Monthly Archives: January 2016

Book Review: The Wiersbe Bible Commentary by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe

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                                     photo courtesy of CLC Philippines

Finally a Bible commentary you will actually read! Wait what?! We “read” commentaries? Of course for us “reading” a commentary might mean checking a Bible verse in a Matthew Henry and see that it (especially if we are preparing a Bible study or sermon) agrees with what we think the verse means. But to actually “read” it as in get the book, find your reading spot and spend an hour absorbing the commentary is another thing. Rarely do we do that. But with the “The Wiersbe Bible Commentary” you can enjoy it as if it’s a regular Christian book.
This commentary collects his popular “Be” series that are less technical, easily accessible and easy to understand. Well when we say Weirsbe dropped the theological jargons and can be appreciated by anyone it doesn’t mean its has no depth in content. In the contrary it covers a lot of grounds including biblical principles and apologetics. “The Wiersbe Bible Commentary” is relevant and up to the challenges of this current generation.

This is the zenith of Wiersbe’s work all bound in two volumes, now locally published with a gorgeous cover and a very affordable price. If you’re a newbie in using commentaries, this commentary is a great start. If you’re a pastor who wants a sharable resource to the congregation, this one is the best. If you’re a fan of his “Be” series which you collect by going to Booksale or receiving it as a Kindle freebie over David C. Cook now it’s the time to own a physical copy. Guarantee it won’t collect dust in your bookshelf.

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5 Confidence Boosters for 2016 (and 4 Ways To Thank God For It) Part 3

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The best way to thank a gracious God is through our godly actions that will make a difference in our lives and to others. Here are 4 of them that will not only thank God but cultivate a grateful heart towards Him.

  • Flee from idols and false gods

“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains.” Isaiah 40: 18-19

 

Never lower your view on God. We may not worship carved images but we can put an idol aside from God on the altar of our hearts. Knowing that the God of the Bible is the true God flee to the gods of our own devices.  Follow the God of the Bible that gives true and lasting confidence.

  • Incline to His counsel always

“Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge,and showed him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40: 13-14

 

Remember that human knowledge is limited and changeable. But God’s wisdom stretch from age to age. Seek His counsel that He is willing to give when we come to Him.

(to be concluded next week…)

5 Confidence Boosters for 2016 (and 4 Ways to Thank God for It) Part 2

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Continuing last weeks list of confidence boosters that are God given, here are numbers 3 to 5. Next week we will conclude it with 4 ways to thank God for these awesome confidence boosters
3.) On God’s Word
A voice says, “Cry!”And I said, “What shall I cry?”All flesh is grass, and all its beautyOr all its constancy is like the flower of the field.The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it;surely the people are grass.The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
– Isaiah 40: 6-8
The Bible is not a catalog of do’s and don’ts. It is the God’s Word. And since its from God, it is dependable. As we glance back to the verse, we can see that His words will stand forever. Man’s words may falter but the message of the Bible will not. Therefore it’s dependable.
4.) Proclaiming the gospel
Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news;Or O herald of good news to Jerusalem lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah,”Behold your God!”—Isaiah 40: 9
We have confidence that in sharing the love of Christ to others our labor will not be in vain. All of it is gain even if we face rejection. We don’t however gain anything if we don’t tell the gospel and lose the rewards God will give to us. The gospel is powerful because it came from God. For those who accept the gospel it is an eternal blessing. Rejecting this message of love leads to eternal condemnation.
5.) In God
“Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”—Isaiah 40: 10-11
One might complain that the God of the Old Testament is one unloving God. But Psalms 23 dispels that notion. And so are these verses. God is shown as a compassionate shepherd that tends His sheep. He “tends”, “gather the lambs in his arms”, “carry them in his bosom” and “gently lead those that are with young.” Its one thing to get a confidence boost on the promises of God in His Word and its another thing to lean to God Himself. The God of eternity to eternity gets personal with His elect. Getting personal has been a reputation of God. He has done that when he walk this earth 2,000 years ago. He will do it again soon.
(to be concluded next week…)

Made in Japan: Delighting Grace Interviews Ryo Azumi Author of Manga Bible

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Manga and anime has been a staple to our pop culture. Watching and reading those imports from Japan is something every Pinoy enjoyed during their childhood (and even as adults). Aside from those big eyes and funk hairs are unforgettable stories that still captivates our imagination. Ryo Azumi author and illustrator of the bestselling “Manga Bible” tells us something about manga and everything in between in this brief interview:
Delighting Grace: Hello Miss Ryo, so tell us what’s the difference between a manga and other forms of comics?
Ryo Azumi: It is very important to express the feelings of the characters in the manga. So the face of the characters are being deformed, tend to draw eyes bigger. Because “eyes” are most important part to express his/her emotion. Panel layout is another feature of manga. It’s elaborated. Manga expression is based on the cinema.
Delighting Grace: What you think are the reason manga or anime won the hearts of the Western culture?
 Ryo Azumi: It is the mystery. When I was young, manga was a domestic subculture in Japan, I did not imagine that manga become world-wide. I also did not imagine “sushi” become world-wide.
Delighting Grace: How did you start writing and drawing manga?
Ryo Azumi: I was a very introverted girl, so I started drawings from very young age. Love books and drawings rather than playing outdoors.
Delighting Grace: Can you share with us the process of creating the Manga Bible? What’s your favorite part of the project?
Ryo Azumi: Request → Discussion → Plot making → Storyboard → Rough sketching → Inking → Painting.
My favorite part is “King David”. If “project” means “process”, every parts were hard to me.
Delighting Grace: How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
Ryo Azumi: One of my uncle was a Catholic. He showed me some beautiful pictures of Jesus when I was very young. After that, my friend of a primary school (or kindergarten?) invited me to Sunday-school.(Protestant church) Through the long interruption period, I was back to the church.
Delighting Grace: How do Christians strive in Japan which is so heavily influence by Shintoism and ancestral worship?
Ryo Azumi: It’s a difficult question. I think it is different by living in community and home environment. Shintoism is closely related to social community. Generally, community tie is not strong in the big city. Urbanites does not much interfere with the others. In my case, I was born and raised in Tokyo, so there are no problem. (In addition, my family already had a Christian uncle whom I mentioned.) But, I guess, Christian life in the provinces might be not easy in Japan. By the way, it is a natural feeling for the Japanese to respect the ancestral memorial. It is not always “worship.”
Delighting Grace: Can you give some helpful tips for folks who wants to draw manga? Also for manga artist who wants to get their works publish, what advice can you give to them
Ryo Azumi: Draw intently. Do not become complacent. See your work objectively. And enjoy.
Delighting Grace: Please invite them to get your books and how do fans get in touch with you?
Ryo Azumi: Here are the links that can be helpful if you want to connect with me:

5 Confidence Boosters for 2016 (and 4 Ways to Thank God For It) Part 1

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For this new year, nothing beats some encouragement that will sky rocket our confidence as we look forward to the things this year have in store to us. Thank God there are confidence boosters that will enable to lift us up and walk for Him that will fuel us till December. This God given confidence will also give us an extra mile as we make a difference in our church, family and community. As we read Isaiah 40, we see that in the midst of being unfaithful of Israel, God extends His loving hands to them. When someone gives you something to hold on to, it gives us confidence in our life. God can only provide such confidence and beyond. Now let us list down 5 of them and see how gracious God is to us.
1.) Salvation
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40: 1-2
Nothing in this world can give us great confidence that salvation. When God mercifully gives you the faith to believe the gospel, it doesn’t just give us the assurance of heaven but also the promises of God to us. It gives us peace (Romans 5: 1), adoption as sons of God (Ephesians 1:5 ) and many other privileges He provides.
2.) Sanctification
A voice cries:”In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40: 3-5
Holiness is not some walk in the park thing. It takes lots of effort to yield to be godly and not to mention temptations abound. Like an ambassador or emissary visiting a country in Bible times, the paths should be clear and clean. We also as Christians should clear and clean our very lives as we intend to make an impact to others. And we can do that because of how God set us for our santification. He started it (Ephesians 2:100 and He gives abundant grace in everything to enable us to do it (2 Corinthians 6:8). So we wont feel that we walk in this world alone in doing His will but an assurance He is their for us.

The Quotable Round-Up #18

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Happy New Year to all!!!! Its a brand new year for all of us Christians as we look forward for God’s wonderful blessings in store for us. I have been caught by the busy holiday but I’m back to deliver some quote goodies. Now lets dive away to these awesome quotes.

“Our problem is not that we don’t know that God exists. Our problem is that we refuse to acknowledge the God whom we know to be true.”
–R. C. Sproul

“Only the Spirit can raise spiritually dead hearts to believe the gospel.”
–Steven J. Lawson

“Without the divine light of the Spirit, the Bible remains a closed book.”
— Steven J. Lawson

“Leadership in a gospel framework humbly serves those under its guard.”
–Matthew B. Sims

“The quest for God doesn’t begin until conversion. Prior to our conversions, we run as fast and as relentlessly as we can away from God.”
–R. C. Sproul

“Everywhere else we’d go would be a disaster for us.Any answer but Jesus is no answer at all.And yet, even when we run,His,grace reaches us.”
–Matt Chandler

“The Spirit of God is the sole, santifying agent in our life, but He regularly uses ordinary means to do so. He uses reading the Word,praying,preaching,fasting and meditation.”
–Matthew B. Sims

 

Book Review: Resolving Everyday Conflict by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson

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This book reminds me of my time in graduate school. Our professor is teaching us the topic about conflict in the business setting. I learned a lot in that subject but still I find myself wanting. What was left out in the discussion is the biblical principle of conflict. This book handles the topic from the root, causes and solution and many many more. Sande is an expert on this area and few authors do take on this sticky issue.

This small book is dripping with biblical principles that it’s not just another “run of the mill” relationship book. Taking the subject of conflict opens up others issues like forgiveness, disagreement, admission and restoration. Those are sensitive issues attached to conflict. However, “Resolving Everyday Conflict” answers them head on with the gospel and God honoring intentions. Truly this is a unique book that you’ll pick up.

“Resolving Everyday Conflict” endeavors us response to conflict with a biblical perspective. After reading this you’ll gain godly insights on conflict that will lead you to see that it’s on just ending the problem but creating a unity and harmony among the people around you.