive toward each day as I read and study my little red bonded leather letter of Love.

Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all
who hear the word of God and put it into practice."
Luke 11:28 (NLT)

If you love the the journaling bibles as I do, you may like these lovely ones through Amazon that have illustrations already in them -- all you have to do is color!  Take a look at them HERE.

How do you study your bible?  Are you an illustrator or journaler? Underliner or highlighter? I'd love to hear of your ways of digesting God's Word in the comments below!