Mindy’s Good Reads 2015

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One of my life-long goals is to read an average of one book a month… And I have my book club to thank for keeping me on track!  Here’s what I read in 2015:

These three were absolutely extraordinary:

Epic of Eden by Sandra Richter (Old Testament theology)

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi (Muslim intellectual encounters Jesus)

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller (marriage)

The rest of the list (alphabetical):

Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown (Olympic rowing team)

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Iceland, murder mystery)

Counting by 7’s by Holly Sloan (Young adult, brilliant child in foster care)

Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers (women in the genealogy of Christ)

Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me to Stand by Kay Arthur (Ephesians, spiritual warfare)

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (autobiography that inspired the prison series)

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (American orphans 1800s)

Return of the Prodigal by Henri Nouwen (analysis of the prodigal son parable)

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst (life management)

The Strategy of Satan by Warren Wiersbe (my fall teaching topic)

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (England, plague in the middle ages)

Did you have a favorite book in 2015?  I’d love to hear about it!

Negotiating and Compromise

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Ray Comfort tells a story in one of his books that goes like this:
A man leaned over to a woman seated next to him and asked, ‘Would you go to bed with me for a million dollars?’ The woman answered, ‘I would think about it.’ He then asked, ‘Would you go to bed with me for one dollar?’ She widened her eyes and said indignantly, ‘What kind of woman do you think I am!’ He replied, ‘We’ve already established that. Now we’re just negotiating the price.

Ladies, every day of our lives Satan is trying to “negotiate the price” of our moral and spiritual compromise, and he’s banking on succeeding with his negotiations.

Why? Because he already knows our flesh is weak. He already knows what lines and excuses work on us. He already knows we’re not inclined to “count the cost” when pain, loss, financial challenges or adverse circumstances enter the sphere of our lives. Satan already knows we’re inclined to worldliness because he knows we find cultivating holiness boring, tedious or just downright unenjoyable. He already knows we’d rather watch some titillating TV show, catch up on everyone’s FB posts, read a juicy new novel on our Kindle or play Candy Crush – anything – rather than reading our Bible, praying for people, doing Bible study or memorizing God’s Word. He already knows going the “extra mile” is hard for us because we’re not naturally disposed to sacrificially serving people, forgiving offenses, giving our money away, or renouncing our “fun” bad habits and immoral behavior.

So, never forget that Satan is always trying to wicker a deal to negotiate your price.

Unless, of course, you decide from the get-go that you cannot be bought.

*Guest blog by Susie Walther, http://www.thewellbiblestudy.com

We Are So Weak

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Ray Comfort tells a story in one of his books that goes like this: A man leaned over to a woman seated next to him and asked, ‘Would you go to bed with me for a million dollars?’ The woman answered, ‘I would think about it.’ He then asked, ‘Would you go to bed with me for one dollar?’ She widened her eyes and said indignantly, ‘What kind of woman do you think I am!’ He replied, ‘We’ve already established that. Now we’re just negotiating the price.

Ladies, every day of our lives Satan is trying to “negotiate the price” of our moral and spiritual compromise, and he’s banking on succeeding with his negotiations.

Why? Because he already knows our flesh is weak. He already knows what lines and excuses work on us. He already knows we’re not inclined to “count the cost” when pain, loss, financial challenges or adverse circumstances enter the sphere of our lives.

Satan already knows we’re inclined to worldliness because he knows we find cultivating holiness boring, tedious or just downright unenjoyable. He already knows we’d rather watch some titillating TV show, catch up on everyone’s FB posts, read a juicy new novel on our Kindle or play Candy Crush – anything – rather than reading our Bible, praying for people, doing Bible study or memorizing God’s Word.

He already knows going the “extra mile” is hard for us because we’re not naturally disposed to sacrificially serving people, forgiving offenses, giving our money away, or renouncing our “fun” bad habits and immoral behavior.

So, never forget that Satan is always trying to wicker a deal to negotiate your price, unless, of course, you decide from the get-go that you cannot be bought.

*Guest blog by Susie Walther, http://www.thewellbible study.org

Screwtape’s Tactics Revealed

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This is a summary of various tactics used by Screwtape and his devil minions to bring ruin to the new Christian.  Chapters are noted in parentheses.  Scroll down through the list – it’s quite comprehensive!

Tactics of the enemy:

-Use of jargon in the church (1)

-Concerned not with true or false but trendy (1)

-Drawn constantly to immediate sensual experiences (1)

-Pressure of the ordinary without quiet time or peace (1)

-Pride, already knows everything, shallow, unteachable (1)

-Confused, no time for complex thinking (1)

-Old habits (2)

-Church is imperfect, full of hypocritical people (2)

-Disappointment with church and people (2)

-Boring, dryness of persevering (2)

-Keep dependent on emotional high (2)

-Mutual, daily annoyances of relationships (3)

-Keep blind to obvious faults of self (3)

-Distract from simple duties by thinking how hard bigger duties are (3)

-Make focus on irritations with spouse and family (3)

-Keep them from praying (4)

-Prayers lazy, unfocused, not concentrating (4)

-Make prayer a mood not effort of the will (4)

-Prayers focused on self and feelings (4)

-Praying to something/image not God (4)

-Ignoring reality of death, blind, refuse to consider (5)

-Contented worldliness *best weapon (5)

-Maximize uncertainty; focus on future (6)

-Fear, anxiety for future (6)

-Confusion about “cross to bear” (6)

-Direct malice toward neighbors, benevolence toward people he doesn’t know (6)

-Deny existence of spirit world (7)

-Lull into lukewarm complacency (7)

-Or fire up and divide into factions around irrelevant issue (7)

-Make saving the world the end goal (7)

-Mix politics and religion (7)

-Create partisan spirit in the community (7)

-Shock at period of difficulty, blind to cycle of life that is good and bad, feels unfair (8)

-In rough time tempt with sensual pleasure, esp. sexual (9)

-Addict to a declining pleasure (9)

-Isolate from experienced Christians (9)

-Despair (9)

-Effort to feel good by sheer will power (9)

-Circle of worldly and intellectual friends who lead astray (10)

-Create parallel lives Christian life vs. secular life, inconsistency (10)

-Debt, spending more than can afford (10)

-Neglect work or people (10)

-Domestic tension (10)

-Jokes as an excuse for behavior (11)

-Keep attending church but drift spiritually (12)

-Slow, gradual fade is more effective than a big sin (12)

-Social conformity, give up own interests (13)

-Always thinking, never acting (13)

-Proud of humility (14)

-Self focused (14)

-Too afraid (15)

-Too confident (15)

-Living in the past or the future (15)

-Fear, anxiety, greed, ambition, discontent (15)

-Church hopping, critical, uncommitted (16)

-Always comparing, critical not teachable (16)

-Sermon too easy, watered down (16)

-Sermon too hard, too strident (16)

-Focus on superficial church differences not doctrinal (16)

-Gluttony as excess, or as extreme pickiness, dominated by food (17)

-Deceive about love, sex, and marriage (18)

-Deceive about spiritual significance of sex (18)

-See everything as black and white (19)

-Marry one who makes life difficult (19)

-Make feel like temptation lasts forever, the only escape is to yield (20)

-Use media to create picture of perfect woman, impossible to find, create discontent, focus on sensuality (20)

-If cannot tempt to sex outside of marriage, then marry poorly (20)

– Darken intellect, no critical thinking allowed (20)

– Multipronged attack, several directions at once (20)

-Interruptions, lose free time, irritate with loss control of time (21)

-Focus on illusion of ownership of body, time, life, things – then frustrate (21)

-All that is good twist it for evil (22)

-Constant noise (22)

-Isolate him, dumb down spirituality (23)

– Remove spirituality, or corrupt it (23)

-Change picture of historical Jesus (23)

-Spiritual pride *strongest vice (24)

-Superiority of belonging to special group (24)

-Mocking those outside the group (24)

-Love for change and novelty, desire for constant change (25)

-Distract with trendy thinking, desire to be trendy (25)

-Disguise the real threat (25)

-Blinded by love, erotic enchantment (26)

-Chase earthly happiness (26)

-False spirituality (27)

-Confuse about prayer.  No means it doesn’t work.  Yes can be easily explained with secular. (27)

-Historical ignorance.  Non-intellectual. (27)

-Cut off every generation from others, intellectually, socially, etc. (27)

-Never ask if it’s true, evaluate author’s bias instead (27)

-Confuse about death.  Think death is the end.  Think survival is the greatest good. (28)

-Middle aged adversity, so long, so hard. War of attrition. (28)

-Adversity causes to lose hope, not persevere (28)

-Prosperity creates worldliness, attachment (28)

-Preoccupy with safety! (28)

-Noise, danger, & fatigue.  Wear them down.  Conscience muddled. (29)

-Create fear, hatred, shame, cowardice. (29)

-Keep peace!  War & calamity awaken them from spiritual stupor. (29)

-False hopes.  Disappointment. Tiredness. (30)

-Disappointment perceived as injury (30)

-Confuse/deceive with idea that death is the end (31)