Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Equip Them Well!

I'm pleased to participate in this project that hopes to stop the spread of MRSA in our children's sports equipment. We had a Staph infection last year in our home, and it opened my eyes to how scary it was. It was in Adam's toe, and we're still not sure how it got there. This is my child with an amazing pain tolerance, and the pain woke him from a dead sleep, prompting a trip to the ER and several subsequent doctor visits to drain his toe. He was put on not one but TWO strong antibiotics to kill the bacteria. All this was happening while I had an infant in the house, which made it even more scary!

With fall sports into full swing, we need to be sure to tell our children to take precautions against sharing equipment and spreading this dangerous infection. We need to be sure to teach them to collect and disinfect the equipment, and the third step as well: donate.

Check out this video:

Did you know that skin infections like MRSA are the cause of 56 percent of all infectious disease outbreaks in competitive sports in the U.S.?? We have the power to stop the spread of this disease! Do your part today!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: Smelly Towel Cleaner

*I received a bottle of Smelly Towel Cleaner from in exchange for my review of the product. All opinions stated herein are my own!*

I admit, I am one of those people who will start a load of clothes and get distracted. I will come back to it the next day, and there it will sit...still in the washer....and not getting any dryer. Towels are the WORST, it seems, because once they've set in the washer too long....

or lay wadded on the bathroom floor too long...

or wadded in the floorboard of the car too long....

they get that 'perma-stink' going on, don't they? The same is true of cleaning rags and dishrags. We will toss them in the laundry area, but that doesn't guarantee that they will immediately be washed. Then by the time they ARE washed, you just can't seem to get that smell out!

The great folks at Smelly Washer have come up with a product to help me out, and I know YOU will love it as well! Smelly Towel Cleaner removes that musty, mildewy odor from towels....

or other products that may have been in the washer too long *blush*.....

and leave a lovely fresh citrus-y fragrance instead!!

We tried this product out on cleaning rags and dish towels and were pleased with how the odor came out of them. The stink was pretty set in there, too! I'm anxious to get more use out of this product, and will definitely recommend it to others!

Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, October 11, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Jesus in His Own Words

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Jesus In His Own Words

B&H Books; Original edition (September 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Blythe Daniel of The Blythe Daniel Agency, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Robert Mounce is president emeritus of Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, a noted commentary author, and has worked on several Bible translation teams, including those for the New International Version, New Living Translation, and English Standard Version.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: B&H Books; Original edition (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433669196
ISBN-13: 978-1433669194



You are about to read an account of the life and ministry of Jesus that combines all four Gospels into a single narrative and allows Jesus himself to tell us the story. Although the style is contemporary, the desire is to clarify the meaning of the original text rather than to impress the reader with clever phrases.

Having said that, the translation desires to provide a readable and accurate account, which will communicate the first-century message in contemporary language. Clarity has been a constant goal, and this involves making decisions regarding difficult verses and ambiguous language. The work falls clearly in the tradition of evangelical scholarship. Major guides have been Leon Morris on Matthew, Bill Lane on Mark, Darrell Bock on Luke, and D. A. Carson on John, and, of course, my own commentaries on Matthew (Hendrickson) and John (Zondervan).

Everyone who has studied the Synoptics realizes the multiple problems of repetition, overlap, and sequence. When the fourth Gospel is added, it becomes even more difficult. Did Jesus cleanse the temple early in his ministry as John says, or was it at the end of his ministry as the Synoptics have it? Or perhaps the temple was cleansed twice! Was the anointing of Jesus done in the house of Simon the leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3), in the home of a Pharisee (Luke 7:36), or in the home of Mary and Martha (John 12:1)? Who poured the ointment? Was it a woman of the city (Luke 7:37) or Mary (John 12:3)? Did she pour it on his head (Matt. 26:7; Mark 14:3) or on his feet (Luke 7:38; John 12:3)? Or perhaps the varying accounts describe two (or three) different occasions.

All of this is to say that scholars hold different opinions regarding a number of items that surface when the four Gospels are compared. I have used my best judgment as guided by the insights of conservative scholars. In the vast majority of cases, it makes little difference as to where or when a particular teaching of Jesus occurs. For example, Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount contains a dozen units, which are found scattered throughout Luke (primarily) in other historical settings. Jesus undoubtedly repeated himself on multiple occasions. Minor differences could be due to the specific occasion to which each writer refers or to how they remembered the words Jesus used.

In the case of the Sermon on the Mount, I have maintained Matthew’s account as it is and allowed Luke the freedom of placing some of the units in other locations.

Good translation in the contemporary mode attempts to provide today’s reader with an account that not only communicates accurately what Jesus did and said in the first century but also puts it in an idiom that has the same dynamic effect. The reader needs to “be there,” whether on the hillside listening to Jesus talk about the kingdom or in a temple court castigating the scribes and Pharisees. I have taken the privilege of substituting for what might be called “standard” verbs others that seem to me to catch the dynamism of the moment. For example, the older brother of the prodigal son, when his father goes out and begs him to come in, “bursts out, ‘All these years I have slaved for you . . .’” The standard “answered” for apokritheis simply will not do. I want demons to “shriek” and mobs to “shout.” Whatever brings the story to life without calling undue attention to itself is used.

Some may say, “But aren’t you interpreting,” and the answer is yes. All translation involves interpretation. My prayer is that at no point have I misled in any way what Jesus was doing or saying. You will be the judge of that. Over forty years of translation, including major involvement in the NIV, NIrV, NLT, and the ESV (as well as consulting on the TNIV) have provided the foundation for this work.

It’s obvious that sound theology must ultimately be built on the preferred texts in the original languages. I have wanted, however, for this translation to be usable as a preparatory step in that direction. So it comes with an extended table of contents and subject index. Should someone want to locate, let’s say, the parable of the prodigal son, the table of contents will provide quick access to Luke 15:11–32. Should someone want to know what Jesus taught about divorce or about prayer, the index will take them to those specific verses. Here and there throughout the translation, I have added a phrase or sentence that provides historical or cultural context. All such additions are placed in brackets. One final item: cited at the close of each periscope are the Gospel references for that unit.

I trust that as you read this translation you will be aware that God continues to speak through his Word to all who have “ears to hear” (some biblical terminology defies change).

Robert H. Mounce

Chapter One

The Setting



Before anything else existed, the Word already was—I am that Word. I was in fellowship with God; in fact, I was God. I was there from the very beginning. Through me God brought everything into existence. Not a single thing was created except that which was created through me. I am the source of all life, and that life has provided light for the human race. The light keeps on shining in the darkness, and the darkness has never been able to put it out.

At a crucial point in time, there came a man whose name was John the Baptist. He was sent by God to tell people about the light so they would come to believe through him. He himself was not that light but the one who was to tell others about the light.

The real light, which was destined to enlighten everyone, was about to come into the world. When I did enter the world, it failed to recognize me even though I had created it. I came to my own creation, but the very people I had created would not receive me. However, to as many as did receive me—that is, to those who believe that I really am who I claim to be—I gave the privilege of becoming sons of God. This new birth is not by natural means, the result of a physical impulse or because a man made a decision; it is a birth that comes from God.

I became a human being and lived like others. The disciples beheld my glory, the glory of the one and only Son, sent from the Father.

John the Baptist told everyone about me. He exclaimed, “He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man will follow me who is greater than I, for he existed even before I was born.’”

From my infinite supply of grace and goodness, those who believe have received one gracious gift after another. While the Law was given through Moses, it is through me, Jesus Christ, that grace and truth have come. No one has ever seen God. I myself am God and dwell in the presence of the Father. I am the one who told the disciples about God. (John 1:1–18)

John the Baptist to Be Born

During the reign of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah (“God remembers”) who belonged to the priestly division named after Abijah. His wife Elizabeth had also been born into the priestly line. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, carrying out all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no children because Elizabeth was barren, and both of them were well along in years.

One day when his division was on duty and he was serving God in the temple, Zechariah was chosen by lot, as was the priestly custom, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. At the hour of incense, a large crowd of people had gathered outside and were praying.

While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar. When Zechariah saw the angel, he was gripped with fear, visibly shaken. But the angel said, “Fear no longer, Zechariah, for God has heard your prayer; and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear a son for you. Give him the name John. He will bring you great joy and delight, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great as God counts greatness. He is never to drink wine or any other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. He will cause many in the nation of Israel to return to the Lord their God. Prior to the coming of the Lord, he will break onto the scene with the spirit and authority of the prophet Elijah. He will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright to prepare for the Lord a nation ready for his coming.”

“But how can I be absolutely sure about this?” asked Zechariah. “After all, I am an elderly man, and my wife is getting along in years.”

The angel replied, “I am Gabriel, and I have direct access to God. He is the one who sent me to tell you this good news. But now, because you did not accept without question what I said—and my words will come true at the appointed time—you will be unable to speak until the child is born.” The people who were waiting for Zechariah to come out began to wonder why he stayed so long in the temple. When he did come out, he was unable to speak to them. They realized that while in the temple he had seen a vision because he kept making signs to them but could not utter a word.

When his period for priestly service was over, Zechariah left for home. Later on, his wife Elizabeth conceived and did not go out in public for five months. She said, “The Lord has looked with favor on me and taken away the disgrace I suffered in public by allowing me to have this child.” (Luke 1:5–25)

Mary to Have Child by the Spirit

Five months later God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a young virgin by the name of Mary. (This is the Mary who would become my mother.) She was pledged in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. When Gabriel arrived, he said to Mary, “Greetings! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”

Mary was perplexed by what the angel said and wondered what the greeting could mean. Gabriel responded to her confusion, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will make him a king as was his forefather David, and he will reign over Israel forever. His kingdom will have no end.”

“How could I become pregnant,” said Mary, “since I won’t be living with Joseph as his wife prior to the marriage ceremony?”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cast his shadow over you. So the child to be born will be holy and will be called the Son of God. Did you know that your relative Elizabeth will also be giving birth to a child even though she is advanced in years? They said she couldn’t have children, but she is already in her sixth month. God is fully able to carry out every promise he has ever made.”

“Yes, I am the servant of the Lord,” responded Mary. “Let this happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left. (Luke 1:26–38)

Mary Visits Elizabeth

A few days later Mary got ready and hurried off to a Judean town in the high country to the house of Zechariah. Upon arriving, she greeted Elizabeth, his wife. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child in her womb leaped for joy, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In great excitement she explained, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child in your womb! Why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord should pay me a visit? Just think, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed are you for believing that the Lord’s promise to you will come to pass.”

And Mary responded,

My soul exalts the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;

for he has looked with concern on his lowly servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done wondrous things for me.

Holy is his name.

From generation to generation he shows compassion

to those who reverence him.

He will do wondrous things with his powerful arm;

He will scatter the arrogant with all their plans;

He will bring down rulers from their thrones

but exalt those of low estate;

He will satisfy the hungry with good things,

but send the rich away with nothing.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his

offspring forever, just as he promised our forefathers.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her own home in Nazareth. (Luke 1:39–56)

John the Baptist Is Born

The time for Elizabeth to have her baby arrived, and she gave birth to a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown such faithful love to her in removing her barrenness, they broke out in rejoicing with her.

Eight days later, as was the Jewish custom, they came to attend the circumcision ceremony. They were expecting his parents to name the boy after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up, “No,” she said, “His name is to be John.”

“But there is no one among your relatives that goes by that name,” they objected.

So, by making various hand signals, they asked the baby’s father what he would name him. Zechariah motioned for a wax tablet and, to the surprise of everyone, wrote, “John is his name.” At that very moment Zechariah’s mouth was opened, his tongue was set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and the entire affair was discussed everywhere in the hill country of Judea. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart wondering, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For it is clear that the hand of the Lord is on him. Then his father, Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke this prophecy:

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

for he has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up a mighty Savior from the house of

his servant David, just as he promised long ago

through his holy prophets.

His purpose was to save us from our enemies,

and from all who hate us.

He has shown us the mercy he promised to our ancestors.

He has kept his sacred covenant—the covenant he swore with an oath to Abraham our father.

We have been delivered from our enemies.

Therefore, free from fear, we can serve him all the days of our life in a holy and upright manner.

And you, my little child, will be called the prophet of the Most High.

You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare the way for him.

You will tell his people about salvation, about how they can have their sins forgiven.

Because God is both merciful and tender, the bright dawn of salvation is about to break upon us, giving light to those who live in the dark shadow of death, and guiding our feet into the way of peace.

And the child continued to grow and became strong in body and spirit. He lived in the desert until the day he made his public appearance in Israel. (Luke 1:57–80)

My Family Line according to Matthew

My family line begins with the patriarch Abraham and runs through King David. Here it is:

The son of Abraham was Isaac. Then came Jacob, followed by Judah and his brothers. Judah and his wife Tamar had Perez and Zerah, the latter being the father of Hezron whose son was Ram.

Ram’s son was Amminadab, who became the father of Nashon and grandfather of Salmon. The son of Salmon and Rahad his wife was Boaz, whose wife Ruth had a boy named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David who became king.

After David came Solomon, by the wife of Uriah, then Rehoboam, Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amos, Josiah, Jechoniah, and his brothers. At this point in time, the Israelites were sent into exile in Babylon.

After the exile Jechoniah had a son named Shealtiel who was the father of Zerubbabel. From there on we have Abiud, then Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, and finally, Jacob, the father of Joseph, husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus who is called the Christ.

So there are fourteen generations between Abraham and David, fourteen from David to the deportation to Babylon, and fourteen from there to my birth. (Matt. 1:1–17)

Review to come!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Everyone's Guide to Demons & Spiritual Warfare

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Everyone's Guide to Demons & Spiritual Warfare: Simple, Powerful Tools for Outmaneuvering Satan in Your Daily Life

Charisma House (September 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***


Ron Phillips is senior pastor of Abba’s House (Central Baptist Church) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Under his ministry, this Southern Baptist church has experienced tremendous growth and has exploded into new realms of renewal and spiritual awakening. In 1989 he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed his life forever and produced a deeper passion to reach the world with the powerful message of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a sought-after conference and crusade speaker and the author of 17 books.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (September 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616381272
ISBN-13: 978-1616381271


A Rude Awakening

In the classic movie Shenandoah, Jimmy Stewart portrays a widowed patriarch over a large farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. As the Civil War erupts, he longs to keep his family intact and mind his own business. Soon the war comes to his house with a son and daughter murdered and another son missing. But in the climatic scene while the family is worshiping, the young lost son finds his way home.

This pictures human life. Despite all of your efforts, Satan will soon make your life a battleground. I had both a great awakening and a rude awakening that brought me to the battlefront.

A Great Awakening

Some of the most miserable people I know are active, professing Christians. As I sped westward toward Albuquerque, I knew I had become one of that tribe! For whatever accumulated reasons, after ten years of a busy, successful ministry I wanted to quit.

This was not normal ministerial wanderlust―a disease that affects the clergy and whose symptoms include a mad belief that another place of service can fill the void of a lost spiritual relationship. No, this awful agony was a desire to leave the ministry.

While I was flying at six hundred miles an hour toward a speaking engagement, I was writing out my resignation from the ministry. Was this burnout? I had no idea that the living God had different plans. I was about to begin a journey to fullness.

I arrived the night before my scheduled morning speaking time and was immediately frustrated by my room assignment. It was the only one on the hall―far away from the action. I checked the program to see who the other speakers would be. I knew the preacher scheduled to speak, but I had never heard the woman on the program.

But it would be her message on prayer and knowing God that would utterly crush my proud heart.

The next day I sat in the back of the auditorium and listened to her story unfolding. As the wife of a seminary professor who became a state denominational executive, she was thrust into crisis by her husband's sudden death. He had been her spiritual resource and rock. In the back of an ambulance, she faced the reality that all of their shared life was abruptly ending. Now she needed Jesus as never before, and He proved Himself faithful.

This message hammered at my self-pity and self-sufficiency. I believed right. I worked hard. I had read all the deeper-life books, yet I had lost the reality of God's presence. Joyless and burned out, God's Word hammered at my desire to go AWOL.

Struggling inside, I made my way back to my room and collapsed on the bed, weeping. That night, out of a deep sleep I heard my name being called. Awakened, I went to the door and found no one. Soon I was sleeping again and was startled awake by hearing my name called a second time. Th e same thing had happened again. Like Samuel, I knew God awakened me.

This proved to be a great awakening for me. I was led to pick up my Bible and turn to Psalm 91-95. Graciously God spoke to me out of that ancient account. You see, God had not moved; I had! He was still in the secret place awaiting my fellowship. Further, He had “fresh oil” with which to anoint my stale spiritual life. That little room became a sanctuary, and the presence of Jesus swept over me.

In Psalm 91:1-2 we read, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.'” I rediscovered the importance of a devotional life. I became aware that we are in spiritual warfare, facing infernal and invisible forces of wickedness. Prayer came alive in me again. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (v. 15).

Prayers poured forth from my aching heart―prayers of repentance, worship, and intercession. Through the night God visited me with a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.

These scriptures came alive! God spoke to me through His precious Word. Here was the message I received that evening.

Psalm 92:10-15 challenged my heart to understand the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Verse 10 says, “I have been anointed with fresh oil.” As I read the verses in that psalm, I could see what had been available to me all the time through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

My eyes and ears would be open and perceptive to the things of God (Ps. 92:11). My life could again flourish and grow (v. 12). The house of God would again be a place I would enjoy (v. 13). Th e aging process would have no effect on my spiritual life (v. 14). My mouth would be open to praise the Lord for His goodness (v. 15).

After speaking later that day, I flew home thinking everything was going to be better! Little did I know that I had begun a hard journey with Jesus― a journey that contained dark valleys between the mountaintops. I had no idea how desperately I would need the resources I had rediscovered.

The year ahead would be, in the words of Charles Dickens, “the best of times . . . the worst of times.” Th e Spirit-filled life is not only a life of spiritual worship. The enemy saw what God was beginning, and he unleashed a relentless attack on everything precious in my life.

A Rude Awakening

I heard of a boxer who was taking blow after blow. His manager kept hollering, “Stay with it, Joe. You are winning.” After several rounds of this, Joe turned to his manager and said, “If I am winning, I wish somebody would tell him.”

This is the way I felt as my life became a veritable battleground on all fronts for a two-year period. Depression lived at our house. When I returned from that life-changing encounter with the Lord, I found myself immediately in a struggle at home.

Difficulties at Home

In the fall of 1990, both my daughter and my wife totaled their cars on
days. Heather, my daughter, was not seriously injured, and miraculously her car did not go into the flooded creek nearby. She did, however, suffer a blow to the head that has created recurring difficulties, including minor seizures.

My wife, Paulette, was nearly killed. I remember that September morning and the man on the telephone telling me Paulette had been in an accident not far from the house. I drove over the hill on Highway 153 and saw a terrifying scene before me.

Paulette was trapped for forty-five minutes in her little Sunbird. All the bones on the left side of her upper body were broken or crushed. Even some of her teeth were cracked from the blow. She went into shock and nearly died, but the rescue team saved her life. For three months she had to have constant care.

In March of 1991, my dad died suddenly. After struggling all his life with alcohol addiction, he was saved and ordained a deacon at the age of fifty-nine. We had become very close. On Sunday night before his death, he and I talked by phone for an hour. He was my great encourager. Now, at age sixty-nine, Dad was gone.

Trouble at Church

On the church front a woman committed suicide. Then her best friend was hospitalized in a mental unit. She threatened suicide unless I came immediately to see her. I and my associates went up to visit. When we sat down in the room, other voices poured forth from the woman. One of my associates who is gifted in the area of prayer and spiritual warfare began to identify and dismiss these cursing infernal enemies.

In less than an hour thirteen demonic entities identified themselves as suicide, lust, death, cancer, depression, fear, rebellion, rejection, and others. All of them had English names, but as they were asked their real names, in the authority of Jesus, they would reveal their real natures only after a struggle. This dear lady is still recovering and needs counseling because of past wounds of the enemy, but she is better and, I believe, will be totally well in the future.

This experience opened my eyes to another world, another realm. Suddenly I realized that what had been theory was real warfare! Had I been, as a pastor, some kind of spiritual Don Quixote, fighting with windmills while my people were living in bondage? I fell to my knees, and God's Spirit spoke gently to my spirit. He said, “This is what you asked Me for.” Yes, I wanted the reality of God, and I was discovering from my own pain and from the bondage of others a new direction and passion for ministry.

Immediately the Lord led me to invite a gift ed minister friend to come and lead a spiritual warfare conference. He was a longtime friend in whom God had brought renewal. He and I, along with others, prayed together for months for God to move in life-changing power.

Bishop J. Tod Zeiger came and began to preach on “Strongholds in the Believer's Life.” From the very first service God began to set people free. Revival came to the church, and the meeting had to be extended. Literally hundreds of people had their lives changed during the meeting. Since that day we have seen hundreds more set free through prayer and spiritual warfare. Some of their stories will be found later in this book.

Some were not happy. Years before, through the ministry of Jack Taylor, God had revealed to me the truth of praise and worship. Later, in a worship seminar with Dr. Jack Hayford, God convicted me of my own lack of worship and taught me to worship and love Jesus publicly. As old forms, ideas, and traditions fall, some people grow uncomfortable. Surprisingly, a staff member came and accused me of frightening the people and of not being a true Baptist. Already the enemy had rallied a small group to try to kill the revival and renewal that had come.

At this point one of our members lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. She was left with a teenage son and daughter. She was diagnosed with a bad heart and faced the possibility of life-threatening surgery. When I got the news, my wife and I went immediately to pray for her before she went into the hospital. The Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me and told me, “This sickness is not from Me and will not stand.” I prayed over my friend, rebuking a spirit of infirmity and death. Miraculously, when they examined her the next day, all the symptoms were gone!

Subsequently the staff and members who opposed the renewal and delivering ministry left. For three years the church went through ups and downs of turmoil. Eventually all of the opposition was exposed, and some were found to be guilty of criminal acts. The church survived the difficulty and a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

Personal Struggles

In the middle of these struggles I was attacked with a life-threatening situation. One Thursday evening, Kelli, my grown daughter, came over to spend the night because she had dreamed that I was sick. Th at night around 1:00 a.m. I awoke sick and dizzy. I went to the bathroom and collapsed there, losing consciousness. My daughter heard the fall in the other room and came in to see what it was.

In my unconscious state I was at peace. I caught a fleeting glimpse of the brightness and glory of another world, and for a moment I smelled the sweet atmosphere of the other world. Then, as if far away, I could hear Kelli's voice calling, “Dad, Dad . . . ,” and I came back. I was hospitalized for a week with stress-related heart problems and still take a pill every day to keep the heartbeat steady.

It was this experience that taught me the key truth of spiritual warfare: the battle is not ours but His. My heart doctor walked in to see me and said, “Pastor, you must practice what you preach if you are going to live.” Out of this time God taught me what I will be sharing with you in the rest of this book. God can equip you to do His work and His will.

Season of War and Peace

I have discovered that spiritual warfare's intensity is seasonal. God cycles include seasons of rest, and yet it is His will that we “fight the good fi ght of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12).

We must be alert to our enemy at all times. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). It is our task to resist his schemes. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will fl ee from you.” (James 4:7).

The material that follows is designed to equip you to do battle over the spiritual darkness that comes against you. Th e Christian walks through a war zone. Yet the victory is ours. God rarely removes difficulty, but He walks us through these valleys. God is determined to teach us that we cannot live without Him. We need to be fully furnished with the spiritual armor and resources that are already ours.

Review to come!

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Jackson Jones:The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish

I'm late AGAIN! Life has been way crazy over the past few months! Better late than never, though, right?! Read this entry and go to the bottom of the post to see what we thought about the book in our household!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish

Zonderkidz (August 6, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zonderkidz for sending me a review copy.***


Jenn Kelly lives in Ottawa, Canada, but her heart lives in Paris. Or Hawaii. She hasn’t decided yet. She is an undercover garden guru, painter, and chef, which has absolute nothing to do with this book. She won a writing award in grade 4, failed English Lit in university, spent many years writing bad poetry, and then decided to write a book. This is it. She is married to her best friend, Danny, and is mom to a five-year-old boy and a dog who worries too much. She embraces the ridiculousness and disorganization of life.

Visit the author's website.

Ari has worked as a freelance illustrator for a variety of projects, mostly in children’s media. Her specialty is character design and she most enjoys illustrating humorous and wacky predicaments.

She studied editorial and children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and the DuCret School of Art in New Jersey. She uses a variety of media to create my images both traditional and digital.

Visit the illustrator's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (August 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310720796
ISBN-13: 978-0310720799


My review: Both my boys loved this book! They fought over reading it, actually, and would get irritated if one got ahead of the other.
Isaac's words: "A funny book about a boy who falls into his Great-Aunt Harriet's hair and meets a little elf named Meeka who is his tour guide. They are trying to meet a person called The Author, and his mom is a reading teacher, and that's kinda all I remember right now!" It gets a definite thumbs up from our family!