Saturday, September 18, 2010

Martyr's Mirror

Shortly after my family moved to the Amish community in Tennessee, I was introduced to "The Martyr's Mirror." Up until that point, I "knew" about Christians who had given their lives for the sake of the Gospel, but didn't have a clue as to their passion for Christ and the unspeakable tortures they endured, rather than deny Him.

At the age of 12, I had read every one of the stories multiple times, and began to expand my research on the history behind them.

As an adult, it still amazes me how so many are oblivious to the persecutions of the church in the past two thousand years; and many that have some knowledge of history actually believe that the Church was dead for a thousand years until Martin Luther came along with his 95 thesis.

The Martyr's Mirror is a full-sized book with 1200 pages of history; starting with the apostles and ending in the year 1660. It is an incredible account of the steadfastness of the saints. The lives and deaths of 4,011 are chronicled in this massive volume, but many references are made to groups of unnamed believers who were martyred for Christ.

This book made a tremendous impact on my life as a child, and for the past 20 years I have desired a copy for my own library. My wonderful husband ordered it for my birthday and it came in the mail last night.

As I scanned the pages, it felt like re-uniting with an old friend.

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you
And shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven:
For so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
(Matthew 5:11-12)

If you have never read this book, click here to check out other reviews at Martyrs Mirror: The Story of Seventeen Centuries of Christian Martyrdom From the Time of Christ to A.D. 1660

If you have read it, please leave a comment below, so that others may be blessed by it too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God

Ever since I can remember, I just wanted to be a Mom. No fancy career or title, no aspirations beyond the cradle. Maybe I was just deprived of all ambition, or maybe I desired the highest calling of all...

During my first interview at the Christian School where I taught, I did not hesitate to inform the administrator that, while I loved children and teaching, my true calling was to my family, if the Lord ever blessed me in that way.

Fast-forward a few years... Isn't it amazing how the philosophy of the world can seep into our hearts and destroy that which is precious?

Although I did stay home after our first daughter was born, I began to chafe against the burdens of motherhood. The constant demands wore upon me grievously. I felt myself envying mothers who could drop their children off at my house and walk out the door "free as the breeze". For the first time in my life, I longed to don a pair of high-heels and have some time "all to myself."

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God
Then, two years ago, my best friend gave me a copy of this book: Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. As I began to read it, I realized how much I had allowed the world (and feminism in particular) to penetrate my thinking. I would have been appalled if anyone referred to me as a feminist, yet remnants of that world-view had effectively permenated my mind!

Although this book is written particularly to encourage stay-at-home-moms, I believe it to be an excellent challenge to all Christian women. Who is guiding your thoughts? Is it Hollywood? Mediocre Tele-evangelists? What do you think or say when some well-meaning girl friend insists, "if you don't take care of yourself, then who will?"

I wept through most of the book, but it was cleansing for my soul. Now, I still have difficult days. I still enjoy strolling through Walmart at 6 AM-- all by myself! But I've been able to find joy in serving others, and particularly my family, knowing that, if no one else takes care of me, then my Heavenly Father will!

If you haven't read this yet, I encourage you to do so. Or to get a copy for some Mommy that could use a little encouragement. If you have read this, please comment below so that others can hear how you've been blessed by this most excellent book!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Morning by Morning

If you were to ever ride in my car, you may be surprised to see a war-torn paperback in the pocket of my door. This little book has been chewed by a cockatiel and a squirrel; it has endured multiple coffee spills, three children, and weathered over 15 years of perusement. It stays in the car now. Every morning, before my workout, I pull it out of the pocket and read that day's devotional. And, after absorbing it for 15 years (off and on) I never get tired of the message, but continually find new gems within the pages.

This morning, Spurgeon's words seemed to resonate even more than ever, as he challenged my unthankfulness:

Morning by Morning (One-Minute Devotions)     "Some Christians are prone to look on the dark side of everything and to dwell more on what they have gone through than on what God has done for them. Ask them their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has given them..."

     "...In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have had trials, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably. The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God Who has led us through all and preserved us until now."

"The Lord hath done great things for us,
whereof we are glad." (Psalm 126:3)

Morning by Morning (One-Minute Devotions)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Across Time, Across Tears

As a teenager, my favorite quote was one from Desiderius Erasmus, "When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes."

Unfortunately, being a Mom requires a little more practicality and I rarely get to enjoy a good book. When I do read, it is usually a devotional or has some family-oriented edification.

Across Time, Across TearsBut my FAVORITE novel was actually written by my Auntie Sheri! It's a Christian thriller about the daughter of martyred missionaries in an Islamic country. When I finally got the courage to pick it up (it's 453 pages) I could not put it down!

"Across Time, Across Tears" is nothing less than a work of art! A painting, if you will. And when you read it, the characters and settings are so vivid that it isn't difficult to imagine yourself there.

Thanks to the author's skill with words, even the most unimaginative of us have no trouble visualizing the sights of the marketplace, smelling the stench of an old man's breath, or hearing the air hiss as a silenced AK-47 assault rifle demolishes a tree branch. She even lets us feel the warmth of a recently-laminated Driver's License! The dialogue itself is passing extraordinary, and the ending, that last paragraph,- is simply breathtaking!

But don't take my word for it! Click here to check out all the rave reviews posted on Across Time, Across Tears by Sheridan Elaine Claude.