Friday, February 24, 2017

The Structure of Zephaniah, part 1



This Old Testament book was written by Zephaniah, whose name means “God has secreted” or “Jehovah hides.” He was of royal lineage as is revealed in the first verse.
Though he prophesied in a time of revival, the coming captivity was imminent and Zephaniah points out that the revival is superficial. He foretells the coming invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, judgment on certain peoples, the moral state of Israel and the judgment of the nations followed by kingdom blessing under Messiah.
If you read the first chapter you’ll notice how angry God is in verses 2 and 3. In Genesis we read the creation account and learned that God created the fish then the birds then the animals and then man. Now here we have God sweeping everything from the face of the earth and in the reverse order: men, then animals then birds then fish. Despite the awfulness of these verses I can’t help but be amazed at God’s order. For those who like to say that the God of the Old Testament seems vengeful, angry and bloodthirsty and that their God is kind and loving, I’d like to point out that God is both loving and just. Of course He is going to get angry. When will man honor, worship, love and obey only Him?
There were 7 types of people that God will “cut off” according to chapter 1. They are pagans (vs.4), astrologers (vs.5), worshipers of other gods (vs.5), those who reject God (vs.6), those who side with the heathen (vs. 8), idol worshipers (vs. 9) and those who presume that God is indifferent to them (vs.12). What do these 7 groups of people have in common?

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Structure of the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk


Habakkuk is a small, but important book in the Old Testament. This little book was written by the prophet Habakkuk, whose name means either “the embracer” or “the wrestler.” Interestingly, Habakkuk wrestled with the question of why God would let evil go unpunished and why God would bring tragedy and misfortune on His own people. But at the same time he embraced salvation by faith.
Let’s read Habakkuk’s 1st complaint in chapter 1, verses 2 through 4 (New International version):
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
       but you do not listen?
       Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
       but you do not save?

 3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
       Why do you tolerate wrong?
       Destruction and violence are before me;
       there is strife, and conflict abounds.
 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
       and justice never prevails.
       The wicked hem in the righteous,
       so that justice is perverted.
Well, people just don’t seem to follow God’s rules and Habakkuk doesn’t seem to understand why God allows this to go on. The law is paralyzed and justice doesn’t prevail. The evildoers are surrounding the righteous and justice is perverted. This sounds pretty current to me. Think about it. Here are the same verses in a really modern translation (The Message):
1-4 The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it: God, how long do I have to cry out for help
   before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, "Help! Murder! Police!"
   before you come to the rescue?
Why do you force me to look at evil,
   stare trouble in the face day after day?
Anarchy and violence break out,
   quarrels and fights all over the place.
Law and order fall to pieces.
   Justice is a joke.
The wicked have the righteous hamstrung
   and stand justice on its head.

   
We find God’s answer in verses 5 – 11 and essentially God says He is going to use the Babylonians to punish Israel.
What’s Habakkuk’s next complaint?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ever Hear of the Bible Book Called "NAHUM" ?


The book of Nahum was written by Nahum, a prophet who was a contemporary of Jeremiah. It had been about 150 years since Jonah was sent to Ninevah. Ninevah had repented, but now the people were turning away from God. (What else is new?)
Nahum’s name means consolation or comfort.
Nahum 3:7:

“And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her?  Whence shall I seek comforters for thee?” 
We Christians think of God as loving, kind and gentle and often forget that He is righteous and fierce and will avenge our faithlessness with great wrath. To get a real feel for this read the opening of the book of Nahum: chapter 1, verses 1 – 6:

 1 A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
 2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
   the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The LORD takes vengeance on his foes
   and vents his wrath against his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger but great in power;
   the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
   and clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
   he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
   and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
5 The mountains quake before him
   and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
   the world and all who live in it.
6 Who can withstand his indignation?
   Who can endure his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
   the rocks are shattered before him.

As I’ve explained in my book CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES there are phenomenal links between the 22 Hebrew letters and the 66 books of the Bible. Nahum corresponds to the 12th Hebrew letter, lamed, as does 2nd Kings. We are 22 books past the book of 2nd Kings where Elijah was carried up in a whirlwind, where the Jordon was dried up, where the chariot and horses of fire separated Elijah and Elisha. Did you see these three things again in these verses? Isn’t it amazing how there are links between the books that match up with the same Hebrew letter?

In fact, back in 2nd Kings chapters 15, 18 and 19 you can find the story, the fulfillment of the prophesy found here in Nahum, chapter 1, verses 7 -14. Pull out your Bible and work it out for yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Micah, part 3



Let’s look at the fulfilled prophecy in the little Old Testament book of Micah.
Here’s one verse from chapter 5:
 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
   though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
   one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
   from ancient times.”
Has this prophecy been fulfilled? Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
In chapter 6 the writer asks about coming before the Lord with burnt offerings. He even asks if he should offer his firstborn for his transgressions. What does God answer? Read 6:8:

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.

So, God DOES NOT require sacrifices. He’s going to take care of that for us. What he requires from us is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
Final thoughts on Micah – read 7: 18-20 and feel the great relief in these words:

18 Who is a God like you,
   who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
   of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
   but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
   you will tread our sins underfoot
   and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
   and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
   in days long ago.

If I were a Jew I would be clinging to these verses for sure. In them we find so much hope and mercy and love.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Micah, part 2

Last week we looked at the first two chapters of Micah. In chapter 3 God blames Israel’s leaders and in chapter 4 there are some end times prophecies.
God will establish a great earth power, a supreme kingdom, with lesser powers or nations beneath it. This will be a universal kingdom with a teacher, Jesus, who will teach us. It will be a peaceful kingdom and there will be universal prosperity.
Do you want to read about Armageddon and the Tribulation period? Here you go (my comments are in parentheses and red ink):

Friday, January 20, 2017

Micah, part 1



The next book in the Old Testament is Micah. The name means “who is like God?” The prophet Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and he spoke out strongly against immorality, social injustices and the oppression of the poor by the rich. Let’s look first at chapter 1 verse 2:
2 Hear, you peoples, all of you,
   listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign LORD may bear witness against you,
   the Lord from his holy temple.
So is this prophecy for you? Appears so. And it looks like the Lord is going to bear witness against us.
What did we do? Hmm, the usual . . . See here in chapter 2, verses 1-2 man’s plans:
 1 Woe to those who plan iniquity,
   to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out
   because it is in their power to do it.
2 They covet fields and seize them,
   and houses, and take them.
They defraud people of their homes,
   they rob them of their inheritance.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Book of Jonah


The book of Jonah was probably written by Jonah though scholars seem to be divided on this. This book is read at the afternoon service of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. On this day Jews fast and say prayers of penitence.
Yes, this is the book with the story about Jonah and the whale. God sent Jonah to preach to Nineveh, a great but wicked city. Nineveh stood on the eastern bank of the Tigris River. It had walls that were a hundred feet high and fifty feet thick. STOP. WHAT? 50 FEET THICK! WOW! The main wall had fifteen gates. That sounds like a lot, but that wall was over seven and a half miles long. The population of Nineveh was about 600,000 people including those who lived in the “suburb” outside the city walls. That population estimate is based on a curious verse we’ll look at last.
These residents were wicked idolaters who worshiped Asur and Ishtar, chief male and female deities. Most of the Assyrians worshiped them and since Assyria was a threat to Israel’s security (see Hosea 11:5 and Amos 5:27) this was one reason Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. He was afraid that if the people did repent then God would not punish them and this did not sit well with his self-righteousness.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Obadiah ... WHO?



Yup, we're continuing on in 2017 with looking at the structure of Old Testament books in the Bible.

Next up is the book of OBADIAH.

Obadiah’s name means “the servant of Yahweh.”
The book is a vision recounted by Obadiah. Obadiah tells us that the vision is what the Sovereign Lord says about a place called Edom. Edom is identified with the Islamic God, Allah, and the West Bank Palestinians. This is quite relevant to today’s current events.
Point one (verse 2): God will make Israel “small among the nations.” Certainly true today as Israel is looked down on now by other nations. Recent UN sanctions show how much neighboring countries hate Israel.
Point 2 (verse 4):
Reference seems to be made to Palestine and the US with the words “eagle” (on the Palestinian emblem and a US mascot) and “stars” (on the US flag).
Point 3 (verses 6 and 7):

Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Post of 2016, Excerpt from THE GIRL IN THE TIME MACHINE






[a little background before you read this excerpt: Laken Mitchell wants to get even with the girls who bullied her, but when she discovers their troubles - what makes them behave this way - her compassionate nature compels her to help them instead. Maybe sending them to the last century is a bit extreme, but it solves everyone's problems. Almost.]

excerpt:

It was one in the morning and I had a golden opportunity for revenge. I couldn’t help myself. I took her to the lab. She was not too drunk to walk up to the third floor, but she was definitely too out of it to realize that my telling her to lie down on the ‘massage table’ was not going to end well for her.
I chose that day’s date and some random coordinates close to what was already on the screen. What did I care?
Poof, the bitch was gone. And nobody was going to think anything other than that she ran away from home.
I locked up and stepped outside. The dark monastery in the middle of the woods was creepy enough after midnight, but before I could open the car door I heard far off shrieks, like the sound a rabbit makes when a bobcat pounces. The screams were faint at first, then frantic. And human. I grabbed the flashlight from the car, pushed the gate all the way open and ran for the path to town. Between the ghastly moonlight and the fairly strong beam in my hand I followed the trail to the rusty car. The cries were growing less frequent.
“Help me.”
Erica was impaled on the bumper of the old vehicle. Part of her left leg was buried in the ground along with her left arm up to her elbow. She looked like someone rising out of bed, but sinking down at the same time. Blood dripped into the dirt.
I choked back bile to keep my hysteria at bay. “Shh, I’ll get you out. Stop screaming.”
I searched around for something to dig with and used a couple of sticks to free her leg and arm from the ground. I pulled on her to help her stand and the shriek that pierced the night was unearthly. A rusty shard of metal broke off and more blood gushed.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” I really was. She didn’t deserve what was happening to her, not for being mean to me, or for being a bully, or anything. But what could I do? She’d seen the time machine. Even drunk she had to realize she traveled from the lab into the forest, into the ground actually, by incomprehensible means.
I tore off my shirt and tied it around her, hoping to stem the flow of blood. I needed her to walk back. We got halfway back before she dropped to her knees. She’d soaked through my shirt and neither of us could hold enough pressure on the wound.

Available at most online bookstores

Friday, December 23, 2016

Our Log Home Christmas

We call home BIG PINE LODGE  and we love it.






MERRY CHRISTMAS !

Friday, December 16, 2016

More Middle Grade Recommendations & Chapter Books


A TICK IN TIME is a middle-grade fantasy-fiction novel with surprising twists, unusual creatures, quirky riddles and some scary moments. Tommy MacArthur is a 6th-grader who is spending the summer at his grandparents’ with his younger brother. Though he is warned not to run past the old pendulum clock he does, of course, and the clock ticks when it should have tocked and Tommy is plunged into another dimension. He navigates through a number of adventures before stumbling upon the solution to returning. When he shows his new friend, Noelle, how to slip into the strange land, the two of them fearlessly explore. However their younger siblings have followed them through the portal and that means trouble. And who or what will follow them back?
In BIGFOOT DAY Anna and her friends skip the school fair to explore the woods behind the playground. They find evidence of a Sasquatch then can’t find their way out of the woods. Things get worse when they take shelter in what might be Bigfoot’s nest.
In the second story, NINJA NIGHT, Luke and his brother, Nick, go on a boys only camping trip, but things get weird and scary very quickly. Is there a ninja in the woods with them? Mysterious things happen as day turns into night.


THE TUNNELS SERIES ARE AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK ($6.99 EACH) AND DIGITAL ($2.99 EACH).
FOR KIDS AGES 7 - 11.


NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE FORBIDDEN TUNNELS is book 1 in the TUNNELS series.

12 year old Nick has lost his memory. He finds himself stuck in a nightmarish world, but he’s not dreaming. He escapes from a strange reformatory only to come upon an even stranger place where he is teamed up with a partner and given an assignment. They slide down a forbidden tunnel and begin their odd and mysterious mission.

Sliding through tunnel after tunnel gets him in and out of more trouble. He attempts a mission by himself and finds he can break through barriers including invisibility.

On his third mission he teams up with Samantha, a friend from school, regains his memory and slips through a final tunnel to find his way back to his family. What treasures does he bring back? What discoveries did he make? Will he go again?

TO BUY ON AMAZON CLICK HERE



NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE RED TUNNELS is book 2 in the TUNNELS series.
After working together in book one to save banned books like Huck Finn, Treasure Island and even Harry Potter, Nick and Samantha explore “red” books in this adventure. Their journey together strengthens their friendship and evens out their personal competition.

Wild dogs, wolves and mountain lions can’t keep Nick from completing each mission, but when he teams up with Samantha he can’t get past one particular obstacle and Sam edges ahead of Nick in a challenge he forfeits.
Problems arise when little sister, Gracie, disrupts the race and Nick has to perform some awesome feats to get all three of them out of THE RED TUNNELS.

TO BUY ON AMAZON CLICK HERE


NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE WORMHOLE TUNNELS is book 3 in the TUNNELS series.

In book 3 both Nick and Samantha get a chance to create their own stories. The theme is science fiction.

They slide through the first tunnel and into Samantha’s story on a far distant planet. She has invented a Prince Charming who resides in a land of strange animals, but he is even stranger still and covered with boogers. When his zombie-like behavior creeps them out they escape down a wishing well.

They slide through wormhole tunnels into a space ship designed totally by Nick’s thoughts. When he lets his imagination run wild Samantha is both impressed and afraid. Extraordinary things can happen in outer space.
TO BUY ON AMAZON CLICK HERE



NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE MINING TUNNELS is book 4 in the TUNNELS series.
Sliding into the Old West from their space adventure is quite a shock, but Nick and Samantha adapt quickly. Gold, dynamite, stagecoach villains and an Indian princess are just a few of the surprises in store for these kids in book 4 of the TUNNELS series.

Sliding down tunnels to get in and out of danger and excitement has kept Nick and Sam moving through mission after mission before. But this time the tunnels aren’t appearing on schedule and they have no supplies with them to help.

To blend in they dress and talk like the desert gold miners and early settlers. Will they fit in? Should they trust the Indians, the cowboys or the townsfolk? And just where are the tunnels?
TO BUY ON AMAZON CLICK HERE


NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE CARTOON TUNNELS is book 5 in the TUNNELS series. In this adventure Nick and his friend Samantha tunnel through an alternate reality and into three separate cartoons. The two of them enjoy a break from their usual missions as they interact with well-known cartoon characters. As usual their backpacks are filled with handy things to get them out of trouble, but Samantha’s bag contains something that just may get them arrested. TO BUY ON AMAZON CLICK HERE This one is only 99 cents on Kindle


NICK BAZEBAHL AND THE FAKE WITCH TUNNELS is book 6 in the TUNNELS series. In this adventure Nick and Samantha find themselves in an ancient land full of superstitions. Once again they have strange things in their bags. An antfarm, a hairbrush and a sparkly wand help them complete their first mission. But what will they do with a package of jello when they tunnel to the 1600’s and stand trial for witchcraft? Find out in book 6, available HERE


Friday, December 9, 2016

Middle Grade Book Recommendations


 


The Secret in the Hidden Cave in paperbackkindle or on Smashwords is the first book in the Big Pine Lodge series.
Two 12-year-olds, Missy and Kevin, explore the old lodge, the woods, the cemetery and the dark caves beneath the lake and find surprises, danger and secrets. Can they solve the riddles, follow the clues and save the place from destruction? Or are they being used by someone smarter who needs help to reveal “The Secret in the Hidden Cave”?  

The second book in the series is Mystery's Grave, also in paperbackkindle and on Smashwords.
Missy and Kevin thought the rest of the summer would be normal, but more surprises await them in the woods, the caves, the stables and the cemetery. Two new families arrive at the lodge, but one family isn’t human. And they live behind a gravestone.

Bullies and Bears is book 3, available in paperbackkindle and SmashwordsMissy and Kevin unravel more mysteries and secrets in the caves, the attic, the cemetery and the ruins. A new week of adventures and escapades face them as they confront teenage bullies and a troublesome mama bear.

Friday, December 2, 2016

99 cent YOUNG ADULT BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS


 EDGE OF ESCAPE was self-published and then discovered by Piper Verlag Publishing and translated into German. Stalking and obsession get a sympathetic twist in this story of physical and psychological survival. PG-13, intense, young adult thriller. Paperback, digital e-book and also available as an audio book.

In SHELTERED five teens confront supernatural forces. Two boys and three girls all harbor secrets which make some of them susceptible to demon possession. Embracing all things supernatural might protect them, but they are not ready for the consequences. PG-13, intense page-turner. Paperback, all digital formats and also available as an audio book.

In A SOUL’S KISS a tragic accident leaves Jessica comatose, but her spirit escapes her body. Navigating a supernatural realm is tough, but being half dead has its advantages. PG-13, paranormal romance. Paperback and all digital formats.

THE GUARDIAN’S DIARY is a young adult coming of age story. 17 year old Jedidiah was born with a gruesome deformity that causes him to drag his foot. He embraces the nickname Dragonfoot and sets his goal to become a champion skateboarder, but an amputation challenges his dream. PG-13, some spiritual elements. Paperback and all digital formats.
                

EXODIA and OUT OF EXODIA. Based loosely on the ancient story of Moses, this two book dystopian journey is an adventure full of symbolism, hidden codes, and thematic imagery that will appeal to readers of all ages. These high concept novels bridge the gap from young adult to new adult and mix genres including sci-fi, dystopian, magical realism, and speculative fiction. PG-13, paperback and all digital formats.



THE GIRL IN THE TIME MACHINE is a time travel novel with an unusual twist. Laken Mitchell has been bullied one time too many, but using a time machine to make her tormenters disappear means putting her own future—and her past—at perilous risk. PG-13, sci-fi time travel. Paperback and all digital formats.