Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Poirot Murder Mysteries Collection DVD SET

Sometimes we just need a break from reality and this fits the bill. Poirot is a funny little Belgium detective. He is very particular in his dress, walk and mannerisms.  These episodes are based on Agatha Christie's murder mysteries. These murder mysteries are infused with a bit of humor because Poirot is just so picky about everything and has a very high opinion about himself.

From the description on Amazon:
Dressed to the nines, impeccably mannered and infuriatingly arch, Hercule Poirot is a detective like no other. Agatha Christie's dapper Belgian sleuth has delighted mystery fans for generations, and David Suchet has won universal praise for his pitch-perfect portrayal of Poirot on screen.

Suchet's first four feature-length Poirot mysteries are available together in this collector's set. Produced by Brian Eastman (Traffik, Jeeves & Wooster), these exquisitely crafted tales of death and deception feature top-notch casts and were filmed on location around the world.

THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD--Poirot's retirement in a quiet country village is abruptly ended by the death of his disagreeable neighbor.

LORD EDGWARE DIES--Intervening in a sticky marital situation, Poirot suddenly finds himself in the midst of murder.

MURDER IN MESOPOTAMIA--Poirot is visiting an ancient site in Iraq when the head archeologist's unpopular wife is killed.

EVIL UNDER THE SUN--Death intrudes on Poirot's island holiday, and only he can determine who is responsible.

DVD Features: Index of All Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Stories; Agatha Christie Biography; David Suchet Biography

Marsha's Musings: Antichrist

1John 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

1John 2:22-23 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

There are those who cleverly will tell you that Jesus is the son of God, but they will deny that Jesus is God in the flesh.  They might say he is a god, one of many but not THE one true God.  They will say he was conceived by conventional methods by one they call a Heavenly Father, which effectively removes the miraculous nature of the virgin birth, and makes Mary out to be immoral for messing around with another man.

There are as many variations of this as there are religious groups out there, but only those who stick to the Bible as it is written get it right.  John 1 clearly states that Jesus, the Word was God.

The false teaching is very cleverly worded and very deceptive on the surface until you take what they say to its logical conclusion.  But when you get down to it, they are denying the Son and they don't have the Father.  They are antichrist.  Beware.

Marsha's Musings: May God Slap Me Up Side The Head...(James 4:1-6 NKJV)

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:1-6 NKJV)

Here is the root of many church problems.  Church members cause trouble under the guise of spiritual reasons but just a little bit of digging will show they want their desires and pleasures to be met and very often it has nothing to do with being Biblical or correcting doctrinal error but everything to do with power and having things done their way. I've seen it many times over and at times from the front row seat. It is sad and ugly.

I pray that God would slap me up side of the head if I ever get on my high horse to cause trouble in the church! May I have the good sense to leave quietly and keep my mouth shut if I become unhappy with my church. I don't ever see me becoming unhappy where I'm at at this point and for that I am very thankful!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: Rose Book of Bible Charts Volume 3 [Hardcover]

Here is yet another Rose Book of Charts Vol. 3.  These are great chart books.  Perfect for classrooms, and Sunday school classes.  Permission is granted to copy up to 300 of each of the charts!  Here is the description from Amazon:

NEW! Volume 3 of the Leading Full-color Bible Chart Book Series
Discover what you need to know about 27 key Bible topics at a glance! This 220-page reference book is packed with REPRODUCIBLE Bible charts, Bible timelines, and Bible overviews. Its full-color visuals will add depth to any Old and New Testament study. Perfect for personal use, small group curriculum, home school curriculum, or adult Sunday School lessons.
  • Covers 27 popular Bible topics not included in Rose Book of Bible Charts Vol. 1 or 2.

  • Shows 100's of facts at a glance, covering everything from spiritual disciplines, our identity in Christ, attributes of God, Proverbs, the book of Acts, what the Bible says about Forgiveness, the book of Revelation, and more!

  • Features full-color charts, maps, and time lines that make Bible topics and Christian teaching simple, concise, and easy to understand.

  • Gives helpful resources such as a spiritual gifts test, one-year Bible reading plan, Jerusalem time line, and more!
Top 8 Bible Charts, Christian Comparison Charts, and Bible Overviews in Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps and Time Lines, Volume 3
  1. Who I Am In Christ
  2. Spiritual Gifts Test
  3. Attributes of God
  4. Book of Acts
  5. One-year Bible Reading Plan
  6. Life of Moses
  7. Life of Joseph
  8. 24 Ways to Explain the Gospel
Includes Reproducible Christian Charts on 27 Key Bible Topics, including— Christian Living and Christian Discipleship Topics
  • Who I Am in Christ (Assurance of Salvation and our identity in Christ)
  • Spiritual Disciplines
  • Spiritual Gifts (Spiritual Gifts test included)
  • Attributes of God
Favorite Bible Topics
  • What the Bible Says about Forgiveness
  • What the Bible Says about Money
  • What the Bible Says about Prayer
  • What the Bible Says about Heaven
  • Parables of Jesus
  • Creeds (The text and meaning of the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, etc)
Comparisons Charts of Christian Views
  • Baptism (Compares biblical views of Infant Baptism and Believer's Baptism)
  • The Lord's Supper (Compares 3 views of Communion)
Bible Character Studies
  • Life of Joseph
  • Life of Moses
  • Life of David
Bible Overviews on Old Testament Books of the Bible
  • Book of Psalms Overview
  • Book of Proverbs Overview
  • Book of Jonah Overview
  • Book of Ruth Overview
  • Book of Esther Overview
Bible Overviews on New Testament Books of the Bible
  • The Book of Acts
  • The Book of Romans
  • The Book of James
  • The Gospels Side by Side
  • Book of Revelation
  • Jerusalem Time Line—24" foldout
  • One-Year Bible Reading Plans (Gives 3 Options on how to read the Bible in a year)
Size: 9.5 x 11 inches, 240 pages. Spiral bound for ease of use, this is a must-have for any student of the Bible. Opens flat for ease of use and for photocopying. Copies are limited to 300 per original document, in one church only. Rose Publishing is a top 10 publisher of easy-to-use Bible reference material.
Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps and Timelines, Vol. 3 is Part of a 3-Volume Set

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: Rose Book of Bible Charts, Vol. 2 [Spiral-Bound]

Here is another of the Rose Book of Bible Charts Vol. 2.  I have this book and love it. The charts are great!  Being the visual learner that I am this is perfect.  I love lists and charts.

Here is the description of the book from Amazon:

The Rose Book of Bible Charts 2 contains 256 pages of popular Rose Bible charts in one reproducible book! Full color, great for personal study, Bible studies, small groups, and classes. This book is the sequel to the best-selling Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines [ASIN:1596360224]. The Rose Book of Charts 2 is a completely separate book with different charts and material, it is not an updated version of volume 1.
Topics include
  • Bible Translations comparison chart
  • Why Trust the Bible?
  • Heroes of the Old Testament
  • Women of the Bible
  • Life of Paul
  • Christ in the Old Testament
  • Christ in the Passover
  • Names of Jesus
  • Beatitudes
  • Lord's Prayer
  • Where to Find Favorite Bible Verses
  • Christianity and Eastern Religions
  • Worldviews Comparison Chart
  • 10 Q & A on Mormonism/Jehovah's Witnesses/Magic/Atheism
  • Pursuing Jesus
  • and many others!
Buying these charts separately would cost $130. You may reproduce up to 300 copies of any chart free of charge for your own classroom. Full color; contains most Rose material published since 2005. Hardcover with a spine covering a spiral binding.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Marsha's Musings: The Wisdom from Above (James 3:17-18 NKJV)

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17-18 NKJV)

What a contrast to the last few verses I looked at!  Wouldn't it be great if all Christians lived according to this? This includes me too! I need to hear this as much as anyone! If I would stop and think about how what I say or do lines up with these qualities, I would know whether my wisdom is from above or elsewhere.

Ask is what I am going to say or do....
willing to yield?
full of mercy?
full of good fruits
without partiality?
without hypocrisy?

Book Review: Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines [Spiral-Bound]

I love charts.  There is just something about having information at my fingertips in a concise chart that is extremely satisfying to me.  The charts in this book are full color.  Some of them fold out to make bigger charts. I guess I must be a visual learner because I like charts so much.  I know that when I study the Bible, if there is a list that I can make from what I am reading, it makes it much easier for me to learn.  In a sense, that is what charts are....lists set up in an attractive easy to read format that helps me learn and understand Biblical concepts better.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps and Timelines has more than 180 pages of popular full-color reproducible Bible charts, Then and Now Bible maps®, and Bible timelines. It includes pictures and illustrations of the Tabernacle, Temple, Noah's Ark, and the Armor of God. It's perfect for Bible students, Sunday school teachers, Christian school teachers, and personal use.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: The Screwtape Letters

It's been a long time since I read The Screwtape letters, but it stands out in my memory as being entertaining and yet dead serious at the same time.  Of course you can't take it as gospel truth because this is just one man's imagination of how the Devil and his minions operate.  Yet, it is sobering to think about in light of our temptations that we deal with here on earth.  I would highly recommend this classic.  It's a great read.

From the back of the book:
A milestone in the history of popular theology, The Screwtape Letters is an iconic classic on spiritual warfare and the dynamics of temptation.
This profound and striking narrative takes the form of a series of letters from Screwtape, a devil high in the Infernal Civil Service, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior colleague engaged in his first mission on earth, trying to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian. Although the young man initially looks to be a willing victim, he changes his ways and is "lost" to the young devil.
Dedicated to Lewis's friend and colleague J. R. R. Tolkien, The Screwtape Letters is a timeless classic on spiritual conflict and the psychology of temptation which are part of our religious experience.

Marsha's Musings: When Bitter Envy and Self-seeking Come to Church (James 3:14-16 NKJV)

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (James 3:14-16 NKJV)

I've seen this play out in several churches. It is very sad and very confusing.  Yet, those who are embroiled in it always manage to put a spiritual twist to what they say and why they are doing what they are doing.

If something is wrong Biblically in a church, we should try to make it right by talking to the pastor and leaders or whoever we think is in the wrong.  We should never go around stirring up other people to gain a following.  If going privately to them doesn't solve anything, then do according to Matthew 18 and take a couple of others with you to talk to them.  Only if this does not solve the problem should you bring it before the church.  And I don't believe bringing it before the church means you go around talking to others behind the person's back to try and gain a following.  Bringing it before the church means you call a meeting of the church members and you stand up and tell them what the issue is.  

In most cases I would venture a guess that people wouldn't want to do these steps because they know their complaint is full of bitter envey and self-seeking and they don't want to sully their own reputation in front of the whole church. 

The best thing a person can do who is unhappy and can't exist peacefully in the church is to leave quietly.  There will be those that will approach them for why they left and they will hear the complaint.  If they are wise they will go and speak to those accused and try to find out both sides of the story before making up their minds and they will not spread what they hear around.  

I can't say I have always followed these guidelines.  In cases where I have not, I wish I had.  In other cases I have stood back and observed what was going on and stayed out of the fray.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book review: Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate [Hardcover]

Our ladies group went through this book together. It is very convicting and challenging.  I highly recommend it.

 From the Back Cover

Have Christians become so preoccupied with the major sins of our society that we have lost sight of our need to deal with our own more subtle sins? Jerry Bridges returns to his trademark theme of holiness and addresses a dozen clusters of specific "acceptable" sins that we tend to tolerate in ourselves - such as jealousy, anger, pride, unthankfulness, and judgmentalism.

Jerry writes not from a height of spiritual accomplishment but from the trenches of his own battles with sin. In his admonitions, Jerry offers a message of hope in the profound mercy of the gospel and the transforming grace of God as the means to overcoming our subtle sins.

If you lead a small group or Bible class, don't miss the companion discussion guide for this important book. See inside for details.

About the Author

Dr. Jerry Bridges is the best-selling author of such books as The Pursuit of Holiness, Trusting God, and The Practice of Godliness. Jerry is on staff with The Navigators’ collegiate ministry. A popular speaker known around the world, Jerry lives with his wife, Jane, in Colorado Springs.

Marsha's Musings: Actions Speak Louder than Words (James 3:13 NKJV)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. (James 3:13 NKJV)

Actions speak louder than words.  One can claim he is older and therefore wiser than another. One can just claim they are wiser with no regard to age for that matter. But if his or her actions are not in accordance to the wisdom they claim to have then they really are not very wise.

This is an area I need to be careful with in my own life. It's way too easy to give the appearance of wisdom and offer advice to people (whether they want it or not) when my own actions don't measure up. It is better to do what is right and keep my mouth shut than to spout off all sorts of stuff and not have my life measure up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review: Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts [Paperback]

"In an effort to strengthen his own trust in God during a time of adversity, Navigator author Jerry Bridges began a lengthy Bible study on God’s sovereignty. The revelations changed his life.

In Trusting God, he shares the scope of God’s power to help you come to know Him better, have a relationship with Him, and trust Him more—even when unjust things happen.

Tragedy, grief, loss, and death are part of life. Discover how Trusting God can reveal biblical truths about God."~From the book description

Our ladies group studied this book together a number of years ago.  It was very comforting and challenged me to trust God's sovereignty more in the trials of life.  God is in complete control of all that happens in this life.  It doesn't make Him the author of evil, but He controls how much of it touches our lives.  Read the book of Job to see this.  Someone told my son that what happened to Joni  Eareckson wasn't God's will, He just used it for good.  This is a frightening prospect. If what happened to Joni was not God's will, then He is not in control of what happens to us and He is just reacting to the evil that comes upon us...running around so to speak trying to put out fires and make good come from evil. That is not a very big god.  No, the God of the Bible controls all things.  It's 
been a number of years now since I last read this book.  I think it's time to reread it.  

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (‭Daniel‬ ‭4‬:‭35‬ KJV)

Marsha's Musings: More on The Tongue (James 3:6-12 NKJV)

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. (James 3:6-12 NKJV)

Wow.  This is convicting!  How often have I said things that are not nice about others?  How often have I gossiped?  How often have I said things on social media that should not have been said? No matter how often I determine to do better, something still flies out of my mouth, or my fingers (social media) that shouldn't. 

It is true, no man can tame the tongue or the fingers that type what they shouldn't or the pen that writes what it should not.  It all comes from the heart.  The heart is the issue and these things are only windows to the heart.  My dad says, "Even a fool is considered wise when he holds his tongue."  There much wisdom in that.  

Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. (Proverbs 17:28 NKJV)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Body by Design

If you homeschool high school and want a good curriculum for Human anatomy, this fits the bill. Written from a Christian perspective, this book gives a good overview of the human body while showing the Designer's intricate design throughout. You can not read this book and not come away in awe of God's creation.

Marsha's Musings: See how great a forest a little fire kindles! (James 3:2-5 NKJV)

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! (James 3:2-5 NKJV)

Here we learn that we all stumble in what we say at one time or another.   No one is perfect in this area.  

Currently as I write this, there is a very large wildfire burning in my state.  It has burned some 150 homes, displacing hundreds of people.  It only started from two or three lightening strikes in isolated areas, but those several lightening strike fires grew into one huge fire that tops records for Washington State.

This is what the tongue has the potential to do.  Someone gossips about the pastor or someone else.  The person they talked to passes it along to another and it grows bigger and bigger until it is a fire that is out of control in the church.  I have seen it happen numerous times.  It creates much tension among the people and is often the reason why churches lose good pastors.

We all need to be careful what we say.  The old rule I heard in grade school works here:

If it's not nice,
If it's not needed,
Then don't say it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Marsha's Musings: A Stricter Judgment. (James 3:1 NKJV)

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (James 3:1 NKJV)

This verse makes me think twice about what I post. What am I teaching when I post my thoughts on my Bible reading?  What am I teaching when I post to Facebook?  I need to be sure my teaching and example are grounded in sound Biblical doctrine.  I will receive a stricter judgment than others because I am teaching others with what I write.  I wonder how many of today's preachers take this to heart?

Product Review: Wild Roots 100% Natural Trail Mix Coastal Berry Blend (26 oz)

I love this trail mix! It's full of almonds, cashews, dried blueberries, dried cranberries and yogurt chips. It's the perfect combination for an energy boost mid afternoon.  I like to put a handful in plain yogurt along with a little stevia for breakfast.  It's one snack I always have available.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Two Perspectives on Works and Faith (James 2:18-26 NKJV)

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:18-26 NKJV)

There are some who use this passage in James as a proof text for salvation by works.  They fail to look at the passage below or they choose to ignore it because it seems to contradict what they want to teach.

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. (Romans 4:2-4 NKJV)

We know the Bible does not contradict itself.  So how are we to understand these two passages that seem to do just that?

They are two different perspectives.  In James, a Christian is justified before other men by their works.  If they say they are a Christian but don't live like it, then their faith is a dead faith in the eyes of other men.  In Romans, a person is justified before God by his faith instead of his works.  So next time the cults come knocking at your door trying to quote James to you and convince you that it's your works that save you, show them Romans and explain the two perspectives.

Book Review: Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

I've been reading Nick Vujicic's book "Life Without Limits".  He has obviously overcome much in his life without arms or legs.  He has proved that one can live a victorious, exciting life in spite of the circumstances of one's life.  He is a contagiously enthusiastic person and very inspiring if you are looking for inspiration.

He is open about the fact that he is a Christian and he comes from a Christian back ground.  So I was expecting that his book would point me to Scripture and to Christ through out. He does talk about God and trusting Him. But I found very little Scripture reference. This was disappointing to me.

He spends much time boosting up our self worth and telling us that we are worthy of God's love and we should love ourselves so that we can get past our shortcomings and show love to others.

Scripture doesn't teach us that.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

It teaches us that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners and showed his love for us in spite of our unworthiness.

 Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We were totally, wholly unworthy of God's love but He loved us in spite of our unworthiness and sent His Son to save us.  It is only by Christ's cleansing blood that we are worthy of God's love. 

Nick says that  "Life can be cruel. People can be thoughtless or just plain mean. So you must be able to look inside for strength, and when that inner strength fails, you can always look above, to God, the ultimate source of strength and love."   We should look to God above FIRST not as a last resort.

I am a fan of Nick simply because he is an example of someone who has not just sat, soaked and soured in his circumstances but has got out there and proved you can do something with your life even with the worst of circumstances.  He leaves no excuses for us to sit around in self pity.  He says the choices you make determine the quality of the life you lead.

You will enjoy this book. You will laugh and you will cry.  You will be motivated to change your attitude.  And you will be encouraged to keep God in the picture.  Nick's enthusiasm is contagious. The book just lacks Scriptural basis.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: Give Me Liberty: The Uncompronising Statesmanship of Patrick Henry

If you are interested in history, this is a great book to read!  It is written in an engaging fashion.  I'm a little partial to this book because Patrick Henry is my 7th Great Grandfather. The author of this book shows Henry's faith, his family life and his leadership.  He draws leadership application from Henry's life that will challenge you in your own life.

I was struck by the fact that Henry's wife was mentally ill.  It was quite a burden for him to deal with.  In the a time when mentally ill people were institutionalized permanently, Patrick Henry chose to have her cared for at home until she died. This took a great deal of trouble for him.  He made a special two room apartment for her in the basement of the house.  He made sure it had plenty of windows and natural sunlight and made her as comfortable as possible.  His tender care and love over her even in her mental illness is touching.

You will be blessed and challenged as you read this book.  I highly recommend it.

Marsha's Musings: Faith Without Works is Dead (James 2:14-17 NKJV)

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 NKJV)

This passage has caused great confusion among many.  They believe it is teaching a works salvation. But we know the Bible does not contradict itself and it says elsewhere in Romans, 

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, (Romans 4:5 NKJV)

There are many who say they have faith.  The question is what kind of faith?  What they mean is they believe in God.  Can mere belief in God save a person?  The demons have their theology right and believe there is one God, implying that they believe in God.  Are they saved?

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (James 2:19 NKJV)

So the issue here is what kind of faith?  Is it saving faith?  Is it a faith that believes ON Him who justifies or is it faith that merely believes in God?  

A person who has faith ON Him who justifies will produce works as a result of that faith.  James is making the point that if works are not present in a person's life who claims to have faith in God, then that person does not have saving faith.  Their faith is dead.  

However, many get this twisted up and preach that the way to salvation is by doing works and so they set about to gain merit with God through their works of mercy, ritual, sacraments etc.  This is wrong.

how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14 NKJV)

Works can never save us.  Works are always an outgrowth of our faith in and on Him who justifies.  It's faith that recognizes that only God can justify a sinner and our works are like filthy rags when used to gain merit with Him.

But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6 NKJV)

Our works only matter to Him once He has saved us.  Then He is pleased when we do our works to glorify Him, but they do not earn any merit for salvation.  They are an outgrowth of the work of God in us.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Let's Deal With Others in Mercy, Not Judgement (James 2:12-13 NKJV)

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:12-13 NKJV)

This really speaks to legalism.  Those who would make up standards of self-righteousness and try to hold others to their standard of self-righteousness do not speak or do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.  They forget that they too have broken the law of God just as much as the one they are judging without mercy.  

Now there are those who cry out, "Judge not that you be not judged!"  When it comes to self-righteousness, yes, judge not that you be not judged.  Don't be holding others to your Pharisaical standard of self-righteousness.  But this is not talking about throwing discernment out the window.  When it comes to matters of doctrinal truth, we are supposed to be discerning and judging things against the truth of God's word.  

When it comes to life-style choices that are contrary to the teaching of the Bible, we are to judge those things according to Scripture to be wrong.  When it comes to choices concerning life or death at either end of the spectrum of life, we are to judge according to Scripture as to what is right and what is wrong.  When it comes to church doctrine, we are to compare all teaching to the teaching of the Bible and judge whether it is in agreement with the Bible or not.

Back to the issue at hand, it's okay if you have certain standards that you live by that between you and God you believe to be His will for your life, but it's not okay to hold those standards up to others and insist that they are not in the will of God if they don't abide by your same standard of righteousness.  God deals with different people in different ways.  Let's not try to be the Holy Spirit for other people.  Let's deal with others in mercy and let God deal with them in the way He sees fit.  They need our prayers more than they need our judgement.

Book Review: Getting Things Done

This book has helped me more than any other in the area of organization.  Granted, I don't have it down completely as life tends to knock me off my track frequently, but this book has been a tremendous help.  The major premise of this book is that you must get things out of your head and into some sort of system whereby it will not be forgotten.  He details a paper based system.  I have set up a system based on Allen's concepts that utilizes both paper and computer. is based on this system and has been a tremendous help to me.

A few months back I got a "new" desk that has cubby holes in it for papers. According to Allen's system, I set up one cubby as an inbox, another as an outbox, two are for in progress and one is for bills.  His system doesn't use a separate box for bills, but a separate one for bills is a must for me, because we have so many medical bills and other bills filling up my mailbox all the time.  If I kept them all in the inbox, I'm afraid they would get buried and not paid on time.

The essential thing for this book to be of any use to you is that you set up a system, similar to what he describes in the book, that works for you and that you use it.  The neat thing about this system is if life throws a curve ball at you and you get derailed, it's okay because everything is right there where you left off and you can just pick up and start again.  You don't have to make a whole new to-do list.  It's still there and all you need to do is add to it or subtract from it.

I can't say enough about Allen's concept for getting things done.  It has taken a lot of stress off for me as long as I make sure I use it.  That is the key...use it.  Get things in the calendar as soon as they are scheduled.  Add tasks to the system as soon as you know you have a new task.  Add reminders to the system as soon as you know you need to remember something.  The more you get out of your head and into the system the more it relieves stress because you don't have to juggle twenty reminders in your head or on little pieces of scrap paper all over the place.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Our Only Hope (James 2:10-11 KJV)

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:10-11 KJV)

This verse is giving only two of the ten commandments. Everyone of us has committed at least one of the Ten Commandments.  All of them have equal weight according to Scripture.  A murdere is not deserving of more punishment than one who lies about another or steals.  If you break one of the commandments, you are guilty of breaking the whole law.  It's a package deal.

Since breaking one commandment means breaking the whole law, what does that make all of us?  It makes us all lawbreakers...sinners who have missed the mark.

Our only hope is in Jesus Christ because He kept the law perfectly in our place.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)

Book Review: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index [Bargain Price] [Hardcover]

Here is another Bible study resource that is very helpful.  This book also helps you with the meaning of Bible words to get a sense of the original language.  This book is arranged like a regular dictionary and each word is keyed to the word numbers in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.  It will give you the occurrences of that particular word form in the Bible so you can look those up and compare how the word is used across references in the Bible. It's very helpful.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is a must have resource for any serious student of the Bible. I use this resource constantly as I study.  Many times there are words in the English language used in our Bibles that don't really do the text justice.  Strong's Exhaustive Concordance will give you the sense of what the original language is driving at.  It will open up the true meaning of Scripture for you as you see what the authors of the various Bible books were trying to convey. As you begin to see more of the heart of the original writers, you will be able to make better application of Scripture to your own life.

Marsha's Musings: Committing Sin Makes You a Sinner (James 2:8-9 KJV)

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (James 2:8-9 KJV)

What would this world look like if we all obeyed this one law?  It would be a far better place than it is right now.  But the fact is, we all have sinned in this area at one or another in regard to other people, and this fact alone makes us all sinners before God in need of a Savior.  

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 KJV)

I'm so thankful that God provided a way for peace with Him and eternal life.