Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 04/27/11

Our Book Club Wednesday selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Click here for an explanation of this book and our reading schedule for it.

Today is the last post on Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. This week I read the last chapter in the book titled "How Western Christians Can Help".

My last excerpt from this book will be a plea from the author to the western world (pages 143-144). It is as follows:

"I speak on behalf of my brethren who lie in countless nameless graves. I speak on behalf of my brethren who now meet secretly in forests, basements, attics, and other such places.

The message I bring from the Underground Church is:

Don't abandon us!
Don't forget us!
Don't write us off!
Give us the tools we need! We will pay the price for using them!

This is the message of I have been charged to deliver to the free Church.

I speak for the Underground Church, the silenced Church, the "dumb" Church, which has no voice to speak.

Hear the cries of your brothers and sisters in captive nations! They do not ask for escape, safety, or an easy life. They ask only for tools to counteract the poisoning of their youth--the next generation--with atheism. They ask for Bibles to use in spreading the Word of God. How can they spread the Word of God if they do not have it?"

This is the second time I have read this book, and I plan to read it again. It has greatly impacted me. If you have been impacted by it, please share a comment to that effect. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it.

If you would like to check out the ministry (Voice of the Martyrs) started by the author of this book you can do so by clicking here. There are many ways to get involved in helping the Persecuted Church if you so desire.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 04/25/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening was Emily, Ethan, and Carissa. As you may see from the pictures, there was plenty of energy to go around. We walked off a bit of it while we took a walk in the beautiful spring weather. For our cookie this evening we made Gingersnaps. We read lesson #45 from Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings by Marian Schoolland. The lesson was titled " The Holy Spirit Made the Disciples Brave". It was a great follow up to Resurrection Sunday teaching. We had good discussion around this lesson. Emily read Acts 5:25-29 from the Bible for us.

We finished off the night with a rousing game of Pictureka. As usual, a fun time was had by all.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrection Sunday 04/24/11

What the world knows as Easter, we know as Resurrection Sunday. He is risen! He is risen indeed! May we live today in the knowledge of the truth of this glorious gospel message.

I offer for your consideration the words from the song "My Jesus Fair" (by Chris Anderson and Greg Habegger).

My Jesus fair, was pierced by thorns
By thorns grown from the fall
Thus He who gave the curse was torn
To end that curse for all

My Jesus meek, was scorned by men
By men in blasphemy
"Father, forgive their senseless sin!"
He prayed for them, for me

My Jesus kind, was torn by nails
By nails of cruel men
And to His cross as grace prevailed
God pinned my wretched sin

My Jesus pure, was crushed by God
By God, in judgment just
The Father grieved, yet turned his rod
On Christ, made sin for us

My Jesus strong, shall come to reign
To reign in majesty
The Lamb arose, and death is slain
Lord, come in victory!

Chorus

O love divine, O matchless grace
That God should die for men!
With joyful grief I lift my praise,
Abhorring all my sin, adoring only Him.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Evangelism Focus 04/23/11

On the heels of a very busy week, I knew today would be spent running errands. I didn't want that time to be gospel-less (especially on the day before Easter), so I made up several "Easter packs". They contained a note from me, a gospel tract (the one I wrote), and a couple pieces of candy contained in a Ziploc bag with a flower sticker on it. Many people spent the day running errands and preparing for a holiday about which they know not the true meaning. I wanted to put the gospel in their hands if at all possible. I encourage you to try something like this around Easter and Christmas. Everyone seems to be willing to accept a greeting and a token around the holidays. This might work better for the ladies. I just packed my purse with them and handed one out every time I had a transaction with a clerk in a store and whenever the opportunity presented itself in the parking lot to and from the store. The "Easter packs" are pictured below.


Here's the text from the note I included in each pack:

Did you know that Easter is about more than colored eggs and candy? Easter is celebrated because it is the day that Jesus rose from he dead. His life and death were predicted (in the Bible) hundreds of years before he was born.

In the book of Isaiah, it reads, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one-- to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity [sin] of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6).

I have provided for you a gospel tract with a little more information about this event in history and its ramifications. I simply ask that you consider this information today and ask yourself, "Is it true?" If it isn't true, then reject it. If it is true, then it demands a response.

Thank you for taking the time to read this today. Happy Easter! May it be your best one ever.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

The events of Good Friday were written down in Isaiah 53, which, amazingly, was written hundreds of years before Jesus Christ was born.

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

I've been memorizing this chapter in the days leading up to Easter. It's an amazing passage! What a good God we serve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 04/20/11

Our Book Club Wednesday selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Click here for an explanation of this book and our reading schedule for it.

This week I read chapter 6 titled, "How Christianity is Defeating Communism".

I want to share with you several excerpts from a series of letters between a once imprisoned Christian woman named Maria and a young woman named Varia, a former member of the Communist Youth Organization.

First Letter

...I continue to live here. I'm very beloved. I am beloved also by a member of the cell of the Komsomol [the Communist Youth Organization]. She told me, "I cannot understand what a being you are. Here many insult and hurt you and yet you love all." I answered that God has taught us to love all, not only friends, but also enemies. Before, this girl did much harm to me, but I prayed for her with special concern. When she asked me if I can love her too, I embraced her and we both began to weep. Now, we pray together. Please pray for her. Her name is Varia.

When you listen to those who loudly deny God, it seems that they really mean it. But life shows that many of them, although they curse God with their lips, in their hearts have a great longing.....They seek something and wish to cover their inner emptiness with their godlessness.

Your sister in Christ, Maria

Second Letter

In my former letter I wrote to you about the atheist girl, Varia. Now I hurry to tell you, my beloved ones, about our great joy; Varia has received Christ as her personal Savior, witnessing openly to everyone about this.

When we went together to the assembly of the godless, although I wanted her to be reserved, it was useless........Varia went forward before the whole assembly. Courageously and with much feeling, she witnessed to those gathered about Christ as her Savior and asked her former comrades for forgiveness that she had had her spiritual eyes closed until then and had not seen that she herself was going to perdition and leading others toward it. She implored all to give up the way of sin and to come to Christ.

And afterwards........afterwards they took away our Varia. Today it is the ninth of May. We know nothing about her. But God is powerful to save her. Pray!

Your Maria

Third Letter

Yesterday, the second of August, I had a talk in prison with our beloved Varia. My heart bleeds when I think about her. In fact she is still a child. She is only nineteen years of age. As a believer in the Lord, she is also a spiritual babe. But she loves the Lord with all her heart and went at once on the difficult way. The poor girl is so hungry. When we knew that she was in prison, we began to send her parcels. But she received only little of what was sent to her.

I asked through the iron bars, "Varia, don't you regret what you did?". She answered, "No. And if they would free me, I would go again and would tell them about the great love of Christ. Don't think that I suffer. I am very glad that the Lord loves me and gives me the joy to endure for His name."

I beg that you pray for her. She will probably be sent to Siberia......May God keep her!

Your Maria

Fourth Letter

Dear Maria,

At last I am able to write you.....I wish to write only a little about me. I thank God that He gives me health and that I can work physically. Sister X and I were put to work in a workshop where we work at machines. The work is difficult and Sister X's health is bad. I must work for both her and me. I finish my work first and then I help my sister. We work 12-13 hours a day.

My heart praises and thanks God that, through you, he showed me the way to salvation. Now, being on this way, my life has a purpose and I know where to go and for whom I suffer. I feel the desire to tell and to witness to everybody about the great joy of salvation that I have in my heart. Who can separate us from the love of God in Christ? Nobody and Nothing. Neither prison nor suffering. The suffering that God sends us only strengthen us more and more in faith in Him. My heart is so full that the grace of God overflows. At work, they curse and punish me, giving me extra work because I cannot be silent. I must tell everyone what the Lord has done for me. He has made me a new being, a new creation, of me who was on the way of perdition. Can I be silent after that? No, never! As long as my lips can speak, I will witness to every one about His great love......

Give greetings to the whole family of God's children. God will richly bless your common work, as He blessed me, too. Read Hebrews 12:1-3.

All our brethren greet you and are glad that your faith in God is powerful and that you praise Him in your sufferings unceasingly.

Yours, Varia

Fifth Letter

Dear Maria,

At last I have found the opportunity to write you a few lines. Thank you for your motherly care for me. We received all you have prepared for us. I thank you for the most valuable thing, the Bible. Thanks to all.

Since the Lord revealed to me the deep mystery of His holy love, I consider myself to be the happiest in the world. The persecutions that I have to endure I consider a special grace. I am glad that the Lord gave me from the first days of my faith the great happiness to suffer for Him. Pray for me that I may remain faithful to the Lord to the end.

May the Lord keep you all and strengthen you for the holy battle!.... Don't worry about us [Sister X and I]. We are glad and joyful, because our reward in heaven is great (Matthew 5:11,12).

Yours, Varia

"This is the last letter from Varia--the young Communist girl who found Christ, witnessed about Him, and was sentenced to slave labor. She was never heard from again, but her beautiful love and witness for Christ shows the spiritual beauty of the suffering, faithful Underground Church."

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Night With A Niece 04/18/11

Tonight Emily came over to spend some time and help me with a cooking project. She thought while she was here it might be a good idea if she planned the menu and events for the next Cookie Baking Night. I told her she could make three plans, and I would choose which one we would do first. She was very organized with her planning. She insisted we needed a meeting to discuss the plans, which also involved a pre-meeting (that was a first for me), and she had a written agenda for the meeting. After the meeting, she spent her time typing up the final plan. She did a great job on it.

It was a nice evening together. She's a hoot.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 04/13/11

Our Book Club Wednesday selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Click here for an explanation of this book and our reading schedule for it.

This week I read chapter 5 titled "The Invincible, Widespread Underground Church".

It was an interesting chapter describing the workings of the Underground Church. Here's an excerpt from page 95.

"The faithful Underground Church has thousands of members. They have secret meetings in basements, attics, apartments, and fields.

In formerly Communist Russia, no one remembered anymore the arguments for or against child or adult baptism, for or against papal infallibility. They were not pre- or post- millennialists. They could not interpret prophecies and didn't quarrel about them, but I wondered very often how well they could prove to atheists the existence of God.

Their answers to atheists were simple, "If you were invited to a feast with all kinds of good meats, would you believe that there has been no one to cook them? But nature is a banquet prepared for us! You have tomatoes and peaches and apples and milk and honey. Who has prepared all these things for mankind? Nature is blind. If you believe in God, how can you explain that blind nature succeeded in preparing just the things that we need in such plenitude and variety?"

There are many such arguments for the existence of God within this chapter. I encourage you to read it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Workplace Musings 04/12/11

This Workplace Musings post, I'd like to discuss commuting in traffic.

I have about a 45 minute commute each day, each way. I've never minded the commute. I think this can be largely contributed to my husband. He sets the tone in our home that work is not a thing to dread. He never complains about commuting (or working), and he doesn't encourage complaining about it either. He encourages me to use the time wisely. We both have iPods, which allows the opportunity to listen to sermons and Scripture on the way to and from work. We often talk about what we've listened to on the commute, and we discuss it.

Lately, I've been using the commute to memorize Isaiah 53. I have the verses written on a 3 x 5 card notebook. I say the verses out loud repeatedly during the commute and find it very helpful for memorization. Now that cell phones and ear pieces are all the rage, no one thinks twice about me talking to myself while I'm driving. It's common place these days. If you're a commuter (alone) each day, I encourage you to give Bible memorization a try--a good way to redeem the time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 04/11/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening were Ethan and Carissa. We made spring bird nests. We also went on our first walk of the season (it was a beautiful Minnesota evening). We read from Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings. Tonight we read lesson 44 titled "The Holy Spirit Has a Special Work". Ethan read Acts 2:1-8 for us.




Here's the recipe for Spring Bird Nests:

1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 bag chow mien noodles
Colored candy eggs

Melt the butterscotch chips, choc chips, and p-nut butter in the microwave until smooth. Add chow mien noodles. Mix until well coated. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto waxed paper. Decorate with candy eggs. Chill to set. Enjoy!



HAPPY SPRING EVERYONE FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS!




Cookie Baking Night side note:

At supper time, Ethan asked how many fluid ounces were in the cups from which we were drinking. I guessed 8 ounces. Soon after this question, Greg produced a digital scale (much to Ethan's delight). I believe Ethan's cup contained 8.6 ounces of fluid. Greg challenged him to get it down to 4 ounces, which he managed to do sip by sip weighing the cup along the way. It was good uncle-nephew bonding time. I do believe I see some "Uncle Greg" in young Ethan (just loves to know how things work and seems to enjoy "all things digital").

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Katrina's Musings

This weekend, Greg and I were able to attend the Psalm 119 conference organized by Wretched radio program. We won tickets through a giveaway contest offered by The Christian Worldview radio program. The Psalm 119 conference is traveling around the country to different sites (6 conferences this year), each offering different speakers. This past weekend, they were in Minnesota. The speakers were: Todd Friel (Wretched Radio), RW Glenn (pastor of Redeemer Bible Church), Milton Vincent (author of A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love and pastor of Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church), Phil Johnson (Grace to You ministry), and James White (Alpha and Omega ministries). The theme for the conference this year is Discernment. It was a wonderful conference.

We also had opportunity on Saturday morning to sit in on a live recording of The Christian Worldview radio program. That was very fun for us. Click here to listen to the broadcast.

There was a point in our lives, not that long ago, when we (Greg and I) were in a church that wasn't preaching the gospel regularly and wasn't preaching from God's Word that often either. When we wanted deeper teaching, we found that on radio programs and through attending conferences such as the one we attended this weekend. We commented to each other several times this weekend that the teaching we received at this conference was simply a reinforcement of that which we receive as a steady diet at the church where we are now members. That sentiment was echoed back to us as the conference closed with these words, "We've heard some great preaching this weekend, but if you're in a Bible-preaching church, then the best sermon you will hear all weekend is going to be the one you hear tomorrow that was prepared by your pastor with his congregation in mind." And to that I say, Amen!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 04/06/11

Our Book Club Wednesday selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Click here for an explanation of this book and our reading schedule for it.

This week I read chapter 4 titled "Defeating Communism With the Love of Christ". In light of a very sympathetic view toward socialism and communism creeping into the western mindset (I've had more than one teenager through 30-something adult tell me that they think communism is the best government system if done rightly, whatever that means), I've decided to share a few paragraphs from chapter 4 that highlight the aftermath of communism coming to Romania.

Upon his ransom from prison, the author said:

"Peasants from all over the country came to see me and told me how the collectivization was being conducted. They were now hungry slaves on their own former fields and vineyards. They had no bread. Their children had no milk, no fruit--and this is the country with natural riches that equal those of Canaan of old.

Brethren confessed to me that Lenin's Communist regime had made liars and thieves of them all. Out of hunger they stole from what was originally their own field, but now belonged to the collective. Then they had to lie to cover their theft.

Workers spoke to me about the terror in the factories and about an exploitation of work-power such as capitalists had never dreamed of. The workers had no right to strike.

Intellectuals had to teach, against their inner convictions, that there is no God.

The whole life and thought of one-third of the world at that time was destroyed or falsified, as is still be done in restricted nations today."

This is history, folks. Let's learn from it, lest we repeat it. And let's not forget to pray for persecuted Christians (our family) in communistic countries at this very moment in time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Be Back Soon

Lately, life's schedule has been such that a decision had to be made between blogging and spending time in God's Word and prayer. The second takes priority. This week you can expect two more blog posts, and then I'll return to the regular blog schedule on Monday, April 11.

Cookie Baking Night 08/28/17

Tonight is Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Allison, Rylar, and Enzo. Just the four of us tonight. Clara has taken ill with ...