Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Happy Reading in 2017

Ohhhh myyyyyy.

It's been a while, hasn't it?

Too long. 

My apologies, and I will try to do better this year. 

Happy New Year!  May it be full of God's blessings to you, and may those include books, ideas, and people to share them with. 

I have a few books I've read on the Danish concept of "hygge" that I mean to share with you in the coming week or so.  I'm currently reading Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford.  I think I will continue reading that although it will become a book to dip in and out of as, at least in the part I am in currently, it is more of a series of vignettes than of stories that need to proceed in an orderly fashion.

I've decided to join in Tim Challies's 2017 Christian Reading Challenge.   There are four lists:

Light

Avid
Committed
Obsessed


If you see the hashtag #vtReadingChallenge, this reading challenge is the one referred to.  I plan on doing the "Light" version but may delve into others if I can manage.

I'm also beginning (again) a read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan.  I hope I am more consistent this year.   To be sure, I do read the Bible, but my plans to read the whole thing in a year rarely come to complete fruition.    I'm going to use a plan recommended by Tim Challies.  5-Day Bible Reading Program - I'm linking to his page so you can read the explanation behind his recommendation.


SDG




Wednesday, 30 March 2016

One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm

I'm back!  I've had a busy year so far.  My older daughter got married in February.  It was a very good day, but the arrangements did keep me busy, and if not physically busy, very occupied mentally.   Now it is Easter time, and I'm enjoying some time off from home educating and time with my family including my army son who's home for the holidays. 

I read an article about one-to-one Bible reading recently and this book was mentioned, so I decided to purchase it.  A friend of mine was already doing this with one of her friends, without knowing it was "a thing" so I was already familiar with the concept but excited to find that it was an idea that could also be developed into something with more structure. 

One-to-One Bible Reading
David Helm
(c) Holy Trinity Church (Chicago) 2011
Matthias Media
ISBN 978 1 921441 98 1

This book is very short, so if I say too much about it, I'll end up telling you all the ideas - and then you'd miss out on reading it! 

It's divided into two parts, with some appendices.   Part one is titled "What, why and how" and Part two is called "Framework and Ideas."

Part One begins by describing the different kinds of people we are likely to know - non-Christians, new Christians, and more mature Christians.  There is a bit on why and how reading the Bible is beneficial to each type of person. David Helms shares some tips on how to get started and what a typical meeting might look like.  There is a discussion on preparing for a meeting and Part One ends with an account of a personal experience with reading the Bible with someone. 

Part Two, Framework and Ideas, has 4 chapters (again, all very short):

Two simple frameworks for Bible reading (with helpful acrostic names)
Books of the Bible for different situations
Help with reading different biblical genres
Eight weeks through Mark's Gospel


I found this book very helpful and encouraging. The author tackles head-on the usual fears many of us Christians face of being inadequate and not up to the job by reminding us that the growth of God's kingdom does not depend on us or our abilities.  The Holy Spirit can use us.   He also reminds the readers that God uses His word - we must not disbelieve the power of it.

Here's a site where this book is currently for sale in the UK:
https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/one-to-one-bible-reading


Thursday, 21 January 2016

A Ransom for Many

A Ransom for Many   

 the Gospel of Mark simply explained
by Steve Wilmshurst

Evangelical Press, Welwyn Commentary Series

I've been studying the book of Mark over the last few months and this book by Steve Wilmshurst is what I have been using to help me lately.   I like this commentary, which although explains historical and cultural facts and links plenty to the Old Testment, is not overly-academic.  It's definitely devotional and I appreciate the opportunity to not only learn more facts but to be drawn to love the Lord Jesus more, and also to be challenged in my Christian walk.

The book is based on a series of sermons and it is because of that, I think, that there are both scholarship and practical applications that are presented in a fashion which is thoughtful and very human.

This is not a book that would be easy to use just to dip in and get facts from, but would be useful to read sections from if one needed to learn more about a certain chapter.  Mostly, though, I think the benefit would come from reading the whole thing, along with the relevant sections of Mark as you go through the chapters.

It's not what I expected from a commentary but I am enjoying it very much. 



Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Part of the reason I haven't posted very much lately....



These are some of the reasons I haven't been posting many reviews lately.  I can either knit or read in my spare time, and apart from late night reading on my phone's Kindle app, and a bit of more devotional or personal study,  of late I've been in a knitting season and not a reading season.  And I'm not even all that good or speedy with the knitting!  My husband's birthday was Nov 17, and I'm still working on his socks, but then there are new babies coming along to knit for too, as well as ones already here.... But I love it. 

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

Just a brief comment or two -
I enjoyed this Inspector Montalbano story very much.  It is the second book I've read in the Montalbano series, but the first in the series.   I read both in Italian, so I can't speak for how they read in English, but I'm sure they will both be enjoyable. 

One thing I prefer about the books over the made-for-tv movies is that although they are definitely for adults, in their themes, language and certain scenes, generally I have found them a bit "cleaner" with few scenes I need to skip over.   (So far, with only two books under my belt.)

Mysteries/crime is a favorite genre for me, and Inspector Montalbano is one of my favorite protagonists, second only to Miss Marple!

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Not a book review - just a blog post this time (on the importance of eschatology, no less!)

I'm not going to make a habit of posting things that are not reviews, but since I don't think I'll write other things often enough to make a separate blog, I thought I'd just put this here, and hopefully get some comments from folk.

This came about because of a comment in a discussion group, along the lines of "please don't argue; eschatology is not worth discussing, let's just use the time for useful things like praying, witnessing, or praising" when a discussion on the subject of end times grew a little frustrating for some.  And I recognised that view, of believing no one could know about the end time, so it wasn't worth discussing or reading about, because I used to hold it.  After having left the whole "Left Behind" and dispensational mindset I just wanted to avoid the whole topic. Over the years I've gradually taken up some beliefs which I trust are Biblical but I don't have my beliefs all worked out.  After I get through a great number of other things that I'm reading or planning to read, I do hope to look into eschatology at least a little bit.  I suppose I could start with seeing what my own confession says about it, eh?

Here was my reply to the friend who thought people should stop discussing eschatology:

 I believe that it does really matter. I'm not sure exactly what I believe (although I have a few things I do know, or know I don't believe) in the area of eschatology - but I know it matters. It matters because the Lord has put such things in His word - in order to know Him and His will for us and the world. If He has put it in His word, we ought to be studying it. Whatever it is, and however difficult it is. 
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

One of the ways that human beings learn is by discussing things with others.

Prophecy takes up a lot of the Bible - over a third of it is, so oughtn't we to think it important?

Eschatology is about God's plans for mankind and Himself. Our view of what will happen at the end does have ramifications for how we think, and how we live our lives now. People who believe Jesus is coming back any minute tend to emphasize certain things, and even live a certain way, and there can be some specific errors they fall into. People who believe other things will emphasize certain other things. Eschatology can influence our political views (i.e. Israel).

There are some really unbiblical teachings out there about the end times and we ought to know right from wrong - not only for ourselves but to steer away others from bad teaching, if we have the opportunity.

Eschatology is involved when we comfort someone after they have had a bereavement. “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18) That passage comes after teaching about Christ's return. 


 I'll stop now. But it's important. Certainly we ought to discuss these things in kindness, and with reverence toward the Word of God, but the fact that some discuss things in wrong ways, doesn't mean that we should not engage in right ways.



So after writing that, I felt a bit convicted by my own words!  Surely I ought not avoid the subject anymore myself.    As I said, I have a lot of books I need to get through before adding others to the list, but I would be very glad to hear recommendations for good (preferably from a Reformed perspective)  books on "end times."   

And please comment - it's been a bit empty and echo-y in here lately!  Hopefully I'll get some more reviews up before the end of the month - things have been a bit busy since August and it's been hard to read much.   



Monday, 5 October 2015

Her Husband's Crown by Sara Leone

This is the third of the Banner of Truth paperbacks I would like to share about today. 






I enjoyed this booklet by Sara Leone, which contains Biblical advice for pastors wives. I bought it as on the back it said it would be helpful to all wives no matter their husband's profession, and also to know how to pray for the pastor's wife of one's church.

She did indeed include all wives in her writing and I enjoyed both her practical and personal examples as well as the Biblical counsel she gave. There were plenty of Bible passages to back up what she said, and I appreciated the lines and stanzas from poems and hymns that she included.


Caring for the home, and showing respect for your husband are two of the major themes I came away with.