Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to continue with the online book club this year, and for your feedback.

I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

I look forward to seeing some of you comment next year.

lots of love


Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God - Chapter 5 - Helen Roseveare

I know I’ve missed the last two chapters that we read from ‘Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God’. Sorry to those of you who are reading along with us. Things have been quite busy the last few weeks and I even missed a book club my self.

I did however enjoy reading the chapters, and I hope you found them encouraging and challenging.

Chapter 5: Helen Roseveare – Faithful in Loss

I’d like to share with you a few of the things we discussed in our book club meeting.

Beginnings: Some of us where surprised that Helen found such Godly companions in university who lead her to a deeper relationship with the Lord. Page 143-145. Some including myself had understood university to be a godless place, but on discussing this point we found that those of us who had attended university did not find it to be a godless place and had themselves found Godly friends and teachers.

Peaks and Valleys: I could relate to her description of the peaks and valleys in her life, as it reminded me of my own view of spiritual life when I was still a Charismatic Pentecostal. Though the language was different. We said we ‘felt dry’ or in the ‘wilderness’.

“I found frequently that I climbed in glorious sunshine… my face set determinedly for the nearest peak I could see. As I reached it, I revelled in the sense of achievement and victory and in the glorious view…” pg 147 We noted that the ‘the sense of achievement’ she describes suggests that the spiritual heights and ‘peaks’ where the result of her own effort. The peaks and valleys she described where from her perspective; how she felt she was doing in her walk with the Lord. In reality, this high feeling may be self righteousness, and the low points when she felt a sense of failure… “As I went down from the present peak into the valley between the mountains, I was often shadowed by the very peak I had been enjoying. This I interpreted in a sense of failure and this often led to despair…” May in fact, from Gods perspective have been the times when she was closest to the Lord and realised that she needed Christ more. Maybe God brings us low in to the valleys, to show us that our effort alone is not satisfactory to bring us into a right relationship with God, but that it is all Christ. What we see as valleys, may be the peaks God sees.

It is easy to fall into a sense of self righteous achievement. Sometimes even when we try to do the right thing, by spending more time in the word, getting up early to pray and have devotions, and do lots of good things for others, we feel like we’re doing really well it can be spoiled by our ‘revelling in our own sense of achievement’ rather than remembering that it is God’s achievement. It reminds me a bit of Mary and Martha.

Learning from her African brethren: The Africans she was there to minister to and along side taught her a lot about the Lord that she could not have learned at home in England. They exhibited a very Christ like love to her that she hadn’t seen before. I also found it interesting how the colour of her skin effected her. Page 159 “Pastor Ndugu… leaned toward me. “Helen… why can’t you forget for a moment that you are white? You’ve helped so many Africans to find cleansing and filling and joy in the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus Christ. Why don’t you let Him do for you what He has done for so many others?”
He … opened up to me hidden areas in my heart that I had hardly even suspected, particular this one of race prejudice. I was horrified…” She came to teach them, and yet it was they who taught her so much.

Gods Answers prayers:
How amazing was Gods answer to prayer on page 157. The providence of God is truly amazing as God answered the prayer 7 months earlier before the need had arisen or the words of the prayer were even spoken. What an impact such a specific answer to prayer must have been for the little girl who prayed. We should not be surprised.

Suffering: It is difficult to read about the things she suffered at the hands of the Guerrilla’s (Simbas) as I found myself thinking ‘why didn't God have protect her’. We discussed how ‘Gods Best’ is not always what we expect or want. When we read in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” we often think of Gods ‘good’ as our physical protection, but it is not always so. We talked about the very personal example of one of our friends who’s cousin was in a car accident and left brain damaged. Everyone prayed that he would get well if it was the Lords will, but he did not. Most thought that his recovery or healing was best. But 'Gods best' was the conversion of the young mans family due to the accident and the injury. God's best; End result, the salvation of others.

God didn’t protect Helen from rape, abuse and beating, but he used her “They’re not attacking you. They are attacking me. I’m just using your body to show myself to the people around you.” Page 166. Because of what she’d been through she was able to help a young nun “One young nun had been raped and felt as if she’d betrayed God and her promises to God. Because of her similar experience, Helen was able to break through the woman’s despairing barrier, as no one else could.” Page 166. She was also able to 'protect some fo the other women from undergoing a new trauma they might posssibly have escaped so far.' page 167

It was also encouraging as it shows us that we can suffer terrible trauma and survive. In fact it often changes our perspective an forces us to look toward heaven.

Philippians 3:10 “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death”

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God - Chapter 2 - Lilias Trotter

We had much to discuss about Lilias. She was an amazing and determined woman, who did her best for her God.

The Higher life movement

Lilias attended her first Higher life movement meeting when she was 19 and it seems this movement had a great influence on her life. page 43

The Higher Life movement seemed unknown to us all so I thought I’d find out about it.

Whilst reading this chapter the term ‘Higher Life’ seemed to sit at the very edge of my memory as somehow familiar and I wondered whether there was any connection to my past Christian experience in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement. On further research, the memories came flooding back.

This statement about the higher life movement from Wikepedia sums up much of what I was taught whilst a Pentecostal. “The main idea of the Higher Life movement is that the Christian should move on from his initial conversion experience to also experience a second work of God in his life. This work of God is called “entire sanctification,” “the second blessing,” “the second touch,” “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” and various other terms. Higher Life teachers promoted the idea that Christians who had received this blessing from God could live a more holy, that is less sinful or even a sinless, life. This teaching has its roots in John Wesley’s doctrine of Christian perfection.”

The Higher Life Movement was one of the precursors to the modern Pentecostal movement. ‘Another predecessor to Pentecostalism was the Keswick "Higher Life" movement which flourished in England after 1875. Led at first by American holiness teachers such as Hannah Whitall Smith and William E. Boardman, the Keswick teachers soon changed the goal and content of the "second blessing" from the Wesleyan emphasis on "heart purity" to that of an "enduement of spiritual power for service." Thus, by the time of the Pentecostal outbreak in America in 1901, there had been at least a century of movements emphasizing a second blessing called the "baptism in the Holy Spirit" with various interpretations concerning the content and results of the experience. In America, such Keswick teachers as A.B. Simpson and A.J. Gordon also added to the movement at large an emphasis on divine healing "as in the atonement" and the premillenial rapture of the church.’
Oral Roberts University

I personally have found it difficult not to let this information prejudice my view of the missions work done by Lilias Trotter. I have forced myself to remember, as we discussed, that regardless of the underpinning theology that sent Lilies Trotter and her fellow missionaries out, their motive to go out into all the world and spread the gospel was a good one. Their message to the people of Algeria was simple. In the face of language difficulties, cultural barriers, illiteracy, and the foreign concept of a loving and forgiving God they used the simple but powerful message of the ‘wordless book’ page 44 . Their simple message showed the people their sins, gave them hope and lead them to believe in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.

Links about the Higher Life Movement:

The wordless book

We also discussed the 'wordless book' mentioned on page 44. I remember as a child being taught the Gospel in Sunday School with it.

Read this link to find out more about it. Apparently it was originally designed by Charles Spurgeon.

Go out into all the world

Mary mentioned, that at the universities, it appears that ‘God is also bringing all the world to us’ to hear the gospel. Foreign students are coming to Australia to study, and are very open to discuss the word of God and open to the gospel, which is contrasted by the hostility to the gospel shown by many Aussies.

Sometimes whilst reading about missionaries and the marvellous work for Christ they do, you can’t help but feel that we should be going out to the ‘mission field’. What are we doing for Christ?

It is good to remember that the ‘mission field’ is all around us. Despite the wealth and prosperity, comfortable living and peace that we experience here in Australia, it does not mean that the other mothers at playgroup, our neighbours, or family are any less ‘lost’ than the hidden Muslim women that Lilias ministered to in Algeria. In fact they are just as lost and in danger of hell. May God help us as and give us wisdom as we go out into all the world.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jonathan Edwards

For further reading after discussing Sarah Edwards I'd like to recommend this biography of Jonathan Edwards by Iain H Murray.

"This outstanding biography serves as a classic illustration of how the church today can and should learn from its past history. Edwards theology is set in the proper context of his everyday life, and we are able to follow him in public and private - as pastor in the days of the Great Awakening as well as in the wilderness years in the outpost of Stockbridge."

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God - Chapter 1 - Sarah Edwards

Last week we discussed Chapter 1: Sarah Edwards, Faithful in the Mundane

I was amazed at how young they were and how much they had achieved at such an early age. Page 16 'In 1723 at age nineteen, Jonathan had already graduated from Yale and had been a pastor in New York for a year.’ They met in 1723 when Sarah was 13 (pg 17), by 1725 Sarah was 15 when they were engaged (pg 18), and they were married in 1727 (pg 18), she was 17 years old.

A Faithful Wife: Sarah reminded us very much of Luther’s Katie. Like Katie, she managed the whole household, whilst allowing her husband to fucus on his duties and studies. Jonathan seemed similar to Luther ‘I have had very affecting views of hole mind in a kind of loud weeping… so that I have often been forced to shut myself up.’ Page 21. But she adapted to his needs and supported him in such a way that he could do all he needed without any encumbrance.

Like the Proverbs 31 woman ‘she spared no pains in conforming to his inclination and rendering everything in the family agreeable and pleasant.’ Page 21, as Samuel Hopkins observed… 'Edwards found at home one who was in every sense a help mate for him, one who made their common dwelling the abode of order and neatness, or peace and comfort, of harmony and love, to all its inmates, and of kindness and hospitality to the friend the visitant and the stranger.' Page 26.

Do we support and help our husbands as faithfully?

The Mother: Sarah was careful in the training of her children, Samel Hopkins observed ‘She had an excellent way of governing her children; she knew how to make them regard and obey her cheerfully, without loud angry words, much less heavy blows… If any correction was necessary, she did not administer it in a passion, and when she had occasion to reprove and rebuke she would do it in a few words, without warmth [that is vehemence] and noise…Her system of discipline was begun at a very early age and it was her rule to resist the first, as well as every subsequent exhibition of temper or disobedience in the child… wisely reflecting that until a child will obey his parents he can never be brought to obey God.’ Page 24.

In today’s politically correct world that tells us that physical chastisement and careful discipline will squash our children’s personality and damage them emotionally it was encouraging to read that ‘ Their Children were eleven different people, proving that her discipline did not squash their personalities.’ Page 24

Sarah prayed for her children and was concerned for their spiritual well being… ‘for her children she constantly and earnestly prayed and bore them on her heart before God… and that even before they were born’. Page 24. She also endevoured to be a good example and role model to her children ‘she made it her rule to speak well of all, so far she could with truth and justice to herself and others.' Page 26.
Are we careful of the role model we set for our children?

We also saw that they spoke to their children about very serious matters that is very uncommon today. ‘When Jonathan wrote to his children, he often reminded them not morbidly, but almost as a matter of fact – how close death might be. For Jonathan, the reality of death led automatically to the need for eternal life. He wrote to their ten year old Jonathan Jr. about the death of a playmate. “This is a loud call of god to you to prepare for death…Never give yourself any rest unless you have good evidence that you are converted and become a new creature” ’. Page 33. The ever-present sense of death and eternity is foreign to us today, and yet, just as real… we may not face the threats they did, but we could still be hit by a car tomorrow.

It is amazing to think of the far reaching effects of Sarah’s faithfulness down throw the generations. As we see on page 22 the achievements of her descendants.

Sarah’s Experience: Having experienced the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, reading about Sarah’s experience was a little uncomfortable, but I felt that Noels comments about it were insightful, and I think we can err on both sides, we can say that it was merely a mental breakdown, or that it was “enthusiasm” to use Edwards own expression. But the way it changed Sarah seems to indicate a true spiritual encounter, rather than the superficial experience often seen in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement, which in many cases does not effect much change in the person. Page 31 ‘Sarah’s life was different after these weeks – different in the ways you would expect after God has specially visited someone. Jesus said “you will recognise them by their fruits”.’ Mat 7:46.’

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter... I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Faithul Woman Monthly Planner 2008

Hi Ladies

Its planner time again. I can’t believe the year has gone by so fast!

Thank you to everyone who helped me by filling out the survey. It was very helpful as it enabled me to find out how I could improve the planner to make it more useful. Based on your feedback I’ve made some changes and additions which you can view on the sample attached:

Important Information:
• added Passport and License numbers
• more spaces to record your Birthdays
Month to Page
• the size of the boxes have been increased to give you more room to write in each day
• the public holidays are in the days, rather than just indicating when they were with a dot
Week to Page
• the space you have to write in each day has been increased
• ‘People to email’ added
• public holiday in the day space rather than at the top of the page
• a page is included to write important dates for next year
Quiet Times
• more space for prayer requests for each other and family
• a place to record prayer points from the prayer meeting,
• a place to record points to pray about from the weekly sermon
Things to Remember
• a new, contributed by Alison Philips. A Parents Prayer Program. Which is design to help give you ideas and inspiration to pray for your children’s spiritual development and salvation.

If you would like to know more about the monthly planner, or how to order, please email amy at

Orders close 19th November 2007

Look forward to hearing from you soon!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Luther the Movie

So we read the book now we've seen the Movie!
Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes as Luther.

check it out at

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Final Chapters

Well, once again we come to the end of a book!

I know I missed a couple of posts along the way but I just wanted to share a couple of things that we discussed from the last few chapters.

Luther & Katie's Marriage: in reading this book you get a picture of a happy marriage.
Luther often speaks of Katie in his letters in very affectionate language, and speaks of her as a pious wife and precious gift. pg 63 'His 'dear rib' was 'gentle, obedient and kind in all things far beyond my hopes. I would not exchange my poverty with her for all the riches of Croesus with out her... I would not part from my Katie, no not to gain all France and Venice... '

It also appears that Katie fit the pattern of a 'proverbs 31' women too. Luther also says on pg 63 He thanked God for a 'pious and faithful wife' to whom he could safely trust his heart. Like the the husband in Provers 31:11 Luther's heart could safely trust his wife. She also is a very industrious women, managing the house, the garden, the children, guests and their finances. I love the way Luther describes Katie hiding the vase he intended to give away! pg 72

It seems whilst Katie was obedient she also spoke her mind and took charge, Luther affectionately refers to her as his lord pg 69 'He called her 'my lord Katie' or on occasion pronounced her name Kette, German for 'chain'. He said that if he wanted an obedient wife he would have to carve one for himself out of stone.'

Scripture alone: Luthers struggle gives new meaning to the term 'scripture alone'. For him it truly was scripture alone. Being the man God used to bring scripture and truth to light in his dark age, he didn't have the benefit of the mountains of literature and biblical scholors and theologians we have today. People looked to him and trusted him to get it right. Doubt assailed him pg 78 with this question, 'Are you alone right?... what if you are wrong and misleading others? The conclusion; that scripture must be at the root of all we believe. pg 80 'So in final analysis he must be rooted in the scripture' Scripture alone.

Understanding the depths of sin: Today we find christianity often focusing on the 'love' of God, much more than his righteousness, judgment and justice. Unfortunately tipping the scales to only see his 'Love' with out the balance of Gods other attributes means that we can't understand hell. How could a loving God send people to hell?

People think hell is harsh because the don't see the depths of our sin. If we understood more the depths of our sin, and how it offends God, we'd love God more, and appreciate his merciful salvation. We would see how glorious God grace is, and how wonderful the gift of salvation!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Invisible Hand by RC Sproul

This book was recommended in our last book club:

Invisible Hand by RC Sproul

"Covers all aspects of divine providence. Written for all who face the hard questions of providence in the concrete arena of faith. "Every woman who has delivered a stillborn baby knows the devastation it brings to the heart," write R. C. Sproul. "Who can experience such a thing without crying to heaven and asking, ‘Why?’ It is normal to wonder where God is in such circumstances. It is where the rubber of human anguish meets the road of divine providence."

"This book is an effort to face those issues and questions that arise with regard to God’s providence," Sproul writes. "It is designed to look at the question of providence, not only from a doctrinal viewpoint, but chiefly from an examination of concrete experiences of the flesh-and-blood people whose lives and struggles are recorded for us in sacred Scripture."

Sproul concludes: "The Providence of God is our fortress, our shield, and our very great reward. It is what provides courage and perseverance for His saints." All who read The Invisible Hand will find themselves praising God for his mercy and loving kindness.

“Not since I read one of Sproul’s earlier books, The Holiness of God, has a book simultaneously shaken my soul and comforted it with the presence of God. . . . This is theology at its finest. It is truth for living.”
—Rob Taylor (Emmaus Journal) from

Luther and His Katie - Chapters 3-5

This week we discussed Chapters 3-5 of Luther and his Katie. These chapters provided so much to talk about, but here are just a few thoughts we discussed.

Excitement: Chapter 4 : Catherine was particularly exciting. The author did an excellent job at creating a sense of excitement over the events surrounding Luther. You find your imagination wondering at the way information would have filtered into the convent, rumours, and whispers of revolutionary events taking place outside the walls of their ‘prison’ pg 49. It also demonstrates the rippling effect that Luther’s actions had across Germany and Europe

Awakening: You get the feeling of a world cloaked by darkness, suppressed by superstition, fear, and despair, highlighting the consequence of works based religion, leaving people miserable without hope. Then they are awakened, the light of truth driving away the darkness, and freeing people from the fear of the church and giving them hope in Christ. They began to see the institutions like convents and monasteries for what they really where, and realised “God could be served as well outside the convent as in!” pg 44

The escape: The escape from the nunnery contains all the intrigue of a movie, secrecy, escape, danger, thrill of the chase. The escape of the nuns was sensational. Imagine hearing the whisperings of Luther whilst in the nunnery and then, upon escaping having the man himself endeavour to secure your protection by finding for you accommodation and marriage partners. You get a hint at how vulnerable it was for unmarried women of the time. Marriage was not only for love, but protection and survival.

Providence: We were reminded of God’s amazing providence! It is truly amazing that the very instruments God used to preserve the scriptures, were those that had corrupted true religion, and reduced Christianity to a works based religion of fear.

Other inventions coincided with the reformation such as the printing press, which helped to spread the news. Gods timing is always perfect.

We were challenged to remember Gods providence in our prayers and praise Him, and thank Him for it.

I hope you enjoyed these chapters… I certainly did.
Please share your thoughts with us.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Luther and His Katies - Chapters 1-2

I must confess that for this book club, I was very slack and didn’t read the whole 2 chapters we were discussing,. I Promise to make up for it next week!

In our discussions we discovered, we had all heard of the 95 Theses but none of us actually knew what Luther’s 95 Theses were. So, I thought I’d find out. Check out this link to view and English translation of Luther's 95 Theses

Having now finally read the chapters… what struck me the most was the depth of Luther’s despair (Pg 27) and (page 26) His diligence in trying to save himself through sacraments, ordinances and penance. How wonderful and amazing grace must have been when he realised that Gods gift of grace was free!

I have had some heavy discussions with relatives about ‘hearing the voice of God’ I also found the statement of Luther’s Father on page 24 very relevant to today’s situation for many charismatic’s. ‘You learned scholars, have you not read in the Scriptures that you should honour your father and your mother? And here you have left me and your dear mother to fend for ourselves in our old age’. Scripture should always take precedence over experience. And yet so often people let their experience rule them rather than the scriptures. As his father says ‘God grant that it was not an apparition of the devil!’ page 25, if we allow ourselves to be dictated by our experience, how do we know if the ‘message’ we receive is truly God’s or the devils? It appears the words of his father troubled Luther greatly until he realised that Gods commandments take precedence. Luthers intial response, seems to be how many respond today… ‘however firmly I closed my mind against them yet in my heart of hearts I have never been able to forget them’ Page 25. I pray that my friends and family will also eventually come to the realisation that Luther did…. ‘God’s Commandment must take precedence.’ Page 25

Please share your thoughts on these chapters with me…

Monday, May 28, 2007

Beautiful in Gods Eyes

I've just finished this excellent book. Beautiful in God's Eyes by Elizabeth George.

I highly recommend it! This study of the 'Proverbs 31' woman is challenging, practical and Inspiring. I actually felt 'I can do this'. The 'proverbs 31 woman' become real, not some unrealistic picture of a perfect woman. She became someone you could make your mentor.

I will definately be reading this one again!

Blurb: "Beauty is more than skin deep - it starts in the hear and works outward.

Exploring the timesless wisdom of Proverbs 31, Bible teacher Elizaveth George reveals how you can become a woman of true beauty - a woman who desires to honor God in all that she says and does. Beaugiful in God's Eyes helps you make each day immensely meaningful as you delight in God and discover how to...
• experience intant progress toward personal goals
• manage daily life more effectively
• tap into unlimited energy
• apply biblical principles to enhance relationships
• move from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

You can experience a richer, more exciting sprititual walk as you embrace God's design for true beauty in your life."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mary Magdalene: Delivered from Darkness

A few thoughts we discussed this week:

Mary Magdelene Myths: It was interesting to note how many of us had been influenced by the story’s about Mary that have been popular without realising that they were groundless, like her being a prostitute and the woman caught in adultery, or that she was the woman who washed Jesus feet with her hair.

Why has Mary Magdelene become such a popular figure and the subject of Myths? How many people today do believe or want to believe the myths revived by the Da Vinci Code? Whilst working I was often told by unbelieving friends that I should read the Da Vinci Code; that it would challenge my faith. Having read it, it amazes me that people can believe it to be fact, and yet they do.

How merciful of God to omit the details of Mary’s past pg 175 “Scripture Deliberately and Mercifuly omits the macabre details of her dreadful demon possession.” The bible only tells us what we need to know. That Mary had a lot to be thankful for. It was also noted that the women caught in adultery has also been protected, due to the fact that people have attributed her acts to Mary.

Pg 187 “We can be certain that whatever travelling arrangements were made for the group, Jesus’ name (as well as the reputations of all the mend and women in the group) were carefully guarded from anything that might hint at any reproach. After all, Jesus’ enemies were looking desperately for reasons to accuse Him. If there had been any way whatsoever for them to drum up doubts about the propriety of Jesus’ relationships with women, that issue would have been raised.” Surely if there had been any inappropriate relationship between Mary and Christ , as is suggested by the myths surrounding Mary, this would have been something that would have been used to accuse Him, as they sought to have him killed.

Mary’s love for Christ: I was moved by the devotion and love of Mary as she followed Christ pg 181. From the site of his execution, to his burial and then to the tomb in the early hours of the morning. She loved him so much. Don’t we have just as much to love him for? He has saved us from Hell! How devoted are we?

Recommended Reading:
There were a few books recommended during our discussion

Does God Believe in Atheists by John Blanchard
The Sufficiency of Scripture by Noel Weeks
Breakfast On The Beach : Empty Tomb And Subsequent Glory by Trumper Peter.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

False Start

Well girls we had a bit of a false start this term. There was only three of us at our last meeting so we thought we'd just have coffee and a natter instead. Which we enjoyed immensly, but this week we're starting again.

We will be discussing Mary Magadalene. And this time I promise to post the notes on Friday!

So if you have any thoughts you'd like to jump start with about Mary, please fill us in here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Samaritan Women: Finding the Water of Life

Sorry ladies for my late post. I’ve had a very hectic week and haven’t had a chance to get on-line. However I’ve caught up now…well, until tomorrow anyway. :)

Here are just a few things we discussed at our book club meeting last week:

The Jews and the Samaritans: In our discussion of the Samaritan women, a couple mentioned that we had wanted to do a little research on the Samaritans, and find out a bit more about them and wether they still existed today. I found a couple of links, and learned that the Samaritans do still exist and still have their own priesthood. Different sources have different figures but there are apparently around 500 to 1000 Samaritans. A couple of links are below:

The Jews’ hatred of the Samaritans: Whilst we had all of course heard the story before, it still seems amazing how much the Jews hated the Samaritans, apparently going to such lengths to avoid going anywhere near them. ‘A look at any map reveals that the most direct route goes straight through Samaria. But in Jesus’ time, any self respecting Jew would always travel a different way. The preferred route went east of the Jordan River, then north through Decapolis before crossing the Jordan again into Galilee. This alternate route went many miles out of the way, but it bypassed Samaria, and that was the whole point.’ Pg 143. Presumably the extra distance required for this alternative route, would have cost more in provisions and time. The fact that Jews would abandon such an important historical site as the burial place of Joseph, and spend more money food and effort to avoid them highlights their strong dislike of the Samaritans.

The Samarians believed: It seems amazing that the Samaritans, brought up in a corrupt religion, believed after only hearing the woman’s testimony. ”The immediate impact of this woman’s testimony on the city of Sychar was profound. John wrote, ‘Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’” (v.39 NKJV)” pg 151. Yet the Jews, despite their religious heritage, the prophecies of the Old Testament, and all the miracles Jesus performed still did not believe. This seems similar to our experience today when it comes to sharing the gospel. It is often easier to talk to those who have no or little ‘religious’ background about the things of God, than to those unbelievers who have been brought up in the churches, or attended Christian schools.

Of course, there was a lot more to talk about in this chapter. Please share some of your thoughts on the Samaritan woman.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A wake up call to the church

This week I heard a sermon, which was inspiring, challenging and very thought provoking for every Christian in the western world today. It was a sermon delivered to 5000 young Americans in a conference which would be equivalent to Youth Alive, or Hillsong here in Australia, by Paul Washer.

Paul’s message was passionate and brave, challenging every listener to examine their own hearts. He confronted them and the western church in general about the liberal state of the church, its relaxed morals, how ‘Christians’ behave, what ‘Christians’ listen too, what ‘Christians’ watch, how ‘Christians’ speak. Does the church really display biblical Christianity to the world? Do you display biblical Christianity? Are you different from the world?

Unfortunately Paul Washer was never invited to speak at the conference again. I pray that God would raise up more men like him to speak to the church in Australia.

This sermon is well worth listening to or reading, visit

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Book Club: 8th March 2007 - Anna: The Faithful Witness

In this weeks discussion of this chapter, we agreed that there are a lot of ‘Maybe’s in this chapter. JM has drawn a lot out of these three verses, and has made a lot of assumptions, that whilst they may be true, it is impossible to know.

Anna hid the scripture in her heart: ‘She had evidently spend a lifetime hiding God’s Word in her heart. Naturally, that was the substance of what she usually had to say. So when Luke called her “prophetess,” he gave insight into her character and a clue about what occupied her mind and her conversation.” Page 134
and Luke 2:38 “And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem”

Godly Women treasuring the word of God in their hearts seems to be a common thread of all or most of the women we’ve read about. I am finding it a challenge to think about what occupies my mind and conversation. Is it the word of God, as it should be or is it other things? Work? Politics? TV shows? News? What do I talk about? I am reminded that what we speak gives away what is in out hearts…“Not what goes into the moth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Matt 15:11

Prophetess: JM spent a good amount of time pointing out that Anna did not hold a ‘Prophetic Office’. Some of us felt that this may have been a little unnecessary, though we could understand possible reasons why he may have felt a need to do this, given the climate of the church in this day and age.

Enduring Witness: By worldly standards of the day, Anna would not have had much to commend her as important. She was a woman with no family, was not a mother, was a widow, elderly and lead a seemingly unimportant but devoted life. Yet God allowed her a long life and obviously one that touched many people for Luke to record her as he did. And now she is an enduring witness to the coming of the Messiah!

Providence: The Providence of God is amazing, isn’t it? We see Anna, arriving at that instant, just in time to hear and observe the answer to her prayers! What a faithful God we have! “And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” Luke 2:38

Please share with us your thoughts...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper

Ok, so I know we havn't finished 12 Extraordinary Women yet, and we havn't even started Luther and his Katie,
but I thought I'd let you know the book we'll be reading after that, so that you can get prepared. Like Luther and his Katie, I ordered it before Christmas and didn't get it until early February. So you may need to check out its availability at your book shop now.

In this book, Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper, we are going to be reading about more ordinary women who with Gods help did extraordinary things, but these women are not biblical figures.

The publishers description is:

"Modern Christian women need an introduction to the intelligent, capable, godly women of the past. The faith and exploits of such women will encourage and challenge today's women to make a difference for Christ in their families, in the church, and throughout the world.

Noel Piper shares five biographies of Christian women God used to do extraordinary things. She uses excerpts from letters and journals to add rich detail to each woman's amazing story. These women include Sarah Edwards, wife of one of America's most renowned preachers, Jonathan Edwards; and Gladys Aylward, pioneer missionary to China." - Publisher.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Book Club: 22nd February 2007 - Mary: Blessed Among Women

This fortnight in the book club we were discussing chapter 6: Mary: Mother of God

Mary Worship: Mary is different to the other women we have discussed so far because JM had to deal with Mary worship which is so prevalent today, given that Catholicism is the largest religion in the world. Because of the need to dispel the myths and inaccuracy surrounding her he spent a good deal of the chapter talking about the errors of Mary worship and the Catholic view of her. Which meant we didn’t get as in-depth a look at Mary as we have of the other women, which was a little disappointing.

Mary’s knowledge of scripture: We noted how full of scripture Mary’s prayer was (pg 115 – 119). Mary apparently new the scriptures very well, despite being very young.

We also saw that Mary seemed so calm about the announcement that she was going to be the mother of the Son of God. Especially given the circumstances and the culture in which she lived. Being an unwed women, in a time when adulterers and fornicators could be stoned. Was it because of her knowledge of the scriptures and the prophesied Messiah?

We also wondered at how much Mary actually grasped when she stood watching her son dieing at the crucifixion. She must have felt the fulfilment of Simeon’s words ‘yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also’… Luke 2:35.

Christ; God and Man: It is difficult for us to comprehend the truth of Christ being truly God and Man, even with the benefit of the scriptures. It must have been a difficult thing for Mary too. How do you keep sight of him being God when your making his bed, changing his nappy (or whatever they did back then), feeding him, and teaching him how to be a person?

Sometimes it is easy to loose sight as Christ as a real man, but it is good to be reminded. Luke is a great read, to remind us of Christ’s life.

The perfect Son: Jesus provided for his mothers future, even as he was dying on the cross John 19:25-27. It was suggested that some believe that Jesus may have given her to John’s care rather than his brothers because they were unbelievers. However by pentacost it appears they were believers. If this was the case maybe the events of the crucifixion and resurrection confirmed to them all that he had said when they were growing up with him?

These are just a few of our thoughts on the chapter, please share yours with us…

Friday, February 16, 2007

What are we reading next?

Well, we're now half way through 12 Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur,
so its time to look at what we'll be reading next so that you can get hold of the book.

I ordered my copy of these
two books before Christmas
and didn't get them till the
beginning of February as they were not in stock, so it may be worthwhile checking your book store for availability now.

Next we'll be reading Luther and his Katie by Dolina Cuish. The description says:

"The Influence of Luther's wife on his ministry
Every churchgoer knows about Martin Luther, the rumbustuous leader of the Reformation, but few realise the influence that his wife had on his ministry.

Early in his personal reformation Luther became convinced that there was no reason why parish priests should not marry, if they preferred it, but he did not feel inclined to break his clerical oath himself.

That was until he met Catherine von Bora. Catherine was the Leaer of a daring breakout from a convent reserved for nuns of noble birth. At first Luther was a little afraid of her but they married two years later on the 13th of June 1525.

She prolonged Luther's life by protecting him from the reckless overwork to which he subjected himself. She made the garden of the unfinished Augustinian convent that was their home, profitable - keeping pigs, cows and chickens. She took over three other gardens and planted fruit trees and started small scale farming.

She made the home a haven of rest for the storm tossed man that was her husband. Luther once said, 'Next to God's Word, the world has not more presious treasure than holy matrmony. God's best gift is a pious, cheerful, God-fearing, wife, with whom you may live peacefully, to whom you may entrust your goods, your body and life.'"

Friday, February 09, 2007

Book Club: 8th February 2007 - Hannah: A Portrait of Feminine Grace

This week we had our first book club meeting for 2007. We discussed chapter 5, Hannah: A Portrait of Feminine Grace. A few of the things that we discussed were:

• Hannah’s difficult trial. It must be a difficult thing to share your husband with another man. Can you imagine the kind of nastiness that could go on between to women fighting to win the affection of the same man? We know how horrible women can be to each other over petty things, let alone the love of a man. Samuel says it was a great trial to Hannah. ‘And her rival provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb’ 1 Samuel 1:6-7. So much so that she didn’t eat. You know that feeling of being so upset about somthing that it makes you sick to the stomach. It is clear that Elkanah loved Hannah dearly. JM suggests on page 94 that he took his second wife because of Hannah’s Barrenness. If this was the case it must have made her trial even more bitter. This would also have been a difficult thing for Peninnah; not winning Elkanah’s love despite bearing him children. I was reminded of the rivalry between Rachel and Leah.

• Motherhood the highest calling. ‘Motherhood the highest calling any woman could ever be summoned to.’ Page 93. We are reminded that we need to be thankful that God has given us the gift of children. Conceiving is often very difficult for many women who long to be a mother. Even in our day and age where intervention is available, if our principals allow it. For those of us who have children it is often easy to forget what a privilege we have been given. We should never take motherhood for granted, and should be thankful always that God has given us children.

In today’s world we are often made to feel that being a mum at home is not as important as going out to work or having a ‘career’, but nothing could be further from the truth. As JM puts it ‘She [Hannah] is a reminder that mothers are the makers of men and the architects of the next generation’. Page 94.

• Our example ‘What you communicate to your children through your marital relationship will stay with them for the rest of their lives.’ Page 95. It is important to remember that little eyes and ears are always watching, listening and learning, and the way we interact with our husbands is teaching them some of the most fundamental lessons of life. A sobering thought.

• Hannah trusted God and was faithful. Given Eli’s record as a father and a priest, it must have been a very difficult thing to leave a toddler in his care. It shows how much she trusted the Lord. I cannot imagine parting with my children, or willingly giving them into someone else’s care, especially someone who had himself produced wicked sons. Despite the difficulty of such a decision, Hannah was faithful concerning her vow.

• Hannah left her troubles with the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:18 says that once Hannah had poured her heart out to God, she went away and ate and was no longer sad. Despite the sorrow of her prayers, she was able to leave it in Gods hands. How many of us do this? Do we really leave it with the lord, or do we take it away with us? ‘Hannah truly laid her troubles in the lap of the Lord, totally confident that He would answer her in accord for what was best for her. There’s real humility in that kind of faith, as the apostle Peter noted: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7) Page 100

• Teaching our children while they're young. We talked about John Newton. During a terrible time in his life he was able to recall the scriptures his mother had taught him, despite her dying when he was very young. It is good thing to teach our children about the Lord when they are young and help them to memorise scripture. They seem to retain much more than we think they are able, and there are many instances of people recalling the scriptures they were taught whilst young, during the darkest trials of their life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Welcome Back

Welcome back to the book club!

I hope you all had a lovely break over Christmas and New Year, and are now ready to join in the book club again. This week we will be having our first meeting for 2007 on Thursday the 8th.

We will be starting where we left off, reading chapter 5 of 12 Extraordinary Women, which is 'Hannah: A Portrait of Feminine Grace'.

I will be posting notes once a fortnight on Friday and I look forward to hearing all of your thoughts as we read together.

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Congratulations Mary!

Congratulations Mary on being first to recommend a book on our book club blog!

Mary said:

"I have been reading a good non-fiction book over the holidays.
I would definitely recommend it.

"Through Gates of Splendor" by Elizabeth Elliot.

This is the story of five missionaries in Equador who died when trying to reach a previously unreached Indian tribe, the Aucas.
I found this book interesting and also challenging, especially as it sets forth the great desire these men had for the gospel to be heard where it had never been heard before."

Has anyone else read this book? Why not share your thoughts on it with us.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Blogging Challenge

As a member of the Business Mums Network, I have taken up the blogging challenge. The idea is to help us get our blogs moving and to encourage us to keep them updated and to give them a bit of a kick start as we start the new year!

I know this is not specific to the book club, but I'm hoping that it will motivate me to post more often for you girls, and I plan to post other articles that are book related on a more regular basis.

The first challenge is to let everyone know that I am taking up the challenge... and now its done. Wish me luck :)

The following BMN members are taking part:
Anne Maybus -
Gina Rahmel -
Michele Elmas - and
Justine Barsley -
Michelle Sweeney -
Shelli Crane -
Kylie Short -
Amanda Cox -
Kerrie Ptolemy -
Sarah -
Melissa Khalinsky -

If you have a blog of your own, why not join the challenge! I'll keep you posted :)