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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jesus On Every Page by: David Murray

John 1:1 
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." 
(KJV)
 
 
I received a free copy of "Jesus On Every Page" by David Murray from Booksneeze.com in return for this unbiased review of said book.  I received no other remuneration for this review from Booksneeze.com and the thoughts and opinions expressed in it are my own as they coincide with scripture.
 
"Jesus On Every Page, 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament" is authored by David Murray, a former pastor and Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.  His contention that Jesus is intrinsic in every page of scripture is spoken directly to by scripture itself.  John 1:14 leaves no doubt, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (KJV).  Murray takes an Apologetic stance almost immediately to counter the notion that the Old Testament is somehow superseded or deleted by the New Testament.  Jesus, Himself in scripture, spoke to this heresy in Matthew 5:17 when He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (KJV). 
 
Aside from Calvinistic doctrinal differences, this book is a valuable road map to guide one through the Old Testament into the New Testament tracing the thread of Messiah throughout.  Calvinism purports the thought of Predestination.  Predestination states that God only intended for certain persons to be saved.  Murray echoes this belief on page 95 of "Jesus On Every Page," Though not intended to save every sinner in the world, Jesus' death did have as one of its ultimate aims the restoration of order and life to a disordered and dying world."  I Timothy 2:3-6 states, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (KJV).  God is omniscient, meaning all-wise.  He obviously knew before creation who would come to the saving Grace of Christ and who would be lost; albeit, this is not to say that this is His will, scripture counters that entirely.  
 
Murray's use of Jesus' name in reference to the Old Testament is distracting, although he does forewarn the reader of this device.  He begins on the road to Emmaus, which I found to be a very strong device, but does not carry this throughout the book.  If he had referred back to Emmaus throughout, it would have carried continuity.  Murray's explanation and use of exegesis is very valuable, as this term rarely makes it out of the classroom.  Exegesis views scripture through the mindset and customs of the people living when it was written.  Viewing scripture through our modern Western mindset skews the truth of the Word.  Leaders and lay people need to dig into the original meaning of scripture, to the people it was originally written to. 
 
The Word is multifaceted and alive.  Jesus surely is the direct representation of the Word.  This contention is valid and life-giving.  This book is thought provoking and challenging to the lukewarm Theology that is so often offered superficially.  From Alpha to Omega surely every jot and tittle will be fulfilled in Christ.
 
Rev. Patti Harrison            
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Persecuted The Global Assault on Christians


Psalm 119:161
"Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word."

 

I received a copy of "Persecuted The Global Assault On Christians" from BookSneeze.com in return for this unbiased review.  I have received no other remuneration for this review and the opinions contained within it are entirely my own. 

The faces, names and countries change but the tragic truth that remains unchanged is the egregious and widespread persecution and murder of human beings whose only "crime" is their Christianity. "Persecuted The Global Assault On Christians" (PTGAOC) is a book written by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea that chronicles the atrocities faced by the faithful worldwide.  A father is murdered in cold blood in the presence of his children, a women is raped and beheaded as a warning to others, churches are burned with the parishioners still inside, the horror is unending.  Christians are facing these monstrosities and sadly, many governments turn their backs on this truth and many Western Christians are blissfully unaware of the magnitude of this atrocity.  It is true that historically the Church has grown and become stronger in times of persecution; although, under unrelenting massacre, the Christian population is becoming decimated in some areas. 

The authors quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German minister martyred at the end of the Hitler regime, "Christians should give more offence, shock the world far more, than they are doing now.  Christians should take a stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong."  The superficiality and complacency demonstrated by much of the mainstream Western Church currently is a luxury that those being persecuted and martyred across the globe cannot afford.

I recommend the reading of this book to anyone who possesses a social conscience.  It is vitally important that those of us with a voice and the ability to speak for these persecuted believers stand in prayer and protest for them.  God has granted some the freedom that others can only imagine, and we must use this freedom to fight for theirs. 

Christianity must stand united in prayer and social advocacy for our brothers and sisters in bonds.  PTGAOC was produced as a project by the Center For Religious Freedom, underwritten by the Hudson Institute.  For more information:  Hudson Institute's Center For Religious Freedom, 1015 15th St. NW, Suite 600, Washington DC 20005; http://crf.hudson.org.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Take Off The Grave Clothes

This article was formerly published in "Devotions by The Christian World College of Theology"   Class of 2004.





"And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Loose him, and let him go.'” 
John 11:44 NKJV

"Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself." 
 John 20:6,7 NKJV
 
 
     It is intriguing that the importance of the grave clothes in these scriptures is accentuated by the mention of the cloth that was wrapped on the face of both Lazarus and Jesus.  In Jesus' time, interment of the deceased was performed quickly, usually the same day as the death.  As the body was prepared with aloes and herbs, they took the time to separately wrap the face in a handkerchief or as some translations read, a napkin.  We are all born into death, by Adam's sin.  At His birth, the one who was sinless, Jesus Christ, lay wrapped in swaddling clothes in that ancient manger, a foreshadowing of His death.  "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).  

     He that is above all creation had no nursery at His birth and was laid in a borrowed tomb at His death.  The swaddling clothes gave way to cruel torture and grave clothes infused with aromatic herbs, as if this heinous deed could be covered by sweet incense.

     The intriguing element of both scriptures is that the removal of the handkerchief was intentional and careful.  Jesus ordered the men present at Lazarus' raising to, ". . .loose him and let him go" (John 11:44).  As Christians, we are responsible to assist new converts in putting off the ways of death that coincide with life in the world.  We are to help them to become Christ-like and grow in the Word.  At our conversion, we are all as newborns, not knowing or understanding until we learn and grow.

     So many times new Christians are left to die, when they need nourishment and acceptance from their big brothers and sisters.  We are not to accept the ways of death, but to help them remove the cloth from their faces, so that they can see and breathe this new life.

     When Jesus arose, He cast aside the burial garment that was enfolding Him.  It lay in a heap upon the stone where He had been placed.  The face napkin, although, was folded together and set apart.  Why would Jesus go to the trouble of carefully removing the napkin, folding it, and setting it aside?  He was speaking directly to us by this act.  We must intentionally and with great care put off the ways of death.

     If one can imagine having one's head wrapped in a linen napkin, it would be difficult to hear, see, breathe. and speak.  One would be bound and not able to discern the environment around them.  Jesus is asking us to carefully remove the grave clothes, to lay them aside intentionally, and not to live in the tombs anymore.  Jesus said, ". . . I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."  John 11:25

Dear Heavenly Father,

 

I thank you today for Your Word.  It is Life and it is Life giving.  Thank you for all things, Lord.  Thank You Jesus for dying as ransom for my sins.  Thank You Holy Spirit for abiding in me and empowering me to live for You.  Father, please show me places in my life that I have not removed the grave clothes, so that I may walk in total life.  Please show me others that need my assistance in removing their own grave clothes.  Lord, I love You and praise You and I lay down my life for Your Kingdom.  In Jesus' precious name I pray.  Amen.

Patricia Paige Harrison

 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Persecuted The Global Assault on Christians

Psalm 119:161
"Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word."

 

I received a copy of "Persecuted The Global Assault On Christians" from BookSneeze.com in return for this unbiased review.  I have received no other remuneration for this review and the opinions contained within it are entirely my own. 

The faces, names and countries change but the tragic truth that remains unchanged is the egregious and widespread persecution and murder of human beings whose only "crime" is their Christianity. "Persecuted The Global Assault On Christians" (PTGAOC) is a book written by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea that chronicles the atrocities faced by the faithful worldwide.  A father is murdered in cold blood in the presence of his children, a women is raped and beheaded as a warning to others, churches are burned with the parishioners still inside, the horror is unending.  Christians are facing these monstrosities and sadly, many governments turn their backs on this truth and many Western Christians are blissfully unaware of the magnitude of this atrocity.  It is true that historically the Church has grown and become stronger in times of persecution; although, under unrelenting massacre, the Christian population is becoming decimated in some areas. 

The authors quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German minister martyred at the end of the Hitler regime, "Christians should give more offence, shock the world far more, than they are doing now.  Christians should take a stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong."  The superficiality and complacency demonstrated by much of the mainstream Western Church currently is a luxury that those being persecuted and martyred across the globe cannot afford.

I recommend the reading of this book to anyone who possesses a social conscience.  It is vitally important that those of us with a voice and the ability to speak for these persecuted believers stand in prayer and protest for them.  God has granted some the freedom that others can only imagine, and we must use this freedom to fight for theirs. 

Christianity must stand united in prayer and social advocacy for our brothers and sisters in bonds.  PTGAOC was produced as a project by the Center For Religious Freedom, underwritten by the Hudson Institute.  For more information:  Hudson Institute's Center For Religious Freedom, 1015 15th St. NW, Suite 600, Washington DC 20005; http://crf.hudson.org.


 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Who Is On The Lord's Side?



“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, 'Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him” (KJV).
Exodus 32:26
 
 
 
 
Certainly every Christian wants to hear these words at the end of their lives, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”(Matthew 25:21). God has called His people to do His Kingdom work. It is up to us to heed the call and arrange His churches in the way that He has proscribed. A valuable question to ask is, “What are we doing here?” If the answer is not evangelism and discipleship, then the church ministry is off track. There is an appointed time, we don't know when Jesus will return and it is our responsibility to harvest the fields while the sun is still shining. Ministry doesn't just happen, it must be intelligently and strategically organized so that it may be carried out in His will. There is a crisis in our churches today. The invasion of the enemy is possible because her walls and gates are broken down, not unlike the situation that Nehemiah faced. Our walls and gates are spiritual, but no less in need of repair.
 
Church as usual is not fulfilling the emptiness that the Postmodern era has loosed on our culture. In order for the church to be relevant, her people must rise up and truly become the hands and heart of Christ. Pastors with integrity, who will not sell out to greed, ego and other lusts are necessary for this to happen. Our churches can't be run by the highest bidder, or tither, as it were. The status-quo driven cliques that tend to sway the tide must not be given in to. A pastor with true integrity must say, “We are going to do this God's way point blank.” It is an obvious fact that the people cannot rule themselves. The golden calf debacle (Exodus 32) is evidence of this fact. Exodus 32:26 is quite profound, “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, 'Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him” (KJV). That is the question that is necessary to ask of ourselves and our churches. Who is on the Lord's side? 
 
Patti

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ever Of Old


"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" 
 Numbers 23:19

Pic from freepicturesweb.com

Many people have difficulty reconciling the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The wrath-filled rule giver compared to the merciful grace giver seems rather bi-polar, and has caused many to question His nature.  Albeit this is a superficial view of God's behavior in the Old Testament; as, His love and grace are illustrated throughout the Word.  Marcion of Sinope in AD 144 went so far as to form a heresy claiming that the God of the Old Testament and of the New were separate beings.  Marcion also dissected the scripture and reorganized a revised version of the Bible that fit his theory.  Interestingly, the existence of heresy historically has caused the Church to be cautious and crystallize it's doctrine all the more.  The imprecatory Psalms are another instance of seeming contradiction in scripture.  The word imprecatory is derived from the Latin word imprecatus, and it means "to curse."  Psalm 55:15 is an example, "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them" (KJV).  This is the antithesis of Jesus directing his disciples to, ". . . Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (KJV).  There is a seeming chasm between what The Old Testament and The New Testament teach.  What is the truth that bridges this apparent gap?  The cross!  Jesus' sacrifice spans the gap and brings us to the place in which we are given the opportunity to step into His imputed righteousness and out of the sin nature we inherited from Adam.  God's first intention was a loving fellowship relationship with man which was marred by sin.  There is no confliction between God's nature in The Old and New Testaments, only the saving grace of Christ's sacrifice.

Patti

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"The Christian Mama's Guide To Baby's First Year" by: Erin MacPherson


I received a free copy of "The Christian Mama's Guide To Baby's First Year" from BookSneeze.com in return for this unbiased review.  I received no other remuneration and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

"The Christian Mama's Guide To Baby's First Year" by Erin MacPherson and published by Thomas Nelson Publishers is a light-hearted look at the first year of baby's life from a Christian mother's perspective.  Speaking as a Christian Grandmamma, whose grandson is a month away from his first birthday, her advice is refreshing and her conversational writing style is an easy read.  I only wish that someone had told me that my house, child and life didn't have to be neat and colored coordinated 27 years ago, who knew?  The medical and nutritional advice given by MacPherson is bolstered by experts.  Speaking from experience: I read every book, took every class and tried all the "new" gadgets for both my children,  trends and "medical thought" will change and you will be considered a dinosaur. . . it happens.  MacPherson interjects scripture and prayers that are very heartfelt.  She also includes "The Christian Daddy's Guide to Basics" for the men in our lives.  The index is exceptional to track down specific topics and questions.

One issue that I have with "The Christian Mama's Guide To Baby's First Year" is regarding alcohol consumption.  MacPherson brooches the subject and explains that "pumping and dumping" may not be effective during breast feeding as the body cycles breast milk and all the alcohol may not be expelled.  As a minister, I understand that some denominations allow the drinking of alcohol, but the scripture admonishes us to be, ". . .sober and vigilant (I Peter 5:8).  I would certainly advise Christians to abstain from alcohol.

"The Christian Mama's Guide To Baby's First Year" is a funny and informative book that I would recommend to any young mother, or father.  Babies are wonderful gifts from God and making the most of the time that we have with them when they are little is so vital.  Teaching them about God and allowing them to see us serve and love Him is an awesome gift that we are responsible to give them. 

Rev. Patti Harrison

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Dreams and Visions" By Tom Doyle

"I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me."
Isaiah 65:1
 
 
 
 
 
 

I received an advance copy of this book from BookSneeze in return for my unbiased review.  The thoughts expressed in this review are entirely my own and I received no other remuneration for it. 
 
In this incredible and awe-inspiring book, author Tom Doyle with Greg Webster take the reader on a fast-paced adventure through several personal stories of Muslims who have experienced Jesus firsthand in dreams and visions.  There is a great move of the Spirit in the Muslim community, numerous people are being visited with dreams and visions of Jesus. These dreams and visions are culminating in salvation in one of the most inhospitable environments in the world for Christianity.  It is far too easy to become complacent in our faith when possessing it does not threaten our lives and well-being.  These converts face persecution and many times death in the "Honor Killing" environment of the Muslim world.  Tom Doyle seamlessly melds adventure and information in this book as he explains the very complicated religious dynamic of this area of the world. 
 
The encompassing love that the recipients of these encounters experience is a hallmark of this phenomena. On pages 104-105 of "Dreams and Visions" Doyle recounts a young mother's experience, "The Man's eyes dazzled Jamilla.  She stared as He stepped close and wrapped powerful arms around her shoulders.  White folds from the arms of His robe draped her body.  "Jamilla, they love you because I love you."  As with any religious experience one should compare it against scripture and not blindly accept anything.  We know that there is an enemy who is a deceiver.  Doyle includes an Appendix entitled, "Real or Fake? A Biblical Test for Dreams and Visions" which addresses this issue.
 
"Dreams and Visions" is an eye-opening book regarding the spiritual work that God is doing in the Muslim world.  In places that conventional evangelism is not able to penetrate, God is infusing His Spirit.  I would recommend the reading of this book to any Christian, as it is a manifestation of The Great Commission, and an example God's unfathomable love for all mankind.  Please pray for these brothers and sisters in Christ as they face persecution and death for their faith.
 
 
Reverend Patti Harrison
 
 
 
 
 


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Here Today

 
 
"The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more."
Psalm 103:15,16
 
 
 
 
The most seemingly mundane moments of our lives may very well become the most poignant.  Dragging myself out to the grocery store last week, I would have never imagined that I would experience anything but a long line at the register and possibly the annoyance of a price check.  I ran into an old friend and asked how she had been.  Expecting a rote, "Fine how are you?" I was saddened to hear that a young member of her family was terminally ill with cancer, in Hospice care and expected to pass at any time.  I knew that sharing my experience with her and God's comfort and support through it all would be helpful to her.  There is that moment when you think, "Do I really want to get into this in public next to the dog food aisle?  Of course I did. 
 
Our lives are like a vapor.  A passing blip on the fabric of time.  Psalm 103:15,16 speaks of this truth, "The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more" (NIV).  We truly have no assurance of how long we have on this planet.  One thing is certain and that is our Creator's love for us.  We, all of us, live in a fallen world and due to this fact our spirits are in need of redemption.  Few things in life truly make sense to our mortal brains:  the death of a child, evil, tragedy and war.  These things cause us to be snatched out of the comfortable caves that we build around our lives, if we have that luxury.  God is there and more than ready to accept us and cover our hearts during these dire times.  I know very intimately that God loves you an immeasurable amount and that His plan is that you spend eternity with Him.  If you don't know God, please read the book of John.  This book explains His great love for us.  I pray that you come to know Him and that He becomes a necessity in your life.
 
As I walked out of the store, the sun was setting and the sky was an awesome wash of purple and gold.  I noticed a silhouette in the sky and stood there in the cold to see what it was.  A bunch of balloons rose above my head and over the store.  As I stood there shivering in the dusk, they disappeared over the roof and out of my sight.  In that moment I knew that God was reminding me that time is short.  We only have but a moment in the scope of eternity to secure our eternity and to assist others to do the same.  I pray that God quickens to your mind and heart the urgency of this quest.
 
Please pray with me.
 
Dear God,
That You for this moment in time.  Thank You for Your Son and His promise of salvation.  I pray that You remind us of our responsibility to speak Your Word and show others Your love in our day-to-day lives.  Lord, I pray for salvation for the nations.  I pray that Your Word is cast far and wide.  We have this moment, we have this hour.  Please do Your work in our lives and let the Kingdom of Heaven be multiplied.  To all men, of all races and creeds I pray for Your salvation.  In Jesus name, Amen.    
 
Patti 
 
If you do not know God, I have included a salvation prayer on the front page of this blog.  I pray for your salvation.  Please feel free to join this blog and message me.  I would be honored to pray for you. 
 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hoarded Emotions


Psalm 51:7

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. KJV



Life hurts.  That is a plain and simple fact that we all must someday face.  What we do with that hurt is the defining factor in the quality of life that we eventually live.  Sometimes the battering of life's storm is so intense and prolonged that we no longer deal with situations and just begin to accumulate layers of pain and scars that cripple us from living healthy lives.  These emotional injuries are not so apparent; such as, a missing body part or jagged scar.  Nonetheless, these scars continue to carve into our life experience in ways that are far reaching.  

When we internalize pain from the storms of life and hurts that we receive from others, intentional or otherwise, it is akin to a hoarded home.  Hoarding occurs when more baggage, whether it be material or emotional is brought into a dwelling then is let go, and is not maintained in an orderly manner.  That dwelling may be your home or your heart.  If you have ever watched the television shows that deal with this issue, you understand that it isn't easy for those that hoard to let go of the material things that are cluttering their lives.  The emotional significance of the hoard is tantamount to the life issues that each one of these persons is attempting to deal with.



Several years ago I had my art studio set up and organized.  Due to a family crisis, I needed the space that it was housed in.  All of my art supplies were boxed rather unceremoniously and stored.  Later, I set my studio up again but it was never as organized as it was originally.  Due to another issue, that reincarnation of my creative space was stored again and I ended up with a tangled mess of art supplies.  Upon my first attempt at sorting my things, I had a minor meltdown when some old and irreplaceable pictures were almost discarded by someone helping me.  No one but God understands what precious things are under the strata  of our lives.  Recently I reestablished my studio space into a functional order, although it needs some tweaking.  Each item  I sorted brought back memories of the projects I had left unfinished, the tragic emotions I had not dealt with at the time, and the hope that I had for the future.  Please don't allow your heart to become like my art studio.  Please allow God to be your sorting partner.  He understands and is totally invested in purging our lives and hearts to be healthy and walk in His light.    


Father, please lead and guide us to walk in Your perfect light.  Life becomes so burdensome, thank You that Yours is the shoulder that we must lean on to bear it.  I pray that You hearken these words to the eyes of those who need to understand how our hoarded emotions harm our lives.  I thank You for purging us, even when it is painful.  In Jesus name, please continue to do Your perfect work in all of our lives.  Amen.


Patti  
  


 
 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Last Piece

Revelation 10:4
 "And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." 


 
 
 


One of my childhood friends had a United States map puzzle, which we would play with together.  She would dump the pieces out of the frame onto the floor and inevitably she would grab Rhode Island. She would hide it under her leg so that she could place it in the map last to complete the picture.  I really have no idea why she was so enamored of Rhode Island.  Her habit was quirky and slightly annoying, but it was her game and her rules. 


God has given us a plethora of information regarding creation's past, present and future.  So much, in fact, that one could spend an entire lifetime studying His Word and still only barely scratch the surface of it.  He has given us intellect and insight in order that we can come to understand Him and His intention for humanity.  The Book of Revelation, although shrouded in symbolism, speaks massive amounts about the destiny of man and creation.  Revelation 10:4 divulges another truth, "And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not."  John the Beloved was made privy to information regarding God's intentions that he was instructed to "write not".  This is very telling about the relationship God has with us.  We are not in control.  We have been given a sacred road map, but a piece, or pieces have been left out.  This may be dismaying to some.  How can we know what to expect?  What can we do to prepare?  The answer honestly is nothing; but, trust God and keep His Word that He has given. 
 
 Ultimately, even if my friend had not placed Rhode Island on the map, I knew that it belonged there.  We are not aware of what God is holding back, but we can be assured that it is amazingly awesome and for our eternal best.

Patti

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