Category Archives: Bible instruction

Review of Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow

Talk100_1293  about living in anxious times! Finding this wonderful book by this trusted Christian author was a real treat for me the other day. Many years ago, when I was a new wife and mother to be, a lady at our Bible Baptist church stood up at our young mother’s class and give a book review of another book by Linda Dillow. (That one was called Creative Counterpart,and it was my first taste of the concept of the wife’s role of godly submission to her husband.) Since then, I have been blessed to know other godly ladies who have helped teach me my Biblical role as wife and mother, and I view Mrs. Dillow as one of the pioneers of the movement.

Linda Dillow is a mother, a grandmother, the wife of a theologian (Dr. Jody Dillow- Grace School of Theology) and missionary who spent time behind the Iron Curtain with her husband and family when Communism was still the mode of government in Poland and Romania. She and her family risked their lives to teach people who had so little by American standards. But in many ways they were richer than us, because they knew that all they needed was Jesus.

I am guessing Linda Dillow wrote this book because she knew of our tendency as women to worry. If you know me, one of my biggest challenges in life is overcoming my tendency to worry and become anxious about things. The one thing about worry is that once you give in to one thing it seems to give way to five more things to worry and fret about. It can debilitate your entire life. It has mine at times in the past. That is why I am so glad that Scripture tells us in Philippians 4 that we don’t have to worry about even one thing. But the only way we can do that is if we get to know our God and how trustworthy and reliable He is, and bring every worry and concern to Him constantly.

This book gives practical encouragement from her own life and how God got her through many dangerous and tremendous trials with her children and facing dangers as a missionary, tests with misunderstandings with others, staying underground from the Communist government while ministering in Eastern Europe, etc. As I read the book, I felt like she was a friend chatting with me from her heart to mine. The book includes practical suggestions for dealing with “what if” thoughts and “if only” thoughts. Those are just the kind of thoughts that get me caught in the worry game.

My copy was originally published in 1998 but updated in 2007. There are 12 chapters in the book and at the end is a study guide that could be used for a small group of women. One thing I really liked about each chapter: at the conclusion of each she gave a character sketch of different women she met while ministering through the years. Some of these women’s testimonies were amazing.

For example, Mrs. Dillow described a woman named Eva from Communist Poland. This Christian woman was used to living practically as a gypsy with nothing wandering from place to place for years. She even washed her baby daughter’s diapers by hand. One day, she came to visit the missionary at her apartment and refused to use her modern conveniences when she did so. Eva said that Western women have “so many things that they don’t need God.” (page 84, Calm My Anxious Heart)

I felt deeply convicted after reading that. How easy to forget Him when we have everything. But through the trials we go through, He draws us back to Himself. This book offers wise counsel from an older woman to a younger woman (as in the verses in Titus 2:3-5) on how to grow close to God when situations come that tempt our hearts and minds to become anxious.

I highly recommend this book for women of all ages.

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George Mueller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith by A. T. Pierson

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If you want a challenge in your faith walk, I recommend reading the biography of a remarkable man, Mr. George Mueller, the founder of homes that housed thousands of orphans in the 1800s in Bristol, England. This book gives a detailed look at the life of Mr. Mueller from one who was greatly influenced by Mueller in his spiritual life. This pastor from America, Arthur. T. Pierson, was a personal friend of George Mueller.

The story is outstanding not because of George Mueller in and of himself, but that he proved in his life and ministry that God was a prayer hearing and answering God. He sought first of all that God might be glorified in answering his fervent prayers for the many needs of his ministry. In fact, everything Mueller accomplished for his ministry (which grew steadily from humble beginnings) was not from going to people as a source but instead was accomplished through fervent prayer.

Mueller chose never to broadcast a need for his orphanages to anyone, however, but only to God. Even all his helpers were not allowed to broadcast any need, but only to petition heaven for their needs. How different this is than the approach used today with ministries having telethons and begging for money. Many times Mueller, his wife and his helpers were sorely tested and lived in poverty themselves as they gave just about everything they had for the sake of the work. Reading these testimonies, it really put me to shame, to be honest. These workers sold all they had for the sake of the work and did not count their lives dear unto themselves,just like the Apostle Paul said of himself in the book of Acts.

After a youth filled with thievery and rebellion, George Mueller became a believer while studying Divinity at the University of Halle, without any interest in God. A friend invited him to a Bible study and the sight of people praying on their knees that night drew Mueller into seeking his own personal relationship with Christ. He functioned as a pastor for over sixty years. In his retirement years, he took on an evangelistic outreach that took him all over the world. Yet his principles remained the same: the needs were always placed before God and God alone to provide. Mueller kept a Narrative of the Lord’s dealings with him, after being influenced reading the autobiographical narrative of the Lord’s dealings with John Newton, a pastor he admired, who is famous for writing the hymn Amazing Grace. In Mueller’s own narrative, great detail is given to showing how the Lord answered specific prayers in His own timing, and by reading about the details of this Narrative, it imparted great incentive for me to continue in my prayers like the persistent widow in Luke 18. George Mueller prayed for two people’s conversions for over 60 years, and even did not see the answer before his death, but stated: “I have not a doubt that I shall meet them both in heaven; for my Heavenly Father would not lay upon my heart a burden of prayer for them for over threescore years, if He had not concerning them purposes of mercy.” (page 302)

Another important takeaway from this biography is to learn George Mueller’s Bible reading habit and of making himself happy in the Lord as the first order of each day. What a beautiful idea, to start each day making sure that one is happy and content in their relationship with Christ as the most important thing. He read the Bible through two hundred times during his lifetime.

This book is long, 375 pages, but is edifying and worth the read. I should not compare myself to George Mueller, for Scripture says that is unwise, and I fall way short. But, I can glean great encouragement to petition God like George Mueller did, for Mr. Pierson stated:

“While men are asking whether prayer can accomplish similar wonders as of old, here is a man who answers the question by the indisputable logic of facts. Powerlesssnes always means prayerlessness, It is not necessary for us to be sinlessly perfect … but it is necessary that we be men and women of prayer–habitual, believing, importunate prayer.” (pages 371-372)

George Mueller lived like the faith heroes of Hebrews 11, therefore his faith and life of prayer is worth imitating today.

This book was published by Kregel Publications in 1999.

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A Review of Captive to Conqueror by Harold Wildish

Captive to ConquerorSomewhere or other, I found a copy of a rather unknown book by a Plymouth Brethren missionary named Harold Wildish who died in the early 1980’s. His story is remarkable. This is an English book and its contents are from a meeting at Filey of the Christian Holiday Crusade put on by the Movement for World Evangelization. The speaker, Mr. Wildish, had a topic of Romans 5-8 and Romans 12: 1-11 and that is the content of this book. Each chapter began with the exact Scripture reading and then his exhortations from each passage. He reminds us that the battle of sin and death has already been won by Jesus Christ and of the great truths we need to appropriate from Romans 6 and 7 about being dead to sin, alive to God, and married not to the law, but to Christ. These are teachings we need to sink our teeth down into. For we can’t appreciate the victory that Romans 8 describes without knowing what Christ has done, once and for all, with our sin.

One part of the book particularly moved me. Wildish described being away from his wife and preaching in a hot, “sin soaked village” in South America. He said at the time it was one of the hottest spots in the world, and he lived at the time in the back of a building where the mosquitoes buzzed all night and oily food nauseated his stomach. He went down to the muddy Demerara coast that evening, and the slightest breeze refreshed him in his spirit, and gave him the fulness to preach to sweaty, sin filled souls.

Somehow, although he felt like quitting, the Spirit touched the hearts of all those who attended his message that night. After he dismissed the group, everyone stayed in their seat, they all wanted to get right with God that night. Two years later, people were still talking how he ministered to them mightily through the Spirit of God. Lives were changed because he persisted through adversity.

I love finding books like these! I consider them little gems among the many voices of Christianity today. This man ministered in Africa and Jamaica and in the Amazon area. His messages are still available to listen to today at sermonindex.net. http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=1408

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Review of Time Travelers of the Bible by Gary Stearman

I just finished this massive 500+ page book by Gary Stearman and received so much encouragement, I wanted to share it. Don’t be intimidated by the page length, for the print type is large enough that the pages went by quickly for me. I kept telling myself as I read it, “I want to read this again.”

The main emphasis that I received from this book was how God exists outside the boundaries of time. He is not limited to past, present and future as we are, but to Him, He is already existing in eternity. As believers in Christ, though we have to live our lives in the time dimension, it is possible to have our lives strengthened by the knowledge that God sees us already there with Him in eternity, that there is a purpose for our pain, and that our losses will be compensated one Day.

I learned so many new things reading this book, for example, that there is a symmetry to time, and how the time that was lost in Joshua’s long day in Joshua 10: 11-14 probably corrected later in the time of Hezekiah when the clock was turned back in II Kings 20: 9-11.

Another thing I learned was that the book of Isaiah makes an outline of each book of the Bible. There are 66 books in the Bible, and 66 chapters in Isaiah.Each chapter corresponds with the number of the book that it goes along with. Chapters 1-39 have been noted to be quite different from the remaining chapters 40-66 in the book of Isaiah. (Isaiah 40 begins with “Comfort ye my people.”) Chapter 40 corresponds with the beginning of the New Testament, the book of Matthew, the very first gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Comfort did not come until Messiah arrived!

Stearman also shared that when Christ appeared in post-resurrection form, He existed in more dimensions than the four the rest of us exist in, and that explains how He could walk through walls, and appear and disappear at will. He also explains about the size of the New Jerusalem, how massive it will be, and how our chief end now is to prepare for that next life.

To those who have suffered from losses in life, I believe this book will give geat encouragement to look forward in eager expectation to our life in the eternal state. For our lives here are passing by like a shadow, but then the shadows will flee away.

There is much more, but I have given you a few examples to whet your appetite! Read the book and be encouraged.

Gary Stearman is on the program “Prophecy in the News,” founded with the late J.R. Church. He also is pastor of Grace Fellowship Bible Church in Oklahoma City.

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A Review of Nelson’s Cross Reference Dictionary to the Bible edited by Jerome Smith

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This book is a great addition to my Bible study tools. It takes every verse of the Bible, and gives cross-references for some of the words and/or phrases. If you believe that Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture, you cannot go wrong with this resource.
To illustrate, in the photo I took above of a page from Matthew includes Matthew 21:43 which reads in the KJV: “Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

In the cross reference guide, the words referenced from this verse are: “The kingdom of God,” “shall be taken,” “from you,” “and given,” “a nation,” and lastly, “bringing forth.”
For the reference “The kingdom of God,” 5 other references are listed, but three of these have a + sign in front of them. In the front of the book, the explanation for this symbol means that when you go to that reference you will find more verses on the same theme. (Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture!) So you will find more on “The kingdom of God” when you look up those references, which will lead you to more references. In other words, you can get happily lost in the Word of God.

The next group of words “shall be taken” has nine references listed and two of these also have the + sign, meaning there are more references on the same theme when you go to the verse listed. On and on these references go with more + signs frequently intermingled among them.

I do not like to just take someone’s word that a particular teaching is correct, but am persuaded I need to come to my own conclusions through the Word of God. This resource helps me to do just that. Another thing I like is that the paper quality is fine, it doesn’t feel like cheap newsprint. The book is nicely bound in sturdy hardback edition. I got mine off Amazon after reading good reviews there, and have not been disappointed. The book is based on the KJV of the Bible.

Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible is published by Thomas Nelson, copyright 2007.

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Review of Sarah Whitcher’s Story by Elizabeth Yates

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I found an ex-lib copy of Sarah Whitcher’s Story for sale at a local library and bought it. I remembered hearing about this book while I was homeschooling my children. The hardback version that I bought was beautifully illustrated in black and white sketches by Nora Unwin.

Last night, I sat down and read it. It is based on a real event that happened in Warren, New Hampshire in the late 1700’s. A little daughter of a pioneer family named Sarah Whitcher becomes lost in the woods outside her log home one day. Her mother and father had gone to get supplies and Sarah wanted to go with them, but was not permitted. Her older brother was to watch over her and some of the other children.

But Sarah slipped away and no one could find her by the time Mother and Father got home. In the meantime, she is playing in the woods pretending she is her mother and father. It starts to rain and she cannot find her way back to the log cabin. She ends up being protected by a mother bear who treats her like she is her bear-cub. But Sarah does not realize that it is a bear protecting her, for she thinks it is the family’s dog.

The community rallies around the Whitcher family in the attempt to find the little girl. Neighbors come from far and near to help out in the search every day for three days. Sarah’s mother is only heartened when she hears her husband tell her to trust in the Lord that Sarah would be found.

After the third day, the neighbors are ready to give up the search, for they think she will not be found alive. Mrs. Whitcher implores them to come back for one more day of searching, and so they agree.

Sarah’s parents refuse to give up hope and on that fourth day a stranger walks into the clearing saying he had  dreamed three times about a little girl that was lost and in the dream was shown just where to find her. He tells them he will find her. The Whitcher’s neighbor accompanies him, but in disbelief.  Astonishingly, the man walks to the spot that he saw three times in his dream and finds the little girl there.

A signal is given by gunfire that Sarah has been found and soon all the neighbors are rejoicing with the Whitcher’s. Mr. Whitcher says that He knew the Lord would help them find her somehow. At the end of the book, the stranger soon leaves but he hears the village singing praises to God as he walks away.

This is a great book for readers in elementary school. It could be read by the child alone but it also would be great for a read aloud. Emphasized within are the values of faith, family and community. It shows children how neighbors used to help each other out and worked together, something that has sadly become less and less common.

The black and white pictures are endearing, especially of the little girl Sarah. This is an older book, published in 1971 by E.F. Dutton, but it is a classic. It will help children learn about our pioneer heritage as well. I really enjoyed it, and it reminded me of my love for reading pioneer stories when I was a girl. It will be worth the time taken to share with your young readers.

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Resolve to Read the Book!

Resolve to Read the Book!God’s bestseller through the ages!
So many books, so little time!
I have a friend who once prided herself on being well-read. While that certainly is commendable, one day the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said,
“What are you going to do about My Book?”
Since I heard this encouragement from this friend (whom I consider my mentor), I try to make a priority of reading “the Book” each day. The Word of God is like no other book. It perpetually remains a bestseller. In it we find answers to the most difficult problems of life. These answers do not come from men, but from the Holy Spirit as He inspired men to write them. The Apostle Peter called it “the more sure word of prophecy” in II Peter 1:19 in which we “do well” to take heed to.
In doing this, it serves me well as I listen to men preach the Word of God. I do not have to just accept what I hear as gospel truth, but test it against what I have read in the Book.
I just read yesterday this verse from Solomon, the wisest man on earth:
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing:
But the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” Proverbs 25: 2

I can be like a king and search out the matter! And it all starts with just reading the Book.
And so, as this New Year starts, I ask, would anyone would like to join me?

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