Unveiling Grace – by Lynn K. Wilder

unveiling grace

I really didn’t know much about the Mormon religion before reading this book. Oh sure, I had seen pairs of Mormon missionaries in public, either knocking door-to-door witnessing or using the library internet stations to e-mail home. I was invited to the wedding of a neighbor that was Mormon some years ago, and did attend. What I remember about their church was that there was no cross and no image of Jesus, and it almost didn’t seem like a church. Having said that, the Mormon folks were very welcoming and friendly to me.

When my friend mentioned this book to me, I was afraid it would be a boring theological book about various points of doctrine that the author disagreed with. Instead, this book turned out to be a fascinating read about Lynn and her tight-knit family, covering a span of about twenty years. She describes how she and her husband jumped into being members of the Mormon church without really knowing much about it, how they became more tangled in it as the years went by, and how nearly impossible it was to leave. Each of their four kids also wrestled with the issue of whether to stay in the church they’d grown up in and felt secure in, or to break free and start over.

The book gave me a front-row seat into the lifestyles and habits of the Mormons. Some of their practices seemed noble, like spending two years as missionaries, and having an extremely strong work ethic. But many other things were troubling. It was rigid and oppressive, and to disobey them meant you weren’t getting into heaven. If you were ready to confess your sins, you didn’t pray to Jesus to forgive you. Instead, you visited your minister, or a committee, and you were told if you would be forgiven. Wow, I thought, this sounds a bit like the dark ages. I kept reading. It turns out that their church believes Jesus used to be a mere mortal, but was able to work his way up to being a god. He can only be in one place at a time. No wonder he’s too busy to hear people pray for forgiveness! Thankfully, the book wasn’t just a dry recitation of church beliefs, but described their daily lives, their jobs, and so on. Enough of the church beliefs were woven into the story-line to get a good picture of church doctrine.

I love the ending of the book. Instead of saying that they hated the Mormons and their church, Lynn and her family have a great love for their former church members. They want them to know the real Jesus, and that you don’t have to be a slave to a bunch of legalistic rules. Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one God, they can be everywhere, and yes they can forgive your sins and bring you to heaven!

Lynn’s grown children began a ministry called “Adam’s Road” to reach out to Mormons who are looking for a real relationship with Jesus. They understand how difficult it is to leave the church they grew up in, or even to question the authority of the church. This book shows the patience of God and His tender heart, and how important it is to read the Bible ourselves so that we know the truth.

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The Bible And Advertising

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This morning I made myself a cup of coffee and popped onto Biblegateway.com to read a little. First it gave me the verse of the day, which had an ad for a Porsche at the bottom, which wasn’t too bothersome:

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Then I clicked on the icon to read the whole chapter (small lines off to the right under the speaker sound symbol). As soon as I did that, I was treated to ads all around – clothing “tailored for life’s adventures”, the Samsung Galaxy cell phone, commentaries and Bible study books. As I got to the end of the Bible chapter, there were books for sale and an offer for a quick cash loan (which I am happy to say I don’t need).

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Wow, I thought, I don’t remember this website having so many ads. Then I realized that after restoring my computer, I hadn’t turned on the Firefox ad-blocker. After doing that, the ads vanished (except for the Bible study aids, but that relates to reading the Bible). So if you’re reading the Bible online, check to see if you can block those ads. You’ll be a lot less distracted while you read.

Be A Radical Like Martin Luther

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photo credit
https://continuingreformation.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/martin-luther-bringer-of-light/

There have always been radicals, people that challenge our assumptions and implore us to think more deeply about issues. It was no different centuries ago. Back in the 1500s, the average person in Germany was taught – and believed – that to have their sins forgiven, they needed to make a financial contribution to the church. The established church was the middle man that stood between God and man, collecting the payments, then doling out forgiveness of sins.

A young monk named Martin Luther was very troubled about this. He had a choice: to keep his convictions to himself or reveal the truth. In 1517, he wrote a 95-point letter and nailed it to the church door. In his letter/thesis, he pointed out that the Bible said anyone could confess directly to God, and have their sins forgiven. There was no need for a middle man, or payments, as Jesus had already paid for our sins. Many other erroneous teachings were covered in his letter as well. This was a hugely radical thing to say in the 1500s, when the church was regarded as the voice of God.

Needless to say, this did not go over well with the established church. Martin was declared to be a heretic and an outlaw, and permission was given for anyone to kill him without prosecution. He was forced into hiding, but during that time he translated the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into common German so that everyone could read it, not just the highly-educated. If you are considering being a radical, be one like Martin, a man who loved God and those around him enough to speak the truth, and speak it the rest of his life.

Holy Bible

Holy Bible

The Bible is a book like no other. It took more than 1,500 years to write. It was recorded by more than 40 writers under the inspiration of God. The people who wrote the different parts or books of the Bible ranged from highly intelligent and educated, like King Solomon, to poor, simple peasants like Peter and John. As for content, the Bible covers the creation of the world, the history of the Jews, Mosaic laws, poetry, prophecy about the Messiah, accounts of Jesus’ life here on earth, the history of the beginning of the Christian church, letters of encouragement to struggling Christians, and apocalyptic revelations.

The Bible is God’s way of speaking to us. It’s not a book you just zip through in a week or two, then put on the shelf. It’s meant to be read and digested in small portions, and pondered over a lifetime. It is both simple and complex. The main message of the Bible is simple: God created you, then sent his Son Jesus to earth to pay for your sins, and if you accept his forgiveness and give your life to Him, you will spend eternity in heaven with Him. There are also parts of the Bible that are difficult to understand. Some you will come to understand as you study them. Other parts may continue to mystify until you get to heaven.

(The Bible pictured is available as a free Kindle download at amazon.)

The 21 Most Effective Prayers Of The Bible – by Dave Earley (2005)

The 21 Most Effective Prayers Of The Bible

Had I written this book, it would have been titled: “When God Says Yes!” Over and over in the Bible, God answered the request of a simple but earnest prayer with a definite yes. Eliezer found the bride he was seeking for Isaac. Hannah, who struggled with infertility, was given a baby. Gideon got his sign from the Lord that he would win his battle with the Midianites. The blind men who cried out to Jesus were given sight. Nehemiah, who had been a Babylonian captive, was allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. This book will lift your spirits and remind you of the goodness of God.