The Tecarta Bible App

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I just had to drop in and write about the Tecarta Bible App available from the Apple store. I paid about $4.99 for my app which uses the King James Version, but there is also a version that is free. I use it on my iPhone and iPad mini. It’s a good Bible app, very easy to use, with lots of highlighting and note-taking capabilities. But the main thing I wanted to share about it is the dramatized reading available on the app! It’s a new feature with which I have fallen in love! It used to only offer a computer-type voice reading the text. It now offers a distinct reading of the scriptures with background music and actors to portray the different parts. There is a voice for David, another for Jonathan, and so forth.

I have enjoyed listening to the dramatized reading while following along in my Bible (I like using the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan). It has really helped me to listen closer, and it’s made the Word of God seem more alive. It’s also nice to have someone else pronounce all the proper names in the Bible. 😉

With love,

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Welcome, 2016!

Happy New Year, friends! What a blessing to awaken to another year of life on this Earth. I am enjoying spending a the day at home with my family. My mother arrived on Wednesday and we are happy to have her company for a few days. I really love my husband, my children and my church, but sometimes, there is a strong desire to go home. You know, that place where all of your cares melt away and life seems worth living again? Yes, that place. Thankfully, I visit often, even if it is only in my dreams. Having Mom here is like having my home come to me.

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We got a selfie stick! Here’s our first attempt at using it. Happy New Year from our home to yours!

Each year, I make a Bible reading plan of some kind. Last year, I used the Robert Murray M’Cheyne schedule. This year, I’m going to try out a new thing: The One Year Bible. It’s a Bible that is already divided into daily readings. There is an Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs passage for each day of the year. I used it today and it is very different. I do admit that it doesn’t feel like reading a Bible, since it’s paperback. Also, I miss Scofield’s reference notes which are quite helpful. I do think it’s good to change things up, though. It’s far too easy to slip into a rote, mindless reading of the Bible. I do not want to do that. I want to ask questions and search for answers; I want to be alert and gain all I can from the Word of God. I hope this new system will help me to learn more.

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I have changed out my 2015 calendars for my 2016 ones. Hard to believe another year is in the books. It is a comfort to know that God can take all that I have done, yes, even my mistakes, and use it for His honor and glory. I pray He will do just that.

I have been mulling over New Year’s resolutions, and have decided to concentrate on only one thing, which I might share at some later time. I decided to focus on only one resolution after reading this article by Mr. Tim Challies. You might enjoy it, too.

I hope you are having a relaxing day, or had one, depending on where you are in the world. It was exciting to see a report from WordPress that last year I had folks from 127 different countries visit my site! Maybe someday I’ll get to visit one of them myself.

Happy New Year!

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The Personal Spiritual Life {Book Review}

mast20_2I fear I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I have to say it yet again about another book: It was so good! The Personal Spiritual Life convicted me and helped me in many ways. Dr. Peter Masters, pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, helps us navigate our way through a consistent walk with God. When finished reading this book, the Christian will be encouraged to search out the scriptures, pray more and witness for the Lord. Dr. Masters shares personal illustrations that help the believer to identify weaknesses and he debunks myths that have been perpetuated through the ages from pulpits everywhere. He also explains the spiritual gifts in a practical way, and shows us how everyone needs to work for the Lord, even be willing to participate in areas which may not necessarily be our “gifts”.

I’ll be honest, he doesn’t skirt the issues. In the chapter called “The Christian’s Personal Struggle”, he says, How dare we say to ourselves, as we give way sin, ‘It will be only this once; I will vent my anger just this time; I will covet this thing  I long for, but I will not go too far.’ ‘God forbid!’ says Paul. How outrageous!  Ouch.

Chapter three, which I’ve written about HERE, gives believers a practical plan of action for being holy. I’ll go ahead and outline it for you (I know you’re dying to know.) 😉

1. Recognise the problem: A serious determination to struggle against sin is the only way to live as a Christian, yet it is a stance that many professing Christians today, bombarded by worldliness and show-business information and entertainment, seem unwilling to take.

2 Have positive aims: Sin will not be broken and overcome without a longing to avoid it, and the preparation of a prior battle-plan of intentions.

3. Plan to avoid sin.

4. Keep up self-examination

5. Long for overall improvement

6. Seek spiritual help.

7. Mind heavenly things: To mind heavenly things is to be strongly drawn to spiritual study, reading and conversation; to be keenly concerned to hear about Christ’s mission in this world, and the blessings and trials of Christian workers everywhere; to be sensitive to the needs and experiences of other believers, so as to include them in our personal ministry of intercession; and to be always praying for vital opportunities to witness and encourage seekers.

8. Mortify sin. If the believer allows old sins to develop even a little, giving them free rein only for a while they will become harder to suppress.

He advises us on spiritual joy, which comes from regular Bible reading: Every day ask – What doctrine do I learn here? What reproof do I find? What duty and encouragement and promise is presented? And is my Lord and Saviour in the message?

Anyone ever told you they “felt” the Lord move or work? Dr. Masters says: They think imagined leadings, visions and words of knowledge springing into their minds are evidence of the Lord’s presence. All this is mistaken, and may sometimes be a form of proud spiritual elitism. They are no indication of the Lord’s presence. We know the presence of the Lord by faith.

He shares the importance of humility and the various ways that pride rears its ugly head in chapter eleven. Chapter twelve concludes the study by discussing our life of commitment to Christ, warning us not to live for our careers or financial success. He cautions against becoming distracted, as John Mark did in his early life. I like this quote regarding commitment, since it convicted me:

Here is a challenge for all of us. When we were first saved we witnessed a great deal. Do we still? We took every opportunity to pray for those to whom we spoke, and were eager to join in other outreach activities also. Are we still? Would Paul be able to say of us, ‘He is a fellowworker unto the kingdom of God, and has been a comfort [encouragement] unto me’? 

Indeed, are we as in love with Christ as we were in beginning of our new life in Him? Or have we, like the Church of Ephesus, lost our first love? Are we truly committed, or just doing our duty? I know I have fallen into the trap of going through the motions, especially regarding my Sunday school class. I don’t want to stay that way.

Blessings to you,

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Does Prayer Work? {Giveaway Winner!}

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I wanted to thank those of you who entered my giveaway! The time is up and we have a winner! Are you ready? Drumroll, please….

The winner is….

DEBBIE H.!

Please send me an email with your address.  I will mail the book out shortly.

I have been working on my own prayer life, because everyone needs to improve, and I am seeing blessings because of it. I cannot claim to have had any huge answer to prayer in recent days, but that’s not what this was  about. It’s not about finding ways to get what I want, but rather. being obedient to God and glorifying Him. I have seen God work in my heart to correct some sinful behavior, help me give praise to Him for things I once took for granted, and reverence Him in private. This past Sunday, a visiting preacher gave a sermon on this very topic! My heart was full to overflowing as he expounded from scripture some of the very things I’d been seeking to learn more about. He reminded us that if we want God to work in our lives and in our ministry, the secret is prayer. It’s not about how creative we can be, how smart we are, or even how hard we work. In fact, prayer is work, and it’s work we often leave undone.

I still have a long way to go, and this is just one step. Thanks for joining me on the journey.

With love,

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Does Prayer Work?

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My prayer life stinks. Really. I don’t pray as often as I should, and I certainly don’t always pray for the right things when I do pray. I’ve mentioned Dr. R.C. Sproul before on the blog. I enjoy his writings. He is very descriptive and has a way of putting things so that my teeny brain can comprehend them. When my husband re-subscribed to Tabletalk magazine, he received a free copy of a little book called Does Prayer Change Things? from Dr. Sproul’s Crucial Questions Series. I’ve certainly asked this question many times over the years. Even more so as I’ve learned about the sovereignty of God. It could be argued that, if God is in control of all things (and He is), then why bother praying? If He knows the outcome (and He does), then why implore the King of Kings for anything?

In chapter two, Dr. Sproul addresses the question, does prayer change God’s mind? Or, does prayer change things. Obviously, we cannot change God’s mind with our prayer life. However, prayer definitely changes things. God’s will shall be done, regardless of that which you or I should desire or implore of God. This reminds me of an outlandish statement I heard a preacher make years ago. He was preaching on prayer and used an example from his own life. “I prayed for my Dad’s health every day after I got saved. I prayed for his safety.” He declared in vehemence. “One day, I overslept and hurried out the door, forgetting to pray. That day, my Dad died.” This preacher seemed to think that his prayers were the only thing keeping his father alive! Friend, if it’s up to me – in any way, shape, or form – to keep my mother alive (my father is already in Heaven), then she is in grave danger. My prayers do matter to God, but I have no weight to change His plan! I’m a sinful human being. Yes, I’m saved, but I’m flesh. I’m thankful that I can boldly bring my petitions to my Father in Heaven (Hebrews 4:16), but I’m also very grateful that His will be done.

So, why bother praying? We pray because God wants us to pray, and we are here to glorify God.

Chapter three discusses the pattern of prayer, which is from the model prayer that many people have memorized. This does not mean we are to parrot those words back to God, but rather, we are to use that prayer to outline our own. Dr. Sproul uses the A-C-T-S acronym for prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I’ve been working to make this part of my regular prayer time.

Chapter five discusses the prohibitions of prayer, such as harboring sin in our hearts. He has a very  interesting analogy for this on page 73.

A few cautions to this book must pointed out. First of all, Dr. Sproul is Presbyterian. There are serious flaws to parts of the Presbyterian theology, the most glaring is the baptizing of infants. Secondly, Dr. Sproul is not at all Catholic, but is not averse to some points of their doctrine, which is clearly wrong when held to the light of Scripture. Dr. Sproul seems to like one of the Catholic prayers as an example of contrition. While I see his point, I have to say that a memorized prayer is rarely heartfelt, and in the context of Catholic beliefs, it’s a means of “earning” our way to Heaven – or someone else’s way to Heaven. However, as long as you’re aware of these differences and ignore them, you can glean much good from this little book about prayer.

There were several good tidbits throughout the book:

Regarding Thanksgiving:

God is never required to be merciful. As soon as we think God is obligated to be merciful, a red light should flash in our brains, indicating that we are no longer thinking about mercy, but about justice. We need to do more than sing “Amazing Grace” – we need to be repeatedly amazed by grace. (page 60)

The issue in the story [ about the one leper who returned to give thanks to Christ for healing] is not one of gratitude but of thanksgiving. It is one thing to feel grateful; it is another thing to express it.  (page 62)

On the practice of prayer:

To become accomplished in anything, we must practice. If we want to learn how to pray, then we must pray – and continue to pray. (page 88)

There is so much more to this book, even though it’s only a whopping eighty-eight pages! It got me thinking, searching, and most of all, praying!

May God bless you on this journey of life,

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Happy March!

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already March 1st! Spring is just around the corner. 🙂 To celebrate, I wanted to share (again) my “31 Days of Proverbs 31” series. You can find it HERE. Just click on the day of the month and then print, or read on the screen. It’s not lengthy, but maybe it will be something different that will be a encouragement to someone. The series looks at one verse from Proverbs 31 each day.

School has been progressing very well so far. However, we are hoping to take a spring break sometime this month. It’s nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air and have a change of pace.  March is usually a happy month of year for me and I hope it will be for you, too!

Thanks for reading!

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A Year in the Word

Last year, I hosted a giveaway that was a bit different: everyone who entered won! It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was still something of great value. What was it? A Bible reading schedule! I also shared a way to have a great year, each and every year.

I am fast approaching the end of my Bible. It’s been a great year of reading and studying God’s Word. I had hoped to share more from my journal here on the blog, but many things seemed too personal to share. Maybe next year!

So I was wondering, did you get one of the schedules last year? I believe I mailed out about 30 of them! How did you do? Whether you read half the Bible this year, or twice through in one year, reading God’s Word everyday is what matters. I would love to hear how it went for you, even if you didn’t get a schedule from me. So please leave me a comment!

I’m already thinking about which schedule to use for next year.

Blessings,
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