“Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” + LINKUP

 

Foxe's Book of MartyrsWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by by John Foxe, editied by Harold J. Chadwick.

John Foxe was a 16th century English historian best known for writing Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. His book gives a detailed account of Christian martyrs throughout Western history.

His book is about courageous men, women and children who have been tortured and killed because of their confessions of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But, even more, it’s a book about God’s amazing grace that enabled them to endure persecutions and often horrible deaths.

 

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs has been edited and updated many times since John Foxe wrote the first volume in English in 1563 under the title, Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perillous Dayes, but it became known almost immediately as the Book of Martyrs.

At the time it was written many of the events the author describes were still taking place and it was written more like a reporter would write today. Foxe probably witnessed many of the events or knew people who did. Other stories were sent to him by those who had suffered or knew people who had.

Editor, Harold Chadwick writes:

Without question the book began in Foxe’s mind when he was at Magdalen College at Oxford University, where he held a fellowship for seven years. He had first been sent by his parents to Brasenose College at the University when he was sixteen. During that time Reformation doctrines were strong throughout Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and Foxe was highly influenced by them. He began intensive study of the Scriptures and began to question the doctrines and practices of the Roman church. Before long he was an affirmed Protestant and nothing ever turned him from that path. This so changed his conduct that before long suspicions began to arise about his allegiance to the Church of Rome. Then it was reported that Foxe was taking solitary walks in the evening and could be heard sobbing and pouring out prayers to God. When questioned about this practice, he openly stated his new religious opinions, and was almost immediately expelled from the college as a confirmed heretic.

Sometime later he married Agnes Randell, a fellow believer, and stayed for a time with her parents.

By this means and others, Foxe kept himself concealed for some time from the papist inquisitors. This continued from the reign of King Henry VIII, through the open and peaceful days of Edward VI, and into the reign of Queen Mary I, who brought back into England all of the Roman Catholic doctrines and the pope’s power. Knowing then what was to happen, Foxe and his family left England and traveled first to Strasbourg, France, then to Frankfurt, Germany, and then to Basel, Switzerland. There he found a number of English refugees who had fled England to avoid the cruelty of the persecutors, and there began work on his now famous book.

Foxe’s history of the martyrs starts with the first century martyrs, including Jesus Himself and Stephen who was martyred about 8 years after the crucifixion.  Continue reading

“Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety” + LINKUP

 

Overcoming Fear, Worry & AnxietyWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith and Confidence by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

 

Aging parents, health concerns, rebellious children, financial worries, safety issues and more. For many of us, they can lead to increasing fear, worry, and anxiety ranging from mild to paralyzing.

As believers we know we should trust God rather than be fearful and worried, but the peace we desire and God wants us to have, seems elusive.

We know the answer lies in our relationship with Christ, but sometimes we need practical advice on how to break those old habit patterns. Elyse reminds us:

[Jesus is] the only one who intimately knows all our thoughts and fears. He’s the only one who is able to deliver us. That’s because He’s faced the greatest of all fears for us—the fear of death and separation from God— and He’s come through victorious. The Bible teaches that one reason He left heaven and came to earth was to “deliver those who through fear…have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread” (Hebrews 2:15 TLB).

Our fears are like chains around our hearts—they paralyze, entrap, and enslave us. But Jesus Christ holds the key that can unlock and banish all your fears. He’s able to do this because His love is more powerful than your fears. It’s His plan to teach, encourage, and transform you into a person who trusts Him— even in the face of your deepest worries and anxieties. He doesn’t promise to make you perfect here on earth, but He does promise to work mightily in your heart now and will ultimately, in heaven, completely free you from every fear.

She goes on to help us identify the source of our fear, worry, and anxiety. Then through careful application of the Scriptures and personal examples, her own and others, she helps us:

Cast all [our] anxiety on him because he cares for [us] (1 Pet. 5.7).

Blessings,
Donna

 

Quotations taken from:
Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety. Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

You can get a copy of Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety or shop for other resources here.


 


IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!

IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!

Christian bloggers linkup

Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site. I would love it if you link back in someway and share the linkup on social media. I pin many of your posts on my “Mondays @ Soul Survival” Pinterest board as time allows.  Continue reading

“Praying the Bible: Why We Don’t Pray More” + LINKUP

 

Praying the Bible by Donald S. WhitneyWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney.

In Praying the Bible, Donald Whitney asks the question, “Why don’t Christians who love God pray more?” He explains that the answer and the solution are quite simple.

 

Prayer … I hope I’m not the only one who constantly feels like I could do more in this area or that I should be more effective.

Some years ago I came across a series of verses in John Piper’s book, Taste and See, that he called the meat and potatoes of his prayer life. I began praying them for myself, my husband, my family and others. My prayer life took on new meaning and through the years I’ve seen the results in those I have been praying for.

So when I saw a promo on Donald Whitney’s newest book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. I wasn’t disappointed!

This from chapter 1:

Since prayer is talking with God, why don’t people pray more? Why don’t the people of God enjoy prayer more? I maintain that people— truly born-again, genuinely Christian people— often do not pray simply because they do not feel like it. And the reason they don’t feel like praying is that when they do pray, they tend to say the same old things about the same old things.

When you’ve said the same old things about the same old things about a thousand times, how do you feel about saying them again? Did you dare just think the “B” word? Yes, bored. We can be talking to the most fascinating Person in the universe about the most important things in our lives and be bored to death.

As a result, a great many Christians conclude, “It must be me. Something’s wrong with me. If I get bored in something as important as prayer, then I must be a second-rate Christian.”

Indeed, why would people become bored when talking with God, especially when talking about that which is most important to them? Is it because we don’t love God? Is it because, deep down, we really care nothing for the people or matters we pray about? No. Rather, if this mind-wandering boredom describes your experience in prayer, I would argue that if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit— if you are born again— then the problem is not you; it is your method.

Does that give you hope? I know it does me.  Continue reading

“Uprooting Anger” + LINKUP

 

Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem - Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem by Robert D. Jones.

 

Anger, who hasn’t experienced it. We call it by different names like: frustration, upset, hurt. Doing so makes us feel better about it or minimize it in some way.

Jesus had a different view. He didn’t minimize it. In fact, He showed us it’s a serious heart issue.

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell” (Matt. 5.21-22).

Murder and anger come from the same sinful heart condition. I may not pull out a gun, but I can murder with my words, attitudes and actions.

Because it’s a heart condition, it’s not enough to simply decide to quit exploding or giving someone else the silent treatment. While we may be able to grit our teeth and stuff those feelings for a while, sooner or later they erupt some place else.

So how can we attack anger at it’s root, in the heart? Robert Jones has given us a guide. He begins:

There will be no thorough and lasting godly change without root removal. Moralistic efforts to be patient with your co-workers won’t cut it. Regret-riddled resolutions to stop yelling at your kids won’t last. You must rip out those angry roots.

He goes on:

This book is written for the average reader who recognizes that anger is a too-frequent issue in his life and a too-prevalent problem in his family, work, and church relationships.

Mr. Jones defines anger and explains the differences between sinful anger and righteous anger. The heart of the book helps us understand that the roots of sinful anger don’t come from our circumstances, but from our inner beliefs and motives.  Continue reading

“7 Men & the Secret of Their Greatness” + LINKUP

 

7 Men & the Secret of Their GreatnessWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas.

 

We all need heroes. Even the Apostle Paul said that we were to follow him and others as they follow Christ, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Phil. 3.17).

On the other hand he warned us, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15.33).

Who we hang out with, who we follow, who we choose as heroes, can have a profound effect on our lives. When we read the biographies of great men and women who have gone before us, we have an opportunity to see how they lived and to follow their example.

Eric Metaxas has written several of the best biographies I’ve read in recent years. Earlier I reviewed one of them, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. You can read about it here.

In Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, Metaxas writes about seven men who experienced struggles and faced challenges that would have crushed lesser men. These men and their stories—George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson—can encourage all of us to be strong in the face of opposition and live right in a world that has little or no standard.

 

What makes great men & what is the secret of their greatness?

What is biblical manhood and what makes men worthy examples? Metaxas’ book doesn’t just tell us, it shows us through the lives of these seven men. (I’ll talk about women who exemplify biblical womanhood in a future blog.)

Metaxas tells us first what it isn’t, here are several excerpts for the opening chapter:

The first false idea about manhood is the idea of being macho— of being a big shot and using strength to be domineering and to bully those who are weaker. Obviously this is not God’s idea of what a real man is. It’s someone who has not grown up emotionally, who might be a man on the outside, but who on the inside is simply an insecure and selfish boy.

The second false choice is to be emasculated— to essentially turn away from your masculinity and to pretend that there is no real difference between men and women. Your strength as a man has no purpose, so being strong isn’t even a good thing.

God’s idea of manhood is something else entirely. It has nothing to do with the two false ideas of either being macho or being emasculated. The Bible says that God made us in his image, male and female, and it celebrates masculinity and femininity. And it celebrates the differences between them. Those differences were God’s idea.

For one thing, the Bible says that men are generally stronger than women, and of course Saint Peter famously— or infamously— describes women as “the weaker sex.” But God’s idea of making men strong was so that they would use that strength to protect women and children and anyone else. There’s something heroic in that. Male strength is a gift from God, and like all gifts from God, it’s always and everywhere meant to be used to bless others. In Genesis 12:1–3, God tells Abraham that he will bless him so that Abraham can bless others. All blessings and every gift— and strength is a gift— are God’s gifts, to be used for his purposes, which means to bless others. So men are meant to use their strength to protect and bless those who are weaker. That can mean other men who need help or it can mean women and children. True strength is always strength given over to God’s purposes.

Metaxas goes on:  Continue reading

“Family Worship” + LINKUP

 

Family WorshipWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney.

 

Family Worship: It’s perhaps one of my greatest regrets that we didn’t do a better job in this area.

We did other things we believed were important. We took our children to church every Sunday. We made sure they were involved in the children’s and youth ministries.

We set boundaries as to where they were allowed to go and with whom. We made sure they knew “the rules,” that is, what Christians should and shouldn’t do.

We didn’t take cruises or buy expensive personal items. We made Christian school and family focused activities a priority. We put in a pool so the kids could have their friends over where we could get to know them and we’ve seen some of those young people come to the Lord. We took family vacations. We tried to be good examples morally.

It’s not that we did any of these things perfectly … far from it, but we worked at it. We also read our Bibles and prayed, although again, haltingly and imperfectly.

But our attempts to live the Christian life, while important and a part of what we should have been doing, coupled with what we were taught and taught our children was too much about keeping “the rules.”

Let me say here that, at that time, we didn’t attend what you would call a conservative or fundamentalist church. On the contrary, we attended a contemporary church where “freedom in Christ” was talked about on a regular basis! Yet, in retrospect, our understanding of Christianity wasn’t really about the freedom of the Gospel lived out on a daily basis.

I wish I had been familiar with books and teachers like Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent. I wish we had understood the importance of understanding that the Gospel is something we must preach to ourselves every day and that it should be understood in the grace and freedom of the Gospel lived out and talked about in our home in more effective ways.

God, in His faithfulness has grown us and exposed us to better, more biblically sound teaching through the years. And we continue to grow in that area. We understand the importance of sharing the Gospel, properly understood and applied, in our home. But our children are grown with children of their own. A couple of our grandchildren are even married and have little ones. (Yes, that makes us great-grandparents!)

My prayer is that someone out there reading this will seek to understand and do that a little bit better as a result of my testimony.

One thing I believe can be an important part of good parenting and our own personal growth in Christ is regular, Gospel-centered family devotions. I believe this is important whether or not we have children and whether or not they are still at home.

I first heard Donald Whitney talk on this subject at a biblical counseling conference. I was both blessed and convicted. But more than anything, I was motivated to share the importance of all this with those God puts in my path both inside and outside the counseling room.

Dr. Whitney’s book can be a huge help in that area, but I’ll let you hear from him: Continue reading

“Gospel Treason: Uncovering Our Hidden Idols” + LINKUP

 

Gospel Treason: Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols by Brad BigneyWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Gospel Treason: Betraying the Gospel With Hidden Idols by Brad Bigney.

 

The Bible talks a lot about idols and idolatry, both in the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps you, like me, have often skimmed over those verses as only relevant to some foreign culture with temples and giant statutes.

But are statues of Buddha, Hindu gods, and other strange religions the only forms of idolatry?

In Ezekiel 14 God, speaking to the elders of Israel, said this:

¹ Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?

“Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”’

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself. I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.

These were not carved statues. These idols were in their hearts, were causing them to stumble into sin, and separated them from God.

Sin does that. While those of us who belong to Him don’t lose our salvation. It puts a wall between us and Him and will hinder our prayers and our communion with Him.

Gospel Treason can help us uncover the idols we have in our hearts, idols we might not even recognize. Idols that are standing between us and our spiritual growth, between us and the marriage we want, between us and peace in other relationships. In short, causing chaos in our lives.

Brad does so through personal stories and a great deal of transparency. From the introduction:

My wife and I have been married for twenty-five years, but twenty years ago we were at war. There was no camouflage, there were no guns, and neither of us was crawling under barbed wire in our single-wide mobile home. But we both felt that we were constantly stepping on land mines in our relationship—putting out brushfires, running for cover, and dodging the bullets that our tongues fired back and forth. Our marriage had deteriorated into a battlefield, and we were opposing forces.

And the casualty rate was high.

He goes on:  Continue reading

“For Women Only: The Inner Lives of Men” + LINKUP

 

For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of MenWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn.

 

I probably recommend Shaunti’s book, For Women Only, as much as any book in my counseling arsenal. There are other books that are more in depth biblically, even other books on the role of the wife that do a better job of explaining from the Scriptures what God has to say about our role. But I find that the one thing women who want to be godly wives struggle with most often is understanding just what we do that our husbands perceive as disrespect. And Shaunti’s book does the best job of helping us do just that!

That isn’t the only thing you’ll come to understand about the inner lives of men. Reading this book will probably provide you with numerous “aha” moments.

From Chapter 1:

Have you ever been totally confused by something the man in your life has said or done? Have you ever wondered, looking at his rapidly departing back, Why did that make him so angry? Have you ever been perplexed by your husband’s defensiveness when you ask him to stop working so much? Yeah? Me too.

But now, after conducting spoken and written interviews with more than one thousand men, I can tell you that the answers to those and dozens of other common perplexities are all related to what is going on in your man’s inner life. Most are things he wishes you knew but doesn’t know how to tell you. In some cases, they’re things he has no idea you don’t know. This book will share those interviews and those answers. But be careful, ladies. You might be slapping your forehead a lot!

She goes on:  Continue reading

“Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex” + LINKUP

 

Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex by Linda Dillow & Lorraine PintusWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex by Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus.

 

SEX … it’s everywhere! It’s in commercials, situation comedies, on billboards, even subtly injected into children’s movies.

And yet … the questions we most want to ask, we find too embarrassing, especially as Christian women.

Intimate Issues tackles that problem in an open, honest, sensitive way. Linda and Lorraine are two godly, mature Christian wives. I attended one of their conferences years ago and also had the privilege of hosting Linda in my home. She is just as real and honest in person. She loves the Lord and seeks to honor Him even in this delicate topic. I know Lorraine has the same heart.

In their own words: Continue reading

“Anger & Stress Management God’s Way” + LINKUP

 

Anger & Stress Management God's WayWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne Mack.

 

Anger and Stress: Who hasn’t struggled with one or both of them at some time? And if we don’t learn to get them under control, they can cause a lifetime of damage.

Most of us know people who’ve been told they need “anger management,” but anger is ultimately a heart issue and if we don’t learn to manage it God’s way it will just show up somewhere else.

Stress is usually quieter, but can rob us of the peace and joy that can and should be ours.

I have used Dr. Mack’s book many times in counseling, but it can be used very effectively by individuals and couples, as well. It’s very readable, practical, and can be life changing for those looking for God’s truth in this area.

From the introduction:

Anger! Stress! These are two words that are used frequently in the course of our daily lives. They’re so commonly used because they describe a very common phenomenon. Who of us has not been on the giving and receiving end of anger? Unfortunately, the same is true of stress. We all know people or perhaps we’re the people who have been “stressed out.” Well, whether it’s anger or stress, we are all too familiar with the experience. Who of us has never observed or even been a participant in the devastating consequences of either of these two destroyers?

Yes, I call them destroyers because that’s what they are and do. Nothing good has ever come out of mishandled stress or sinful anger. Scripture says, “Wrath is fierce and anger a flood” (). How picturesque and how true is this description of sinful anger. An unbiblical kind of anger is like a flood that destroys people and property. Truly, “the wrath of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (). In fact, it does the opposite. It never does anything good, but it surely does a lot of damage. So we must learn how to control it, or it will destroy us and other people either literally or figuratively.

Likewise, it can be said that stress is much like anger in its effects on the individual and his relationships with people. Eustress (good stress – a certain amount of concern) is good, but eustress can quickly and easily become distress, which by definition is that which causes sorrow, misery, pain or suffering.

The eight chapters that follow are full of practical information about the differences between sinful anger and righteous anger, the roots of stress, the consequences of mishandling anger and stress, and “the way of escape” from sinful ways of responding to the stressors and trigger points of life. Each truth is backed up with Scripture references.

One of the most helpful chapters contains six diagnostic questions to help us get to the Continue reading