Book Review: The Apologetics Study Bible – a helpful resource for sharing and defending the Gospel

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The Apologetics Study Bible is an edition of the Christian Standard Bible version, a newer translation of the Bible made by Holman. The Apologetics Study Bible  (ASB) is one that I would recommend to those leading others to Christ and to those looking for direct answers on hot topics related to the Christian faith and the culture around us.

The ASB is available in multiple colors; the one I received is dark gray. It includes a ribbon bookmark and a dust jacket. There are beautifully colored maps in the back of the ASB that add to the information presented. The ASB includes a concordance and an annotated bibliography for more resources to consult for information on related topics.

The pages of the ASB are a little thin because you can see through them to the next page; however, it is still legible. The font size is very nice and easy to read, and this makes me probable to use this Bible more than others. The articles on Apologetics and related topics in the ASB are very relevant and useful. The ASB also explains what other religions believe, which is helpful to knowing the difference between religions.

Overall, I would give the Apologetics Study Bible four out of five stars. I would definitely recommend this Bible to others. I am a B&H blogger, and I received this book for an honest review.

 

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Small Gestures Create a Caring Community

Have you ever had someone do something nice for you and for you it was big, but it seemed like nothing to them? Recently my Dad had emergency surgery and during the most stressful parts of his healing process, members of my church and family sent him cards and letters that they were praying for him. It only takes a few minutes to send a card and pray for someone, but the effects it can have ripple through the rest of someone’s life. Dad still had tough days but he knows that people care about him. Small things, like cards, letters, and prayer, can help reinforce and build community, especially among Christian believers.

So if you’re looking for a way to share the love, consider sponsoring a child in a different country. Through sponsorship and letter writing, we can make a difference in another person’s life. The child you sponsor will know that someone cares about them, and that care will ripple through their family and community.

Resources for sponsorship:

P.S. I just received my first letter from Joseph in Kenya!

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Book Review: Reformation 500 – a Book of Church history and the Reformation

I was drawn to this book, Reformation 500 by Ray Van Neste and J. Michael Garrett, because it celebrates the Reformation; while there were multiple reformations, the main and most renowned reformation discussed in the book is the one begun by Martin Luther.

The ultimate question explored in the book is: Is the Reformation still relevant today? The answer is simply yes. This book clearly explains why we should still celebrate the Reformation after 500 years – the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ shared throughout the world, Bible translations, etc. This is to be celebrated because it reformed the Church as well as brought the Gospel to the forefront again. Another wonderful byproduct of the Reformation was the increasing focus on the need for Biblical literacy (and literacy for the general public); once the translations of the Bible began, it made sense that the Church members whether rich or poor needed to be able to read it. Eventually it meant that schools would teach more and more students – that process is not discussed in this book, but it’s something to celebrate as an outcome of the Reformation.

Ray Van Neste and J. Michael Garrett edited this collection of essays. Some topics within the Reformation explored in this book include: The Lollard Movement, Anabaptists, Baptist origins, John Calvin, Martin Luther, the marks of the True Church, Augustine, the Lord’s Supper, preaching in the English Reformation, how the Reformation affected literature, worship music, Rembrandt, contemporary higher education, and more.

I give this book five out of five stars. This book opened my eyes to things I didn’t know before about the Reformation, and I would recommend it for others to read (especially those interested in the Reformation and Church history. I am a part of the B&H bloggers, and I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

New Sponsored Child!

Kevin and Susan Fry from Eden Ministries in Zimbabwe, visited my church on Sunday, and they spoke about their children’s stories. All of the children who live with Eden Ministries have experienced trauma and loss. So, I chose to sponsor Blessed, a girl in the fifth grade.

Blessed in my now seventh sponsored child. I am able to send letters and even gifts to her when the shipping container is available. Child sponsorship is a great blessing in my life, and it blesses both the children and the sponsor!

Blessed

Blessed

Age: 11
Birthday: September 17
Country: Zimbabwe
Grade: 5th grade

More children, like Blessed, need a sponsor.

  • Sponsorship through Eden Ministries looks like:

Child Sponsorship

Commit to Monthly Support

Enable Eden to provide for all the needs of a child holistically in Jesus’ name. You help provide surrogate parents, homes, education, medical care and opportunties that these children lost when their parents died.

Come Visit your Sponsor Child

We welcome and encourage each Sponsor to come and see the reality of the life you’ve impacted through your sacrifice and obedience to Jesus. Come meet the kids, see their faces, hear their laughs and feel their love. You’ll never be the same!

Be Intimately Involved in your Sponsor Child’s Life

We strive to create a deep, real relationship between each of our children and the wonderful people who support them. We long for each child to know God has created love in people across the ocean to take care of their needs and life!

.” (via their website)

Please consider sponsoring a child from Zimbabwe, where Blessed lives, through Eden Ministries.  They are also on Facebook! Please pray that more children from Zimbabwe would be sponsored.

Trusting God in the Storm

This past week and a half has been very stressful for my family. My Dad got sick and had an emergency surgery. We brought him to an inpatient therapy place near our home last night, and Mom texted me a few minutes ago that he’s being sent back to the hospital. So this is a prayer request as well as a blog post.

It’s scary to think what could happen, but at the same time, God is in control. God is sovereign over all. God is working all things for the good of our salvation, which is stated in Romans 8:28.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28, ESV

No matter what happens, we can trust God with our grief, fear, sadness, and any other feelings we have. God can take care of that too.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27, ESV

This past week and a half has been great to see so many of our family, church family, and community pray for Dad and our family. Thank you for praying. And thank God for helping us this far and all of what’s left that He will do. ❤

Pray for Steven, 11 year old attacked in Ecuador

Steven, 11 year old boy

Steven, 11 year old boy

On a recent Sunday, an 11 year old boy in Ecuador was walking home from church when some teens ambushed him, tied him up, doused him with gasoline, and lit him on fire. He ran to a local river to put out the fire, but he is suffering from many burns. That 11 year old boy is Steven, a Compassion International sponsored child, and he needs your help.

Ways to help:

  • Share his story with others on your social media.
  • Pray for Steven and his family.
  • Consider donating money to help cover his medical bills, which, as of June 29, 2017, are $250,000.

For more information about Steven and where to donate, please see this link: https://www.compassion.com/medical-emergency.htm

 

How I Study the Bible

Each of us probably have our own methods of how we study the Bible, and I’d like to share mine. I study using the Inductive study method combined with tips featured in Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. I usually have a notebook that I write my study down in so that I can review it later.

  1. I pick a book of the Bible I want to study. Usually I go with whatever book my church is studying, or I’ll pick one that I haven’t had a lot of experience in. In either case, praying and asking God which book of the Bible to study next is the best thing to do!
  2. After choosing a book of the Bible to study, I search for answers to these questions to build a background and context to read the book in (historical context, etc.)
    1. Who wrote the book?
    2. When was the book written?
    3. To whom was the book written?
    4. Where did it take place? Where was the author when they wrote it?
    5. What genre is the book?
    6. Why was it written?
  3. I then set about to prayerfully reading the book. I usually do the study chapter by chapter, and I answer these questions for each chapter. As I work through each step, I reread the chapter, which helps me begin to memorize the text (I really want to begin memorizing big chunks of the Bible, but that will be a slow process for me.)
    1. I look for Repeated Words and Phrases.
    2. I look for Attributes of God mentioned in the text.
    3. I look for where the text Makes Points.
    4. I look up Definitions for words that either I don’t understand or that would be better explained if I looked up the word in the dictionary.
    5. I look for Confusing Ideas that need further prayer and study.
    6. I look up the Cross References and write those down.
  4. Then, I turn to the application step. I answer these questions as I prayerfully apply the text to my life.
    1. What does this teach me about God?
    2. What does this teach me about self?
    3. What is my Response now that I know these things? (I write my prayer to God about how I need His help in making changes and growing in my walk with Him.)

That’s how I study the Bible. I have found this method of studying really helps me learn and grow. What ways do you study the Bible? What have you found doesn’t work for you? Are there any books, like Women of the Word, that you would recommend for deeper Bible study?

My Sponsored Children: Lourddjany

I would like to introduce you to my sponsored children with a little more information about them. I will have six posts including this one, and I encourage you to consider sponsoring a child yourself because it changes lives – both the child’s and yours!

My sixth sponsored child is Lourddjany. I share her with my mom. We chose to sponsor her after our church went on a mission trip to Haiti and shared that we could sponsor children through Haiti Outreach Ministries. Mom and I are looking forward to receiving a letter update from Lourddjany soon.

Lourddjany

Lourddjany

Age: 4
Birthday: December 8
Country: Haiti
Grade: Kindergarten
Number of siblings: 0
Her language: Haitian Creole (She will also learn French and English in school. Just think: learning three languages starting in preschool!)

More children, like Lourddjany, need a sponsor. Because I sponsor her through Haiti Outreach Ministries, I will share what sponsorship looks like through both Haiti Outreach Ministries and Compassion International.

  • Sponsorship through Haiti Outreach Ministries looks like:

“Your donation pays teacher salaries, and includes uniforms, books and school supplies, a hot lunch and a health care exam for all primary students. All children are taught in a Christian environment, in addition to traditional classes, children are taught Bible stories/studies. Every child also receives a birthday gift and Christmas gift. Secondary student sponsorship includes the cost to transport them to an appropriate secondary school until HOM/MICECC completes our own secondary school. The first module of the Secondary School in the Baryé Fe neighborhood will be ready to welcome 7th grade students in fall of 2015.” (via their website)

  • With sponsorship through Compassion International, the children receive ongoing Christian training through local churches, education opportunities, key life skills and training, vocational programs, health care, supplements to fight against malnutrition, recreational activities, and protection from danger.

Please consider sponsoring a child from Haiti, where Lourddjany lives, through either Compassion International or Haiti Outreach Ministries. Please pray that more children from Haiti would be sponsored.

My Sponsored Children: Berekyah

I would like to introduce you to my sponsored children with a little more information about them. I will have six posts including this one, and I encourage you to consider sponsoring a child yourself because it changes lives – both the child’s and yours!

My fifth sponsored child is Berekyah. I chose to sponsor him after my church went on a mission trip to Haiti and shared that we could sponsor children through Haiti Outreach Ministries. I am looking forward to receiving a letter update from Berekyah soon.

Berekyah

Berekyah

Age: 3
Birthday: December 11
Country: Haiti
Grade: Preschool
Number of siblings: 2 sisters
His language: Haitian Creole (He will also learn French and English in school. Just think: learning three languages starting in preschool!)

More children, like Berekyah, need a sponsor. Because I sponsor him through Haiti Outreach Ministries, I will share what sponsorship looks like through both Haiti Outreach Ministries and Compassion International.

  • Sponsorship through Haiti Outreach Ministries looks like:

“Your donation pays teacher salaries, and includes uniforms, books and school supplies, a hot lunch and a health care exam for all primary students. All children are taught in a Christian environment, in addition to traditional classes, children are taught Bible stories/studies. Every child also receives a birthday gift and Christmas gift. Secondary student sponsorship includes the cost to transport them to an appropriate secondary school until HOM/MICECC completes our own secondary school. The first module of the Secondary School in the Baryé Fe neighborhood will be ready to welcome 7th grade students in fall of 2015.” (via their website)

  • With sponsorship through Compassion International, the children receive ongoing Christian training through local churches, education opportunities, key life skills and training, vocational programs, health care, supplements to fight against malnutrition, recreational activities, and protection from danger.

Please consider sponsoring a child from Haiti, where Berekyah lives,through either Compassion International or Haiti Outreach Ministries. Please pray that more children from Haiti would be sponsored.

My Sponsored Children: Joseph

I would like to introduce you to my sponsored children with a little more information about them. I will have six posts including this one, and I encourage you to consider sponsoring a child yourself because it changes lives – both the child’s and yours!

My youngest sponsored child is Joseph. I have sponsored him since April of this year. I am looking forward to getting to know him better and watching him grow up. Thus far I haven’t received any letters from him or his caregivers, so I can’t share a lot of information, but here’s what I have.

Age: 1
Birthday: September 18
Country: Kenya
Favorite hobbies: Playing toy cars
Number of siblings: 0 (He lives with his mother.)

Joseph

Joseph

I have sent him 3 letters so far, and I look forward to when I receive the first letter from him and his family!

More children, like Joseph, need a sponsor. With sponsorship through Compassion International, the children receive ongoing Christian training through local churches, education opportunities, key life skills and training, vocational programs, health care, supplements to fight against malnutrition, recreational activities, and protection from danger.

Please consider sponsoring a child from Kenya, where Joseph lives, through Compassion International. Please pray that more children from Kenya would be sponsored. Please also pray for the people of Kenya as they are affected by a drought right now. The drought is creating a water and food shortage and making food prices rise.

P.S. Compassion Bloggers have recently taken a trip to Kenya! You can review their journey at their website.