Refer to My Other Blog

It’s a while since I posted anything new on this blog, and I probably won’t have much more to add in the near future, so I’ll be putting this site into “hibernation” until further notice.

I’m sure most people have better things to do at the present time than keep visiting the same article and page every day, (although I know at least one person has been doing that most days for weeks now, for reasons only he would know).

So from now on, my blogging will be restricted to my other site where among my observations on life and truth I will have occasional “reviews” of what I’ve read:

https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/

Thank you for visiting over the years I’ve been writing about books and reading.

Two Christian (“murder”) Novels

I finished both of these books a little while ago.
I hadn’t thought it necessary to write anything about them until I received an email that inferred I shouldn’t have read this type of “death and  murder” book.
The email came from someone who had sought out details of them from a secular review site.

These two books, written by Christian authors and purchased from a Christian book shop, remained unread for some time after I’d bought them, and when I did read them it was to see whether they’d be suitable to give to an elderly disabled woman who had been struggling with the isolation of the current lock-down. She’d been unable to obtain any new reading material.

While having very different stories, Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble and Living Lies by Natalie Walters touch upon the importance of family, obsession, loss and mental illness.
Both do include a murder as part of their story background, but at the centre of the books are relationships with committed Christians who help the protagonists to overcome the difficulties they have been facing.

Here are the promotional details taken from the bookstore website.

Strands of Truth:

strndsHarper Taylor is used to being alone-after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Living Lies:

lies

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name–but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son.

Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.
Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Divine Healing

hayesAfter doing my own Bible study on the subject of healing, to discover for myself whether God’s desire and will to heal could be confirmed, I have followed up by reading several books on the topic.

I have a personal need to be certain about God’s regarding health and healing, and how to seek God for it.

The Bible has a lot of promises related to prayer, that if we believe we WILL receive WHATEVER we ask for in prayer. I saw the main condition here was BELIEF, so the important question is, how can we believe with total certainty that we will receive.

For me the key is shown in another prayer promise.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5) NIV.

To have the belief required to receive we need the assurance we are asking for something within His will. Hence my need to determine God’s will when it comes to health and healing. I was surprised how quickly I found my answer, something I wrote about on my other blog, here and here.

Divine Healing by Norvel Hayes is the most recent book I’ve read after doing my study. Hayes belonged to the same theological camp as the previous author, Gloria Copeland, so I approached book with a degree of caution, however I found it seemed basically sound.

He illustrates the biblical aspects with a lot of personal experience and testimony so it’s up to each reader to consider the strength of that anecdotal evidence.

He writes about various paths to healing revealed in the Bible. All of them require the exercising of faith, and therefore the understanding that God genuinely WANTS to heal, but expects to be approached in faith.

Uncertainty about God’s will, or doubt, often instilled through traditional church beliefs and poor theology, is identified as the major hindrance. In particular, tagging the phrase “if it be You will” to a prayer.

The different methods of seeking healing help to cater for the different levels of spiritual maturity and understanding of the one needing healing. If someone’s faith hasn’t been developed sufficiently, they can be helped by others, such as calling on the elders of their church to pray the prayer of faith for them. The Bible states that such a prayer will make them well.

I don’t know whether I’ve learned anything new from all of these books, but I have had the conclusions I came to in my own study confirmed.

 

 

And Jesus Healed Them All

healedKenneth and Gloria Copeland have a very successful “faith ministry”.
I have found their teaching to contain a mixture of good and way off-track.

This book is on the better side of that equation giving an excellent summary of Jesus’ healing ministry, showing uncontestably that sickness and disease are never God’s will. Health and healing are no less available to humanity than the forgiveness of sin, through faith in Jesus and His sacrifice.

A very easy read with only 50 pages of text, no one needs to be left in any doubt about God’s will regarding healing.  Knowing God’s will is the foundation of the faith needed when we pray for anything.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5) NIV

Also, see my own investigation into God’s will and our health on my other blog.

The Cull

My book collection has now been brutally reduced after taking 5 or 6 car loads of books, DVDs, CDs, LPs and magazines to Lifeline in Canberra.

They can make good use of them to raise money for their charitable work.

They hold a few very popular book fairs each year.

What I like about them is that they separate special books and sell them separately at a relevant price. I had many special books: including limited signed editions, as well as autographed general release books.

One particularly special book (in my opinion) was the biography of an esteemed Australian artist, who had not only signed the book, but had drawn a simple sketch with his signature: basically an original art work.

We now have plans to do one more trip next week, which should help reduce my stockpile even more.

Hopefully my one time collections of paper and plastic will go to good homes, and raise a good amount of money for charity.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matt 19)NIV

 

Prayer and Healing

pawsonFor some reason David Pawson has been a controversial figure in Christian circles.
That controversy is clearly demonstrated by the popularity of an article I posted on one of my other blogs, asking Is David Pawson a False Teacher?

I wrote the article because that question has been the most common ‘search term’ drawing people to my blog. (It has had almost 29,000 views to date).

I see that Pawson is interested in what the Bible actually teaches and tries to address that rather than just pass on traditional teaching and theology.
It’s an approach with the capacity to offend those who are addicted to their church traditions.

For the most part this book takes a biblical look at prayer, through adapting content of some Pawson sermons into written form.

Overall it is a very readable, and interesting look at what scripture reveals about prayer. What it is, how it’s done and with whom and to whom we need to pray.

Pawson gives a lot of food for thought, maybe challenging some naïve ideas.

My one quibble with the book, and it seems out of character for Pawson, is that he takes the traditional, non-biblical, line regarding the apostle Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. (see 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10) By doing that I think he compromises an otherwise well presented, clearly taught book on prayer.

(I have written about what the bible says regarding Paul’s “thorn”  as well as posting other material on my Onesimus Files blog).

murrayAndrew Murray’s Divine Healing is the first of two books I’ve read recently regarding “divine healing”. I read both of the books after doing my own study on the topic, and it was satisfying to note that both authors confirmed a lot of the findings of my own studies, as well as giving more insight to ponder.

Murray’s book suffers at times from outdated language and turns of phrase. (Murray died in 1917). Like so many from his era, he occasional resorts to an Olde English style using thees and thous, when addressing God; as if God speaks Elizabethan English and requires His followers to do likewise.

The surprising thing about this book is how much it reveals the extent that God’s desire to heal has been buried by the church. So much of what Murray teaches in this book would be dismissed today as extreme, and yet he comes from a very conservative theological background, and not some group promoting a modern “health and wealth gospel”.

The second book on healing was Christ the Healer, by F.F. Bosworth, a healing evangelist from the early 20th century.

bosworthIt’s a book I recall owning many years ago, but had long since lost.
I bought a new copy a few weeks ago, in an updated edition in which the language of a century ago has been given a more present day appeal.

Not long after it was delivered, Gloria claimed it and has been reading it ever since, making notes and highlighting significant sections. Instead of waiting for her to finish with it, I chose to get another copy for myself, one I could easily pass on to someone else later.

Bosworth starts with a very astute observation.

Before people can have a steadfast faith for the healing of their body, they must be rid of all uncertainty concerning God’s will in the matter.

It was that same realisation (that faith is impossible without knowledge of God’s will) that led me to my own Bible study of His will regarding healing.

After expressing that foundational reality, Bosworth proceeds to address the matter of God’s will and desire to heal, mostly from scripture but also from personal experience.
He himself had been healed of a terminal case of tuberculosis as a young man before going on to preach and heal around the world for many decades afterwards.

Three excellent books addressing vital issues of Christian living that sadly seem to have been pushed aside in modern Christian experience, expectation and practice.

Hello, Is This Planet Earth?

planet earthOne of several space program related Christmas presents I received.

This book by British astronaut Tim Peake displays a selection of the photos he took during his 186 day mission to the International Space Station.

Each photo is accompanied by a brief comment by Peake, as well as a small map showing the approximate location of the ISS when the photo was taken.

At first I thought the brevity of the written content might detract from the book, but it doesn’t. The photographs are stunning, and Peake writes enough about each one to help the reader understand what is depicted in them.

Some subjects are obvious – the distinctive shape of Italy can’t be mistaken, even at night, but other photos aren’t as recognisable without the aid of the commentary.

The title of the book apparently comes from a wrong number called by Peake. Trying to phone a friend or family member from the ISS, he asked the puzzled call recipient, “Hello, is this planet earth”?

All proceeds from the sale of the book go to support The Prince’s Trust, Prince Charles’ charity aiding disadvantaged youth. Peake is an Ambassador for the charity.

The Baby Jesus, by Mary Alice Jones

baby jesusAnother of Gloria’s childhood books.

A young couple, Joseph and Mary, travel to Bethlehem but there are no vacancies available at the inn. Mary is pregnant and about to give birth, so the inn-keeper allows them to take shelter in the stable.

Overnight the baby is born and:

Joseph turned to look at Mary and the baby. “Even the skies seem to be happy tonight, Mary. The skies seem to be glad about your baby”

baby jesus2

Illustrated by Elizabeth Webbe.

As a special Christmas day bonus, what is in my opinion, the best performance of THE best Christmas song.

Song 25 of my “31 Songs”. 

Frisky Fox

friskyA small book recommended by Gloria.

A book given to her in 1970 by her brother Richard. A precious book because he died in 1977 of lymphoma.

A family of foxes decides to have a picnic, but the young Frisky gets lost and finds himself in danger, as his mother and father wonder where he is.

Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith

This is the catalogue for an exhibition of art by New Zealand painter Colin McCahon, held in a gallery in Amsterdam in 2002.

questionA group of essays by art historians, curators and McCahon’s son William, accompany illustrations of dozens of McCahon’s paintings.
McCahon’s work combined the NZ landscape, Maori lore with biblical and poetic texts, often in a limited pallet.

The closing section presents a year by year “biography” of the artists life and work, attempting to place it (and its influence) into the context of other New Zealand painting.

A more apt title to the book could be A Confusion of Faith.
McCahon’s use of biblical text in his paintings seems to puzzle most people, who tend to project their own biases into their understanding of his work, and perhaps reveal the extent to which human artistic creativity becomes a religion substitute for many. A religious leaning with its own “prophets” and teachers, presenting a sacred lore and esoteric ruminations that idealise art, literature and other cultural pursuits.

VOD2Victory Over Death 2. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
See more, including a video about the painting here: Victory Over Death 2